The Syngonium White Butterfly is known as the White Butterfly Plant, White Butterfly Arrowhead Plant, Arrowhead Vine. Its scientific name is Syngonium podophyllum White Butterfly.
The plant is best known for its beautiful white variegated leaves.
It is native to the tropical regions of Central and South America. In its natural habitat it is a climber so it will appreciate a pole or support.
How do you care for the Syngonium White Butterfly? Keep the plant is bright, indirect light indoors and partial shade outdoors.
It needs plenty of light to maintain its beautiful variegations. Avoid low light as it can lose its white variegations. The plant enjoys warm, humid conditions.
Syngonium White Butterfly Plant Care
White Butterfly Plant Light Requirements
The Syngonium White Butterfly enjoys plenty of light. It thrives indoors in medium to bright indirect light. Outdoors, supply it with partial or semi-shade.
Light is very important for this arrowhead plant because it is heavily variegated.
The white patterns on its leaves which make it beautiful means the plant needs more light. That’s because these non-green sections don’t absorb light.
The absence or lack of chlorophyll is what allows them to be another color from green.
But this also means that fewer sections of the leaves absorb light.
So, to compensate for this, it needs more light compared to other arrowhead plant varieties that have solid-green leaves.
That said, be careful with too much light.
Very intense light like direct sunlight during the middle of the day or in summer will burn its leaves. It cannot tolerate this kind of intensity because in the forests of South America, it is used to living under the shade of larger trees and plants.
These plants block the direct rays of the sun.
On the other hand, be careful with low light.
I don’t recommend low light. And if you don’t get much natural light into your home I suggest using artificial lights to supplement it.
That’s because low light will make the plant lose its variegations.
They’ll do this in order to survive.
Again, this has to do with chlorophyll.
Since chlorophyll is the compound in the leaves that absorb light, in low light environments, the plant will struggle to survive.
So, in desperation it will produce more chlorophyll to compensate for the poor light source.
In doing so, the leaves turn more green and lose variegations.
Therefore, avoid excess light as well as low light.
White Butterfly Plant Temperature
The Syngonium White Butterfly thrives in warm weather. Ideally, it prefers staying in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can likewise tolerate hotter temperatures as well without any issues or harm.
In my experience, the plant does better as a houseplant than in the outdoors. However, you can grow it outside as well if you wish.
The only thing to consider is where you live.
For outdoor care, the Syngonium White Butterfly is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. These areas have similar climate conditions with its native habitat.
More specifically, they have sunshine all year round and warm weather that’s fairly consistent.
This lets you grow the plant in a pot outdoors or in the ground if you wish.
However, if you live below USDA Zone 9, the White Butterfly Plant does better as a houseplant. You can still take it outdoors during summertime.
But always make sure to bring it back inside before the cold weather sets in for winter.
It cannot withstand temperature below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you leave it in this environment, problems will happen. Initially it will be just slower growth. But eventually leaves will change color and even drop.
The longer it stays in the cold and lower the temperature gets, the more likely it will sustain cold injury.
White Butterfly Plant Humidity
The White Butterfly Plant prefers humidity of 60% to 80%. This is its sweet spot.
If you’re able to maintain this environment for it, the Syngonium White Butterfly will reward you with lush, vibrant foliage.
That said, it can tolerate humidity between 40% to 60% which makes things a little bit more manageable for many home gardeners.
But depending on where you live, the moisture in the air may or may not be adequate.
As such, you may need to mist the plant, use a pebble tray or move the plant to the kitchen or bathroom to increase humidity.
You can likewise get a humidifier.
In addition to being important for the plant’s growth humidity also affects its leaves.
When the air is too dry for the plant’s needs, you’ll see its leaf edges and tips turn brown. This is the main symptom that it needs more humidity.
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How Often to Water Syngonium White Butterfly
The Syngonium White Butterfly likes to be well-hydrated. As such, it likes the soil to kept consistently moist.
However, you do need to be careful with regular watering since there’s a fine line between keeping the soil moist and watering it too frequently.
If latter happens, overwatering can occur.
And the risk there is potential root rot.
This is why watering is the most challenging part of caring for the white butterfly plant.
For this reason, trying to balance between that line is not worth it. That’s because the risk outweighs the rewards.
Instead, it is much better to let the plant dry out a bit between waterings.
Ideally, allow the top few inches of soil dry completely before you add more water. If you want to safe, you can wait until the top half of the soil has dried before watering again.
Both methods work really well.
And they keep your White Butterfly Plant from having any overwatering issues.
The other part to ensure that the soil stays moist is to water the plant thoroughly.
This means adding water until it begins to trickle down from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Then allow the soil to completely drain.
This 2-step watering method ensures that the roots get all the water they want.
And letting it drain completely prevents any waterlogging or overwatering, leaving you with moist soil.
Syngonium White Butterfly Potting Soil
The Syngonium White Butterfly needs, airy, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It also appreciates soil pH between 5.5 to 6.5.
Good aeriation and drainage go hand in hand.
That’s because roots need oxygen as much as they need water. So, you don’t want an excess of one or the other.
Too much water means you’re drowning the roots.
When there’s excess moisture, there’s no air left in the soil since water fills all the gaps.
