Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma: Care, Plant Profile and Growing Guide

mini Monstera plant

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a tropical plant that grows extremely well indoors. The green leafy plant has split leaves that make it look like a Monstera deliciosa or type of Philodendron. In fact, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is mistakenly called a Mini monstera, Ginny philodendron, or Philodendron Piccolo. Although Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is also a member of the family Araceae, it is not related to monsteras or philodendrons.

How to care for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma: place the potted plant in bright, indirect sunlight, in well-draining soil, and a warm, humid environment. The best temperature range is 68°F to 80°F (16°C – 27°C). The potting mix should be moist but not soggy, so only water when the top inch (2.5 cm) is dry. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are easy to care for indoors. Their compact growth habit means they don’t grow as massive as some Monsteras or Swiss cheese plants. Being a member of the arum plant family (aroid), these plants look attractive in hanging baskets just like trailing philodendrons. Or, you could have the long stems climbing up a moss pole. Another location for your monstera-like plant is on a tabletop or shelf and let the split leaves drape over the pot.

So, if you’re looking for a mini Monstera because you have limited space, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma may be the best houseplant for you.

In this article, you will learn how to care for a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. You’ll find that if you have experience in caring for Monsteras or Philodendrons, looking after this tropical house plant will be easy.

How to Care for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

There are three essential care requirements for looking after Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants. These are:

  • Adequate lighting
  • Moist, but not soggy soil
  • High levels of humidity

Let’s look in more detail at how to care for this delightful tropical houseplant.

Light Requirements for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Similar to Philodendron and Monstera, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs bright light but kept away from direct sunlight. Dappled, filtered sunlight is excellent. Put your plant in an east-facing room where it gets morning sunlight and shade for the rest of the day. Just make sure that the light is adequate.

Although this houseplant grows in low-light conditions, its foliage will suffer if kept in the shade too long. If the leaves on your “mini monstera” don’t split, it could be a sign of too little light. So, move it to a brighter location. Also, dim growing conditions will cause slow growth with this fast-growing houseplant.

It is also vital to shade the plant from too much direct sunlight. Too many hours of direct sunlight will cause black or brown spots to develop on the glossy green leaves. If this happens, move the plant pot to a shaded location and prune any damaged leaves as necessary.

How to Water Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

One of the most critical care requirements of the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is proper watering. You know when it’s time to water Philodendrons, Monsteras, and Rhaphidophoras when the top 1” (2.5 cm) of soil is dry. This means that the roots should always be moist, but not waterlogged.

This is how to water a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma:

  • Check that the top part of the soil has dried out.
  • Take the plant pot to a sink or bath and pour in enough water so that it drains from the bottom.
  • Wait until all the water has stopped dripping.
  • Put the pot back in a bright location.
  • Check to see if water collects in the tray; if so, empty it to prevent the plant from standing in water.

Yellow leaves are a sign of over-watering.

Two common mistakes many people make is to water plants on a set schedule or only water them shallowly. However, many factors can affect soil moisture. For example, plants need less watering in winter—the dormant season—than in spring and summer. Here are a few factors that affect the moisture in your potting mix:

  • The pot—Plastic and ceramic containers hold more moisture than terracotta pots.
  • Air temperature—Potting soil dries faster in warm temperatures than in cold conditions.
  • The season—Most houseplants enter dormancy and stop growing in fall and winter and require less water and fertilizer.
  • Type of potting mixRhaphidophora tetrasperma, Monsteras, and Philodendrons must grow in a well-draining, light potting mix.

When it comes to watering tropical houseplants, it is best to under-water them than to over-water. The goal with Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is never to let the root ball dry out and never let it become waterlogged.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Soil

The right type of potting soil for all kinds of aroids—including Rhaphidophora tetrasperma—is aerated, light soil that drains well. The right kind of potting mix should be peat-based, fertile soil that is mixed with perlite, pine bark, and some sphagnum moss. The organic matter provides nutrients and holds moisture. The other ingredients allow air to circulate and water to drain.

Because Rhaphidophora tetrasperma has aerial roots, an orchid potting mix would also be suitable to grow the plant. The critical factor when it comes to the right potting soil is this: make sure it holds moisture but never becomes soggy or waterlogged.

You can tell if you need to change the potting mix or repot your plant if water pools on the surface. Some reasons for poor drainage could be any of the following:

  • The plant has become rootbound, and water can’t flow through the soil.
  • The potting mix has too much clay and doesn’t drain well.

To improve drainage, refresh the potting soil, trim the roots, and repot the plant.

Care tip for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma: Always ensure there are drainage holes on the bottom of the container.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Care: Humidity

As with all tropical houseplants, proper care requires high humidity levels. The perfect humidity for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is between 30 and 40%. Household humidity is usually too low for Monstera, Philodendron, and Rhaphidophora plants. You can look after your plant well if you mist its leaves, use a humidifier, or plant it with other houseplants.

Here are ways to make sure that your tropical houseplants are kept humid enough:

  • Misting spray—Fill a spray bottle with distilled water and mist your plants every two to three days. It is best to spray above and around the plant with a fine mist. Avoid spraying directly on the leaves.
  • Room humidifier—Use a humidifier to increase air moisture levels. This is sometimes necessary for winter when heating tends to suck moisture from the air.
  • Humidifying tray—The easiest way to humidify your gorgeous Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is to place it on a pebble and water tray. Put a layer of small stones/pebbles on a tray that is wider than your pot. Fill the dish with water until it is halfway up the stones. Place the plant pot on the stones, making sure the container doesn’t sit in water.

The Best Temperature for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma thrives in average room temperatures. So, the ideal temperature is between 68°F to 80°F (16°C – 27°C). When caring for your plant, it’s essential to avoid extremes of temperature. As a general rule, if you feel comfortable in your room, your tropical plants will also feel at home.

