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Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma – 7 Top Tips w/ Propagation Guide!

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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is in huge demand, and for good reason. It’s a rapid grower, propagates easily, and is easy to care for with no special requirements. In this post, I highlight 5 basic tips on how to care for this amazing houseplant soo it thrives under you care, along with an illustrated guide on propagation.

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma

RHAPHIDOPHORA VS. MONSTERA VS. PHILODENDRON

First of all, I wanted to briefly talk about all the crazy common names that have cropped up for this plant, which has caused a lot of confusion.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is sometimes called mini monstera or dwarf monstera because it looks like a miniature version of Monstera deliciosa. Other common names include Monstera ‘Ginny’ and Philodendron ‘Ginny’ but these names are all misleading.

I’ve even seen it advertised as Monstera minima but this is incorrect. Although Monstera, Philodendron and Rhaphidophora are in the aroid plant family (Araceae), each one is a distinct genus.

So to be completely correct, this plant is a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma! (Rhaphidophora is the genus and tetrasperma is the species.) It is not a Monstera and it is not a Philodendron.

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!

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

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.

This plant used to be hard to find, but it is becoming much more common. I really believe that they will become very widespread one day, similar to Pilea peperomioides. (They used to be scarce and expensive, and now they are much more common and very inexpensive.) r

RHAPHIDOPHORA TETRASPERMA CARE

1. 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.

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

mini-monstera-philodendron-ginny

2. 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!

Water when it is needed, and not when your schedule tells you too. In addition, I highly advise against using a moisture meter. Many of my clients have struggled with them, to the point where I wrote a blog post on the dangers of moisture meters.

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-mini-monstera

3. POTTING MIX & POTS

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

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 much 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.

A heavier, sturdy pot is ideal because this plant will need a support post, so you don’t want your plant to be toppling over. I’ll get into adding a support later in this post.

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! To be safe though, I would still wait until at least the surface is dry to the touch before watering again. Avoid letting this plant go completely dry at all cost because it will protest.

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.

As I lived with this plant and continued to propagate and grow it, I’ve found that just a plain blend of an all-purpose potting mix (3 parts) mixed with perlite (1 part) also works very well. No need to get fancy with potting mixes.

4. 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! I’ve experienced amazing growth with consistent use of this fertilizer.

Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow Quart
$23.98

This is an amazing, nutritionally complete, all purpose formulation that contains all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive. It is urea-free so it will not burn your plants.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/26/2021 05:56 am GMT

5. 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 my initial plant from a cutting that friend sent me. I will describe how I rooted my Rhaphidophora in the next section.

I initially gave my first plant a support which consisted of a thin bamboo stake, but it quickly outgrew it.

Here are two easy options to support your plant.

BAMBOO TEE-PEE

The easiest, and best way in my opinion, is to make a bamboo tee-pee. Simply insert 3 bamboo canes in your pot and tie them on top. As the plant grows, simply continue to secure the plant with plastic clips, garden twine, or whatever you have handy.

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-mini-monstera
One of my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants that I have supported with a bamboo tee-pee

MOSS POST

The second way that I would recommend supporting your plant is using a moss post. This is much more work, but the results can be beautiful.

If you would like to make your own (and I promise you it will be much better and cheaper than anything you can purchase), check out my blog post with step-by-step photos and instructions on making your own moss post.

6. TEMPERATURE

This is a warm growing tropical plant, so keep temperatures on the warm side. If you move your plants outdoors during warmer weather, wait until night time temperatures are consistently 55F (13C) or higher.

Growth will be best in warm temperatures. 55-85F is a good range to keep in mind.

Looking to purchase a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma selection (link to Etsy) today!

7. HUMIDITY

I always say that if you can keep your potting mix at a good moisture level for your plant, it is much more important than trying to increase humidity. That being said, if you can also provide higher humidity for these plants, you will win. Remember, these are jungle plants, so trying to recreate these conditions in your home will go a long way in your plant’s happiness.

The most practical way to increase humidity, especially if you have a lot of plants, is to select a good humidifier. I’ve tried tons and have certain ones that I like the best.

If you would like to see my recommendations, check out my top 3 humidifier post to help you make your decision.

RHAPHIDOPHORA PROPAGATION

It helps to have crazy plant friends to send you cuttings of interesting plants! One of my friends sent me a single cutting of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, and from that cutting,I’ve propagated and grown more plants than I know what to do with.

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 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:

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-propagate-water
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!

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-propagate-water

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!

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-propagate-water
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings budding

Now let’s take a look at what these cuttings turned into after 1 year.

rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-mini-monstera
Left: April 2020
Right: April 2021

Look at the transformation after just 1 year!

