Arrowroot Plant: Rising New Gluten-Free Meals

Arrowroot is turning into nicely often known as a gluten-free various to corn starch and flour. What isn’t marketed on the dietary label, although, is the wealthy historical past of arrowroot powder and the plant it comes from. It was cultivated in Latin America as early as 8200 BCE, 1000’s of years earlier than gluten was even recognized. Again then, this plant was well-known for extracting poison from arrow wounds, therefore the title arrowroot plant.

The widespread title ‘Arrowroot’ is definitely utilized to a number of vegetation, largely these whose roots might be made into arrow starch or flour. The extra generally identified ones are Canna indica, which is grown for its elegant flowers, and Zamia pumila, often known as Florida arrowroot. On this article, we’ll concentrate on the arrowroot plant that’s primarily used for business arrowroot flour and starch: Maranta arundinacea.

M. arundinacea is a big, tropical plant that grows in water margins. Its energetic inexperienced foliage is as a lot at house close to a yard pond as it’s in a rainforest. You’ll discover that it’s very simple to develop in heat climates (and even simpler to propagate). So in case your water characteristic – or a soggy a part of the yard – may use some sprucing up, contemplate the arrowroot plant!

Fast Care Information

Arrowroot plant
Arrowroot plant. Supply: Scamperdale
Frequent Title(s) Arrowroot, maranta, West Indian arrowroot, obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot
Scientific Title Maranta arundinacea
Days to Harvest 365+ days
Mild Partial shade
Water Frequent watering
Soil Loamy, well-draining
Fertilizer Diluted and balanced
Pests Scale bugs, spider mites
Ailments Rust fungus

All About Arrowroot Plant

Maranta arundinacea
Maranta arundinacea. Supply: Ahmad Fuad Morad

Our arrowroot plant is within the Marantaceae household, making it cousins with the favored houseplant M. leuconuera (prayer plant). Since they’re each fashionable vegetation, Marantaceae could also be known as both the arrowroot household or the prayer plant household. M. arundinacea itself was beforehand referred to as Maranta sylvatica. It additionally goes by the widespread names West Indian arrowroot and obedience plant (to not be confused with the sprightly ‘obedient plant’).

As talked about earlier, arrowroot is native to Latin America, from Mexico to the West Indies to Brazil. True to its tropical habitat, it has clean, ovate leaves which might be a minimum of 6 inches lengthy. It grows in clusters that may attain 5 ft tall and blossoms within the spring and summer time with a refined show of tubular white flowers.

Arrowroot produces rhizomes, that are floor into powder. They’re white or reddish-purple and sprout thick inexperienced stems. They’re supply of potassium and have a nutty, candy taste when eaten uncooked or cooked. The rhizomes are very digestible and generally fed to infants.

As an arrowroot rhizome ages, it will get woody, fibrous, and harder to eat. In gentle winters, the plant goes dormant, and the foliage typically dies again. Come spring, the rhizomes will sprout new stems and leaves.

Your on a regular basis arrowroot plant has strong inexperienced leaves. When you’re on the lookout for one thing fancier although, seek for a ‘Variegata’ cultivar. Its leaves are painted with chunks of white and lightweight inexperienced.

Planting Arrowroot

Arrowroot begins and seeds could also be discovered at gardening facilities, relying on the place you reside. You too can seek for and organize them on-line. When you’re planting by seed, sow them in sprouting pots or instantly within the floor. Soak the seeds first to extend the germination price. 

Plant your begins within the spring. This can give them loads of time to ascertain a root system and shoot up earlier than going dormant within the winter. Ideally, arrowroots ought to be planted in a water margin. It wants a lot of moisture, so putting it someplace moist will prevent a whole lot of time spent watering. The situation you select must also get partial shade for many of the day.

Arrowroot can develop in containers so long as they’re pruned or divided periodically (these are large vegetation!). Select a sturdy container with good drainage holes. Whereas it’s doable to develop arrowroot indoors, this plant does a lot better outdoors. 

Arrowroot Plant Care

Maranta arundinacea flower
Maranta arundinacea flower. Supply: dogtooth77

Arrowroot is an agreeable plant. So long as it was planted in the fitting circumstances and the next wants are met, you shouldn’t have any concern rising a plentiful harvest.

