The Rhaphidophora Decursiva is also known as the Monstera Decursiva or the Philodendron Decursiva. However, this rare plant is neither a Monster nor it is a Philodendron. Instead, it belongs to the Rhaphidophora genus.
That said, it is an aroid which means it belongs to the same Araceae family and therefore has the same descendants as the monstera and philodendron.
As such, you’ll see quite a few similarities between the plants.
It is a natural climber that will grow quite large much like many monstera and philodendron species. They also have extensive root systems that are sensitive to water. And since they are all aroids, you can use the same kind of soil for them.
The reason why there’s confusion among them is that the Rhaphidophora Decursiva looks very much like other split leaf plants including the:
- Monstera subpinnata
- Monstera pinnatipartite
- Epipremnum pinnatum (Philodendron Dragon Tail)
- Philodendron pinnatifidum
- Philodendron bipinnatifidum
It has large, green colored, split leaves that look great and instantly give you an tropical accent.
That said, if you get a starter or juvenile plant, it will look quite different from the mature species.
Small Rhaphidophora Decursiva will start out quite tiny with correspondingly unimpressive foliage. But with a little time and proper care it will grow to become a good-sized plant even indoors.
It is native to Southeast Asia which means it enjoys tropical climate conditions.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva Plant Care
Monstera Decursiva Light Requirements
The Rhaphidophora Decursiva does best with medium to bright, indirect light. It is used to this kind of conditions as it is a forest understory plant that climbs up trees in order to get more light.
The more light it gets, the faster and the bigger it grows. Additionally, you’ll also see it produce more leaves and bigger ones at that.
However, be wary of very intense light or direct sun.
Since the plant is used to getting overhead shade from the branches and leaves of larger trees in the forest, it is not accustomed to very intense light.
It can tolerate an hour or two of this but anything longer and on a regular basis will affect its leaves. It can even scorch them after a while.
So, if you see burn marks on the edges of foliage, it means the plant is getting too much strong light. Move it somewhere the less intensity.
This makes an east facing window ideal. It will likewise do well in a north facing window although depending on how much illumination that side of your house gets, its growth may slow a bit. That said, as long as you can read a book or magazine there, the light will be sufficient to keep it healthy.
With a south or west facing window, try to keep the plant a few feet away. This will let it avoid the sun’s rays.
Monstera Decursiva Temperature
The Rhaphidophora Decursiva is a tropical plant. This means it is used to warm to hot climate conditions. More importantly, it does not experience any snow where it lives.
Therefore, its ideal temperature is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit favoring the middle to higher end of that range.
As long as you give it moderate to warm temperature it will grow well.
Fortunately, this is quite easy to do because this range also happens to be what most homes have being that people enjoy this kind of climate as well. So, you don’t have to do anything special indoors for the most part.
The only real time you want to look out for is the cold weather.
Winter is when the plant can struggle as it is not built to stay in temperatures below 50 degrees for long periods of time. The lower the climate the more it will have problems. And if the temperature drops too far down, it will later experience leaf and stem damage as well.
Thus, keep it indoors during late fall and through the winter if where you live has frost or freezing conditions.
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The Rhaphidophora Decursiva has an ideal humidity of 40% to 60% and it won’t mind higher levels as well. That’s because of its tropical roots where daily humidity often runs between 50% to 70% for most times of the year. During the rainy season, it will go up to 85% as well.
Thus, the plant is humidity loving. And it will show you love if you give it high air moisture but growing faster and producing larger leaves.
On the other hand, you want to be watch out for low humidity.
For the most part, it should not have any issues with moderate humidity. However, try to keep things at 40% or higher. It will tolerate 35% or so but once things go below 40% you may see dry leaves, crispy tips and brown edges.
These are signs that the air is too dry.
However, the actual level will vary from home to home due to where you live, how much you water the plant and the temperature during that time of year.
So, it is a good idea to use a digital hygrometer so you can track the actual level when the plant starts to struggle.
How Often to Water Rhaphidophora Decursiva
Water is one aspect where you want to keep a close eye on when it comes to caring for your Rhaphidophora Decursiva. The plant will get quite large and it has an extensive root system.
Therefore, it likes water. And it would prefer that the soil stay moist.
However, it is naturally susceptible to overwatering. And its roots don’t like standing in water.
So what does this mean?
It means you want to wait until the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry before adding more water. This will reduce the risk of watering too often such that the plant ends up soaked in water.
If this happens too long or often enough, it can lead to root rot.
When watering try to pour directly on the soil to avoid letting the leaves get wet. If your plant gets bright light and is placed somewhere with good air circulation this is less of a problem since the moisture will dry from the leaves fairly quickly.
But if it lingers, it can lead to bacterial and fungal leaf infections.
source: wikimedia commons
Potting Soil for Rhaphidophora Decursiva
The best potting soil for Rhaphidophora Decursiva is light, airy and well-draining. This is very important as the plant’s roots like a lot of air circulation.
This also ensures that excess water will drain off sot the roots don’t end up standing In water for long periods of time.
Like other aroids, it also likes a slightly acidic soil pH.
You can use a combinate of peat moss, coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite. Or if you already have potting mix at home, add some perlite and orchid bark to your potting mix to improve aeration and drainage.
In addition the well-draining soil, make sure that the pot you use also had drainage.
This way, the excess water that the soil gets rid of does not pool at the bottom of the pot. instead, it exits through the holes.
