Syngonium rayii is one of the rarest species of arrowheads. That is why houseplant enthusiasts highly covet it.
The stunning foliage is the main reason this plant enjoys such popularity, and if you’re lucky enough to find one, it will make a fabulous addition to your home or garden.
With some insights from our expert gardeners, your Syngonium rayii is sure to thrive. Keep reading to learn more about the velvet arrowhead and its proper care.
What Is Syngonium Rayii?
Syngonium rayii, also known as the velvet Syngonium, is a tropical houseplant native to Panama and Costa Rica. It belongs to the Syngonium genus, a group of aroid plants commonly known under the name of “arrowheads.”
This plant stands out among other Syngoniums due to its unique leaves: dark green with a silvery stripe running down the middle and a velvet-like texture. The leaves are typically 4 inches (10 cm) long and 3 inches (8 cm) wide.
On average, Syngonium rayii will grow to be 8 inches (20 cm) tall, and it will start producing long vines as the plant matures. It can be grown in containers, hanging baskets, trellises or moss poles, and even terrariums.
– Syngonium Rayii vs Wendlandii: What’s the Difference?
Syngonium rayii and Syngonium wendlandii both produce arrow-shaped leaves with a velvety texture and a silver stripe down the central vein. So confusing one for the other can be an honest mistake.
Here’s how you can tell them apart:
- Syngonium rayii leaves are dark green, almost black. Meanwhile, the leaves on Syngonium wendlandii are a lighter, more vivid shade of green;
- Syngonium rayii produces smaller, less elongated leaves than Syngonium wendlandii.
– Is Syngonium Rayii Toxic?
Syngonium rayii is toxic to both humans and animals. All Syngonium species contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaf and stem tissue. Contact with this substance can cause skin irritations and blistering, and inflammation of the throat, tongue, and lips.
Our recommendation is to keep your arrowhead plants away from pets and children.
Syngonium Rayii Care Guide
Syngoniums are very hardy and adaptable plants. In fact, they’re considered invasive in some parts of the world. So if you look at it that way, caring for your Syngonium rayii should be a breeze.
It’s worth noting, however, that the iconic leaves will sometimes lose their characteristic silver stripe as the plant matures.
Here’s what you need to know about caring for this low-maintenance plant.
– Light Requirements
Syngonium rayii grows best in bright indirect light. Like most plants with dark foliage, it can also tolerate low to medium light but will prefer a bit more light to produce abundant growth.
You can keep your Syngonium rayii in a room with eastern or western exposure, but avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Too much sun will cause the leaves to become faded and develop scorch marks. On the other hand, too little light will stunt the plant’s growth and encourage fungal problems.
– Temperature Requirements
Syngonium rayii will easily adapt to the average temperature found in most homes. This hardy plant can tolerate a wide temperature range and will sit comfortably anywhere between 59 F and 85 F (15 C to 29 C). Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50 F (10 C) for extended periods of time, as this can slow down its growth.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, you can grow Syngonium rayii in pots or hanging baskets. Just make sure to pick a spot that is sheltered from direct sunlight and bring the plant indoors if temperatures drop below 45 F (7 C) during the night.
– Water Requirements
Keep the soil of your Syngonium rayii moist but not soaked. Use the soak and dry method for this plant by slowly flushing water through the soil until it starts to drip from the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry out slightly in between waterings, and water the plant again when the top inch feels dry to the touch.
In winter, the plant will need less water as its growth begins to slow down. You can reduce your watering schedule to once every 10 to 14 days. If you want to be on the safe side, always test the soil with your finger before giving your Syngonium more water.
– Humidity Requirements
Syngonium rayii has medium humidity requirements. Like all tropical plants, it will grow abundantly if the moisture in the air is around 70 percent, but it can also tolerate humidity levels as low as 50 percent. To keep your Syngonium happy, place it on top of a pebble tray – the evaporating water will provide it with its moisture needs.
You can also mist the leaves of your Syngonium rayii to help boost the humidity. For this method to work, you will need to provide it with daily misting. However, avoid misting too often. Allow the surface of the leaves to dry out before spraying the plant again to prevent problems such as bacterial leaf spot.
– Soil Requirements
Syngonium rayii is a hemiepiphyte. It will start life growing in the soil, and as it matures, it will use its aerial roots to climb trees. Often, it will continue to grow as an epiphyte even after its stem has been broken off from the roots in the soil. This high adaptability makes it easier to find the right potting mix for it compared to other epiphytic houseplants.
The ideal soil for Syngonium rayii should be porous, well-draining, and nutrient-rich. This is easily achieved by combining two parts universal potting mix and one part perlite. You can also add other amendments such as bark, coconut husks, or coarse sand, which will improve drainage. In addition, they create pockets of air that improve root health.
