The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is a tropical plant that belongs to the Araceae family. Thus, it is an aroid which puts it in the same family as Monsteras, Philodendrons, Anthuriums, Alocasias and Pothos.
It is a vining plant with small leaves that grow in a shingle-like fashion.
This is why it is sometimes called shingle vine or shingle plant.
It is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Africa.
How do you care for the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha? The plant prefers bright, indirect light. Low light will slow its growth and cause it to develop smaller leaves. Never leave it in full sun or excessive direct sunlight.
The plant also enjoys warm to hot environments with good humidity. Allow the soil to dry halfway between waterings.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Plant Care
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha enjoys medium to bright indirect light.
It can also tolerate low light. However, its growth will slow compared to medium or brightly lit environments.
Also note that at some point with low light, there’s the possibility that its growth will completely stop. Additionally, it will produce smaller leaves as well.
Therefore, if you live somewhere that does not get lots of access to natural light, it is a good idea to use artificial lights.
The plant responds and grows well under artificial lights. You can use fluorescent lights or LED grow lights. Both work quite well for the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha.
Just make sure that you position the bulbs at least 8 to 12 inches away from the plantitself.
That’s because the heat emitted from the bulbs can eventually burn the leaves if they’re left too close.
Why does this happen?
That’s because while the plant likes plenty of light, it cannot tolerate strong light or intense light for more than a couple or so hours a day on a regular basis.
This is why you want to avoid exposing it to the mid-day sun which typically runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In your home, this comes in through the south facing window.
Therefore, if you want to position the plant there, you can either use sheer curtains or blinds to filter some of the light. Or keep the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha at least 3 feet from the opening so the sun’s rays never touch the plant.
Too much of this harsh light exposure can eventually burn its leaves. Even if it does not, it can discolor the leaves.
As such, an east or west facing window is idea for the plant.
Outdoors, keep the plant in partial shade. Avoid full sun.
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha has a temperature range between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Its ideal level for optimal growth is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for this is that the plant is native to the tropical regions of Africa and Southeast Asia.
These locations typically have one dominant weather, hot.
The sun also dominates the sky on most days with the exception of some cloudy days and rainy days. But there are no cold days.
More important these regions don’t have winters. Therefore, they don’t experience cold temperatures, much less, freezing conditions.
As such, the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha does not tolerate the cold, nor can it withstand frost.
The good news is that its temperature preference is perfect for indoor growing since most homes have temperatures within its preferred range.
However, this isn’t aways the case in outdoors.
That’s because climate can vary significantly depending on where you live.
The plant grows best outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 because these regions have warm, sunny weather all year round.
Think of states like Florida, Texas and California to name a few.
And this is the kind of outdoor climate condition the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha thrives in.
However, in colder regions, it is often grown as a houseplant.
Note that you can still bring it outdoors once the warm weather arrives around the middle of spring. Just makes sure that you take it back indoors when things get colder around mid-autumn.
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The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha prefers humidity levels of 60% to 80%. This is its sweet spot where it will grow at its best.
You’ll also see it have a more vibrant color.
That said, the plant can tolerate average room humidity of around 40% and slightly lower. However, if you see brown leaf tips and edges begin appearing it means the plant needs more humidity.
For the most part the plant does not need any help in terms in increasing humidity.
But if where you live have dry air, you may need to help it out.
Interestingly, I had one Rhaphidophora of a different variety that hated misting. At first, I tried different things thinking those where the culprits.
After exhausting all the other possible options, I stopped misting for a while and the brown tips and edges ceased.
I know that other gardeners will tell you to mist your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha in case it needs more humidity. But my experience says otherwise.
You can try and see if its works.
On my end, I prefer using a pebble tray. You can likewise use a humidity which works similarly, and just as well.
Of course, you can just buy a humidifier too.
How Often to Water Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha does not like wet or soggy soil. I started with this because this is the biggest problem that can kill the plant.
That’s because it does not like wet feet.
Instead, it enjoys moderate watering. Therefore, don’t water it too regularly as you may some of your other houseplants.
Instead, wait until the soil is 50% to 75% dry before watering.
This makes it low maintenance in terms of watering. as long as you water when the soil has dried between this range, the plant will stay happy.
In contrast, overwatering is the biggest no-no you can do because it will damage the roots by letting them sit in too much moisture for long periods of time.
I also like this method since you’re basing your watering schedule on the soil and not on the number of days.
Therefore, it will adjust automatically based on the weather.
The warmer the climate, the faster the soil will dry. Therefore, you’ll be watering more regularly. On the other hand, the colder it gets, the longer it takes for soil to dry. So, you’ll seldom need to water.
This is important since winter watering is risky if you used a fixed schedule.
Due to the cold climate and lack of sunshine, the soil can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to dry. As such, this watering method will push back your watering schedule naturally.
But if you use a fixed watering routine, you can easily overwater the plant.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Potting Soil
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha needs well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter.
Well-draining soil is ideal since it holds some water to keep soil moist. In doing so, it allows the roots to stay hydrated.
Just as importantly, the quickly drains excess water out to avoid letting the roots sit in water for extended periods of time.
