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How to Grow the Rare Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a newcomer on the houseplant scene and it is in huge demand. Excitement for this plant has exploded among houseplant enthusiasts and practically everyone wants this plant! Although it is scarce, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care is actually very easy!

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is sometimes called mini monstera or dwarf monstera because it looks like a miniature version of Monstera deliciosa.

I’ve even seen it advertised as Monstera minima, but to my knowledge, this is incorrect. It is still a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma!

It is native to limited areas in southern Thailand and parts of Malaysia, and was discovered in the late 1800s.

According to the International Aroid Society, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is considered rare in nature. But fortunately for us, the plants grow very rapidly and are easy to grow!

If you like Monstera deliciosa but you don’t have enough room, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a great option. It has a similar flair but on a smaller scale. They are both part of the aroid plant family.

Not only is this plant scarce in nature, but information on Rhaphidophora tetrasperma online is also very scarce!

Fortunately for you, I will summarize what I have done to care for this plant.

And for the limited information out there, I have done some research to point out the most important information to help you grow one (if you can find it!)

Regardless, keep reading so that you will know how to care for this plant when you DO find it! I really believe that they will become widespread one day, similar to Pilea peperomioides. (They used to be scarce and expensive, and now they are much more common and very inexpensive.)

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Care

LIGHT

Give your Rhaphidophora bright indirect light. These plants don’t like a lot of direct sun, but some is fine.

I have mine growing in my sunroom and it front of a northern exposure window, but it is also close to an Eastern exposure window and will get a little morning sun.

Be cautious of too much sun, especially if it is afternoon direct sun which can be too much for this plant. You can keep it near Western or Southern exposure windows too, but be sure to diffuse the light, or set them back slightly from the window, as they don’t like being in too much direct sun all day.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma

This is not a low light plant so please give it good light otherwise you will be disappointed with poor growth and small foliage.

WATER

Try and keep this plant fairly moist, but not waterlogged.

These plants do not like to go completely dry so pay attention to it if you want the best growth out of your Rhaphidophora! More important tips on moisture requirements in the section below.

I always recommend watering your plants thoroughly, letting water drain out of the drainage hole, and waiting until the top inch or so of the potting mix is dry before watering again.

These plants do NOT like to go completely dry so try not to let this happen. You will notice that the lower leaves will turn yellow if you let this happen.

My own plant’s growth slowed down quite a bit during the darker winter months, and the soil took longer to dry out, so be aware of this. Always feel the soil to know when to water your plant. Don’t follow a “once a week” watering schedule blindly!

POTTING MIX & POTS

When I first rooted my cutting of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, I just used an all-purpose potting mix that I had on hand and planted it in a small terra cotta pot.

This was fine to start, but I will definitely improve from here.

The terra cotta pot was not the ideal pot choice by any means. Sometimes I just use what I have on hand, out of laziness, but I would not recommend using terra cotta pots for this plant.

Perhaps a larger terra cotta pot would have been fine, but small terra cotta pots dry out way too quickly!

Like I mentioned earlier, these plants hate to dry out too much. I would recommend using either a heavier plastic pot, or a nice glazed ceramic pot.

I’m going to use the latter because I’ll be adding a climbing support as well so I don’t want it to be too top-heavy.

As far as potting mix, I was able to find a useful piece of advice from Exotic Rainforest that pointed out a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma enthusiast that used the following potting mix.

No specific ratios were mentioned, but I’m following that one recommendation. Here is my mixture. It is a very well drained soil and I’m using the following components:

Miracle Gro Potting Soil (I use this for most of my houseplants)

To which I’ve added some orchid potting mix.

And a bit of activated charcoal was added.

The potting mix should be kept constantly damp.

Notice that I said damp and not wet!

Please note that if you add chunky material like the orchid bark, the potting mix will be very aerated and you won’t have to worry nearly as much about overwatering since much more oxygen will be available at the roots.

To be safe though, I would still wait until at least the surface is dry to the touch.

Whatever you do, don’t let this plant go completely dry though because it doesn’t like it!

FERTILIZER

My taste in fertilizer has continued to evolve and I have switched my all-purpose fertilizer to a product called Dyna-Gro Grow.

This is a very high quality fertilizer for a number of reasons.

It is a complete fertilizer and it supplies all the necessary macro and micro nutrients that plants need. Eventually if you use a fertilizer that is not a complete fertilizer, it may eventually suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Micronutrients, although needed in very small amounts, are still necessary to plant growth.

None of the ingredients in this fertilizer contain Urea, which can harm plants over time. Many cheaper fertilizers use Urea, and some of them in large quantities.

A good fertilizer will make the difference between a mediocre plant and a spectacular plant (provided your other aspects of care are up to par!).

So although Dyna-Gro Grow may cost a bit more than many of the more commonly available fertilizers, my plants and your plants deserve it!

CLIMBING SUPPORT

In order to get the best growth possible out of your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, you must give it a sturdy, climbing support.

I grew mine from a cutting that friend sent me. I will describe how I rooted my Rhaphidophora in the next section.

I initially just supported it with a thin bamboo stake, but it is about time for me to repot it into a bigger pot and also give it a larger post so that the growth can really take off.

