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How to Grow Rhaphidophora Plant (Mini Monstera)

Rhaphidophora plant leans against picture frame

Phubes Juwattana / Getty Images

Have you always wanted a lush, trendy monstera plant but don’t have the room for one? Consider trying the mighty Rhaphidophora tetrasperma—also known as the mini monstera or Ginny philodendron—instead. This member of the aroid family is a cousin of monstera with similar wide, split leaves in a deep green color, which makes it an excellent houseplant to beautify your space. Native to Southeast Asia, the rhaphidophora is known for its climbing growth habits.

This very popular houseplant can be hard to find in both nature and plant shops, but once you get your hands on a specimen, it’s easy to propagate it and share the bounty with your plant-loving friends. Just be sure to grow your mini monstera out of reach of children and pets, as it's toxic when ingested.

  • Botanical Name: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
  • Common Name: Rhaphidophora, mini monstera, Ginny philodendron
  • Plant Type: Perennial vine
  • Mature Size: 12 feet long
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0–6.5
  • Toxicity: Toxic to humans and pets

Plant Care

Your rhaphidophora’s soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Water the plant deeply when the top inch of soil has dried out. Make sure that your plant is allowed to drain fully before being returned to its saucer or decorative pot so that it doesn’t sit in water. 

These fast-growing plants benefit from fertilizing about once a month during the spring and summer growing seasons. Use a standard houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength, or opt for a slow-release organic fertilizer to avoid scorching the roots with anything too strong. Skip fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant.

Leaf of rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant

Firn / Getty Images

Best Growing Conditions for Rhaphidophora Plants

Choose a spot with bright, indirect light for your rhaphidophora to grow. Avoid areas with direct sunlight, which can burn its leaves. North- and east-facing windows are a great option, but windows on the south and west sides of your home can also be suitable if they're covered with sheer curtains and the plant is placed a few feet away. This species can also tolerate lower-light conditions.

Rhaphidophora plants are climbers, so be sure to give them something for support. You can train them to grow up a wall, on a bookshelf, on a trellis or moss pole, or even as trailing plants in hanging baskets (but they may be more likely to become leggy when growing downward).

In terms of temperature, your rhaphidophora wants to be warm, but not too hot. Ideally, this plant should be kept in a range of 65 to 80 degrees; it can tolerate conditions as low as 55 degrees if needed. Choose a place that won’t be hit with cold drafts or hot, dry air from a vent. 

Plant this species in light, moist, well-draining soil. You can make your own by blending a standard potting mix with a few handfuls of peat moss, perlite, or orchid bark to help with drainage while holding in moisture. 

Do your best to recreate the warm, humid conditions of this plant's native jungle habitat. If your space is particularly dry, it’s a good idea to group your rhaphidophora in a relatively small room with other humidity-loving plants. As they give off moisture, they’ll create a humid microclimate. You can also grow this species as a bathroom plant to soak up steam from the shower, run a humidifier in the room, or place it on a humidifying tray of pebbles and water (ensuring the water isn't high enough to touch the bottom of the pot).

Rhaphidophora plant leans against picture frame

Phubes Juwattana / Getty Images

Types of Rhaphidophora Plants

Also known as aroid plants, you might already be familiar with your rhaphidophora's relatives in the Araceae family like the monstera, philodendron, pothos, and even the ZZ plant.

Many of these species live in tropical forests in their native habitats, which makes them great to grow close together thanks to their similar humidity needs. Trailing vines like the philodendron and pothos can typically survive with less moisture than the monstera and its mini cousin, but all of these lush, green, and leafy plants can benefit from growing in tropical conditions with bright, indirect light.

How to Propagate Rhaphidophora Plants

The rhaphidophora may need a trim when its stems grow too long to support the leaves. Some plant parents also choose to prune this species to encourage full, healthy growth, and these trimmed sections can be used to grow new plants. You can root the cuttings in water to grow on their own with just a few basic supplies. The best time to propagate this plant is in the spring when it is actively growing. Here's how:

Step 1: Examine the mother plant for a healthy stem tip with at least one node and three or four leaves.