Solar and Temperature

Arrowroots are finest cultivated in partial shade with direct daylight restricted to a few hours a day. Nonetheless, they’ve been reported to outlive in a heat sunny place in addition to full shade, albeit with much less vigorous progress. 

As a result of it’s native to the tropics, rising arrowroot is best in zones 10-12. It thrives in temperatures from 62-93°F in the course of the rising season. This plant might survive temperatures as little as 40°F and even some gentle frost in the course of the dormant season. Including some mulch within the fall might assist the crop keep heat by the winter months.

Water and Humidity

Keep in mind that arrowroot grows in water margins, so naturally, it wants loads of moisture. Preserve the soil consistently moist, watering day by day if wanted. Arrowroot additionally prefers some humidity, which is well achieved if it’s planted subsequent to a pond.

In case your arrowroot plant will get scorching and dry, its leaves will let you realize. Mist the air round them with a sprig bottle to up the humidity. Keep away from getting massive quantities of water on the leaves since it could actually result in fungal progress.

Within the winter, when your M. arundinacea goes dormant, lower right down to weekly watering. Not solely does the plant want much less water, however an excessive amount of will make the roots chilly. When new progress emerges within the spring, steadily enhance watering. 


All that water is ineffective if we don’t have good soil to carry it. Select a loamy, well-drained soil that can keep moist with out turning into muddy. It ought to drain nicely sufficient that enormous puddles aren’t left on the floor, and extra moisture drains out the underside of a container.

Use soil that’s wealthy in vitamins and natural matter. It must also be barely acidic, with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Although all these soil traits are necessary for rising arrowroot, the plant will often survive in various soil qualities if wanted.

Fertilizing Arrowroot

Maranta arundinacea leaves
Maranta arundinacea leaves. Supply: Scamperdale

Fertilize your arrow root within the spring for a leap begin on wholesome progress. Use a diluted, balanced, liquid fertilizer 1-2 instances a month for the season (seaweed tonic is a well-liked selection for this crop). This plant might be overfertilized – particularly in the summertime – and can present it with leaf discoloration. 

Pruning & Coaching Arrowroot Vegetation

You’re prone to attain for the backyard shears at harvest time however not throughout the remainder of the rising season. You possibly can prune spent flowers or unpleasant leaves as wanted. In case your arrowroot plant goes to overwinter in chilly temperatures, lower down the above-ground progress in late fall.

Arrowroot Propagation

Since they unfold by rhizomes, arrowroot vegetation are simple to propagate by division. Container vegetation might have to be divided as they outgrow their pots. You too can divide the plant throughout harvest because the roots will already be uncovered.

To divide container arrowroot vegetation, elevate the complete plant out of its pot and gently shake off the soil. Then, fastidiously separate particular person tubers from the clump. Every bit you separate should have roots and a shoot. You could want to chop the rhizomes aside with a clear knife. For arrowroot rising underground, first, dig up a portion of the roots after which slice them aside with a spade.

For a much less invasive possibility, arrowroot may also be propagated by cuttings. In late spring or summer time, clip off a wholesome stem on the base of the plant. Plant the chopping upright in some well-draining soil and hold it moist. In a few month, the chopping ought to begin creating its personal root system.

Harvesting and Storing

Arrowroot. Supply: yyykk

After a minimum of a yr of progress, your arrowroot plant ought to have some tasty roots prepared to reap. Right here’s learn how to get began.

Harvesting Arrowroot

Edible arrowroot tubers ought to be harvested once they’re younger. They need to be about 6 inches lengthy and white. Older, woody roots aren’t ineffective, although – they’re a priceless addition to mulch or compost. They may also be replanted and sprouted.

To reap, you’ll have to dig up the roots and lower them free from the plant. If you’d like your plant to continue to grow after, go away a bit untouched and replant it. You need to use this chance for dividing or pruning the roots if wanted.