I will keep updating this post as my propagated plant keeps growing and will share any further insights.

Rhaphidophora Propagation

It helps to have crazy plant friends to send you cuttings of interesting plants! One of my friends sent me one cutting of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.

After surviving being mailed to me, the cutting grew roots for me very easily in water. I started out with one cutting that had 3 or 4 leaves on it.

If you are trying to propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, just be sure to include at least one node under the surface of the water in your propagation vessel.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma nodes

The nodes are simply the portion where the leaf meets the stem. There are where the roots will grow from. You can see the aerial roots already along the stem in the photo above.

Just cut below one of these nodes, and place at least one of the nodes under water and wait for them to root.

In general, when I water propagate any plant, I wait until the roots are 1-2 inches long and then I will pot them up in soil.

Of course sometimes I get lazy and let the cuttings go way too long, like the cuttings below that I took all from a single stem of my plant:

propagating-rhaphidophora-tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings

This created more work because then I needed to detangle these cuttings before I potted them up. And WOW, the roots were strong and thick!

propagating-rhaphidophora-tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings

The cuttings themselves were starting to grow in the water, as you can see from the buds forming in the photo below. Ideally, just wait until the roots are 1-2 inches long and then pot up in soil if you can!

propagating-rhaphidophora-tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings budding

That’s it for now! I will continue to update this post. I plan on putting my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma outside during the warmer months, repot it into a larger pot and give it a nice support.

I already have a vision of how spectacular this plant will be soon!

Have you tried looking for a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma? They seem to be sold out everywhere online! Hopefully in the near future, they will be more abundant, and cheaper as well.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is definitely a fantastic houseplant and is surprisingly easy to grow.

And if you follow all the recommendations I’ve made in this post and use an amazing fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow and the potting mixture I described, you will be shocked at quickly these plants grow!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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Emma

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi! I got mine about a year ago, it didn’t grow much and I had sort of given up on it, then suddenly in the early spring it started growing like crazy and I had to cut it down a bit. Now I have a few cuttings doing well in water but my problem is with the mother plant. It has made a lot of new branches that are doing well, but some of the “older” leaves in the top are browning and falling off. Maybe it is just making room for the new branches and leaves?

Emma

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

@Raffaele

Raffaele

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

It's normal for some leaf loss to occur. Just be careful of extremes in soil moisture which can also cause yellow leaves :-). Or if the plant is really pot bound, it can be difficult to keep it well-watered.

Carmen

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Raffaele! First, thank you for this article — it's so informative for a first-timer like me! I recently bought a 4" one and I think it may be almost time to repot. My question is about climbing support — I'm not sure how tall of a stake I should get initially. If it isn't tall enough now, when I have to repot again, would I be able to get put in a bigger stake? I'm a newbie when it comes to plants in general, so any info would be helpful. Thank you!

Raffaele

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Carmen! The plants can get several feet tall! If you need a bigger stake, you can always insert another one into the same pot, or you can do it when you repot if it needs to be repotted. Either way will work.

Keira Wiggins

Friday 4th of September 2020

I recently got one for what I thought was a deal but it turned out to have root rot! What can I do to save it? Everyone says this plant is easy to grow but all of my propagations keep dying! What am I doing wrong?

Keira

Monday 7th of September 2020

@Raffaele, Hi! After reading your post I realized I was letting it dry out too much so I’ve been watering it more often. I will try to reroot what I have left of the plant in water. When I got the plant it was in water logged all purpose potting soil. I put it in an east facing window and repotted into a chunky/coco coir mix. When I realized it had root rot I started to take cuttings with 1+ nodes and tried to root them in distilled water. All but 1 of them rotted (holding out hope for the last one). Unfortunately the mother plant is still yellowing. Now all I have are wet sticks. I put them in a container with moss in a west facing window. Do you think that will work? Some of the stems have black tips from the water propagation fails (should I cut that off?). Looking forward to hearing your advice! Thank you sooooo much!

Raffaele

Friday 4th of September 2020

Hi Keira! You can try and root it again in water and then plant it back into soil. But please tell me what kind of soil you're using, the size pot, what kind of light, your watering routine, etc so I can help you. Are you doing anything differently from what is in my post?

Emily

Saturday 25th of July 2020

Hi! Thank you for this post! Very informative! I was wondering how to get mine to have multiple main shoots/stems? Right now, mine is just one long main vine. Should I just propagate the vine and fill out the pot or is there a way to get multiple vine shoots from this same one? Thanks!

Raffaele

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi Emily! If you want a bushier plant, you'll have to propagate and place several rooted cuttings in the same pot. There really is no way around this :-)

Klaria Holmes

Friday 3rd of July 2020

ah! i just got a tetrasperma last weekend (it was a steal - a 6in, full plant for $20!) & it's so cute! i'm itching to propagate it but i don't want to harm it in any way so i think i might hold off. thanks for sharing!

Raffaele

Sunday 5th of July 2020

That is definitely a steal! Get comfortable growing the plant first, and then you can propagate. They're SUPER easy to propagate. :-)