Among the huge community of indoor representatives of the Aroid family, the syngonium is the only plant that cannot boast of an increase in popularity in the last decade. Everyone seemed to have forgotten about this liana. Perhaps due to the rather capricious nature of the syngoniums or their similarity to many large-leaved houseplants. But no indoor liana can boast of such variability. The long stalks, on which the luxurious leaves of syngonium sit, bend, bend, create bizarre silhouettes, adding a unique charm to this winding vine.
Syngonium – ideal for kitchen and bathroom landscaping
Syngonium – plant description
While his relatives are increasingly occupying the counters of flower shops and the pages of glossy magazines, the syngoniums have lost their former glory. And completely undeserved. One of the most graceful indoor lianas surprises with variegated leaves, and the choice of varieties with different colors, and visual grace, and longevity.
It requires conditions that not everyone can recreate, but if the collection already contains moisture-loving crops, syngonium is one of the best candidates for replenishing the collection. Syngoniums rarely attract admiring attention immediately, but still it is very difficult to call them boring.
In nature, syngoniums are true Americans. They are found in large numbers in rainforests around the planet, but they can boast the greatest diversity in South and Central America.
Among the family of Aroids (Araceae) there are many spectacular vines, and the syngonium is one of the most modest, but non-standard. This is one of the largest epiphytic indoor lianas. “Starting” from a modest 40-60 cm, syngoniums resemble huge bunches or a tangled mass of leaves sitting on very long petioles, under which thin stems are almost invisible.
With age, syngoniums are transformed into large enough plants capable of exceeding 2 m in height. Shoots are thin, non-branching, flexible, aerial roots are almost invisible at a young age and become an important part of the appearance when mature. They grow from internodes, often almost merging with the petioles and are distinguishable only up close.
Syngoniums are one of the fastest growing vines. In comfortable conditions, they can add up to 80 cm in length per year, remaining compact only for the first few years. Moreover, the older the syngoniums, the faster they grow.
Under indoor conditions, during the formation of a liana, it is most often limited to 1-1,5 m. Elongated internodes emphasize the beauty of long-petiolized leaves and give the plant a visual lightness. The petioles can reach half a meter. Thin, flexible, often dark, leaf stalks are no less a decoration of a plant than the greenery itself. They bend, create a sense of lace tangled, allow this vine to remain airy and elegant no matter the size.
Two types of leaves on one vine
One of the unique features of the sinuous and evasive nature of the syngonium is the presence of two types of leaves and a significant change in appearance with age. The leaves of young plants are simple, but with age the syngoniums begin to produce completely different, palmate-complex leaf blades.
Oval-lanceolate leaves of young bushes in shape most resemble an arrowhead. When blooming, they are reddish, but quickly lose their bright shade. But young, lighter, up to 15 cm long leaves are quickly transformed.
Old sheets will divide into fancy lobes, conquer with a plate cut into “fingers”, grow more and more, flaunting flawless lobes. The veins, highlighted with a light color, with a dark petiole of leaves only emphasize the unusualness of the plant, folding into beautiful patterns.
The stripes along the veins are asymmetrical and loose, resemble drops and splashes, and can be either warm creamy or silvery, light green or white.
The flowering of syngoniums seems somewhat strange on such a vine. It is a rare pleasure to enjoy it in a room format. Meanwhile, exotic green “calla lilies” look very attractive.
Thick cobs are hidden under a blanket up to 10 cm in length, the inner surface of which is painted in a bright red shade, unexpectedly expressive for the light green outer color.
Types and varieties of indoor syngoniums
In indoor conditions, one type of syngonium is mainly grown – syngonium leg-leaved (Syngonium podophyllum). This is the same flexible vine with very long petioles of leaves that change shape with age to dissected-finger.
This plant has many interesting varieties with more spectacular leaf color. The light pink leaves of the ‘Neon Pink’ variety constantly change shades and repaint until only pink streaks remain on the old leaves.
‘Aron Brown’ is almost chocolatey. The shades of orange and brown on the young leaves of this syngonium cultivar slowly diverge in watercolor to a classic dark green. And the ‘Pixie’ variety became famous not so much for its brighter patterns along the veins, as for the small size of the leaves.
Of other types of syngoniums in room culture, it is rarely found syngonium auricular (Syngonium auritum) Is a fast-growing liana with thickened shoots and numerous aerial roots. Shiny leaves up to 35 cm in length with a beautiful oval-lanceolate shape change over time to dissected and flaunt with very long petioles, up to half a meter.
An even rarer species – syngonium constricted (syngonium angustatum) not accidentally received its specific name. It is no less large, but more graceful liana with somewhat shorter petioles and lanceolate trifoliate leaves with strongly pointed tips even in youth. Light streaks glow very brightly, and aerial roots growing in internodes are more visible than in other species.
Growing conditions for indoor syngoniums
Syngoniums are typical warm and moisture-loving vines that prefer stable growing conditions and do not like changes. They feel good in living rooms and offices only with proper care, but finding the right place for them is not difficult.
