Do you want to add some tropical vibes to your place but don’t have a lot of space for a big airy plant? Well, in that case, this is the perfect plant for you. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a rare, climbing houseplant also known as Mini Monstera or Fake Monstera because it looks like the dwarf version of the Monstera plant species.
When you look at it, it will remind you of several different plants, like the Monstera Deliciosa, Epipremnum pinnatum, and the Philodendron, because of its foliage. Even though it has an uncanny resemblance to several plant families, its exact parent specie is still a controversial topic and has a lot of mixed perspectives from botanists and scientists from around the world.
Some relate it to the Monstera species whereas many are convinced it belongs to the Philodendron family, both of which, by the way, have been proved incorrect for their reasons. Either way, the plant is gorgeous and perfect for your little window corner in the kitchen!
As we have established, the classification of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a rather confusing topic universally. However, what we do know for sure is that it belongs to the Araceae family and that they have their genus, Rhaphidophora.
About the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Genus
This particular plant type is found in tropical Africa through Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand. These are all evergreen, climbing plants that are hemiepiphytes (plants that grow from seed and develop roots that go into the soil, or grow as a terrestrial plant and send roots to the soil). Rarely, these plants are also found growing in fast-flowing water (terrestrial rheophytes).
Rhaphidophora plants also have flowers that lack a perigon and shed the spathe after flowering. These flowers produce many ellipsoid seeds.
What’s interesting is that this plant has shown to have anti-malarial properties. Six elements found in the plant’s stem and leaves have a significant effect on the agent causing Malaria.
The genus has about a hundred different species. One of these is the beautiful Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant that we are talking about today.
- Baby Monstera
- Fake Monstera
- Mini Monstera
- Dwarf Monstera
- Mini split-leaf Philodendron
- Philodendron Ginny
Even though these names are scientifically incorrect, they are still the names you can look up if you are looking for the Tetrasperma plant in particular.
Origin and Distribution
The genus Rhaphidophora is distributed along tropical West Africa to the Pacific to Japan to North Australian. However, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, in particular, belongs to native Thailand and Malaysia. To be precise, it is most commonly found near Kelantan and Perak as well as the southern parts of Thailand. It was first found and identified in the late 1800s (1893, according to some sources).
Structure and Features of a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
The leaves are small, dainty and beautiful, glossy, green. They are often fibrous, they have splits that look like windows and change structure as the plant ages. The stalks grow longer and divide as the plant matures.
The plant is evergreen, which means that it remains vibrant during most of all four seasons of the year. This makes it an excellent choice for commercial as well as domestic display purposes. Who doesn’t love a live plant that stays green throughout the year?
As it is a climbing plant, it will need strong external support but can grow as tall as 3 to 5 meters. Its aerial roots will climb up trees, walls or polls and latch on to whatever gives them stabilization while the vines elongate like Rapunzel’s locks.
The plant has significant resistance against humidity and can survive in the regular household humidity levels. However, it will love you and thrive if you add a humidifier to your place.
The cool thing about Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma ’s care is that it can survive on its own even if you miss watering it a couple of times. So, if you have a busy schedule or an urgent, spontaneous trip away from home, you don’t have to worry about your plant being dead when you get back.
Flowers are often seen in mature Tetrasperma plants that have grown outside, instead of houseplants. They are tiny, white in color and lack petals.
As we have established, in terms of watering, it is pretty low-maintenance and does not require a whole lot of attention. Missing a few watering sessions will not kill it and continuous grooming is also not an issue when it comes to the Tetrasperma plant.
If given the appropriate amount of water, the best soil mix for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and the attention it needs, it is a rather fast-growing plant.
As Rhaphidophora is a part of the Araceae family, it consists of a toxic substance called calcium oxalate. These crystals are toxic if ingested by pets and children. They can cause internal damage and symptoms like pain in the stomach and mouth as well as generalized weakness of the body.
So, because these plants have long vines, make sure they are out of your pet’s reach. If the vines are hanging or clustered somewhere, your pet might grab them and even chew on some. Make sure you plant your Rhaphidophora somewhere away from your pet’s reach and attention.
This non-woody plant has a perennial life cycle, which means that it has an expected life span of three or more years depending on their care, soil, climate, and environment.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Care
Overall, this plant likes to live in neutral conditions. It likes bright but indirect light, warm temperature but not scorching heat and humidity only enough to keep it moist, not wet. It is not a lot of work to take care of this plant, which is one of the reasons why it is so much in demand.
Keep the plant moist but not soggy. There is a very clear, significant difference between the two and this plant knows it. Use your finger to check the soil and only water it when the top one or two inches of the soil feels dry. The frequency of watering the plant may increase on hot, windy days in the summer and spring when it is rapidly growing.
