The purple mare is often confused with climbing philodendron species as it looks very similar to them. Similar to these, the purple mare also changes the shape of its leaves over the years. While these are initially arrow-shaped, they gradually divide more and more, giving this plant deeply incised leaves as it ages. The flowers, which rarely develop indoors, appear in spring and have a shape typical of arum flowers.


The right location depends on the type of purple mare. While the variegated varieties require a relatively large amount of light, the dark green varieties require relatively little light. Basically, the plants need more light, the more light parts of the leaves are present. The leaves of the Syngonium podophyllum are usually light green, although there is also a variety with white edges and one with yellowish colored leaves.

As a rule, sunny to partially shaded locations are suitable, whereby direct sunlight should be avoided, which could cause burns on the leaves. Accordingly, a place on a south-facing window is not suitable. If the plant is too shady, this can usually be recognized by the pale coloring of the leaves and the leaves that remain relatively small.

The temperature should be around 20 degrees permanently. The purple mare also needs a relatively high level of humidity. So it makes sense to spray them regularly with lukewarm water. The purple mare forms so-called aerial roots, which must not be cut off. It makes the most sense to let them grow into the substrate.


  • Commercial potting soil is suitable for the purple mare Syngonium podophyllum.
  • A mixture of equal parts of well-drained, coarse leaf soil and peat is also good.
  • A mixture of 30-40% garden, loam, uniform or compost soil and a 60-80% peat-sand mixture is also possible.
  • The substrate should definitely be low in lime.

watering and fertilizing

During the growing season, the Syngonium podophyllum needs to be watered regularly but also sprayed. The substrate should always be moderately moist. To do this, you should always use room-warm or tempered and, above all, lime-free, soft water, preferably rainwater.

Water that is too calcareous is very poorly tolerated. The top layer of substrate should always dry slightly between the individual waterings. A permanently dry root ball is just as bad for the plant as waterlogging.

From April to September you can fertilize about every 2-3 weeks with a green plant fertilizer in half concentration or a liquid complete fertilizer. From October there is no more fertilization.

purple mare in winter

  • In winter, the purple mare, also known as the donkey’s head, takes a short rest period.
  • Then the temperature should ideally be between 15 and 18 degrees.
  • It should also be bright in winter.
  • If necessary, indirect lighting is also useful.
  • Even now it should be sprayed regularly.
  • This is necessary to ensure a constantly high level of humidity.
  • Watering is significantly restricted from November to March.
  • If you water too much now, this can quickly lead to root rot.
  • There is no fertilizer at all in winter.
  • Drafts should also be avoided.

Repot purple mare

The purple mare should be repotted every year for the first few years. The best time for this is early spring. The old soil must always be removed and replaced with fresh substrate. When choosing the new planter, it should be wider rather than taller. If the plant is already older, it is usually sufficient to simply renew or replace the top layer of soil every year. However, if the planter is completely rooted, older specimens can of course also be repotted.

Immediately after repotting, ambient temperatures of around 20 degrees are advisable, as new roots form relatively quickly under these conditions or they grow faster. Once the first new shoots have formed, you can start fertilizing again.
Specimens that have become unsightly over time or are partially bald can be easily cut back when repotted. If you want the crimson mare to climb, you should place an appropriate climbing aid, such as a moss stick from a garden store, in the planter. Otherwise you can let the plant grow creeping or hanging, for example in a hanging basket.


Through head or shoot
cuttings The purple mare can be propagated very well through cuttings. This is best done in early or late spring. To do this, cut about 7-10 cm long cuttings from the mother plant. This is best cut off below a leaf node. Each cutting should have 3-4 leaves.

The cuttings are then placed in a moist substrate made of peat and sand in a ratio of 1:1. For a somewhat faster rooting, you can first coat the cut surface of the cutting with an appropriate rooting hormone from the garden trade and then stick it in the appropriate substrate.

