Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is also known as the mini monstera plant and one of my favorite plants in the bunch! It has split leaves that are almost similar to those of its cousin Monstera deliciosa. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a vining plant that has impressive fenestrated leaves.
It is a lush and evergreen plant that can be kept as a house plant, and you can also plant it outside. However, to thrive outdoors, you need to ensure that you stay in a warm climate area. It is an easy plant to grow, so if you have recently developed an interest in plants, you can add it to your plants’ collection.
This article will cover everything you need to know about the Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, how to care for it, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the plant.
Origin of the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma is also commonly known as Philodendron “Piccolo” or Philodendron “Ginny.” It belongs to the plant family Araceae genus Rhaphidophora and originated from Southern Thailand and Malaysia.
A British botanist, Joseph Dalton Hooker, first discovered the plant in 1893. The most expensive Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma plant to ever be sold cost over $8000. It was sold in New Zealand in august 2020 and was an extremely rare variegated plant with “4leaves with stunning yellow variegation on every leaf”.
This plant has characteristics that set it apart from other families and species, which it is often confused for. When shopping for it, ensure you confirm that you are getting the right plant. Some of its characteristics include:
- It thrives in indirect but bright light. When you place it in direct sunlight, the sun will scorch its leaves. If you plan to keep it as a house plant, it would be best to put it near the east and west-facing windows. Those are the only conditions under which it will thrive when exposed to direct sunlight.
- The plant has dainty and small ornamental leaves with six inches split lobes. Although the splits appear as windows on the leaf, they stay small.
- As mentioned earlier, they are vining plants, and they use their aerial roots to climb trellises or trees. As they grow, their roots hold on to whatever they clamber up on for them to gain stability.
- Depending on its environment, it can grow up to 12ft high/ 3.65 meters. It is mostly maintained at about 4-5ft/ 1-1.5 meters tall as a house plant.
- It thrives best in moist conditions, so ensure you keep the soil moist.
- Although they are considered an exotic jungle plant, they can also be found in dry climates and rainforests. Therefore, you can grow them as a house plant.
- When you hang them, they may produce smaller leaves that do not have splits.
- They are often referred to as mini monstera because their leaves look like a smaller Monstera deliciosa plant. But they are a different species of plant with no edible fruit.
- The Rhaphidophora genus has around one hundred species that originate in South Asia. The Monstera Obliqua is one of the rarest.
- Ensure that the soil has consistently balanced moisture in the plant’s growing phase.
- They prefer a high level of humidity surrounding it.
- It is essential to prune this plant.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Care Requirements
Whether you are a beginner plant lover or an experienced one, caring for Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma is quite simple. When you take good care of it will brighten up your living room. You will find caring for this plant even easier if you have cared for a Monstera deliciosa plant before. Although they are two different plants, that knowledge will help you take better care of this plant. Below are tips on how to care for these plants.
As mentioned earlier, they thrive when exposed to indirect bright light. Avoid exposing them to direct bright sunlight. Their leaves will dry up and turn yellow when they are exposed to harsh light. You can place them near a window exposed to sunrise, where they will be able to get plenty of light. You can also use an artificial grow light to add extra ambient light to them if kept indoors.
If you plan to grow them as outdoor plants, it would be best to have them in a bright shade, where they can get the gentle morning sun’s touch. If you do not have a shade, you could use a 40% shade cloth to obstruct the harsh rays and help soften the sunlight. Generally, it is a fast-growing plant, but you should note that they will have small leaves when exposed to little light, and their growth will be slowed down.
For these plants to grow healthy and thrive, the ideal temperature will be 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can tolerate and grow in cool temperatures, ensure you take the plant indoors when the temperature starts dropping below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Have the plants indoors during winter and ensure they get sufficient direct light wherever you choose to place them. They can stay outside during summer if they are outdoor plants.
As mentioned earlier, for this plant to thrive, the moisture should be even and consistent. Therefore, ensure that the soil’s moisture is always even. Avoid leaving it dry for long periods and instead water it regularly. Although they can tolerate muddy and soggy soil conditions, you need to balance how you water them because they can also be quite sensitive to being overwatered.
Before you water them, always use your finger to test if the soil feels moist. If the soil feels moist, do not water the plant, you can always water it on the next day or check later depending on the time. To keep the moisture level even, lightly water the plant.
Ensure you regularly water it during summer and spring. You can water it after every seven days or so, but ensure that you check the moisture levels to guide you. In the cool months, you do not need to water it consistently.
You could instead water it after every two weeks. You will have to regularly check the soil to monitor the moisture levels when the plants are actively growing since they need a lot of water during this stage.
The best base for this plant is organic-rich loamy and well-draining soil. You can add some orchid bark or a bit of peat moss to provide extra drainage to your plant while still maintaining the right moisture.
