The rhaphidophora tetrasperma looks like a smaller version of the monstera deliciosa. As such, it is often called monstera minima or mini monstera.
However, it is not a member of that genus, what has about 45 species in it. While they both belong to the Araceae family, the rhaphidophora tetrasperma falls under the Rhaphidophora genus.
In addition, its looks also make it commonly mistaken for a philodendron or the Epipremnum pinnatum.
You want to be able to make the distinction just in case.
That said this is a very beautiful foliage plant that grows to about 12 feet tall with a 24 inch spread. However, most indoor growers like to keep its size at about 6 feet to make them more manageable inside.
Like its monstera relatives, it is a climber. As such, giving it a totem or moss pole will help it grow upwards.
What makes it attractive are its small, fenestrated leaves. These get to about 5 to 6 inches long and look very much like that of a monstera deliciosa except that they’re much smaller.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Plant Care
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Light
Your rhaphidophora tetrasperma does best when given bright, indirect or filtered light. You should also keep it away from direct sunlight especially for long periods. Doing so will scorch its leaves.
On the other hand too little light will cause the plant’s growth to slow down. Similarly, it will likewise produce fewer foliage not to mention smaller ones as well
Lack of light also causes the plant to become leggy. While it does helps if you rotate the plant so each side gets more light, ultimately moving it to more light is the solution.
This can be more of a problem indoors as your home is sheltered from the sunlight. So, a lot depends on where your home is facing and what were your windows are situated.
The best spot for your rhaphidophora tetrasperma is an east facing window. If you decide on a south or west facing one, use some kind of curtains to filter the light. You can likewise keep the plant away from the sun’s rays.
Two easy ways to tell is to look at your plant.
- If it under the sunny area at any time of the day, move it away.
- If it casts any kind of shade at any point in the day, it is still under direct sunlight at that time.
If you aren’t getting enough light, you can supplement natural light with grow lights. This will improve the lack of light to make the plant happy.
Outdoors, you want to keep the plant away from direct sunlight. It will be naturally brighter outdoors. So, the goal here is to keep it away from the path of the sun. Low light is less of a problem.
One option you can do is place it under the shade of a tree or larger plant. You can also keep it under some kind of canopy as long as it gets enough bright, indirect light.
If no good spot is available to keep it protected from the direct afternoon sun, then pick up a 20% to 40% shade from your local nursery. This is something garden centers use to cover plants the cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
With it, you’ll be able to keep your rhaphidophora tetrasperma under the sun without getting directly hit by its rays.
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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Temperature & Humidity
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma likes moderate to warm temperatures. Ideally, keeping it between 55 to 85 degrees will allow it to grow at its best. This makes most homes conducive for growing the plants climate-wise.
If you live in USDA zones 11 and 12, you’ll be able to enjoy the plant all year round. If you have a warmer microclimate, you will be able to get away with it in zones 9b and 10 as well.
However, keep in mind that once the temperature drops to 55 degrees or less around the plant it will begin to experience stress.
Thus, mid to late fall for cooler areas is the signal to bring your rhaphidophora tetrasperma indoors or somewhere more cozy. The plant is not frost hardy. So leaving it outside in freezing winter will kill it.
On the other hand, hot summers can likewise do the same. When the mercury rises to 95 degrees, it will be to wilt a bit. Once it hits 100 degrees it will struggle and start spiraling down.
The good news is, once you bring it indoors or move it somewhere cooler, it will almost immediately liven right up.
When it comes to humidity, the plant can like in regular household humidity (30% to 50%), However, you want it keep humidity between 50% and 60% works really well. A little higher is optimal. But once you get over 50% it will grow very well.
As such, even if it does okay at normal room humidity, you may want to take a few steps to increase air moisture around the plant. These include:
- Using a humidifier
- Grouping it with other plants
- Placing it on top or rocks in a water tray
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Watering
Your rhaphidophora tetrasperma likes consistently moist conditions. But, hate wet, muddy or soggy soil. On average, this comes out to around once a week.
However, it is never a good idea to follow a strict watering schedule.
That’s because the plant’s moisture requirements changes throughout the year. For one, the weather plays a big role on how fast water evaporates.
Also, the plant goes through an active growth periods during spring and summer. This means it needs more water during this time. Based on experience, it you’ll need to water a few times a week depending on its living conditions.
Thus, I’ve found it best to check the soil every 1 to 2 days for dryness. The best way to do this is stick your finger down 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If it has dried to that point, water. If it is still wet at that depth, wait 1 or 2 more days and test again.
If you give it consistent moisture during this time, its growth is very noticeable. As such, during this time, I don’t like allowing it to dry. That’s because when I did, its wouldn’t grow as well.
That said, the plant can tolerate you missing a watering session every now and then.
What you really want to watch out for it overwatering. It is more sensitive to this. And, allowing it to sit in water causes fungal root rot.
This is why you can to scale back on watering in the cooler months. During this time, I let the plant dry out a little more. But, never let the entire root ball go dry.
Finally, do consider the container. I’ve found that porous containers like clay or terra cotta will dry the plant out too much as it allows too much water to seep through its pores.
Instead, plastic has been a much better potion. Make sure the pot has holes below to allow water to drain.
