How Fast do Arrowhead Plants Grow?
Arrowhead plants can grow relatively fast in the first couple of years up until they reach their maximum height. Then their growth rate slows down.
Pruning back the plant will keep it from growing leggy and promote a bushier growth pattern by encouraging new growth development.
Just because arrowhead plants grow fast in their natural habitat, it doesn’t mean they’ll grow just as fast indoors.
Multiple factors can determine the growth rate of these plants, and indoors environments are often less hospitable than their natural habitat.
So, what can you do to ensure optimal growth rate? What are the factors that influence how fast an arrowhead plant grows?
I hope this article can serve as a blueprint to the factors that influence the growth rate of arrowhead vines, so you can better manage its care.
Growth Rate for Arrowhead Plants
In my experience, arrowheads will grow around 12 to 15 inches a year. Whether this is a lot or not, it’s relative.
For example, pothos plants have an average growth rate of 12 inches per month. So relative to pothos, arrowhead vines don’t grow as fast.
However, compared to succulents for example, the arrowhead vine does boast a fast growth rate.
Growth rate can be an indicator of a plant’s general health. If it’s within expected parameters, it means the plant is enjoying its environment and it’s well looked after.
A stunted growth is usually a symptom of a problem. This could be an issue in the immediate environment of the plant – low temperature, inadequate light exposure, bad watering routine, etc. Or it could be the result of a pest infestation.
Likewise, not all growth is healthy. For example, when the plant grows leggy or you see signs of etiolation, it’s usually because the plant isn’t getting enough light.
Because there are so many factors at play, it’s important to understand the role of each, and how they influence the growth rate and health of your arrowhead vine.
10 Factors that Affect the Growth of Arrowhead Plants
If you’re having trouble with the growth of your arrowhead vine, I recommend you consider the factors below and how they might apply in your case.
These can also serve as a refresher on the basics of arrowhead plant care.
Light is one of the most important factors in helping your plant put out new growths and develop normally. Without light, your plant will struggle to sustain itself, let alone do any growing.
If your arrowhead is not getting enough light, its growth rate will either slow down, or the plant will grow leggy.
Arrowheads need bright, indirect light exposure for optimal growth. Neither complete shade, nor direct sunlight are acceptable.
In fact, exposing the plant to direct light, especially strong light, will cause leaf burn, which will not only cause the plant to stop growing but it will also damage it.
When positioning your plant indoors, don’t place the pot on a south-facing windowsill. Place it a few feet back from the window, so that the light still reaches the plant, but it isn’t blasting it directly.
Often, the problem with growing plants indoors is not direct light exposure. Instead, houseplants don’t usually get enough light indoors.
Signs of inadequate light exposure include:
- Leggy vines without leaves or small leaves
- Slow or stunted growth
- Yellowing or discolored leaves
If you notice these signs, move the arrowhead vine to a location with more light exposure. Although these plants can get by in dimmed light, some varieties will not grow normally unless they receive ample amounts of light.
If natural light is scarce in your home, consider using artificial grow lights. Arrowhead plants are happy to grow even under LED grow lights.
Another factor that’s bound to disrupt or enhance growth rates is the type of soil. Arrowheads grow in fertile, well-draining soil that retains only a bit of moisture.
This type of soil allows the roots to be aerated, preventing rotting and bacterial overgrowth. It’s also a soil type with a loose structure that doesn’t strangle the roots.
If you plant your arrowhead vine in soil that’s prone to becoming saturated with water, you’re risking root rot and other associated problems, such as slow growth.
Regular potting soil takes a lot of time to dry, meanwhile the growth of the plant can come to a halt if its roots are becoming affected by root rot.
I don’t recommend using regular potting soil to grow arrowhead vines. Not without mixing it with other substrates like perlite, vermiculite, peat moss or orchid bark.
On its own, regular potting soil will cause problems for your arrowhead. First, it will retain way too much water. Secondly, it will become compacted once it dries.
If the roots of arrowhead plants sit in water for too long, they’ll rot, causing not only growth problems, but endangering the existence of the plant itself.
My recommendation is to buy potting mixes for aroid plants or use an African violet potting mix. These mixes contain the substrates I mentioned and offer a hospitable soil for arrowheads
Another factor you shouldn’t dismiss is watering. Learning how to correctly water an arrowhead plant is indispensable.
When watering, you’ll need to focus on the frequency, the quantity, and even the quality of the water.
Frequency is determined by temperatures, evaporation, and the type of potting mix. The sooner the potting mix dries, the more often the plant needs water.
Water your arrowhead plant only if the top two inches of soil are starting to dry. In spring and summer, this will happen faster. In autumn and winter, evaporation decreases. So, water less often.
The amount of water is also important. Water uniformly and only until you see water pooling at the base of the pot. Empty the saucer each time it fills with water.
The quality of the water is another factor you shouldn’t dismiss. Chlorine and other chemicals in tap water can have a negative impact on the health of your plant.
Tap water should be allowed to aerate overnight. Aeration allows chlorine to escape, reducing the problems related to water quality.