You could also use perlite to improve drainage, and it also enhances the plant’s root growth. Avoid soil that is excessively sandy or is easily waterlogged. A 6,0 to 6.5 pH should be good for your plant. Well-draining soil ensures that the plant is not constantly soggy.
Use a fertilizer that lacks harsh chemicals and urea. Ensure that the fertilizer you choose to use is high quality and well balanced. They have sensitive roots and can easily get burned by fertilizer. Therefore, ensure that you pick an organic fertilizer, which is a slow-release, to avoid burning the plant’s roots.
There are various fertilizer recommendations you can choose from. Whichever fertilizer you pick for your plant, the takeaway is that it enjoys being fertilized regularly during its active growing phase. If you are using a liquid organic fertilizer, it is best to apply it every month. If you are using a diluted chemical liquid fertilizer, you can apply it biweekly.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions without overdoing it if you opt for a slow-release fertilizer. Since their growth slows down over the cold months, ensure that you completely or drastically cut down on the fertilizer.
Location and Temperature Needs
When caring for your Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, you need to ensure that you avoid extreme temperatures. The general rule you will employ to help guide you on whether the temperature is right for your tropical plant is that your plant is also comfortable if you are comfortable in the room. Avoid placing your plant next to hot radiators or cold drafts.
Ensure that wherever you have placed your plant, the temperature never drops below ten degrees Celsius. During summer, you can put your plant on your deck, balcony, or patio to spruce the space up. Ensure that the plant is placed where there is dappled sunlight or a partial shade.
The humidity around them has to be slightly higher than you would expect since they are tropical plants. Aim for a humidity level that is about 50% or 60% around the plant. You can place your plant pot above a pebble tray and have the water rise halfway above the pebble.
The evaporation will provide your plant with the extra humidity it needs, or you could use a humidifier. You can use a whole-home humidifier or a dehumidifier. The right humidity keeps your plant happy while also preventing microorganism growth. During the winter time you might need to increase the humidity.
Additional Tips for Success with the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
It is quite easy to grow a Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, and in the right environment, it will have a steady growth rate. While the above-listed tips have great insight into how to care for your plant and ensure it thrives, you need to do more for your plant.
You may encounter a few instances where you will be certain you could lose this plant, but luckily for you, it has the will to live when you take good care of it. Listed below are additional tips that will ensure the successful growth of your plant.
When planting Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, you first need to ensure that you are using the right pot. The best pots to use are ceramic and plastic material pots since they can absorb moisture better. Avoid using terracotta pots because they do not absorb moisture, and moisture is essential for this plant.
It is essential to prune this plant. As aforementioned, this plant is a climber, so it needs to hang onto something. Ensure that you provide it with a solid stake or a sturdy trellis. As the plant grows, its aerial roots will hold on to whatever you will have provided as support. You can also help by using a wide plastic plant support tape or strips of soft cloth such as material from an old t-shirt.
Pruning ensures that your plant is kept at a particular size and helps you eliminate pest-damaged or diseased material. Too little light can cause leggy growth since the light will not have reached one end of the plant, so you can prune it to get rid of that.
Whenever you are pruning, do not take too much of the plant and ensure that you are using clean snips. You are likely to cause damage to your plant if you reduce it by more than 25%.
It is surprisingly easy to propagate a Rhaphidophora-tetrasperma. When you start spotting leaf nodes on your plant, that is the best time to transform them into little plants.
Select healthy cuttings and ensure that they have a few lead nodes on them. Place your cuttings in moist potting soil or a glass of water. Ensure that the lowest leaf node is under the surface, since it will form roots from that point. If you place your cuttings in water, make sure you change the water at least once every day.
When the roots have grown at least an inch or two inches long, transfer the cuttings into a potting mix. If you had placed the cuttings directly in the potting mix, keep them alive, and wait until one month is over, then gently pull on it to check if there is any resistance. If you feel resistance, it means that it has formed roots, and you can now treat it as a new plant.
Ensure that you use a deep container when potting your plant since it is partial to have sufficient room for its roots’ growth. Get a pot that is at least ten inches in diameter. However, you should note that over time its width could increase up to twenty inches.
When you are replanting, ensure you pick a pot that is at least an inch or two wider than the one you are currently using. The depth should be at least ten inches. If you can, get one that is deeper than that. Be gentle with your plant when replanting it.
Once you have removed it from the pot, dust the old soil off the root system. Carefully check the roots for any symptoms that may indicate root rot. If there is any that has formed, get rid of it using pruning snips or a sterile knife.
Make sure that you keep sterilizing in between the cuts. Replant it at the previous depth it was on with the available pot mix you will have prepared. You may have to replant it every year and, in some instances, twice every year since it is such a vigorous grower.
Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma is quite a strong and stubborn plant. As mentioned earlier, it can survive just about anything as long as it is well taken care of. It seems to stay unaffected by most problems that affect other plants, but the one thing it cannot handle is fungal root rot.
Fungal root rot can be very devastating to your plant. It is caused by soilborne fungi. It is essential to prevent this condition from developing because there is very little you can do once it forms.
After all, it does not have a cure. Ensure that the soil your plant is in is damp, and avoid having it be soggy. If you already trimmed the plant’s roots when you were transplanting, it would be best to get better draining soil. Avoid standing water around the plant.
Spider mites are the most common pests that could attack your plant. Since they suck the sap out of your plant, they will cause damage to the stems and leaves of your plant. Although it is hard to spot them, the damage they cause is quite visible. If you notice scarring on your plant leaves or speckled or yellowing on the leaves’ surfaces, they are likely under attack by spider mites.
To get rid of them, use neem oil. However, if the problem is severe, then the best alternative will be a pyrethrin-based spray. You may have to cut back some leaves when spider mites attack your plant.
Rhaphidophora-tetrasperma is toxic to dogs, cats, and other house pets. So if you have a dog or a cat, hang the plant out of their reach. According to ASCPA, any plants in the family Araceae are toxic to animals because they contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are insoluble when taken by your pets.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions about Rhaphidophora-tetrasperma.
Q. What is the difference between monstera deliciosa and Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma?
Although they are closely related, these plants are from two different species. Monstera deliciosa is a larger plant than Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, which resembles it, but it is much smaller.
Their growing tendencies are also very different. However, their care is very similar, and they both make beautiful house plants and bring life into your space. The main difference is that Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma does not produce any edible fruits and its leaves are smaller.
Q. Is Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma Toxic To Dogs and Cats?
As mentioned earlier, since Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma belongs to the Araceae family, it contains calcium oxalates in its sap. It is an insoluble material that could be harmful to your pets, so you need to ensure the plant is out of their reach.
If you have a cat or a dog and they happen to chew on the plant, it can cause several problems such as difficulty swallowing, oral irritation and burning, vomiting, and drooling.
Q. What should you do when you accidentally break one of the main stems for new growth?
If you accidentally break one of your plant’s main stems, place the broken part in water if it has a node on the stem. It will root after some time. Ensure you change the water out daily.
Q. Why are my Rhaphidophor-Tetrasperma leaves not splitting?
Leaves on plants such as Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma, split-leaf philodendron, and Swiss chess plants often split as the plant matures. If your plant is mature and the leaves are not split, the most probable cause is sunlight.
Try and move your plant to a spot where it can get sufficient light, but ensure that you are keeping it away from direct sunlight. Your plant will thrive, and the leaves will split when it is exposed to sufficient light. Ensure that all parts of your plant get appropriate sunlight to ensure there is consistent growth.
Q. How do you get Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma to climb?
Naturally, Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma is a climber. If you would like your plant to climb, all you have to do is support it. You could provide support up a wall or place a moss pole at the center of the port to offer support. Your plant will be able to climb in no time.
Q. Why is my Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma plant droopy?
The leaves on your plant are probably drooping because of a watering issue. You are probably underwatering your plant, or you are overwatering it. Ensure that you check the moisture level of your plant’s soil. If it is too soggy or too dry, adjust your watering schedule. Ensure that your plant is not overwatered. If the leaves are yellow and drooping, that is a sign that you are overwatering your plant.
Q. Why are the leaves on my Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma plant curling?
If you notice that your plant’s leaves are curling and forming crispy tips, there could be two probable causes behind this. It could be caused by low humidity, or you are over-fertilizing your plant.
To fix this, you have to remove any excess minerals from the soil by flushing it, and over the next couple of months, go easy on feeding your plant. If the problem is low humidity, to revive your plant, get a humidifier or mist it daily.
Q. Why is my Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma plant dying?
If your plant is dying, the most probable cause is root rot. Although most house plants can get root rot, this plant is more susceptible to root rot. Various factors can cause root rot to your plant, but the most common cause is overwatering your plant.
You will have to cut away the rotting roots to curb the spread and ensure that the tool you use is sterilized.
Repot the plant if it has healthy roots left and water it healthily. Ensure you use a different pot and soil when repotting it. The soil should be well-draining to avoid another possible root rot.
Rhaphidophora-Tetrasperma is one of the easiest plants to care for since it requires minimal care. As long as you figure out how to water it appropriately and expose it to sufficient light, your plant will thrive. Ensure that you employ the above-listed tips when caring for your plant to ensure it has a long life span. Avoid watering your plant to prevent root rot since it can kill your plant. Routinely check on your plant to ensure it is growing how it is supposed to.