Step 2: Remove the selected stem by cutting it diagonally just below a leaf node. 

Step 3: Place the cutting in a glass of tepid water, making sure the node is submerged below the waterline. 

Step 4: Put the glass in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.

Step 5: Keep an eye on the cutting and change out the water when it becomes cloudy. In a few weeks, you should see tiny roots begin to grow from the submerged node. 

Step 6: When the roots are a few inches long, plant the cutting in a pot of moistened potting mix mixed with a little peat moss, perlite, or orchid bark to increase drainage.

Step 7: After potting it up, place the plant in an area with bright, indirect light and care for it as usual.

Common Problems With Rhaphidophora Plants

Your rhaphidophora can grow happy and healthy under the right care conditions. Like all houseplants, however, it's possible to run into a few common growing problems involving light, water, and moisture. Here's how to diagnose and treat your plant:

Leaves Without Splits

If the leaves of your rhaphidophora aren’t splitting, a lack of light could be the cause. Like the monstera, this species needs filtered sun to thrive. It is possible for it to survive in low-light rooms, but its leaves may not grow with their signature splits. Move your rhaphidophora to a spot with brighter (but still indirect) light to encourage healthier growth.

Leggy Growth

Rhaphidophora plants can get a bit leggy and send out extra growth if they're not getting enough sunlight. Rotate your plant consistently so all of its leaves receive equal amounts of sun, and move it to an area with brighter filtered light. You can also prune a few healthy stems and plant them in the pot to help the plant fill out sooner.

Root Rot

While your rhaphidophora definitely likes consistent moisture, it doesn't need water every day. Keep the soil moist, but beware of overwatering. This can allow fungi to develop in the soil. Signs of root rot include significant portions of yellowed leaves and brown, mushy stems at the base. Not all rhaphidophora plants will recover, but you can try repotting. Remove the plant from its container, trim away any affected roots, and replant it in fresh soil (ensuring the new pot has better drainage).

If you're helping a rhaphidophora plant recover from root rot, spread out waterings a bit further than usual and increase humidity in the room. This gives your plant's delicate roots a chance to start growing healthier while ensuring it still receives plenty of moisture.

Potting and Repotting Rhaphidophora Plants

Because it’s a vigorous grower, your rhaphidophora plant should be repotted annually. It's best to do this in the spring after its dormant period has ended.

If you're wondering whether you need to repot this species, there are two tell-tale signs: The roots poke through the drainage holes of the pot, or the plant's growth has slowed down dramatically. If the plant has outgrown its pot, opt for a container one size larger. Luckily, repotting is simple.

First, gently remove your plant from its current pot. Shake off excess soil and trim any dead or rotted roots. Fill half of the new pot with potting mix, place your plant in the pot, and fill the rest of the pot with fresh soil. Care for it as usual.


Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Rare?

The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant is hard to find in the wild, but it can be purchased at some nurseries that propagate this species to grow new plants. Thanks to its rapid growth, many owners of this plant trim cuttings from its stems to share with others.

Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Easy to Care For?

Similar to other aroid plants, your rhaphidophora can grow happy and healthy with a few simple care steps. Place it in a spot with plenty of bright, indirect light and ensure that its soil stays consistently moist without overwatering. It's also helpful to provide extra humidity for this jungle species.

Is Rhaphidophora a Monstera?

Rhaphidophora looks very similar to monstera, but they are two separate species of plants. The rhaphidophora is a smaller cousin to the monstera that grows in climbing and trailing habits like its philodendron and pothos relatives.

How Fast Does Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Grow?

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a very fast-growing species. Under the right conditions and care, you can expect your plant to increase about 1 to 2 feet in length on average each year, with some growing as fast as 6 feet per year.

Article Sources
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  1. Burrows G, Tyrl R. Toxic Plants of North America. Wiley, 2013