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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
SYNGONIUM HUME LIBRARY
A. R. Chase, L. S. Osborne, nd R.,,T Poole1
JS University of Flori la,IFAgr 4 J1oD
Agricultural Research and Education Center Apopka
AREC-A Foliage Plant Researc l.r RB,8 1GF0lorida
Syngonium podophyllum, also called Nephthytis, Arrowhead Vine or Africa
Evergreen, has been in demand for many years as a small pot plant.
Originating from tropical America, the plant produces stout, climbing vines
with 3-parted leaves on long petioles with sheathing on the lower half when
mature. Listed cultivars include 'Cream', 'Emerald Gem', 'Variegatum',
(='Green Gold'), 'White Butterfly' and 'Xanthophyllum'.
Suggested light levels for potted plant production are 1500-3000
foot-candles and can be obtained with 60-80% light reduction during Florida
summers. Excellent growth can be obtained with 3-1-2 N-P0^ -K 0 ratio of
liquid or slow release fertilizers when applied at an annMal rate of 30-40
pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet plus micronutrients. The lower
rate is applicable to lower light levels and low winter temperatures of 60 F
night minimum while the higher rate should be used during the summer months
when temperatures and light levels are higher. Thirty five pounds of
nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually can be supplied by 35 pounds of
9-3-6 per 1,000 square feet monthly or by 2 grams of 19-6-12 slow release
fertilizer applied to a four inch pot every three months (2 grams of 19-6-12
= slightly less than one half teaspoon). Potting media should have good
aeration and water-holding capacity. Syngonium will tolerate a moisture
deficit in the soil, but will grow more vigorously if soil is not allowed to
dry. Although Syngonium will survive temperatures near freezing, they grow
best between at 70 and 95 F.
1) Water soaked leaves
Symptoms Portions or entire leaves appear wet or water-soaked. This
symptom almost always occurs on young or immature leaves and is
usually found in the early morning during winter when air
temperatures are warm, but the soil is still cold. This condition
causes a water imbalance in the plant, but as the soil warms,
symptoms frequently disappear and damage is not permanent.
Control To control the problem, maintain root temperatures at 650F or
above or increase air temperature slowly.
1Associate Professor of Plant Pathology; Assistant Professor of Entomology;
and Professor of Plant Physiology, respectively. Agriculture Research and
Education Center, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
2) Long, thin internodes
Symptoms Internodes are elongated with wide spaces between leaves.
Control This condition is called etiolation and is caused by low
light levels. Increase the light levels to those recommended.
3) Non-pathogenic propagating material loss
Symptoms Node (eye) cuttings rot in the propagating beds.
Control Select only healthy, mature node cuttings and place in a well
aerated propagating medium. Maintain water and nutrients
applications to stock plants at appropriate levels and high quality
cuttings will be produced.
Nephthytis (Syngonium spp.) can be infected with a wide variety of
bacterial and fungal diseases attacking leaves, stems and roots. Until the
last three or four years most syngonium were started from stem sections and
grown in ground beds frequently in native soil. With the advent of tissue
culture sources for syngonium planting material, many diseases which were
common in bed-grown plants are no longer important, while other diseases
which were uncommon in bed-grown plants now occur regularly on tissue
1) Bacterial leaf spots (Erwinia spp., Pseudomonas cichorii, Xanthomonas
campestris pv. vitians or dieffenbachiae)
Symptoms Symptms first appear as small water-soaked lesions which can
be translucent. Sometimes they are confined between leaf veins and
other times they expand irregularly across the veins. If Erwinia sp.
causes this disease the centers of spots may become mushy and drop
out. The color of spots is usually tan to dark brown depending upon
moisture conditions and activity. Tan lesions are common when the
weather is dry and indicates a relatively inactive infection.
Control Bacterial leaf spot control should be based upon use of
pathogen-free cuttings or tissue culture plantlets since bacteria can
be carried on the surface or within stems of asymptomatic plants.
Minimizing overhead water is also very important since bacteria need
water to spread and infect plants. Use of streptomycin sulfate
(Agri-Strep) or combinations of copper and maneb compounds have been
moderately effective in research trials for leaf spot control if
overhead water is eliminated. Some forms of copper have been
phytotoxic to syngonium and the form chosen should be tested by each
grower under their specific growing conditions.
2) Erwinia cutting rot (Erwinia spp.)
Symptoms Rapid decay of cuttings of syngonium occurs when cutting
ends are contaminated with Erwinia spp. or the pathogen moves from an
infected leaf into the stem. The mushy rot usually starts on the
cutting stem and advances until the entire cutting disintegrates.
Sometimes the rot stops and remaining portion of the cutting produces
Control Use of pathogen-free cuttings is paramount. The same chemicals
which are mentioned for control of bacterial leaf spot diseases could
be used for control of rapid decay caused by Erwinia spp.
1) Black cane rot or Ceratocystis blight (Ceratocystis fimbriata)
Symptoms The disease appears as a black, water-soaked area sometimes
girdling the stem. Leaves gradually become chlorotic and die. In
Hawaii, leaf spots caused by this pathogen occur as well as root rot
Control Hot water treatment of infected stem cuttings for 30 minutes
at 120 F has been effective in eradicating this pathogen. Use of
pathogen-free cuttings is also recommended. No fungicides are
currently labelled for control of this disease on this plant, but
captain may be effective.
2) Cephalosporium leaf spot (C. cinnamomeum = Acremonium crotocinigenum)
Symptoms Lesions on leaves and petioles are small, reddish brown,
circular to irregularly shaped and have a slightly yellow border.