Moist, well-draining soil is ideal for your rhaphidophora tetrasperma. I found this out while using terracotta pots. While not soil, the pot’s porous material allowed enough moisture to escape to dry the soil faster. In the time I used this kind of pot, growth wasn’t as good as it is with a plastic container.
As such, you want the soil to retain enough moisture to keep conditions moist.
Additionally, fertile soil helps as well. Soil pH of between 6.0 and 6.5 also make it more conducive for growth.
This means you can use regular houseplant potting soil. Then, just amend it as needed. Peat moss is a great way or retaining moisture while allowing good drainage. If you need more draining ability add perlite or orchid bark to the mix.
The one thing you want to avoid is heavy soil. This will cause it to become waterlogged.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Fertilizing
Your rhaphidophora tetrasperma grows best with balanced or high nitrogen plant food. You only want to feed it during its growing season. Then cut down in the colder months.
Additionally, keep in mind that the plant has sensitive roots. As such, you don’t want to use cheap fertilizers which cause heavy salt buildup. Similarly, fertilizer formations that contain a lot of harsh chemicals will also do that, including urea.
Organic fertilizer, while more expensive, leaves less of this residue. As such, it cuts the risk of fertilizer burn.
You can likewise use a slow release fertilizer instead of liquid or pellet ones. This releases the fertilizer at different times over the span on weeks to months. So, the dose is distributed instead of being poured all in at once.
For best results, regular feeding during its growing season is best. This means once a month for balanced liquid fertilizers. For slow release, you want to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Pruning
Your rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a climber. This means pruning plays an important role for proper growth.
When pruning, you want to remove dead, damaged or discolored leaves. Trim off leggy stems as well. This will allow them to correct themselves when it regrows.
When pruning, do it part by part so you don’t cut off too much. More than 25% at a time will stress the plant.
Because of its climbing habit, training is likewise valuable.
Give it something to hang on to. Outdoors this could be a trellis or other structure. Indoors, you can use a totem or moss pole.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Propagation
if you want to grow more rhaphidophora tetrasperma, you can propagate it at home. The easiest way is via stem cuttings.
To do so:
- Select a healthy stem that’s at least 4 to inches long with at least 2 leaves on it. You want it to have at least one left node. That’s where the roots will grow from. It is useless to propagate using a stem without any nodes.
- Make the cut using a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears. You can use cotton and rubbing alcohol to sanitize the blade. This ensure that you’re not passing any bacteria to the plant.
- Make sure to cut below a node. About a quarter to half an inch below the junction is good enough.
- You can not propagate the stem cutting via water or potting mix.
- If you choose to go with water, place the stem cutting in water. Make sure to remove the bottom leaves so they don’t submerge into the liquid.
- After a few weeks, you’ll see roots start to develop.
- Make sure to change the water everyday or every 2 days.
- Once the roots reach 1 to 2 inches long, you can move the plant to a small container with fresh, well draining potting mix.
- If you decide to go straight to soil, then prepare a small pot and fresh soil that’s well-draining.
- Remove the bottom leaves.
- Plant the stem cutting into the soil. you want one node to be under the soil surface. Again, this is where the roots will grow from.
- Water the soil and keep it evenly moist.
- After about a month, lightly tug on the plant. if it resists, you know its roots have developed.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Transplanting & Repotting
Your rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a fast growing plant. As such, you can expect to repot once every year. Some people I know repot twice a year, although I’ve never had to do so.
Another thing worth noting is that the plant likes a lot of space for its roots. This means it does better with a deep pot than a shallow one. The added depth will allow its roots to develop extensively.
However, you want to be careful when taking plant out of its container since the roots are delicate as well.
When choosing a new pot, pick one that is 1 to 2 inches wider than your existing container. But, you want it to be at least 10 inches deep (or a little more).
Once the plant matures, you can expect to use a 10 inch pot or so.
How to Repot Your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
- Carefully take the plant out of its container. You can water the plant the day before to make the soil more cooperative. That way, it takes less effort to slide out of the pot.
- Once out, check the root ball and roots. You want to trim off (if needed) any damaged or rotting rots. Remove any excess soil and dirt as well.
- Fill the new container with soil up to about a third of the way up.
- Place the plant in and backfill with soil.
- Water the plant, let it drain.
- Then return to its original spot.
When it comes to pests, spider mites are its number one enemy. These are bothersome critters because they damage your plant by sucking its sap. As such, it steals nutrients and other resources from your plant.
And, in doing so not only damages your plant but also keeps it from growing optimally even if you properly feed and water it.
If you find their damage (yellowing of leaves and spots) or see them), you want to quickly take action.
Spraying with insecticidal soap works. You can likewise use neem oil.
On the other hand, fungal root rot is your rhaphidophora tetrasperma’s arch rival disease. The good news is, this is a tough plant so it can withstand most other diseases.
However, root rot is often man made. And, the consistency by which you can overwater will soon overwhelm its resistance. This is why it is always a good idea to see how the plant responds when using a specific routine, be it watering or feeding.
Wet, muddy or soggy soil for long periods of time or allowing waterlogging cause root rot. As such, fixing your watering strategy, using well-draining soil and making sure there are holes in the bottom of the pot are the best ways to avoid it.