Caring for indoor plants can be challenging in summer or winter. The air conditioning or heating can cause temperature fluctuations that can stress your glossy green plant. So, avoid placing the pot in cold drafts or next to hot radiators.

In summer, you can transfer your Rhaphidophora tetraspermas pot outdoors. This can make an attractive addition to your patio, balcony, or deck area. It’s essential to make sure that the temperature—at nighttime or daytime—never drops below 50°F (10°C). Also, hang in a basket or place the pot where there is partial shade or dappled sunlight.

How to Fertilize Your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

For a healthy Rhaphidophora tetrasperma to thrive indoors, it needs regular feeding. You can apply a slow-release fertilizer every four months. Or, you can use a liquid-based houseplant fertilizer once a month. Try not to overdo it with feeding because too much fertilizer can cause root burn.

Plants growing in pots indoors can suffer from a buildup of mineral salts. Even if you are feeding your plant correctly, a mineral buildup can slow down growth, cause leaves to curl, or even kill your plant.

Every three or four months, flush the soil to prevent too many salts from building up in the potting mix. Here is how to flush the soil, so that your Rhaphidophora plant thrives:

  • Place the plant pot in a bath or sink.
  • Slowly pour water through the soil for two to three minutes.
  • Let all the water drain from the soil and place it back on the drip tray when no more water drips through.
  • Resume watering your plant when the soil becomes partly dry.
  • Apply liquid fertilizer about a month after flushing.

Repotting a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

These tropical houseplants are vigorous growers and will need repotting at least once a year. You can tell when to repot a Rhaphidophora when you notice roots poking out the drainage holes. Also, if the plant growth has slowed or water starts draining slowly—these are signs that it’s time to repot.

Repotting is an excellent way to care for your houseplants and get “hands-on” with them. You can check the roots for any sign of disease, refresh the potting mix, and transfer to a larger container to encourage growth.

To repot a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, this is what you should do:

  • Gently extract the root ball by pulling the stems out of the pot.
  • Carefully remove excess soil from the roots and untangle them as necessary.
  • Trim off any dead or decaying roots.
  • Half-fill the new pot with the appropriate potting mix.
  • Place your plant in the new pot so that it’s growing at the same height as before.
  • Fill the remaining space with fresh potting soil.

If you decide to repot in the same container to restrict growth, ensure to sterilize the pot before reusing. You should also trim off some of the roots, so the plant doesn’t quickly become rootbound.

How to Prune Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

You should prune your plant in the spring if you need to maintain its size. Pruning the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant is the same as pruning a Philodendron or Monstera. Use sterile pruning shears and cut the leaf stems where they join the main stem. Or, you can simply pinch off the vine tips.

If you are growing your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma in a hanging basket, pruning can help control leggy growth.

Another reason to prune the plant is to get stem cuttings to propagate it.

How to Propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Propagating the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is snip off a stem so that it has one node and three or four leaves. The node is the part of the stem where the leaves begin to grow. Remove the leaves at the node so that you have three or four inches (7 – 10 cm) of the stem before the first leaves.

All you need to do is place the end of the stem in a jar of water. Wait until you notice that the new roots are approximately 2” (5 cm) long. Place the rooted cutting in a small container that contains fresh potting soil. Care for your new Rhaphidophora tetrasperma as you would for Monstera or Philodendron plants.

Is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Toxic?

Yes, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and other household pets. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is in the plant family Araceae – the same as Monsteras and Philodendrons. According to the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA), plants from this family are toxic to animals. Signs of poisoning in dogs and cats include oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, or mouth irritation. (1)

Pests and Diseases that Affect Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

The two main problems affecting these plants are spider mites and root rot.

If your “mini monstera” has webbing under the leaves, it’s a sign of spider mites. These minuscule pests feed on the sap of your plant. If the infestation is left, your whole plant could die. So, getting rid of these plant-killing mites is a top priority.

Root rot is usually avoidable because it is caused by over-watering. So, if you notice that leaves are turning yellow and the soil is overly damp, hold off watering until the potting mix becomes partly dry. In a worst-case scenario, the only way to save a dying plant with root rot is to repot it in fresh potting soil.

If your plant shows signs of infestation, please read our article on how to get rid of houseplant bugs.

FAQ About Caring for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Even though Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are easy to care for at home, there are still a few issues that can affect their growth.

Why are Rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaves not splitting?

Leaves on plants such as Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, Swiss cheese plants, and split-leaf Philodendron, should split as they mature. A lack of sunlight is usually the reason why leaves on your plant don’t split as they should. Try moving the plant to a brighter location, but keep away from direct sunlight.

Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma a Monstera?

No. Although the plants look similar, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma isn’t a Monstera. Sometimes, the plants are labeled as “mini Monstera,” however, this isn’t accurate. Philodendron, Monstera, and Rhaphidophora are in the family Araceae. But they all belong to separate genera.

How do you get Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma to climb?

Like Monstera plants, Rhaphidopora is a natural climber. All you need to do is provide some support for the aerial roots to attach themselves. You could have a moss pole in the center of the pot or provide support up a wall.

Why are my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma leaves curling?

There are generally two reasons why the plant leaves curl and develop crispy tips. One reason is over-fertilizing, and the other is low humidity. To fix these problems, flush the soil to remove excess mineral salts. Then go easy on feeding over the next few months.

If curling leaves are due to a lack of humidity, mist your plant daily to help revive it.

Why is my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma droopy?

Droopy leaves are usually caused by a watering issue—either too much or too little water. Check the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering schedule as necessary. Yellow leaves that droop are a classic sign of giving your plants too much water.

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