Does the Rhaphidophora Decursiva Climb?
The Rhaphidophora Decursiva likes to climb and will grow to become a huge plant with aerial roots. Giving it some kind of support or pole to climb on will make it grow faster as well, not to mention produce larger leaves in the process.
Monstera Decursiva Fertilizer
Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. A liquid formulation works well as it will let you easily dilute it by 50% when applying. All you need to do is add water to reduce the concentration.
There is no need to fee to plant during winter as it does not grow much during this ttime.
That said, if you live somewhere with sunshine the entire year, you may feed the plant through these periods. Take your cue from the plant. As long as it is growing at a goo rate and producing leaves keep feeding it.
In tropical regions with perpetual sunshine, you’ll see that they feed the plants all year round because these will keep growing as long as the sun is out.
In contrast, during cold weather like wintertime it can go dormant and stop growing until next spring.
Monstera Decursiva Pruning
Due to the size of the plant, you will need to prune it at least once in a while. If you want to keep it shorter and more compact, regular trimming will be in order.
The plant tends to grow fast when allowed to climb. It will also get bigger. So, make sure you have enough space or be ready to prune more often.
However, doing so will reward you with larger more lush leaves. So, you’ll have a more beautiful plant.
In most cases, size control and shaping are where pruning comes in. Other than that it is for removing yellow leaves or those that have been damaged.
How to Propagate Rhaphidophora Decursiva
You can propagate your Rhaphidophora Decursiva in a few ways. But the most common are:
- Stem cuttings / Stem propagation
- Air layering
- Division (or separating the plant)
You can divide your plant if it gets too big. This will give you a 2 or more smaller plants And the best time to divide your plant is when you repot.
That said the most common and easiest way to propagate your Rhaphidophora Decursiva is from stem cuttings.
And you can choose between water propagation or soil propagation.
Here’s how to do both.
- Take one or more stem cuttings depending on how many new plants you want to grow. You can also use the cutting that were the result of pruning.
- Choose stems that are 4 to 6 inches long with at least 1-2 nodes. If you can get aerial roots with the cuttings even better.
- Dip the cut end of the stems into rooting hormone. This step is optional.
- Plant the cutting into well-draining soil. You can also use sphagnum moss.
- If your cutting comes with aerial roots, you can cut them off if you don’t want them. Or you can leave them off to the sides or lay them on the soil. Don’t plant them into the soil unless they voluntarily burrow themselves in there.
- Remember air roots work by getting oxygen and moisture from the air as well as nutrients from debris. They are different from soil/terrestrial looks, which is why the two kinds of roots look very different in appearance. Although sometime the air root will transition into soil roots but not always.
- Place the cuttings in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
- It will take about 4 to 6 weeks for the roots to develop and establish themselves on the soil.
Alternatively, you can propagate the cutting in water.
- Here, place the cutting in water with the nodes submerges. This time, you can submerge the aerial roots if you have them.
- Aerial roots in water will produce water roots that turn into soil roots. (I know a big confusing).
- But the point is, the roots that will grow from the air roots will look like the firm, white roots that you see in most houseplants. Best of all, these roots will come out and grow faster than those form the nodes.
- Once the roots grow to 2-4 inches, you can pot up the cuttings in soil. This will take around 3-4 or so weeks.
How to Repot or Transplant Rhaphidophora Decursiva
The Rhaphidophora Decursiva may start out as a small plant if you get it in juvenile form. But after a while, it will grow into a large plant even when growing indoors.
Therefore, be ready to repot it to larger containers. However, don’t just jump to a 10 inch or 24 inch pot when the plant is still much smaller. This only increases the risk of root rot.
Instead, go up by one pot size at a time when you repot.
If you want to control its size there are a few ways to do this.
- Use a smaller pot which helps limit its growth
- Keep it in low to medium light which will slow its growth
- Divide the plant once it gets to big. This gives you two smaller plants although they will eventually get bigger as well (unless you give the others away).
The best time to repot is to wait until roots start coming out from the pot’s drainage holes.
- When repotting, take your time when unpotting the plant.
- If you have a large plant, tip it on its side and lay it down gently. It is easier to get the pot out that way. You can use a knife to sperate the root ball from the sides of the pot if it is snug up tight.
- Watering the soil a few hours before or the day before likewise makes it easier to unpot.
- When moving replace the potting soil with fresh mix.
- And wait a few days after you repotting before watering the plant.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Rhaphidophora Decursiva is toxic because it contains calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are harmless when the plant is intact. But once the leaves or stems are chewed on or ingested, they are releases.
Unfortunately, if you look under the microscope, the crystals look like needles which is why they become painful and cause swelling in the mouth, tongue, throat and stomach.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva Problems & Troubleshooting
Monstera Decursiva Pests
Mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites are the most common pests for Rhaphidophora Decursiva.
These are easy to deal with when they are few.
So, it is important to regular check for them so you can spot any pest issues early. They before more of a problem when they become full blown infestations.
Thus, it is not a good idea to wait until that happens.
I like to just spray them off with water. A light stream is more than enough. The important thing is to get them all including the adults, larvae and eggs. Otherwise, the can easily start over.
In addition to pests, watch out for infections. The Rhaphidophora Decursiva can experience them and you’ll often see symptoms in the leaves.
If you see any weird or abnormal patterns, spots, streaks, legions, discoloration or malformations odds are there’s some kind of virus or disease happening.
Similarly, root rot is another serious issue you want to watch out for.