Disease is more common where plants are grown in ground beds and
exposed to rainfall or overhead irrigation.
Control Chlorothalonil (Daconil 4.17 F and 75 WP) is registered and
provides effective disease control. Alternatively maneb compounds
also provide good disease control but are not registered for this
crop at present.
3) Myrothecium leaf spot (M. roridum)
Symptoms Myrothecium leaf spot occurs commonly on small tissue
cultured plantlets and as few as three lesions can result in their
loss. Lesions start as small water-soaked areas which are greasy
appearing. These spots are generally circular and when mature
contain black and white fruiting bodies on the undersides of the
leaves or at petiole bases.
Control Both chlorothalonil (Daconil 4.17 F and 75 WP are registered)
and maneb compounds are very effective in controlling Myrothecium
leaf spot of foliage plants. Benomyl (Benlate 50WP) is also
registered and provides moderate disease control as well. Minimizing
foliage wetting and wounding greatly reduce the severity of this
disease especially on the tissue-cultured plantlets.
4) Rhizoctonia aerial blight and leaf spot (R. solani)
Symptoms Rhizoctonia aerial blight of syngonium usually appears as
small, irregularly-shaped, water-soaked lesions on lower leaves or
leaf edges in contact with the potting medium. Lesions are brown and
may be accompanied by the web-like mycelium of the pathogen which is
Control Fungicides mentioned for control of Myrothecium leaf spot are
also effective for control of Rhizoctonia aerial blight. Since the
pathogen is soil-borne plant roots must be treated for optimal
disease control. For this reason, benomyl may be the chemical of
choice since the other compounds are not usually recommended for
drench applications. Always use pathogen-free potting media, pots
and plants and grow plants on raised benches to avoid infections.
Since the disease occurs during the hot, humid summer months special
precautions should be taken then to prevent infections.
PHYTOTOXICITY OF BACTERICIDES AND FUNGICIDES FOR SYNGONIUM
Agri-Strep 17 copper compounds
Daconil'4.17F and 75WP
Truban 5G, 30WP, and 25EC
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
MAJOR INSECT AND MITE PESTS
The major anthropod pests of this plant include mealybugs, mites
scales, and thrips. Mealybug, mite and scale infestations are typically the
result of bringing infested plant material into the greenhouse. Thrips have
the ability to fly and thus invade the greenhouse from weeds and other
infested plants outside. In the control section a few of the many
registered and effective pesticides are listed. For a complete listing
please consult the references at the end of this report. Because of the
numerous Syngonium cultivars grown in the greenhouse a small group of plants
from each cultivar should be tested for phytotoxicity prior to treating the
entire crop. The list given in this section should be used only as a guide
to the sensitivity of this plant to pesticides.
Symptoms Mealybugs appear as white cottony masses in leaf axiles, on
the lower surfaces of leaves and on the roots. Honeydew and sooty
mold are often present, and infested plants become stunted and, with
severe infestations, plant parts begin to die.
Control Systemic materials are preferred. Examples of chemicals
which have systemic activity are: Dimethoate, Disyston,
Metasystox-R, and Orthene. Bendiocarb and Mavrik appear to be as
effective as some of the systemic materials. Control of root
mealybugs is accomplished with soil drenches with an insecticide.
Diazinon and Vydate are the only insecticides registered for this
purpose but both can cause some phytotoxicity. When pesticides are
applied to the soil, care must be taken to assure that the pots have
good drainage and that no saucers are attached or phytotoxicity may
Symptoms Spider mites are very small and many times go unnoticed until
plants begin to turn yellow or become speckled due to the feeding of
this pest. The mite that is often found on this plant closely
resembles the twospotted spider mite but is cherry red in color.
Control Mites can be controlled with either Vendex, Kelthane or
Pentac if complete coverage is attained. The critical point in any
control program is to minimize the possibility of introducing mites
into the growing area on infested plant material.
Symptoms Infested plants become weakened or stunted and begin to die.
Scales can be found feeding on leaves, petioles, or stems. Their
shape, size, and color are variable and many are hard to distinguish
from the plant material on which they are feeding.
Control See Mealybugs
Symptoms Infested leaves become curled or distorted, with silver-gray
scars or calloused areas where feeding has occurred.
Control Many materials are registered and effective at controlling
PHYTOTOXICITY OF INSECTICIDES AND MITICIDES TO SYNGONIUM
SAFE QUESTIONABLE UNSAFE
Bacillus thuringiensis Dylox LS Malathion EC
Diazinon EC Omite WP Plictran WP
Dimethoate EC Orthene SP
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
1. Chase, A. R. 1983. Phytotoxicity of some fungicides used on tropical
foliage plants. ARC-Apopka Research Report, RH-83-2.
2. Short, D. E. 1978. Phytotoxicity of insecticides and miticides to
foliage and woody ornamental plants in Florida. Extension Entomology
3. Short, D. E., L. S. Osborne, and R. W. Henley. 1982. 1982-83 Insect
and related arthropod management guide for commercial foliage and woody
plants in Florida. Extension Entomology Report #52.
4. Simone, G. W. and A. R. Chase. 1984. Disease control pesticides for
foliage production. Extension Plant Pathology Report #30.
Mention of a commercial or proprietary product or of a pesticide in this
paper does not constitute a recommendation by the authors, nor does it imply
registration under FIFRA as amended. Pesticides should be applied according
to label directions. Those pesticides listed in the control sections for
each disorder but not listed in the phytotoxicity charts HAVE NOT been
tested for plant safety at the University of Florida.