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Syngonium - Ideal For Kitchen And Bathroom Greenery

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From among the huge community of room representatives of the Aroidea family, the Syngonium is the only plant that cannot boast of an increase in popularity in the last decade. Everyone seems to have forgotten about this liana. Perhaps because of the rather capricious nature of syngoniums or their similarity to many large-leafed houseplants. But no other indoor liana can also boast of such variability. The long petioles on which the luxurious leaves of the syngoniums sit bend, curve, and create bizarre silhouettes, adding a unique charm to this winding liana.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Singonium is ideal for kitchen and bathroom landscaping

Syngonium - plant description

While its relatives in increasing numbers occupy the counters of flower shops and pages of glossy magazines, Syngoniums have lost their former glory. And completely undeservedly so. One of the most graceful indoor lianas amazes with its variegated leaves, choice of varieties with different colors, visual grace, and longevity.

It requires conditions that not everyone can recreate, but if you already have a collection of moisture-loving cultures, the singonium is one of the best candidates for adding to the collection. Syngoniums rarely attract admiring attention at once, but still it is very difficult to call them dull.

In nature, syngoniums are true Americans. They are found in large numbers in tropical forests all over the planet, but boast the greatest diversity in South and Central America.

There are many spectacular lianas among the Aroidae family (Araceae), and the Syngonium is one of the most modest but unconventional. It is one of the largest epiphytic indoor lianas. "Starting from a modest 40-60 cm, syngoniums resemble huge bundles or a tangled mass of leaves sitting on very long petioles, under which thin stems are hardly visible.

With age, syngoniums transform into rather large plants, capable of exceeding 2 m in height. The shoots are thin, unbranched, flexible, airy roots are almost invisible when young and become an important part of the appearance when mature. They grow from internodes, often almost merging with petioles, and are only discernible up close.

Singoniums are among the fastest growing lianas. In comfortable conditions they can grow up to 80 cm a year, but in the first few years they will remain compact. Moreover, the older the syngoniums are, the faster they grow.

In room conditions, the liana is most often limited to 1-1.5 m when formed. The elongated internodes accentuate the beauty of the long-petioled leaves and give the plant a visual lightness. Petioles can reach up to half a meter. Thin, flexible and often dark, the leaf petioles are no less ornamental than the greenery itself. They curve, creating a sense of lacy tangles, allowing this liana to remain airy and elegant regardless of size.

Two kinds of leaves on one liana

One of the unique features of the curving and evasive nature of the Syngoniums is the presence of two kinds of leaves and a significant change in appearance with age. Young plants have simple leaves, but as they age, the syngoniums begin to produce very different, palmate-complex leaf plates.

The oval-lanceolate leaves of young bushes are most similar in shape to an arrowhead. They are reddish when they open, but quickly lose their bright hue. But young, lighter colored leaves, up to 15 cm long, quickly transform.

The older leaves divide into fanciful lobes, conquer the plate cut into "fingers", growing larger and larger, gloriously flawless lobes. Illuminated with light color veins at the dark petiole of the leaves only emphasize the unusualness of the plant, folding into beautiful patterns.

The stripes along the veins are asymmetrical and not strict, resemble drops and splashes, can be both warm cream and silver, lettuce or white.

Flowering Syngoniums

Blooming Syngoniums seem somewhat strange on such a liana. To enjoy it in room format is the rarest of pleasures. Meanwhile, the exotic green "calla lilies" look very attractive.

The thick cobs are hidden under a veil up to 10 cm long, the inner surface of which is painted a bright red hue, unexpectedly expressive for the light green outer coloration.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
The flowering of Syngoniums in room conditions is an almost inaccessible luxury. © Garden Ideas

Types and Varieties of Indoor Syngoniums

One species of syngonium is mostly grown as a room plant - Syngonium podophyllum (Syngonium podophyllum). It is that flexible liana with very long petioles of leaves that change shape with age to split-fingered.

This plant has quite a few 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.

The 'Aron Brown' variety seems almost chocolate-like. The shades of orange and brown on the young leaves of this variety of syngoniums slowly watercolor into a classic dark green. And the 'Pixie' variety became famous not so much for its brighter vein patterns as for its smaller leaf size.

Other Syngonium species rarely seen in indoor culture are Syngonium auritum (Syngonium auritum) - a fast growing liana with thickened shoots and numerous aerial roots. Brilliant leaves up to 35 cm long with a beautiful oval-lanceolate shape change with time to dissected and adorned with very long, up to half a meter petioles.

A still rarer species - Syngonium narrowed (Syngonium angustatum) did not accidentally get its species name. It is an equally large but more graceful liana with somewhat shorter petioles and lanceolate ternate leaves, even in youth, with strongly pointed tips. The light veins shine very brightly, and the aerial roots growing in the internodes are more prominent than in other species.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium podophyllum (Syngonium podophyllum). © Sasha StrangeFlower
Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium podophyllum 'Neon Pink'. © assz
Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium stalk-leaved 'Pixie'. © Bakker

Conditions for growing room syngoniums

Syngoniums are typical heat- and moisture-loving lianas that prefer stable growing conditions and do not like change. They feel well in living rooms and offices only with proper care, but there is nothing difficult in selecting a suitable place for them.

Singoniums belong to the number of poisonous indoor plants, with which you should handle with the utmost caution when pruning and transplanting. But they also belong to another list - the best plants for air purification.

Singoniums in living walls and as dividers perfectly cope with the role of a green filter. It is believed that only Spathiphyllum can compete with Syngoniums in their ability to absorb formaldehyde.

Lighting and placement

The light-loving Syngoniums do not welcome either strong shade or direct sun. They grow well in diffused light, including some distance from windows. The lack of natural light cannot be substituted by artificial supplementary lighting, but they provide much more opportunities for gardening than most lianas. The beauty of light patterns is shown on sufficiently light places, just by the color of the leaves you can judge about the comfort of lighting.

In winter time it's better to increase light for Syngoniums by moving them closer to the window or to rooms with brighter illumination. Partial, but not full extra light is acceptable for them. Without correcting the conditions for the winter, the leaves will begin to become shallow and may completely lose their characteristic veins. Especially severely affected by seasonal changes in lighting varieties syngoniums.

The best place for syngoniums in the house remains east or west window, from window sills to 1 m deep into the interior.

The ornamental deciduous liana with very long petioles and striking flexibility may not be in the category of fashionable beauties today, but it is unique in its application.

Syngoniums grow well in rooms with naturally high humidity. They are suitable for landscaping a humid bathroom and kitchen, but in the latter it is worth placing them in places where temperature jumps are minimal.

The plant can be used for screens and dividers, guided by planes or shaped supports, grown on trellises. Despite its status as a large liana, Syngonium is also not afraid of free growth, does not break when hanging from a height and can create any kind of cascades and green waterfalls.

It is one of the most flexible plants in every sense, which can be formed into any shape and adapts to any base and task.

Singoniums are often included in complex compositions of green walls and screens for a reason. They are not afraid of neighbors and other lianas, and can be used to create complex cascades and waterfalls. Combinations with philodendrons, ficuses, ivies and fuchsias are considered especially spectacular.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium auritum (Syngonium auritum). © abrimaal

Temperature and ventilation

Syngoniums adapt well to room temperatures. They are so heat-loving that they cannot tolerate colder temperatures as low as 16 degrees, even in winter. This is one of the lianas that throughout the year will prefer the same temperature - from 18 to 25 degrees.

Heat Syngoniums do not like, but with controlled air humidity do not lose decorativeness even in hot summer.

Siting Syngoniums, you should choose places with stable conditions, protected from drafts and abrupt changes. Syngoniums like airing, but only without temperature fluctuations. This liana does not tolerate the close location of both heating, 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 protected conditions.

Home care for syngoniums

The main difficulty for fans of these flexible lianas is to maintain a comfortable humidity. Syngoniums easily lose their decorative leaves if not cared for properly. Careful observation and protection from any extreme influences is the main secret of success. Correcting the care is easy, because Syngoniums quickly signal when they are uncomfortable.

Watering and humidity

Syngoniums are afraid of overwatering and drying out the substrate to the same extent. Plants should be watered gently, letting the substrate dry out between these procedures, but not drying it out completely.

The watering should not be too abundant. In summer, frequent watering with a small amount of water is preferable. During resting period watering is done more seldom, increasing pause for 2-3 days, but drought is inadmissible for Syngoniums even at this time.

In summer the approximate watering frequency for Syngoniums is every 2-3 days, in winter 1 watering per week is enough. The degree of drying of the substrate in autumn and winter is better to check before each next watering. Water from the trays must be poured out not later than 5 minutes after watering.

Water can be used only soft or slightly acidic for Syngoniums. They cannot tolerate watering with cold water, they are extremely sensitive to its quality.

The moisture-loving nature of Syngoniums is not accidentally considered the most difficult point in their cultivation. Syngoniums retain their decorative leaves only at humidity levels above 50%. Falling even to 45% affects the ornamental quality of leaf tips and their colors.

The optimal air humidity for this liana can be maintained by spraying. When choosing sprayers, it is worth making sure that no droplets appear on the greenery of the plant. If no other measures are taken to increase air humidity, spraying should be daily. But it's much easier to use more stable means - humidifiers or trays with wet moss around the plant.

Hygienic procedures for this plant are a must. Syngoniums do not like to get wet, showering is better not (and not expedient because of their fragility and growing on supports at a solid age), but wiping the leaves is a must. The leaves of Syngoniums are cleaned from dust with a damp, soft sponge or cloth.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium angustatum (Syngonium angustatum)

Fertilizers and fertilizer composition

Fertilizers must be very carefully conducted for Syngonium. The nutrient capacity of the soil must be stable, but excessive fertilizer is best avoided. Fertilizing is done every 2 weeks, halving the dose recommended by the producer in spring and autumn and leaving the standard one in summer. Fertilizing is done with such frequency during the period of active growth, in winter gradually stopping and limiting itself to 1 such procedure in January. In spring, feeding is also resumed gradually. If the plants were transplanted, fertilizing is carried out only 4-5 weeks after transplanting.

For this liana special fertilizers for Aroids or mixtures for ornamental and deciduous plants are preferable. Syngoniums are sensitive to excess calcium and prefer nitrogen-rich fertilizers. They can be fertilized with organic fertilizers in summer, but the main fertilizer can be replaced with it no more often than once in 3 fertilizations.

Non-root fertilization for this liana is not carried out. Long-acting fertilizers most often cause growth disruption due to uneven saturation of the substrate with nutrients. The only allowable type of fertilizer for syngoniums is in liquid form.

Trimming and shaping the syngonium

This liana does not need to be pruned in the classical sense. But unbranched shoots are too elongated, and new ones do not grow without stimulation. Shortening the shoots - pinching or removing the top - is done as desired.

Trimming on this liana is best done at the beginning of active growth, but can be repeated several times a year.

Young singoniums keep compact, as they age they need a support. Gartering is done as they grow, installing supports during transplanting. If plants are grown on walls, trellises and screens, gartering should be regular. The shoots of Syngoniums are easily injured, and it is better to use soft sisal or other natural materials for support.

Syngoniums are remarkably long-lived plants. But they are often replaced by young specimens, because not everyone is happy with a dramatic change in appearance and type of leaves or a strong increase in length and volume.

To those who consider young Syngoniums as an unpretentious alternative to Caladiums with solid arrow-shaped leaves, it is better to grow a new generation from cuttings that root very easily if the plants lose their usual appearance.

Potting, containers and substrate

Potting this liana is always done as needed. Young syngoniums may require several changes of containers during the year, adult lianas are transplanted only when they fully master the allotted substrate and roots appear in the drainage holes.

Syngoniums that have room to develop will always prefer replacing the top layer of substrate rather than useless transplanting.

Potting can be done at any time, even in summer, if the plants can provide proper care and conditions. Of course, if possible, this procedure is carried out in February or March, before the beginning of active growth, but after its first signs appear.

The choice of container for singoniums is very important. They cannot tolerate uneven substrate moisture and do not have long roots, they should not be planted in too deep pots and greatly increase their volume. It is best to use containers of equal width and depth, when choosing the width of the containers, it is worth thinking about the stability of the plant and the use of heavy drainage materials.

This liana grows only in acidic substrates. When selecting soil, it is better to use special earth mixes for Aroids. Syngoniums prefer rather coarse soils, in the composition of which leafy soil dominates. Even in purchased substrates, it is better to add coarse sand or perlite to prevent their compaction. Another desirable addition is sphagnum or crushed bark.

Syngoniums grow well on hydroponics and in inert soils.

Transplanting of syngoniums is done by the method of transfer with protection of the roots from excessive contacts and removing only free soil. There is nothing complicated about the procedure itself, but more attention should be paid to the care of the plant after the change of container.

Syngoniums for 2-3 weeks should be placed in "soft" conditions, allowing neither direct sun, nor high temperatures, paying particular attention to the humidity indicators of the air. Watering during adaptation should be more accurate. It is better to slightly dry the substrate than to keep the plants in a more humid environment.

Syngonium - ideal for kitchen and bathroom greenery
Syngonium is a liana that only grows in acidic substrates. © Myntra

Diseases, pests and problems in growing Syngonium

This liana is almost invulnerable with normal care and average humidity. But if syngoniums suffer from pollution, growing in a dry environment, pests spread quickly.

Aphids, scabs and thrips love this plant, and dealing with them can be difficult even with the use of strong insecticides. Immediately isolating the syngoniums, correcting conditions, and starting the fight as early as possible in the infestation stage is the best strategy.

Syngoniums tend to point to insufficient care themselves. Uncomfortable lighting changes the color of the leaves, insufficient or excessive nutrition causes them to turn pale or yellow. Any spots or dried out areas on the leaves appear only if the humidity is low. And if the humidity is too high, water droplets appear on the leaves, sometimes heralding heavy rainfall, sometimes in gratitude for the right environment. This signal is rather positive. And no measures are required.

Propagation of Syngoniums

Syngoniums are not divided and not grown from seed. But cuttings of this plant are one of the easiest. When rooted in any substrate, sand or even water in the nodes, the plant actively releases numerous roots.

For the syngonium, both apex and stem cuttings are suitable. The main thing is to leave at least 2 internodes and to follow the location of the growth point in relation to the cut. The standard length of cuttings for a singonium is about 15 cm. The treatment with a special rooted rooting agent can speed up the process almost twice. For rooting cuttings enough temperature from 20 to 25 degrees and stable humidity, under the hood they do not need to contain.

Transplant to separate containers cuttings immediately, trying to choose compact pots. Pruning at the stage of the sixth leaf allows to stimulate rooting and immediately set the shape. Young Syngoniums are very sensitive to air humidity.