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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, also known as the “mini monstera,” is a fast-growing, easy-to-care-for climbing vine. In this post, I’ll review Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care and propagation.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is native to parts of Thailand and Malaysia.
Before we dive into this Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care guide, I’d like to address the elephant in the room:
Is a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma a Monstera?
No! Although it’s is sometimes referred to as the “mini monstera,” (because it looks like Monstera deliciosa) make no mistakes, this plant is NOT a monstera at all. It’s important to know the differences, especially because monsteras are in such high demand. You need to make sure you actually know what plant you’re looking at. Here are a few differences:
- Rhaphidophora tetrasperma’s leaves are smaller
- Young Monstera deliciosa typically has very small fenestrations or none at all. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma looks like a young Monstera deliciosa but it WILL have fenestrations.
- On mature Monstera deliciosas, the fenestrations will either be holes or splits with the tips growing towards each other. The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma fenestrations will be more open, which you’ll see in the photos in this post.
- The two are part of the same family, Araceae, but Monstera deliciosa is part of the Monstera genus and Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is part of the Rhaphidophora genus.
- They are found in two totally different parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia vs. Southern Mexico and Central America).
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Care
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma does best in bright, filtered light. This means the light would pass through something first before hitting the plant, like a sheer curtain. They can tolerate some direct sunlight as long as they’re not sitting in it all day.
For more help determining the light levels in your home, check out my guide to natural light for indoor plants.
Sorry, but this plant will not survive in low light (ah, the struggle of being a plant lover in a low-light home…). But, not to worry! If you lack adequate natural light for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, a grow light will do the trick. Check out this post for helpful information on grow lights for plants.
How often should I water Rhaphidophora?
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma likes to remain moist (not WET, but moist). Water your plant when the top inch or two of the soil is dry. How often you actually water will vary based on factors like the amount of sunlight the plant receives and the time of year (houseplants require less water in the winter since they are not in the active growth stages).
While this plant is relatively easy to care for, watering is probably the one tricky part of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care. Although it likes to remain moist, make sure you’re not keeping it too wet or it could be at risk of root rot.
Why is my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma drooping?
While droopy leaves could mean a few things, the most likely cause is either overwatering or underwatering. Therefore, it’s crucial to use your finger to feel down into the soil for moisture levels to determine the cause. Actually, you should get in the habit of always doing this before watering your plants to determine if they actually need it first.
As Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is native to tropical regions it will definitely appreciate some extra humidity! There are many ways of providing humidity for your houseplants, such as grouping them together, pebble trays, or humidifiers. Check out my post on how to create humidity for plants for a step-by-step guide to different methods.
Since this plant likes to remain moist, but shouldn’t remain wet, a well-draining potting mix that holds some moisture is ideal. One-part indoor plant potting mix combined with one-part orchid bark, with some activated charcoal tossed in will work well for this plant.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is somewhat sensitive, so be careful not to overfertilize it or it could burn the roots. Use a balanced liquid indoor plant fertilizer once a month during the growing season (the spring and summer).
This plant is a fast grower, so you’ll usually need to repot it once a year. In some circumstances, you might even need to repot it twice a year to keep it from becoming rootbound. If you see roots coming out of the drainage holes or if growth has slowed significantly, then it’s also time to repot.
Repot your plant in one the next size up from its current pot that has good drainage. It’s best to repot during the growing season (spring and summer) if possible.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma doesn’t require much pruning aside from removing any dead or dying leaves once they can be gently plucked away from the plant.
Vining plants also have a tendency to get “leggy” which is when the vines become very long and stretched out with fewer leaves, usually due to the plant trying to reach out to find more light. You can create a more bushy plant by pruning the vines to encourage new growth. When pruning, use clean, sharp shears or scissors to cut about a 1/4 inch above a node.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a climbing vine. In the wild, it uses its aerial roots to climb up something in its natural habitat, like a tree. Therefore, putting those aerial roots to use and providing the plant with something to climb up in your home will help keep your plant strong and healthy. There are a few things you can give your plant to climb up, such as a moss pole or trellis.
How Do You Propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma?
The easiest way to propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is by propagating cuttings in water. Use a pair of clean, sharp scissors and cut off a piece that includes at least one node and a leaf, cutting a 1/4 inch below a node.
Put the cutting in a glass of water, making sure at least one node is under the surface. This is important because the node is where the new roots will sprout from.
Place the cutting in a location with bright, indirect light. Be sure to change the water when it gets murky or slimy, about every few days to a week, and fill the water back up when it gets lower.
I usually like to wait until the roots are two to three inches long to transfer the cutting to potting mix. Roots on this plant may take several weeks to grow a few inches long. Once the roots have grown a few inches long, you can transfer your cutting to its permanent pot. Give it a good watering, then care for it how you normally would!
You can also propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma in potting mix. Use a pair of clean, sharp scissors and cut off a piece that includes at least one node and a leaf, cutting a 1/4 inch below a node.
Place the cuttings directly into the potting mix so that the mix covers at least one node (remember, the node is where the roots will sprout from). Make sure your pot is appropriately sized for the cutting.
Keep the potting mix moist and place in bright, indirect light. After about a month, your cutting’s roots should be starting to establish. At this time, you can give your plant a VERY gentle tug to check for resistance. If there is resistance, the roots have established!
Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma toxic?
Yes, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is toxic to pets so be sure to keep it out of your furry friends’ reach!
Where Can I Buy a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma?
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma are becoming more common due to popular demand. That said, they’ll be harder to find at a typical garden center. I feel your best bet to find one would be on Etsy, where there is a MASSIVE variety of plants from small business owners all over the world. Check out Rhaphidophora tetrasperma on Etsy here!
(If you didn’t read the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. Monstera deliciosa section at the top of this post, please read that before purchasing a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. Sometimes, these plants are mislabeled. Of course, that might be an accident, but unfortunately it’s done by some sellers to drive up the prices of plants. Make sure to check the sellers’ reviews, too.)