In order to create an optimal climate for the cuttings or as protection against evaporation, you then put a translucent plastic bag over the pot. The substrate should now only be slightly damp. The optimal room temperature for rapid rooting is between 22 and 25 degrees. The substrate should ideally have a temperature of 21-24 degrees. To avoid mold growth on the substrate, the foil is removed from time to time for a short time.

After about 4-6 weeks the cuttings should have formed enough roots. So that it can slowly get used to the drier ambient temperature, it makes sense to remove the plastic bag at increasingly longer intervals over a period of several days.
After about half a year, the cuttings can be transplanted into smaller groups in larger planters. In order to make it easier for the cuttings of the purple mare to grow, it is advisable not to remove the remains of the substrate from the roots when transplanting, but to leave them on the cuttings.

diseases and pests

Root rot
Persistent wetness or waterlogging can lead to root rot. Signs of this can initially be individual wilted shoots and later completely wilted plants. If root rot is suspected, affected plants should be transplanted into fresh substrate as quickly as possible. You can save some of them that way.

Spider mites Spider
mite infestation can be caused, among other things, by insufficient humidity, especially in winter. An infestation can usually be recognized by fine webs on the leaf axils, which can be made visible by spraying them with water. As the season progresses, the leaves first turn yellow, then grey-brown and curl up.

To combat the affected plants, you should first rinse them thoroughly, especially the undersides of the leaves. Then you put a translucent plastic bag or a corresponding plastic bag over the entire plant for 3-4 days, depending on its size, and close it at the bottom. This creates a microclimate that kills the pests. If that is not enough, systemic crop protection sprays from specialist retailers can also be used.

An infestation with mealybugs or mealybugs can be recognized by cotton-like, white webs on the undersides of the leaves and the leaf axils as well as the 2-4 mm small, white-grey lice. Weakened plants are particularly affected.

First, affected plants should be isolated to prevent spread. Then you should repot them in fresh soil and clean planters. The roots should be rinsed well. Then the rubbing of the plant can be wiped off with agents containing neem or paraffin oil. The use of beneficial insects can be helpful. In the case of a stronger infestation, the use of appropriate pesticides may be necessary.

Scale insects Scale insects can be identified by small black and brown scales
and sticky honeydew on the leaves and stems. In order to prevent infection or spread, affected plants should be isolated from others as quickly as possible. Oil-based pesticides are suitable for combating this. As a preventive measure, you can spray the plants regularly with water.

Is the purple mare poisonous?

The stalks and leaves of the purple mare are poisonous to dogs, cats and rodents such as rabbits, hares, guinea pigs or hamsters, but also to birds. Like other arum plants, the plant contains oxalic acid and calcium oxalate. Signs of poisoning can include vomiting and diarrhea, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing or bleeding gums. Severe poisoning can lead to cramps and internal bleeding.


  • Purple mare Syngonium podophyllum – ‘Pixie’/ ‘Arrow’ – The arrow-shaped leaves of this purple mare are light green in color and also have a striking white veining. It can also be cultivated hanging from a climbing aid. In winter, it should be regularly sprayed or misted with water. This ensures sufficient humidity and can also prevent pest infestation.
  • Purpurtute Syngonium podophyllum – ‘White Butterfly’ – The leaves of the cultivar ‘White Butterfly’ have a distinctive green and white pattern. If the plant is a little darker, the white portion of the leaves will decrease and they will turn green. If you place them in a light location, the whitish or light-colored parts of the leaves increase significantly. Regular spraying with water is also advisable for this variety, especially in winter when the air is relatively dry due to heating.

The purple mare is an impressive climbing or hanging plant, depending on how you cultivate it, and impresses above all with its strikingly colored foliage, which turns lighter or darker depending on the light intensity. This houseplant is relatively easy to care for, only prolonged drought and waterlogging should be avoided. And if you avoid major care mistakes, you can enjoy this beautiful foliage plant for many years.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *