At first glance, you would mistake Rhaphidora tetrasperma with a monster plant. Well, we couldn’t blame you because the similarity is quite close, only that it looks like a mini version of the popular monstera. However, don’t be easily fooled because they come exactly from different families and are nowhere related to each other.
Unlike Monstera deliciosa, Rhaphidora testrasperma is rarely seen in garden stores. If you happen to have acquired one, then that must be a real gem. Keep reading and we’ll give the care guide for this particular rare species of indoor houseplant.
- Scientific Name: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
- Also Known As: Mini monstera, monstera ‘Ginny’ philodendron ‘Ginny’, monstera philodendron
- Similar to: Monstera deliciosa
- Native to: Thailand and Malaysia
- Shape: Feather-shaped leaf
- Maximum: Size Up to 5 meters (16 feet)
- Watering Requirements: Moderate to High
- Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light
- Preferred Humidity: High
- Preferred Temperature: 55 to 85oF (12 to 29oC)
- Soil or Potting: Medium Moist, well-draining, pH: 6 to 6.5
- Fertilizer: Regular fertilizing during active growth
- Propagation Method: Cuttings
- Toxicity: Toxic to cats and dogs
- Vulnerable to: Spider mites, Fungal root rot
Overview of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma “Mini Monstera”
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a member if the family Araceae. Because of its familiar appearance, it has been given names like Mini monstera, monstera ‘Ginny’, philodendron ‘Ginny’, and monstera philodendron. However, this plant is neither related to the two.
It is originally found in Thailand and Malaysia. In the wild, you can normally see this plant climbing up the tree trunks and branches using its aerial roots. It can grow to as high as 5 meters (16 feet ) if left in its original growing condition.
This Rhaphidophora tetrasperma species gained the interest of many plant owners that’s why it’s being cultivated now as houseplants. What makes it appealing is that it has a split-leaf that looks like feathers. Aside from that, it’s easy to grow at home.
This ginny philodendron (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) requires regular watering. It’s important that the potting soil remains moist. However, it should not have a soggy feel because it will cause root rot that can possibly lead to the death of the plant.
Always check the moisture level of the potting mix by dipping your finger an inch below. If it feels dry, water the soil. If not, then leave it be.
Also, ensure that the pot has sufficient draining holes. This will let the excess water efficiently seep out of the container. A constantly wet potting mix invites the growth of pathogens.
The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant needs bright but indirect light. It should resemble the light conditions in the natural environment where it lives.
Place it in an east-facing window where it gets plenty of bright light. However, avoid exposure to direct sunlight because it can possibly scorch the leaves. If the light intensity gets very strong, provide a cloth that will give 20 to 40% shade.
As much as possible, avoid putting your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma under a very low light condition. The leaves will turn yellow if it doesn’t receive enough light. You may provide a grow light as an alternative when there’s very little light available.
Humidity and Temperature Preferences
For best results, it’s ideal that you bring this plant to a location where humidity is high. The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma species are accustomed to such conditions because it’s native to tropical and subtropical places. Generally, it will thrive in normal household humidity.
If in case the air gets very dry, you may provide extra moisture using a humidifier. Another option is to do misting around the plant. Do this regularly early in the morning.
As for temperature, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant will do best in a temperature within 55 to 85oF (12 to 29oC). Remember that this plant is not frost-tolerant so watch out for the cold seasons. Prolong exposure to cold temperatures will bring damage to the plant.
Plant Food and Potting Media
The best potting soil for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. Maintain the soil pH to a range of 6 to 6.5. This will make nutrients more available to the plant.
Opt for a loamy soil and add peat moss, orchid bark, or sphagnum moss to make sure the potting mix is porous. Use the one that is sterile to prevent any pathogenic infection in the future.
As for feeding, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma requires regular fertilizing during its growing season. You may use a slow-release fertilizer to avoid the dangers of overfertilization. This plant species is sensitive to strong chemicals present in readily available fertilizers and it will easily develop root tip burn.
If you’re using a liquid fertilizer, always remember to dilute the solution to a quarter. In doing so, your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will get a steady supply of nutrients without the harm of getting overfertilized. Always follow the instructions on the label to avoid the hazards.
Other than the basic things that this plant needs, there are also other practices needed to maintain its beauty. Following are additional requirements in doing Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care and maintenance.
Pruning and Training
This Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant is a vine and can reach a maximum height of 16 feet. If you’re going to keep it at home, you have to constantly prune the stems to keep it down to a desirable size. Trim off the parts that are growing out of proportion.
Pruning must also be done to remove the diseased and aged leaves. Make sure to use sharp and sterile pruning shears or scissors to create clean wounds. This will prevent the spread of diseases.
Another important aspect is to train your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma using a trellis. Let the aerial roots cling onto a wire, string, or moss pole for support. You may also shape the plant according to your preference.
There are several reasons why repotting is necessary for plants especially in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. First, you need to replace the depleted substrate with new potting soil. Second, the plant would need a bigger space as it grows. Third, it’s a way to treat a diseased plant especially if it has gotten root rot.
The repotting schedule will depend on the needs of your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant. But generally, you can repot the houseplant yearly because it is fast growing.
Water the pot with a generous amount of water. Let it drain and sit for a few hours to loosen the soil. After that, remove the plant from its pot and shake off the remaining soil.
Inspect the roots for any sign of rotting. Cut off diseased, aged, and unhealthy roots from the root ball. Replant to another larger pot using a fresh, sterile soil mix. Water the plant deeply before you place it in its location.
Avoid putting your newly repotted Rhaphidophora tetrasperma under direct sunlight. Your plant will easily get dehydrated if you do that. This will bring further stress that can possibly lead to wilting and scorching.
This mini monstera plant is very easy to propagate. What you can do is cut a mature stem that has two or three leaf nodes present. You can either root the cuttings in water or directly in the soil.
The cuttings that are directly planted in the soil will take a month or so to establish roots. Always provide bright light, do enough watering, and ensure high humidity to ensure its growth. In time, you’ll have new Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants growing at your home.
Pests and Diseases
The most common enemy of the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma houseplant is spider mites. These organisms look like small dots that you’ll see moving. They damage the leaves by sucking the sap from them leaving bruises behind.
This pest can be managed by simply spraying water on the surface where you see them. This is an easy way to get rid of them without applying chemicals. However, if they continue to persist, you may seek the help of neem oil or any horticultural oils to kill them.
Fungal root rot is the most common disease your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will most likely encounter. Fungi is a form of a pathogen that can thrive in the soil. If you happen to use infected soil, these organisms will work their way on the roots killing them.
You may apply a fungicide to manage the pathogens that are attacking your houseplant. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Also, you need to lower the moisture level of the soil and the environment around the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma to prevent the reproduction of these fungi.
Be careful in handling your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma because it has toxic properties that can harm humans, cats, and dogs. If you have children and pets at home, be extra careful and ensure that none of them mess around this plant.
This mini monstera plant contains oxalates that when ingested can result in some irritation in the oral cavity. Symptoms would include pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and even lips. It’s also coupled with vomiting and too much salivation.
How do you treat Rhaphidophora tetrasperma?
You can treat a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma like the way you treat other tropical ornamental species. They have almost the same care guide. The growing conditions needed for best growth are almost the same.
One important tip to achieve a healthy Rhaphidophora tetrasperma at home is to try your best to mimic the environment where it naturally thrives. Another one is to avoid drastic changes in the environment to minimize stress.
Is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma toxic?
Yes. Rhaphidophora testrasperma has toxic properties so you’ve got to be careful in handling it. Part of the care guide for this plant is to keep it away from your cats, dogs, and kids. The plant contains oxalates that are dangerous to health when ingested.
Symptoms include irritation on the oral cavity such as pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips. Hypersalivation and vomiting also happen. Be sure to bring your pets to the veterinarian once these symptoms appear.
How do you care for a mini Monstera?
Care and maintenance of Rhaphidophora testrasperma is pretty easy. It is one of those houseplants that are not that picky. You just have to provide the ideal growing requirements at home for best results.
It needs plenty of indirect, bright light, consistently moist soil, high humidity, and regular feeding of nutrients. Use grow light to serve as an alternative to sunlight during low light conditions.
Your Rhaphidophora testrasperma will also need regular pruning and training are also necessary to maintain. Removed aged and diseased leaves and stems to encourage new growth. Once it outgrows its pot, transfer it to a larger container using new and sterile potting soil.
Avoid applying too much water to your plant as this may lead to diseases. If pests are present, immediately remove them or spray neem oil on the infected areas such as the leaves or stems.
How big does a mini Monstera grow?
Rhaphidophora testrasperma or mini monstera is a vining plant. It can grow up to 5 meters (16 feet ) high if left in its natural habitat. They normally crawl up to the tree’s trunk and branches for support.
If this plant is kept as a houseplant, you’ll have to trim it down by doing regular pruning as it grows pretty fast. You can maintain the plant size according to what you desire as well as train it to a particular shape using a trellis.
There’s no doubt that Rhaphidophora testrasperma is a perfect addition to your indoor collection of houseplants. You can pair it with your Monstera and philodendron and it will surely give a striking look in your home.
To make it more appealing, give extra effort in training the plant to suit a particular shape that matches your interior. It’s a hundred percent sure that those leaves will bring out that tropical vibe you were looking for.