Syngoniums are among the poisonous indoor plants, which are best handled with extreme caution when pruning and transplanting. But they are included in another list – the best plants for air purification.
Syngoniums in living walls and as dividers do an excellent job with the role of a green filter. It is believed that only spathiphyllum can compete with syngonium in its ability to absorb formaldehyde.
Lighting and placement
Photophilous syngoniums do not welcome either strong shade or direct sun. They grow well in diffused lighting, including at some distance from windows. Artificial supplementary lighting cannot replace the lack of natural light for them, but they provide much more opportunities for landscaping than most vines. The beauty of light patterns is manifested in fairly light places, it is by the color of the leaves that one can judge the comfort of lighting.
For the winter period, it is better to increase the lighting for syngoniums by moving them closer to the window or to rooms with brighter lighting. Partial, but not complete, supplementary lighting is acceptable for them. Without correcting the conditions for the winter, the leaves will begin to shrink and may completely lose their characteristic veins. Varietal syngoniums are especially affected by seasonal changes in lighting.
The best place for a syngonium in the house is the east or west window, from the window sills to 1 m deep into the interior.
The decorative leafy liana with very long petioles and amazing flexibility may not be included in the category of fashionable beauties today, but it is unique in its application.
Syngoniums grow well in rooms with naturally high air humidity. They are suitable for landscaping a wet bathroom and kitchen, but in the latter it is worth placing them in places where temperature fluctuations are minimal.
This plant can be used for screens and dividers, guided along planes or shaped supports, grown on trellises. Despite the status of a large liana, the syngonium is not afraid of free growth, does not break when hanging from a height and can create any cascades and green waterfalls.
It is one of the most flexible plants in every sense, which can be formed into any shape and adapt to any basis and task.
Syngoniums are often included in complex compositions of green walls and screens for a reason. They are not afraid of neighbors and other vines, they can be used to create complex cascades and waterfalls. Combinations with philodendrons, ficuses, ivy and fuchsias are considered especially effective.
Temperature control and ventilation
Syngoniums adapt well to room temperatures. They are so thermophilic that they cannot stand cold snaps up to 16 degrees, even in winter. This is one of the vines that will prefer the same temperatures throughout the year – from 18 to 25 degrees.
Syngoniums do not like heat, but with controlled air humidity they do not lose their decorative effect even in a hot summer.
When placing syngoniums, it is worth choosing places with stable conditions, protected from drafts and sudden changes. Syngoniums love airing, but only without temperature changes. This liana does not tolerate the proximity of both heating and air conditioning and ventilation systems.
Syngoniums prefer stable conditions; it is better not to take them out into the fresh air, unless you can provide them with protected conditions.
Syngonium care at home
The main difficulty for lovers of these flexible vines is maintaining a comfortable air humidity. Syngoniums easily lose the decorative effect of the leaves with improper care. Careful observation and protection from any extreme influences is the main secret of success. Correcting care is easy, because syngoniums quickly signal that they are uncomfortable.
Watering and air humidity
Syngoniums are afraid of waterlogging and drying out of the substrate to the same extent. Plants are watered gently, allowing the substrate to dry between these procedures, but not completely drying it out.
Watering should not be too abundant. In summer, frequent watering with a small amount of water is preferred. During the dormant period, watering is made more rare, increasing the pause by 2-3 days, but drought is unacceptable for syngoniums even at this time.
In summer, the approximate frequency of watering for syngonium is every 2-3 days, in winter, 1 watering per week is enough. It is better to check the degree of drying of the substrate in autumn and winter before each next watering. Water from the pallets must be drained no later than 5 minutes after watering.
For syngoniums, only soft or slightly acidified water can be used. They cannot stand watering with cold water, they are extremely sensitive to its quality.
It is not by chance that the moisture-loving syngoniums are considered the most difficult moment in their cultivation. Syngoniums retain the decorative effect of the leaves only when the air humidity is above 50%. A drop of even up to 45% affects the decorativeness of the tips of the leaves and their colors.
Spraying can be used to maintain optimum air humidity for this vine. When choosing sprayers, you should make sure that no drops appear on the greenery of the plant. If no other measures are taken to increase air humidity, spraying should be done daily. But it is much easier to use the means that create a more stable environment – to install humidifiers or trays of damp moss around the plant.
Hygienic procedures are required for this plant. Syngoniums do not like getting wet, it is better not to shower (and it is not advisable because of the fragility and growing on supports at a respectable age), but wiping the leaves is a mandatory measure. The foliage of syngoniums is cleaned of dust with a damp, soft sponge or cloth.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
For syngonium, you need to very carefully feed. The nutrient content of the soil should be stable, but excess fertilization is best avoided. Top dressing is applied every 2 weeks, halving the manufacturer’s recommended dose in spring and autumn and leaving the standard dose in summer.