Storing Arrowroot

Cooking and consuming arrowroot is much like how you’d with potatoes. Eat them in soups, casseroles, or as a facet dish. Any leftover, raw roots might be saved for a few week within the fridge. You could possibly prolong the recent shelf lifetime of chopped roots by retaining them in a container of water within the fridge (change the water periodically). 


Since it is a low-maintenance plant, it’s protected to imagine that Maranta arundinacea doesn’t include many issues. Nonetheless, hungry pests and sudden rising circumstances are all the time doable, so we’ll overview the chances right here.

Rising Issues

Arrowroots love their humidity, so direct daylight and excessive warmth ought to be averted. If not, the foliage will dry out and curl on the ends. You possibly can treatment this by misting the foliage with water and making certain the soil is holding its moisture nicely. If it is a recurring downside, transplant your arrowroot right into a location that will get extra shade within the afternoon. Injury to the leaves will not be reversible, so scorched leaves ought to be pruned off.

For many vegetation, yellowing leaves are the default approach of signaling that one thing’s fallacious. In case your arrowroot is shedding its beautiful inexperienced pigment, it may imply the plant’s getting an excessive amount of daylight, water, or fertilizer. If none of those appears to be the issue, a pest or illness could also be at fault.


Scale bugs are gross. Additionally they unfold shortly, so don’t hesitate to take away them out of your backyard. These multitudes of bugs are oval and vary in coloration from brown to white. They’ll feed in your arrowroot plant’s sap and drain it of important nutritional vitamins and vitamins. This may increasingly stunt the plant’s progress, flip the leaves yellow, and even trigger foliage loss.

Forestall pest infestations by making certain good airflow between the leaves of your arrowroot. You must also hold the soil away from particles. Massive-scale infestations might be cleared with horticultural oil spray or insecticidal cleaning soap.

Spider mites are one other disagreeable chance when rising arrowroot. These mites spin ultra-fine webs throughout their host plant, making them comparatively simple to determine. They trigger harm much like scale bugs and might also trigger stippling throughout the foliage.

In contrast to scales, spider mites thrive in dry environments. When you present adequate humidity in your arrowroot, you’ll probably stop infestations (simply don’t go too far, otherwise you’ll invite the scales!). The insecticidal controls for scale additionally work for spider mites. You may additionally use useful insect predators, reminiscent of predatory mites, ladybugs, or lacewings.


Rust fungus reveals up as reddish-brown spores on a plant leaf. It’s unlikely to kill your arrowroot plant, however it could actually harm its progress (and aesthetic worth). When you discover rust fungus in your arrowroot, instantly take away and destroy any contaminated leaves. If the fungus has already unfold by the plant, copper fungicide is an efficient possibility.

Humid circumstances are perfect for rust fungus, which explains why it’s widespread with M. arundinacea. Counter the humidity by making certain that there’s good airflow between the leaves (you might have to prune them). 

Regularly Requested Questions

Arrowroot plant seedling
Arrowroot plant seedling. Supply: graibeard

Q: What’s arrowroot plant used for?

A: The fleshy roots of Maranta arundinacea are often floor into powder and used as a thickener or corn starch various. The foundation can also be meals supply when lower up and cooked like potatoes.

Q: Is arrowroot plant toxic?

A: M. arundinacea isn’t poisonous, it’s really very simply digested, a wheat flour substitute, and supply of nutritional vitamins. It could additionally assist a wholesome immune system.

Q: Is arrowroot plant edible?

A: Sure, it’s typically used to make arrowroot starch and flour.

Q: Are you able to develop your individual arrowroot?

A: Completely! Rising arrowroot is best when you stay in zones 10-12.

Q: The place does the arrowroot plant develop?

A: This perennial plant genus is native to South America the place it grows in water margins. Within the backyard, new vegetation will thrive close to ponds shaded from full solar.

Q: How lengthy does arrowroot take to mature?

A: It takes a minimum of a yr for the fleshy roots to mature. The foliage might die again each winter, relying on how chilly your space will get.

Q: Is cassava the identical as arrowroot?

A: No, however they’re related. Each species produce tuber bunches which might be become wheat-free powders and different starches. They’ve quantity of nutritional vitamins and fiber. The nutritious meals they produce is analogous, however the vegetation are labeled into totally different households.

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