How to Water Arrowhead Plant?
With beautiful, arrow-shaped foliage, the arrowhead plant is a plant that you can grow indoors with little fuss over its care. Once you create a hospitable environment for it, that is.
One of the key aspects to successfully growing an arrowhead plant indoors is managing the plant’s humidity and watering requirements.
Below, I’m going to discuss how to water your arrowhead plant including how to manage the plant’s water needs throughout the different seasons.
Likewise, I’m going to help you interpret different signs your plant may be giving off and how these relate to the watering schedule you’ve created for your arrowhead plant.
Once you manage to create an optimal environment for this plant and have a solid understanding of how to water it, you’ll be rewarded with abundant growth and luscious leaves.
Arrowhead Plant Water Requirements
Because the arrowhead plant is native to regions in Central and South America, the plant enjoys elevated humidity levels. Albeit it can withstand moderate drought, it can only do so for limited periods of time.
Therefore, I recommend that you focus on watering regularly but allowing the soil to dry slightly between two watering applications.
The potential for root rot is also why you should plant the arrowhead plant in a well-draining potting mix.
Before I get into the particulars of watering the arrowhead plant, depending on seasonal changes and the factors that influence watering needs, here’s a quick general guide on how to water your arrowhead:
- Water thoroughly until you notice water pooling at the base.
- Water the soil evenly and don’t water only at the base of the plant (this can also cause rotting at the base).
- Wait for the top few inches of soil to dry before watering next.
- Avoid extremes – avoid allowing the potting mix to go completely dry, but also avoid watering before the top 2-3 inches are dry.
- Allowing the top levels of soil to dry, will ensure that the lower levels aren’t sitting in water and that they’re only moist, which is in line with the needs of the plant.
- Pick a potting mix that’s well-draining – substrates such as those amended with peat moss, coco coir, perlite, bark, or pumice will work best. Any aroid plant potting mix is good too.
Beyond these, make sure you change the watering frequency depending on the season. Here’s how to water the arrowhead plant, depending on which season it is:
– Watering in Summer
Spring and summer are when the arrowhead plant is doing all of its growth. This means the plant needs more energy during these seasons.
This translates into higher watering requirements, higher light requirements, and a need for plant feed to sustain stronger and healthier growth.
As spring transitions into hot summer months, you will need to water more frequently as you’ll notice that the evaporation will increase, and the potting mix will dry faster.
Still, the same guidelines I discussed above apply during watering in the summer too. Namely, waiting for the topmost layers of the soil to slightly dry.
– Watering in Winter
Therefore, cut back on the watering frequency since the plant will better preserve moisture and needs less resources.
Seasonal changes bring along a multitude of factors that will influence the watering needs of your arrowhead plant.
But even within the same season, there are plenty of factors that will influence how much water arrowhead plants need.
Factors that Determine Arrowhead Plant Water Needs
I don’t recommend adhering to a predefined watering schedule (e.g. every week or every 10 days, etc.) simply because there are many variables at play.
These can change how much water your arrowhead needs, and you’ll need to monitor its needs to determine whether you need to water or not.
Here are the most common factors that determine your arrowhead plant’s water needs:
Changes in light influence the plant’s growth speed, use of resources and evaporation. The plant enjoys bright, indirect light, so it will naturally seek to grow towards lighter spots.
It does not enjoy direct light exposure, nor should it be kept in a dark spot in your home, where it will grow long, leggy vines in search of light.
Temperature changes are another factor that will determine the water uptake of your arrowhead plant.
The temperature range that works best for this plant is between 60 F and 85 °F. At the lower end of this range, your arrowhead plant will require less watering than if the temperatures are at 80-85 °F.
Naturally, higher temperatures will raise evaporation, causing the potting mix to dry sooner, which means you’ll need to water more often.
Native to humid environments and a humidity-loving aroid, the arrowhead plant thrives in elevated humidity levels, although it manages to adapt to average indoor humidity as well.
When the air becomes dry, you’ll need to increase humidity levels not only in the air but also by watering the plant since in a dry environment evaporation happens much faster.
When humidity levels are higher, the plant will have a lower water intake. If you need to increase humidity levels in the air, there are a few ways to achieve that:
- Creating a humidity tray
- Using a humidifier
– Potting Mix
I mentioned how arrowhead plants need a well-draining potting mix that will not hold onto too much humidity and allow excess water to drain.
On the one hand, a well-aerated potting mix will prevent root rot and fungal issues. On the other hand, it will allow the mix to dry better.
I don’t recommend using regular potting soil as it holds on to too much water. Also, when it dries it tends to become easily compacted, strangling the roots of the arrowhead plant.
Use any commercially available aroid plant potting mix or create your own mix. I usually mix one part potting soil, one part perlite and one part peat moss.
It’s important that you don’t use just regular potting soil on its own, especially if you’re overly generous with the watering can.
Therefore, the type of soil influences how much water the soil retains. If your potting mix is not adequate for arrowhead plants, you’ll need to be very careful not to overwater the plant.
– Pot Type
The type of pot also influences how well the potting mix dries. There are usually two types of pots that are used for arrowhead plants – plastic and unglazed terracotta.
Plastic pots have the advantage of being cheap and easy to source. They’re also easy to fit with draining holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape.
The disadvantage is that the potting media takes longer to dry in a plastic pot, potentially triggering fungal issues and rotting.
Arrowhead plants planted in plastic pots may not need as much watering because the mix takes longer to dry in a plastic pot as opposed to an unglazed terracotta one.
Unglazed terracotta pots are more expensive, and they don’t always come with drainage holes. You can fit them with drainage holes but there’s always a risk of cracking the pot.
The biggest advantage of terracotta pots is that they can absorb excess water from the potting mix, causing it to dry faster.
Of course, this may mean you’ll need to water more often, depending on the other factors I described above.
How do You Know if Arrowhead Plant Needs Watering?
One aspect of caring for the arrowhead plant that’s often overlooked is that the plant can exhibit a variety of symptoms that signal if something isn’t right with the plant.
Knowing what they mean can help you better gauge the needs of your plant. Here’s how you know your arrowhead plant needs watering:
- Droopy leaves
- Leaves turning yellow
- Leaf veins and margins turning yellowish-brown
On their own, these signs can mean other things as well. But coupled with a dry potting mix and a dry environment, they all point to the fact that the watering of the arrowhead plant has been neglected.
How Often to Water Arrowhead Plant?
As I mentioned before, setting up a rigid watering schedule is not how you should approach the watering of arrowhead plants.
A watering schedule can work only if you account for the diverse factors that can influence the water uptake of your arrowhead plant.
What I recommend is to periodically check the moisture level of the soil, but also the general appearance of the plant.
If the top layer of the soil is dry, you can go ahead and water it. Also, if the plant looks droopy and the soil is dry, you should water your arrowhead plant.
How to Water Arrowhead Plant?
Regular watering is needed to keep the arrowhead plant hydrated. But regular doesn’t mean you should keep the soil drenched in water.
You want a good balance of evenly moist soil that is not soggy. You should not allow the soil to completely dry out, but you should ensure that the top layer is starting to dry before you water the plant again.
Also, when you water the plant, make sure to evenly distribute the water over the potting mix and don’t just water at the base.
Another important thing is to avoid watering from overhead. If the leaves are dusty or dirty and they also get wet because of overhead watering, there’s an increased risk in fungal leaf problems.
A further important point that has helped me avoid leaf problems and improve the appearance of my arrowhead plant is that I watered it using chlorine-free water.
If you don’t have a water filter that can get rid of chlorine, you can let water sit overnight and chlorine will evaporate.
Likewise, using room temperature water is essential to avoid inducing temperature shock when watering.
Signs of Overwatering Arrowhead Plant
If you don’t follow the watering guidelines for arrowhead plants nor do you use a suitable potting mix for the plant, you risk overwatering it.
The problem with overwatering is that it can easily cause root rot issues, which can often be fatal to the plant.
Here are some of the most common signs of overwatering:
- Leaves drooping and turning black
- The base of the plant turning black and mushy
- Foul-smelling potting mix
- Fungal growth at the base of the plant and in the potting mix
Repotting the plant and getting rid of the old potting mix as well as all the rotten parts of the roots and stems can help save an arrowhead plant. If the problem is too severe, you may only save the plant by rooting unaffected, healthy stems.
Signs of Underwatering Arrowhead Plant
An underwatered arrowhead plant will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Droopy leaves that are turning yellow
- Leaf margins that turn yellowish brown
Coupled with a dry potting mix, these signs point to a couple of missed watering sessions. To counter these, thoroughly water the plant until you see water pooling at the base of the pot.
Resuming a normal watering regimen will save your arrowhead plant from completely drying out.
How Long Can Arrowhead Plant Survive Without Watering?
It depends. As I already mentioned, there are plenty of factors that influence the water uptake of your arrowhead plant.
With average humidity levels, temperatures within the range preferred by the plant, and following a normal watering routine, your arrowhead plant can easily go two weeks without any water. If it’s in a dormancy period, it may even survive longer without any watering.
The situation is different, however, if humidity levels are low, temperatures are high, and evaporation is quicker. Then your plant may show signs of dehydration even within 10 days of the last watering.
All these variables in the watering routine of an arrowhead plant may seem daunting to manage, however, it all boils down to keeping an eye on the moisture levels of the potting mix.
Hopefully, my explanations of the major factors that influence the water uptake of an arrowhead plant along with the aspects you should pay attention to will help you make good judgement calls on how and when to water your arrowhead plan.