With such a frequency, feeding is carried out during the period of active growth, gradually stopping for the winter and limiting itself to one such procedure in January. In the spring, feeding is also resumed gradually. If the plants were transplanted, feeding is carried out only 1-4 weeks after transplanting.
For this vine, special fertilizers for Aroids or mixtures for ornamental-deciduous plants are preferable. Syngoniums are sensitive to excess calcium, prefer fertilizers with an increased amount of nitrogen. They can be fed with organic fertilizers in the summer, but you can replace the main type of fertilizers with them no more often than 1 time out of 3 dressings.
Foliar dressing for this vine is not carried out. Long-term fertilizers most often cause growth impairment due to uneven saturation of the substrate with nutrients. The only type of dressing allowed for syngoniums is in liquid form.
Pruning and forming a syngonium
This vine does not need to be pruned in the classical sense. But non-branching shoots are too elongated, and new ones do not grow without stimulation. Shortening shoots – pinching or removing the top – is carried out at will.
Pruning on this vine is best done at the very beginning of active growth, but you can repeat it several times a year.
Young syngoniums remain compact, with age they need support. The garter is carried out as it grows, establishing supports during transplantation. If the plants are grown on walls, trellises and screens, the garter should be regular. Syngonium shoots are easily injured; it is better to use soft sisal or other natural materials for fixing.
Syngoniums are amazingly durable plants. But they are often changed to young specimens, because not everyone is satisfied with a radical change in the appearance and type of leaves or a strong increase in length and volume.
For those who consider young syngoniums as a non-capricious alternative to caladiums with whole arrow-shaped leaves, it is better, when the plants lose their usual appearance, to grow a new generation from cuttings that take root very easily.
Transplant, containers and substrate
The transplant of this vine is always carried out as needed. Young syngoniums may require several changes of containers during the year, adult vines are transplanted only when they fully absorb the allotted substrate and the roots appear in the drainage holes.
Syngoniums that have room to develop will always prefer replacing the top layer of the substrate, rather than a useless transplant.
Transplanting can be done at any time, even in summer, as long as the plants can be properly maintained and maintained. Of course, if possible, then this procedure is carried out in February or March, before the start of active growth, but after its first signs appear.
The choice of container for syngoniums is very important. They do not tolerate uneven substrate moisture and do not have long roots; they cannot be planted in pots that are too deep and greatly increase their volume. Containers of equal width and depth are best; when choosing container widths, consider plant resistance and use heavy drainage materials.
This vine grows only in acidic substrates. When picking up the soil, it is better to use special soil mixtures for the Aroids. Syngoniums prefer rather coarse soils, which are dominated by leafy soil. Even in purchased substrates, it is better to add coarse sand or perlite to prevent their compaction. Another desirable supplement is sphagnum or chopped bark.
Syngoniums grow well in hydroponics and in inert soils.
The transplantation of syngoniums is carried out by the transshipment method with the protection of the roots from unnecessary contacts and the removal of only free soil. There is nothing complicated in the procedure itself, but more attention should be paid to caring for the plant after changing the container.
Syngoniums should be placed in “mild” conditions for 2-3 weeks, avoiding direct sun or high temperatures, paying special attention to air humidity indicators. Watering during adaptation should be more accurate. It is better to lightly dry the substrate rather than keeping the plants in a more humid environment.
Diseases, pests and problems in growing syngonium
This vine, with normal care and maintaining an average humidity of the air, is almost invulnerable. But if syngoniums suffer from pollution, grow in a dry environment, then pests quickly spread through them.
Aphids, scale insects and thrips adore this plant and can be difficult to deal with, even with strong insecticides. Immediate isolation of the syngoniums, correcting conditions and starting the fight at the earliest possible stage of defeat is the best strategy.
Syngoniums, as a rule, themselves indicate insufficient care. Uncomfortable lighting changes the color of the leaves, insufficient or excessive feeding leads to their paleness or yellowing. Any spots or dry areas on the leaves appear only when the air humidity is low. And if the humidity is too high, droplets of water appear on the leaves, sometimes heralding heavy rainfall, sometimes in gratitude for the right environment. This signal is rather positive. And no action is required.
Reproduction of syngoniums
Syngoniums are not separated or grown from seeds. But on the other hand, grafting of this plant is one of the simplest. When rooting in any substrate, sand or even water in the nodes, the plant actively releases numerous roots.
For syngonium, both apical and stem cuttings are suitable. The main thing is to leave at least 2 internodes and trace the location of the growth point in relation to the cut. The standard length of cuttings for syngonium is about 15 cm.
Treatment with special preparations for rooting can speed up the process by almost 2 times. For rooting, cuttings need a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees and a stable humidity; they do not need to be kept under the hood.
Cuttings are transplanted into separate containers immediately, trying to choose compact pots. Pinching at the sixth leaf stage stimulates rooting and immediately sets the shape. Young syngoniums are very sensitive to air humidity.