As such, it helps you avoid root rot.
Avoid heavy soils or that that are dense or can get compacted. These will hold too much moisture and increase the risk of root rot.
On the other hand, don’t use overly fast draining soil or very sandy soils either. These soils will dry out the roots as it will drains too much of the moisture too quickly that the roots don’t get a chance to get all the drink they need.
A simple way to get the perfect soil for the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is to pick up a bag of Aroid mix from your nursery or online plant shop.
This soil has all the features the plant needs.
Plus, you can use it out of the bag without having to mix ingredients yourself.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind picking up each of the ingredients then measuring and mixing them together when you get home.
You can create a potting mix that works well for your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha with this recipe.
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part coco fiber
- Add in a handful of coco chips
To add some nutrients to the soil, top dress with a 1/4” or 1/2” layer of compost.
Finally, don’t forget to use a pot with drainage.
This will allow any excess liquid that drains from the soil to exit the pot. If your container does not have holes at the bottom, the water will just pool and keep the soil wet.
For optimal growth, feed the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha with a houseplant fertilizer.
Note that it does not need a lot of this. Nor does it need to feed all year round.
Instead, fertilize its once a month during the spring and summer. Stop feeding by early fall. Dilute the dose each time you use it by 50%.
Similarly, don’t feed the plant when the soil is dry.
As long as the plant gets its nutrients you will see it grow faster and produce beautiful leaves.
However, be careful with overfeeding it since this can lead to fertilizer burn.
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can grow to about 8 feet tall.
However, because gardeners will grow the plant in different ways and give it varying amounts of space, its ultimate size can differ significantly.
When allows to grow outdoors and given all the space it needs, it can reach 6 to 8 feet long.
However, this is seldom the case unless you have a garden and live somewhere with warm weather all year round.
Indoors, it will usually be smaller.
Again, how big its size will ultimately reach can vary significantly.
In a terrarium, you’ll have a much smaller plant. In a pot with average space, it may grow a few feet long.
In most cases, it will grow best indoors with a moss pole or something similar to climb on. Giving it a support will let it grow longer upwards which it likes doing.
Plus, the plant gets the space its needs to grow longer.
That said, this is a vining plant with leaves that look like shingles on the vines. As such, how often you prune will depend on how long the vines get and how they grow.
You do want to prune wayward vines or those that become outliers.
Also, trim it when it gets messy.
How to Propagate Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha propagation is usually done via stem cuttings.
This makes it easy to propagate the plant at home since the plant grows many long vines. So, all you need to do is choose one or more healthy ones.
Here’s how to propagate the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha from stem cuttings.
- Choose healthy stems with several leaves. You’re looking to make cuttings of 5 to 8 inches long.
- Take a sterile knife or pair or scissors and cut the stem or stems from the mother plant. How you can take one or more cuttings depending on how many new plants you want to grow.
- Fill a pot with well-draining potting mix. Then plant the cuttings into the pot. If you have rooting hormone, you can apply that to the cut end of the stem before planting.
- Water the soil and keep it moist but not wet. And leave the pot in bright, indirect light.
It will take 4-6 weeks for the cutting to develop roots. Then the roots will establish themselves into the soil.
Of course, you can propagate in water as well.
If you prefer to do this, place the cuttings in water but remove any leaves that end up wet. Then keep the jar in bright, indirect light.
It usually takes 2-4 weeks for roots to develop. And you want to wait until the roots are at least 1-2 inches long.
Then move the cuttings to a pot with well-draining soil.
How to Repot or Transplant Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha will need repotting every 1-2 years. How often you repot it will depend on how fast it grows.
The more light it gets, the higher the humidity and more regular you feed it during its growing season, the faster it will grow.
Similarly, it grows faster when allowed to climb up a support.
The best way to tell is check the bottom of the pot every 6 months. If you see roots poking out from the holes at the bottom of the container, it is time to repot.
The best time to repot is spring.
One thing to note is that the plant’s roots will take up a good amount of space. And after a while, you will need to use big pots. So, be ready for that.
You don’t want to keep it in a tight pot since this not only slows its growth but will also eventually affect its health.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the v Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is toxic to humans, cats and dogs. When ingested it will cause inflammation, pain and swelling in the mouth, lips, tongue and throat.
Unfortunately, this feeling will go down your esophagus and stomach if you swallow the leaves or stems as well.
It has may other side effects as well including vomiting and excessive drooling.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Problems & Troubleshooting
The plant is not known to be very susceptible to pests. But it will experience some of the common houseplant pests.
The most prevalent for the plant are spider mites. Although mealybugs and aphids can also make their appearance.
Therefore, regular inspection is still a must.
Outdoors, grasshoppers and caterpillars like to come after the plant. of course your can just remove these bugs or spray them off with inseciticides.
Diseases are also not a huge issue as it does not get any specific ones.
However, if you overwater the plant, that’s when bad things happen. Root rot is your biggest enemy here.
And it can be caused by roots suffocating from too much moisture or fungal disease growth that develops from the damp environment due to overwatering.
The fungi will eventually eat through the roots causing root rot as well.
So, avoid overwatering and waterlogged soil at all costs.