Have you always wanted a lush, trendy monstera plant, but don’t have the room for one? Consider trying the mighty rhaphidophora instead. This member of the aroid family is a cousin of monstera, with similar wide, split leaves in deep green. With a vigorous, climbing growth habit, it’s an excellent plant to use to beautify your space.
Rhaphidophora—also known by its botanical name, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, mini monstera, and Ginny philodendron—is native to Southeast Asia. In nature and in plant shops, this very of-the-moment houseplant can be hard to find, but once you get your hands on a specimen, it’s easy to propagate it and share the bounty with your plant-loving friends.
Best Growing Conditions for your Rhaphidophora
Choose a spot with bright, indirect light to keep your rhaphidophora. Avoid areas with direct sunlight, which is too strong for this plant. Growing this plant in an east-facing window or a few feet from a west-facing or south-facing window with a sheer curtain would work well. Take note that rhaphidophora is toxic, so keep it well out of the way of children and pets. These plants can also tolerate lower-light conditions.
If the leaves of your rhaphidophora aren’t splitting, a lack of light could be the cause. If this happens, move your plant to a place with more—but still indirect—light.
In terms of temperature, your rhaphidophora wants to be warm, but not too hot, ideally in a range of around 68 to 80 degrees. When choosing a place for your plant to live, pick one that won’t be hit with cold drafts or hot, drying air from a vent.
Do your best to give this plant the warm, humid conditions of its native jungle habitat. If your space is particularly dry, it’s a good idea to group your rhaphidophora in a relatively small room with lots of other humidity-loving plants. As they give off moisture, they’ll create a more humid climate. The other option is to run a humidifier near your plant.
Plant your rhaphidophora in a light, moist, well-draining soil. You can make your own by blending standard potting mix with a handful or two of peat moss and perlite or orchid bark to help with drainage while holding in moisture.
Rhaphidophora are climbers, so be sure to give them something to climb. You can train their vines up a wall or over a bookshelf, for example, or give them a small trellis or moss pole to use as support. They can also be grown in hanging baskets, but they may be more likely to become leggy.
How to Care for Your Rhaphidophora
Your rhaphidophora’s soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Water the plant deeply when the top inch or so of the soil has dried out. Make sure that the 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 feeding once a month or so with half-strength houseplant fertilizer during the spring and summer growing season. To avoid the risk of scorching the roots with too-strong fertilizer, you can also opt to use slow-release organic fertilizer.
Skip fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant. Because it’s so vigorous, your rhaphidophora should be repotted annually, ideally in the spring when the plant has started growing again after its dormant period.
Keep an eye out for roots poking out through the holes in the bottom of the pot—that’s a sign it’s time to repot into a container one size larger.
Depending on your space, you may want to prune back the long, climbing vines of your rhaphidophora. Save the segments of stem you cut back and use them to propagate new plants.
How to Propagate Your Rhaphidophora
You can propagate rhaphidophora stem cuttings in water with just a few basic supplies. The best time to propagate this plant is in the spring when the plant is actively growing.
- A healthy mother plant
- A clean set of sharp gardening shears or scissors
- A clear glass or jar
- Examine the mother plant for a healthy stem tip with at least one node and three or four leaves.
- Remove the selected stem by cutting diagonally just below a node.
- Place the cutting in a glass of tepid water, making sure the node is submerged below the water line.
- Put the glass in a warm place with bright, indirect light.
- Keep an eye on the cutting, and change out the water if it becomes cloudy In a few weeks, you should see tiny roots begin to grow from the submerged node.
- When the roots are a few inches long, plant the cutting in a pot of moistened potting mix with a little peat and perlite or orchid bark added.
- Care for the plant as usual.