Good drainage is the most important feature for the soil used for potting Syngonium rayii. Although this plant loves moisture, it doesn’t like having its roots sit in water. If the soil is too thick or compacted, the roots will be starved of oxygen, and the soil will become a breeding ground for pathogens that cause rot. Always make sure that you use soil amendments in your potting mix.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Syngonium rayii is a fast grower, yet it is not a heavy feeder. A monthly fertilizer application throughout spring and summer should do the trick. You can use a universal fertilizer for foliage plants, diluted to half the strength. Make sure that the soil is not too dry when applying fertilizers to prevent burning the plant’s roots.
In winter, Syngonium rayii enters a period of dormancy, and its growth slows down. The plant will use fewer nutrients during this period, so you can cut back on fertilizers until early spring.
– Pruning and Maintenance
Syngonium rayii needs very little pruning. The plant rarely grows taller than 16 inches (40 cm). However, it will send out long vines and stolons as it matures. If you want to keep a compact, bushy shape, you can trim these vines and use them to propagate the plant.
Otherwise, you can simply provide it with a moss pole or trellis to climb on.
The velvety surface of the leaves can attract dust, which can be a bit difficult to remove.
Use a damp cloth to wipe the leaves clean every week, or give it a gentle shower with room temperature water. When cleaning the leaves, make a habit of also inspecting them for any signs of pest damage.
– Repotting Syngonium Rayii
Syngonium rayii has a fast growth rate, yet it typically only needs repotting once every two years. The best time to repot this plant is in spring and summer, during its growth stage. Pick a pot that’s one size bigger than the previous one or two inches (5 centimeters) wider. The container should always have drainage holes at the bottom.
Syngonium Rayii Propagation Guide
There are two methods you can use to propagate Syngonium rayii: stem cuttings and through stolons. Both methods are best used in spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
– Propagating Syngonium Rayii Through Stem Cuttings
- Find a stem that’s at least 4 inches (10 cm) long, with at least 1 growth node and healthy leaves.
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade, and cut the stem half an inch below the growth node.
- Place the cutting in a glass with room temperature water, and keep it in bright, indirect light.
- Change the water every week to prevent any algae or bacteria from growing in it.
- The cutting should start growing roots after a couple of weeks. To give it a better chance at becoming established, wait until the roots on the cutting are at least three inches (eight centimeters) long.
- When the roots have developed enough, plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix.
- Keep the soil moist but not soaked, and monitor the plant for the following two to three weeks, looking for any signs of transplant shock.
– Propagating Syngonium Rayii Through Stolons
- Start by identifying the stolons: mature plants will send out runners, which look like thick, almost woody stems, with leaves and aerial roots attached.
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade and cut the stolon half an inch from the base of the mother plant.
- Remove any sections of the stolon that are bare of any leaves.
- You can propagate the stolon by rooting it in water, using the same method as for the stem cuttings, or planting it directly in the soil.
- The stolon should take about four weeks to grow well-developed roots. If you’re rooting it in water, you can typically pot it in soil after one month.
Common Pests and Problems
Syngonium rayii is a tough plant that is resistant to most pests and diseases. However, poor growing conditions can stress the plant, leaving it vulnerable to diseases.
Here are some signs that your plant is struggling that you should keep an eye out for.
– Dry, Shriveled Leaves
If your Syngonium rayii is not underwatered or if the air is too dry, you will notice that the leaves start developing brown, crispy edges and start to wilt. Keep the soil moist by using the soak and drain technique, and make sure that the humidity around the plant is at least 50 percent.
– Soft, Yellowing Leaves
Having yellowing leaves is a common symptom of root rot. Remove your Syngonium rayii from the pot and check for any roots that are brown, black, or soft to the touch. Trim the damaged roots, repot the plant in well-draining soil, and avoid overwatering it.
– New Leaves Not Unfurling
If your Syngonium rayii is producing lots of new growth, but the leaves remain curled up, this has several causes. Often, this is a sign that the plant is not receiving enough water, that the air is too dry, or that the plant needs a nutrient boost.
– Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Thrips
Thrips, spider mites, and mealybugs are common pests for most houseplants. Their presence can cause spotting, leaf discoloration, wilting and stunted growth. To get rid of them, spray the leaves with a neem oil solution once a week.
Once again, let’s go over the points we’ve covered:
- You can grow this Syngonium on pots or hanging baskets or encourage it to climb on moss poles and trellises.
- It is low-maintenance and resistant to pests, making it perfect for beginners.
- Syngonium rayii is easy to propagate through stem cuttings or stolons.
- This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals and is toxic to both humans and animals.
The rare Syngonium rayii can make a gorgeous addition to any home. With an understanding of how it grows naturally, you can be sure that plant will thrive. So, now all you need to do is find your own Syngonium rayii and start potting it!
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