Looking to purchase a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma selection (link to Etsy) today!

COMMON PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS

Why is my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma getting yellow leaves?

There are many reasons why plants can get yellow leaves. The most common reason is imbalances in soil moisture. If your soil has gone completely dry, your plant will develop yellow leaves on the lower part of the plant. On the other hand, if your plant stays soggy for a long time, this can also result in yellow leaves. Feel your potting mix to determine what happened and adjust your care accordingly.

Is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma toxic?

Like any member of the Araceae (aroid) plant family, Rhaphidophora contains insoluble calcium oxalate which is toxic to pets and humans if ingested.

Why does my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma have brown spots?

Why does my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma have droopy leaves?

This is likely caused by a soil moisture issue. Potting mix that has gone too dry (or even too wet to the point of root rot) will both cause droopy leaves. Try and aim for a good balance in soil moisture.

When will my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma get fenestration?

This is highly dependent on the age of your plant and the quality of your growing conditions.

What is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma growth rate?

This is a rapidly growing plant if you can provide good growing conditions. I’ve had my plants grow over 6 feet in a single year.

How big does Rhaphidophora tetrasperma get?

This plant can easily get several feet tall even indoors. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew states that the plant can get up to 5 meters in the wild.

Why is my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma’s leaves curling?

Like many plant woes, there can be multiple reasons why this is occurring. Soil that is too dry or too wet can cause this, as can drafty areas (too cold or too hot), as well as very low humidity.

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

Aggie Hufnagel

Friday 13th of August 2021

Thank you for the monsters propagation tips, will the original plant grow again?

Raffaele

Friday 13th of August 2021

You're very welcome Aggie! Yes, the original plant will grow back.

Heidi

Monday 12th of July 2021

Thanks for the in depth article! I am wondering what happens to the plant where you take the cutting. Will it regrow or branch from that point? Thanks much!

Raffaele

Monday 12th of July 2021

Hi Heidi, you're very welcome! Yes, your plant will grow back after you take a cutting :-).

ms louise herbert

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Hi I have a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, it has a single stem over a meter tall and I'm not sure what to do with it. I've supported it on a bamboo cane but as its only a single stem it doesn't look very nice I'd like it to bush out a bit or have more stems, is that possible? Lastly I don't want it to get much taller, should I cut the top off? Very grateful for any advice. Thank you

ms louise herbert

Monday 7th of June 2021

@Raffaele, Thank you for your reply, do you have any tips for successful propagating?

Raffaele

Monday 24th of May 2021

I would recommend trimming it down and propagating it. You can replant into the same pot if you'd like, or just start a new pot and add a few cuttings in it. This will help you get the fuller look that you're after.

Cora Green

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Thank you for such great information! :) I bought a rhaphidophora a few months ago and when I received it it was really, really sick. I mean like, black scars all over the stems, torn leaves and no new growth kind of sick. It didn't grow a single leaf while it lived! Fortunately, before it died, I chopped it up and tried to propagate what I could. Currently, only three of those cuttings are still green. One of them has very strong, thick, white roots! They are about two inches now. My problem: I fear that if I transplant the cutting into soil, it will begin to get sick again! Any advice?

Cora Green

Friday 21st of May 2021

@Raffaele,

Wow, what a quick response! Thank you so, so much! :D

Raffaele

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Hi Cora! Just go ahead and pot it up and try following the care instructions I have in my post. You should be ok! It sounds like your plant was just stressed from how it was treated before you got it, so don't be afraid!

Samantha

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Hi, great post!

I have a question, I've searched all over multiple websites and haven't found an answer. I live in Thailand and my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma seems happy enough living inside my apartment right next to a sunny window, the leaves are not droopy, yellow or brown, but a very nice dark green color and they're quite large, however, the plant is quite small and only has 7 leaves, but it has grown a *very* long vine (about 8 feet long at this point). I've had the plant about a month now and it has no new leaves, and when I bought it, it didn't have that vine. The vine is totally bare except for some little aerial roots shooting out of it but not a single leaf...I thought about cutting it off and propagating it, but I don't know if cutting off the vine will help the plant or harm it? Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!

Samantha

Raffaele

Thursday 13th of May 2021

Hi Samantha! Hm, I've never seen them grow a leafless vine like you're describing. Typically when plants do that, they're in search of more light, but it doesn't sound like yours has that issue. Cutting off that vine will not harm the plant so go ahead and try and propagate it and see what happens! Good luck! I'm curious to see a photo of your plant though. I'll email you and if you can please attach a photo, I'd love to see it!