In contrast, lots of air means there’s not enough water. And the plant will get underwatered which it does not like either.
To achieve well-draining soil that works well for the White Butterfly Plant, you can combine:
- 50% potting soil
- 25% coconut coir
- 25% pumice and charcoal
Alternatively, you can also use:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
The last part of preventing overwatering is using the right pot.
Make sure you use a container with drainage holes at the bottom.
Altogether, the 3 components:
- Waiting until part of the soil has dried between waterings
- Well-draining potting mix
- Pot with drainage
Work together to help you avoid overwatering and root rot.
White Butterfly Plant Fertilizer
The Syngonium White Butterfly needs fertilizer. But it is not a heavy feeder.
Therefore, the important thing is supplying the plant with the nutrients it needs to grow. Don’t focus on trying to maximize things.
That’s because the risk is not worth the reward.
The reason I say this is that excess fertilizer can damage the plant. It can burn the roots causing serious absorption problems which will affect its health and growth.
Instead, just give it enough nutrients and move on.
Feed it using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. An NPK ratio of 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 works readlly well. Dilute the application each time you use it by half strength.
Also, only fertilize the plant when the soil is moist. Never when it is dry.
Apply fertilizer only during spring and summer. Once a month application is sufficient.
Stop feeding once fall arrives and only restart fertilizer when spring comes around again.
The Syngonium White Butterfly is usually kept small and compact. So, you’ll see it about 1.5 to 2 feet high and 1 to 2 feed wide.
But if you let it grow, it can reach between 3 to 6 feet in size.
The plant also has the potential to become very fully and bushy. This makes it amazing to look at since its leaves will layer one over the other.
That said, at its core the plant is a vine.
Therefore, it will grow best in a hanging basket or when allowed to climb a support.
As such, how much you prune will vary significantly depending on how you want to display it and whether you want to keep it compact or allow it to grow fuller.
That said, because they leaves don’t get too messy, light trimming every so often is enough.
From there, it is all about how you want to shape the plant.
How to Propagate Syngonium White Butterfly
The Syngonium White Butterfly is commonly propagated from stem cuttings or division.
Both methods work quite well. But they are very different in terms of process and purpose.
Here’s how to propagate the Syngonium White Butterfly from stem cuttings.
- Cut off a healthy stem cutting. Make sure each cutting you take has at least 2 nodes on it.
- Prepare a pot and fill it will well-draining potting mix.
- Plant the cutting into the soil mix with the nodes buried under.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Also, leave the pot in bright indirect light.
It usually takes about a month for enough roots to develop.
Alternatively, you can propagate the White Butterfly Plant in water as well.
Here, place the stem cuttings into a jar filled with water. Keep the nodes underwater.
You’ll need to replace the water very 2 weeks or so. This way it does not get cloudy and allow pathogens to start growing.
Once the roots get to about 1-2 inches long in about 3-4 weeks time, you can transfer them to soil mix.
On the other hand, you can likewise divide the plant.
To propagate the Syngonium White Butterfly by division, follow these steps.
- Take the plant out of its pot. Then remove excess soil and dirt to make it easier to clearly see the roots.
- Decide how many divisions you want to make and where you want to separate the root ball.
- Make sure each division has enough roots to support the leaves above the soil.
- Separate the root ball using your hands. You can also use a knife that’s been sterilized using alcohol.
- Plant each of the divisions into their own pots with well-draining soil. The water each to keep them moist.
- Leave the new plants in well-draining soil.
How to Repot or Transplant Syngonium White Butterfly
A healthy Syngonium White Butterfly will keep growing. And at some point you will need to repot it.
In most cases, the plant needs repotting every 1-2 years.
However, these are just guidelines.
A lot will depend on its living conditions and the environment you keep it in.
The more light it gets the faster it will grow. Similarly, it will grow much bigger outdoors than if kept as a houseplant indoors.
Therefore, don’t compared with other peoples’ plant.
Similarly, wait for the plant to tell you when it needs repotting.
You will see roots coming out from the drainage holes. When these are poking out, wait until spring to repot.
That’s the best time to repot the White Butterfly Plant.
Additionally, replace the soil as well with fresh, well-draining mix.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Unfortunately, the Syngonium White Butterfly is toxic to people and pets. But it only becomes poisonous when ingested.
Therefore, keep it away from young kids, cats and dogs who may get curious or playful and chew or swallow the leaves.
This can result in drooling, swelling, pain and other unpleasant symptoms that begin in the mouth and travel down the digestive tract.
Syngonium White Butterfly Problems & Troubleshooting
White Butterfly Plant Pests
The Syngonium White Butterfly is fairly resistant to pests. Nevertheless you need to do regular checkup.
Bugs can still attack the plant despite its natural defenses.
This is especially true when it is stressed or unwell. In these states, it becomes susceptible to pest problems.
Aphids, mealybugs, scale and spider mites are all potential issues.
Overwatering is the biggest issue to watch out for.
That’s because it can cause stem and root rot. It can also lead to different sorts of leaf spot diseases.
Therefore, always let the soil dry between waterings.
Don’t wet the leaves excessively.
Ideally, water in the morning. And avoid doing so late in the day where there isn’t a lot of sunshine.