Arrowroot Plant: Growing New Gluten-Free Foods

Arrowroot is turning into effectively often called 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, principally these whose roots might be made into arrow starch or flour. The extra generally recognized ones are Canna indica, which is grown for its elegant flowers, and Zamia pumila, often called Florida arrowroot. On this article, we’ll deal with the arrowroot plant that’s primarily used for industrial 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 residence 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 function – or a soggy a part of the yard – may use some sprucing up, contemplate the arrowroot plant!

Fast Care Information

Arrowroot plant. Supply: Scamperdale
Widespread Title(s) Arrowroot, maranta, West Indian arrowroot, obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot
Scientific Title Maranta arundinacea
Days to Harvest 365+ days
Gentle 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 in style 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 can 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 delicate 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 a superb 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 delicate 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 stable inexperienced leaves. If you happen to’re in search of 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. If you happen to’re planting by seed, sow them in sprouting pots or instantly within the floor. Soak the seeds first to extend the germination charge. 

Plant your begins within the spring. This may give them loads of time to determine 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 inserting it someplace moist will prevent numerous time spent watering. The situation you select also needs to get partial shade for a lot of the day.

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

Arrowroot Plant Care

Maranta arundinacea flower
Maranta arundinacea flower. Supply: dogtooth77

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

Solar and Temperature

Arrowroots are finest cultivated in partial shade with direct daylight restricted to a few hours a day. Nevertheless, 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 could 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 could assist the crop keep heat by means of the winter months.

Water and Humidity

Keep in mind that arrowroot grows in water margins, so naturally, it wants loads of moisture. Hold the soil continually moist, watering day by day if wanted. Arrowroot additionally prefers some humidity, which is definitely completed 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 twig bottle to up the humidity. Keep away from getting massive quantities of water on the leaves since it may possibly result in fungal progress.

Within the winter, when your M. arundinacea goes dormant, reduce 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, regularly improve 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 effectively 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 also needs to be barely acidic, with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Although all these soil traits are essential 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 bounce begin on wholesome progress. Use a diluted, balanced, liquid fertilizer 1-2 instances a month for the season (seaweed tonic is a well-liked alternative 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 more likely to attain for the backyard shears at harvest time however not throughout the remainder of the rising season. You’ll be able to prune spent flowers or unpleasant leaves as wanted. In case your arrowroot plant goes to overwinter in chilly temperatures, reduce down the above-ground progress in late fall.

Arrowroot Propagation

Since they unfold by means of rhizomes, arrowroot vegetation are simple to propagate by means of division. Container vegetation could should be divided as they outgrow their pots. You too can divide the plant throughout harvest for the reason that roots will already be uncovered.

To divide container arrowroot vegetation, elevate all the plant out of its pot and gently shake off the soil. Then, fastidiously separate particular person tubers from the clump. Each bit you separate should have roots and a shoot. Chances are you’ll 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 can be propagated by cuttings. In late spring or summer time, clip off a wholesome stem on the base of the plant. Plant the slicing upright in some well-draining soil and maintain it moist. In a couple of month, the slicing ought to begin growing 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 after they’re younger. They need to be about 6 inches lengthy and white. Older, woody roots aren’t ineffective, although – they’re a useful addition to mulch or compost. They can be replanted and sprouted.

To reap, you’ll have to dig up the roots and reduce them free from the plant. If you need your plant to continue to grow after, go away a piece untouched and replant it. You should utilize 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 aspect dish. Any leftover, raw roots might be saved for a couple of week within the fridge. You could possibly prolong the recent shelf lifetime of chopped roots by holding them in a container of water within the fridge (change the water periodically). 


Since this can be a low-maintenance plant, it’s protected to imagine that Maranta arundinacea doesn’t include many issues. Nevertheless, hungry pests and surprising rising circumstances are all the time potential, so we’ll evaluate the probabilities 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’ll be able to treatment this by misting the foliage with water and guaranteeing the soil is holding its moisture effectively. If this can be a recurring drawback, transplant your arrowroot right into a location that will get extra shade within the afternoon. Harm to the leaves will not be reversible, so scorched leaves ought to be pruned off.

For many vegetation, yellowing leaves are the default means of signaling that one thing’s incorrect. In case your arrowroot is shedding its pretty 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 rapidly, 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 will likely stunt the plant’s progress, flip the leaves yellow, and even trigger foliage loss.

Stop pest infestations by guaranteeing good airflow between the leaves of your arrowroot. You also needs to maintain 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 risk 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 may trigger stippling throughout the foliage.

Not like scales, spider mites thrive in dry environments. If you happen to present enough humidity to your arrowroot, you’ll seemingly forestall infestations (simply don’t go too far, otherwise you’ll invite the scales!). The insecticidal controls for scale additionally work for spider mites. You might also use useful insect predators, akin to 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 may possibly harm its progress (and aesthetic worth). If you happen to discover rust fungus in your arrowroot, instantly take away and destroy any contaminated leaves. If the fungus has already unfold by means of 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 guaranteeing that there’s good airflow between the leaves (chances are you’ll 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 be a superb meals supply when reduce 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 a superb supply of nutritional vitamins. It could additionally help 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 personal arrowroot?

A: Completely! Rising arrowroot is best in the event you dwell 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 could die again each winter, relying on how chilly your space will get.

Q: Is cassava the identical as arrowroot?

A: No, however they’re comparable. Each species produce tuber bunches which can be became wheat-free powders and different starches. They’ve a superb quantity of nutritional vitamins and fiber. The nutritious meals they produce is comparable, however the vegetation are categorised into completely different households.

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