Syngonium Albo

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How to Grow and Care for Syngonium Albo

Syngonium albo is the common name for a variegated cultivar of arrowhead vine, a tropical species commonly kept as a houseplant. This cultivar is distinguished by and coveted for its vibrant white and green foliage. Syngonium albo thrives in bright, indirect light when potted in well-draining soil and provided with some sort of structure to climb.

Be careful when choosing a spot in your home for this plant, as syngonium albo is toxic to people and pets.12

Common Name Syngonium albo, variegated arrowhead vine
Botanical Name Syngonium podophyllum albo-variegatum
Family Araceae
Plant Type Vine
Mature Size 3-6 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Partial
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral, acidic
Hardiness Zones 10-12 (USDA)
Native Area Central America, South America
Toxicity Toxic to people, pets21

Syngonium Albo Care


Syngonium albo is a fairly low-maintenance houseplant. The biggest challenges for this plant are providing the right light to maintain its notable variegation and getting the leaves to their mature shape via staking or other support.

  • Place syngonium albo in a location that receives a full day of bright, indirect light.
  • Plant in well-draining potting soil that holds some moisture.
  • Check soil frequently, and water when the top two inches are dry. Do not overwater.
  • Try to maintain higher humidity levels around the plant, somewhere in the 50-60 percent range.
  • Fertilize monthly during the growing season with an indoor plant food diluted to half strength.
  • Give syngonium albo a pole, trellis, or other form of support to climb, which will encourage it to put out bigger, mature leaves.

 The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong
 Light

Providing the right kind and amount of light is key to sustaining syngonium albo variegation. A full day of bright, indirect light is ideal. Bright direct light can burn white leaves, which are weaker and more easily damaged. Not enough light will cause a loss of variegation, with foliage remaining green. Inside, place near a northeast or west-facing window, or use grow lights. Outdoors, dappled sunlight is ideal, as these plants naturally grow on forest floors. Place where the plant received afternoon shade.

Soil

Syngonium albo plants grow best in slightly acidic, fertile, and well-draining potting mixes. Combine high-quality potting soil with bark and perlite in equal amounts. Another good combination is one-half high-quality potting soil mixed with one-quarter perlite and one-quarter coconut coir or moss.

Water

Regularly check the soil and water when the top two inches are dry to the touch. Plants grown outside in the summer may require more frequent watering than those grown indoors. Maintain irrigation throughout the growing season, but water less frequently during cold weather months when the plant is dormant.

Syngonium albo is vulnerable to both stem and root rot, so be careful about watering too much and too often. Look out for drooping leaves, since it's a sign your plant is too wet. Make sure that the container offers good drainage

Temperature and Humidity

Normal household temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenehit are appropriate for this plant. Syngonium albo is sensitive to the cold, so keep it out of drafty areas, and make sure to keep place it in a spot where temperatures remain even. If grown outdoors, bring the plant inside when temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

This tropical plant proliferates in humidity levels of 50 to 60 percent. To increase moisture in the air, place the pot on a pebble tray, or add a humidifier.

Fertilizer

Feed syngonium albo once a month during the growing season with an indoor plant fertilizer reduced to half strength. Be sure to water the plant before feeding. A seaweed solution or a top dressing of compost in spring will also add nutrients to keep the plant healthy and eliminate fertilizer in the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

Pruning Syngonium Albo

This is a rapidly growing vine that can lengthen up to 12 inches every year and reach heights of 3 to 6 feet. To maintain a shorter, fuller shape, cut long vines back to 6 to 8 inches above the soil line. If you prefer the look of a climber, add a moss pole for support. Keep in mind that the leaf shape becomes more stylized as the foliage matures.

Propagating Syngonium Albo

Syngonium albo produces aerial roots on the stem just below each leaf node, which makes it very easy to propagate with cuttings. Due to its rapid growth, it's practical and easy to take a section of vine long enough to provide several cuttings.

White leaves don't have the same capacity for photosynthesis as mostly green leaves, so expect syngonium albo leaves with a greater amount of green color to root faster and more easily. The most reliable method is to root cuttings in water. Rooting in sphagnum moss is the second-best approach.

Water Propagation

  1. Use a sterile snipper or sharp scissors to cut the stem between leaves.
  2. Retain the leaf, along with its node and any aerial roots below it, removing extra leaves above.
  3. Submerge the node and roots in water, keeping the attached leaf above water level.
  4. Place the cutting in a warm, bright location.
  5. Change water weekly and watch for new roots to develop.
  6. Once several roots emerge and are 1 to 2 inches long, pot the new plant in a mix appropriate for syngonium albo.

Sphagnum Moss Propagation

  1. Use a sterile snipper or sharp scissors to cut the stem between leaves.
  2. Retain the leaf along, with its node and any aerial roots below it, removing extra leaves above.
  3. Dampen a handful of sphagnum moss and gently squeeze to remove excess water.
  4. Wrap the moss around the leaf node and aerial roots, forming a ball around the stem.
  5. Cover the moss with plastic wrap and secure it to the stem below the roots with twine or a soft tie.
  6. Place the cutting in a warm, bright location. Make sure the moss does not dry out.
  7. Check the cutting in two to three weeks for root growth.
  8. Once several roots emerge and are 1 to 2 inches long, pot the new plant in a mix appropriate for syngonium albo.

Potting and Repotting Syngonium Albo

Syngonium albo is a houseplant that does not like to be root bound. Plan to repot every other year or every third year, depending on pruning and plant size. Choose a pot one size larger or 2 inches wider in diameter. Use plastic or ceramic pots for the best water retention, but make sure they have drainage holes, as the plant can develop root rot if the soil is too wet.

  1. Remove the plant from its current pot by reaching down into the soil and grasping the root ball.
  2. Gently lift the entire plant and rootball from the pot. Avoid pulling the stem, which can easily break. Lightly shake the pot if necessary to loosen the soil.
  3. If your plant is growing on a moss pole, remove it along with the plant.
  4. Comb through the roots with your fingers to untangle and remove excess soil.
  5. Fill a pot one size larger halfway with your preferred potting mix.
  6. Hold the syngonium alba (and its moss pole) in place in the center of the pot and fill in around the rootball with more potting mix.
  7. Water the repotted plant and place it in a location where it receives bright, indirect light.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Syngonium albo attracts common houseplant pests, including scale, aphids, spider mites, thrips, white flies, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. Remove insects and eggs with a damp cloth and apply horticultural or neem oil for severe infestations.

Sensitive to several pathogens, syngonium albo can be affected by myrothecium leaf spot. The fungus causes dark brown spots on leaf margins. Remove infected leaves, and treat the plant with a fungicide. Make sure there is good air flow around the plant.

Additionally, bacterial leaf and stem rot show up as dark brown spots with yellow rings. Remove affected leaves and cut the stem back to healthy tissue, then treat the entire plant with a bactericide. Make sure the plant does not stand in wet soil.

Common Problems With Syngonium Albo

Syngonium albo is not a difficult plant to care for and keep alive. However, it may be a challenge to get it to look exactly how you want it, assuming you are hoping for high variegation and big, unmarked leaves.

Drooping Leaves

The large, decorous leaves should be held upright on the stems. When they start to sag with tips noticeably pointing down, the plant may be getting too much or too little water. Check the soil for moisture and either withhold water if wet, or water if the soil is too dry. If the potting mix is extremely soggy, you may need to repot it with fresh soil. It's not uncommon for leaves to droop after repotting. Make sure your plant is located in plenty of bright, indirect light, and keep soil lightly moist to alleviate transplant shock.

Loss of Variegation

Bright indirect light is critical for maintaining variegation that makes syngonium albo unique. When the foliage starts to revert to mostly green, try moving your plant to a spot that receives the correct light throughout the day. A grow light may also help maintain variegation for indoor plants.

Dry, Brown Leaves and Leaf Edges

Syngonium albo needs a moist tropical environment and can develop dry, brown leaves in an arid environment. Place a humidifier near your plant, especially during summer months. A pebble tray is another way to increase humidity,

FAQ

  • Is syngonium albo rare?The white and green variegation that defines syngonium albo is considered rare for this plant genus. Due to its popularity, it may be difficult to find one. Look for retail outlets that specialize in tropical plants or reliable sources online.
  • Does syngonium albo need to climb?This plant has a natural tendency to climb, so while it doesn't absolutely need to climb to survive, it will not put out its unique, large leaves unless given the chance to climb upwards on a pole, trellis, or other form of support. Without support, syngonium albo will begin to trail, and it will continue to grow same-shaped leaves.
  • Why do my white syngonium albo leaves keep dying?While it's exciting to see an all-white leaf on a syngonium albo, these leaves will not last for long. The lack of green pigment corresponds with a reduced ability to perform photosynthesis, so it's only a matter of time before the host plant lets go of these energy-draining leaves.
  • How do you make syngonium albo bushy?To make a syngonium albo plant bushy, you can take cuttings and propagate within the same pot, using the methods listed above. Because syngonium albo is such a vigorous grower, it won't take long to have a bushy plant.
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