The temperature of the water is also essential. Aim to water with room temperature water. If the water is too cold or too hot, it can induce temperature shock.
Both dehydration and overhydration can negatively impact growth rates. So, aim to maintain a good balance. Arrowhead plants enjoy consistently moist soil. The keyword here is ‘moist’, which is not the same as wet.
If the soil doesn’t drain well or if you’re watering before the top layer of the potting mix is dry, you risk overwatering the plant.
Overwatering will eventually cause fungal growth or bacterial overgrowth, which will damage the roots of the plant.
Without healthy roots, nutrient delivery capabilities throughout the plant are diminished. The arrowhead plant will struggle as a result.
Although not as vital as watering and light exposure, fertilizing your arrowhead plant can go a long way in sustaining healthy growth.
This doesn’t mean that arrowhead plants require frequent feedings. On the contrary – these aroids are happy with weak feedings done infrequently.
I recommend you feed your arrowhead plant monthly, starting with spring. Continue feeding all through summer, then stop feeding in autumn and winter.
During the colder months, arrowhead plants go dormant. They stop growing and using resources.
Because temperatures drop and light conditions change, evaporation is also decreased, meaning you’ll need to cut down on watering frequency too.
There are plenty of fertilizer options available for aroid plants. You can use a well-balanced, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. But make sure to dilute it to half-strength.
Alternatively, you can fertilize with granular fertilizer that you can sprinkle on the surface of the soil or use a slow-release fertilizer when repotting the plant.
Water-soluble fertilizers can be applied monthly. Slow-release fertilizers usually need a single application per season.
Naturally growing in the rainforests of tropical and subtropical regions, arrowhead plants thrive in a humid environment.
The plant can adapt to average humidity levels but does poorly in a low-humidity environment.
Because humidity levels in our homes can change, I recommend that you keep your arrowhead in the most naturally humid areas of your home such as a bathroom or a kitchen.
Low humidity levels can cause droopy, wilting leaves, and hinder the growth of arrowhead vines.
There are a few ways to improve humidity indoors. A humidifier is the most straightforward option.
The other option – one that I personally dislike – is misting the plant. Misting might help but only momentarily. You’d need to mist the plant regularly to have the desired effect.
The problem with misting is that it can favor fungal leaf diseases. But there is an alternative – the evaporation tray.
Fill a tray with pebbles, fill the tray half-way with water and place the potted plant on the pebbles so that the bottom of the pot doesn’t reach the water. As water evaporates, it increases humidity around the plant.
I’ve also seen recommendations to group multiple plants together to create a more humid environment. While it can achieve the desired effect, I recommend against it.
When plants are huddled together the risk for pests and fungal diseases spreading from one plant to another is higher.
The ideal temperature range for arrowhead vines is between 65 F and 85 F. If the plant is kept in an environment where temperatures are outside of this range, it can slow down the plant’s growth.
Even if the plant is kept indoors all year round, things as simple as a drafty window can cause the plant discomfort and even temperature shock.
– Pot Size
Whether you’re repotting or just moving the plant to a bigger pot, its size can also influence the growth of your arrowhead vine.
Although arrowheads don’t mind being a bit pot-bound, if roots are visibly poking out or the plant has visibly outgrown its pot, keeping it the same pot will slow down the plant’s growth.
Don’t oversize the pot. I recommend using a pot that’s one size bigger than the previous one. A pot that’s too big will cause watering issues and make it difficult for the potting mix to dry fast enough.
Seasonal changes are a big factor in the growth rate of arrowheads. As I mentioned, these plants will grow during the spring-summer season and enter a dormancy period in fall and winter.
In winter days are shorter, which means less light exposure, temperatures and evaporation are also lower. All these will cause the plant to stay dormant and stop growing.
In spring, when the environmental changes become favorable again, the plant will enter into another growing stage.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, pruning actually helps arrowheads grow thicker and fuller.
Pinching back new growths or leggy growths in spring and summer, can help the plant shoot new growths and become fuller.
Diseases strain the plant’s resilience and cause it to divert energy towards recovery instead of growth.
From leaf diseases caused by fungi to pest problems, arrowheads can also be affected by common houseplant diseases.
Preventing these or treating them in time with fungicides or insecticides will help the plant overcome them.
Not treating them will considerably slow the growth of the plant potentially endangering the plant’s life if an infestation is allowed to get out of hand.
Root rot is also a common disease that can affect houseplants that are constantly overwatered.
The remedy in case the roots of the plant have started to rot is to repot the plant and remove any affected or damaged root parts. Also, refrain from watering for a couple of weeks.
Arrowhead plants grow relatively fast when conditions are optimal. Because multiple factors can aid or hinder the growth of the plant, it’s important to understand how you can best manage them.
Whenever you notice a problem in your plant, make sure to address it on time. Things can quickly get out of hand causing irreversible damage.
In my experience, watering, light, soil, humidity and temperature seem to be the chief areas of concern when growing arrowhead vines indoors.