Make sure you do not over-water the plant. It hates that!
Rhaphidophora loves humid environments. 50% to 60% of humidity is ideal. If your place lacks the moisture in the air, adding a humidifier may solve your problems. Grouping your plants may also help increase the humidity in their surroundings. Another easy DIY to solve this issue is to put your plant pot in a tray full of water. When the water in the tray evaporates, it’ll provide the perfect humidity in the air for your Tetrasperma to grow beautifully.
A good quality, well-drained, clean and fertile soil is perfect for this plant. The best soil mix for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is organic, rich and loamy soil. The plant prefers a soil that has either slightly acidic pH (6.1-6.5) or a neutral pH (6.6-7.3). Adding some peat moss or orchid bark may help improve the texture of the soil. Using perlite is often recommended as well. Avoid soils that are too clay-like or too sandy.
The Tetrasperma plant loves bright lights. If you decide to grow it indoors, preferably put it next to a window under indirect sunlight. You may also use a “grow bulb” if you lack the natural sunlight entering your house.
Beware of putting it under direct sunlight in the peak afternoon though, because too much of the direct sunlight may “burn” its leaves. If you do not have a way of protecting your plant against harsh sunlight outdoors, use shade cloth. This will help block 20% to 40% of the dangerous direct rays of sunlight from hurting your plant’s leaves.
It loves growing in bright, sunny areas but if you are growing it outdoors, make sure you bring it inside when the temperature drops below 55 F or rises above 85 F. Even though they will not become frosty hard and dead, the delicate leaves are more sensitive to cooler temperatures as compared to warmer environments.
A high-quality fertilizer is recommended for an R. Tetrasperma. One without urea is preferable because the roots of a Rhaphidophora plant are extremely sensitive. An organic fertilizer will have lesser chances of burning and damaging the roots.
These plants love being fed. A regular monthly or weekly regimen should be followed according to what kind of fertilizers you are using.
Liquid organic fertilizer is supposed to be given every month while a chemical fertilizer is ideal twice a week. Similar to the rules of watering this plant, just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Since it is a fast grower and there is a danger of it being quickly root-bound, the plant may need to be repotted every spring, sometimes even twice a year, depending on the size and age of the plant as well as the size and condition of the pot. Other factors that are involved in making this decision are the climate and the environment that the plant is being kept in and how well it is being taken care of.
If the plant is growing fast and healthy, you may need to repot it earlier or more than once. In the case of a diseased soil or plant, a change in the pot may be urgently required as well.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Pruning Requirements
When we talk about Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma’s care, pruning is important for this plant. Removing diseased and damaged parts from the plant is an essential part of keeping the plant looking healthy, happy and lush. Since it is a climbing plant, its vines can be rather unhealthy and dead-looking in areas that have not been meeting the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma’s sunlight requirements; so, cutting these parts off is the best option. However, be cautious when cutting off parts of the plant. Do not cut off too much at a time. Reducing any more than 25% will eventually damage your plant.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Training Requirements
Climbing plants, such as this one, love hanging and latching on to whatever sturdy they find around them. So, to help them stay erect, provide them with rigid and strong stakes, like bamboo, for example. Use strips of soft clothes, handkerchiefs and plant support tape to provide extra support and attachment to the roots of the climber.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Propagation
Propagating Rhaphidophora is very simple. Simply cut out some healthy leaf nodes and set them into a glass of water. Change this water at least once every day. Observe and repeat this process until the roots are at least one or two inches long. Now, transfer your cuttings into a pot with soil in it.
Another way of propagating this plant is by putting the leaf nodes directly into a pot of damp soil. Just make sure that the lowest node is under the surface because this is where the roots will grow out of.
Wait for a month and check if the roots have grown. You can check this by lightly pulling on the plant. If the plant gives significant resistance, it means the roots have nicely formed and gripped the soil.
Now take care of this plant according to how you wish to grow it. Some people like to grow their Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma variegated, meaning that they like to see a variation of white and green in their plant.
If you are one of these people and are looking for a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma variegated plant, make sure you check the stem of the plant. A white stem with a hint of green is what you are looking for. An ideal variegated Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, however, will have an equal mix of white and green in its stem. You can also find these online but since they will be quite costly and it is always risky buying something like that from behind a screen, it will be best if you go buy it in person after proper inspection.
Week 1-3: Plant the leaf nodules in your desired environment (water or soil) and let it grow.
Week 4-6: By now the roots should start growing and gripping to the soil if it’s in a pot. If in water, this is the time to shift the plant into a pot with soil.
Month 2-3: Water it frequently but make sure you do not overwater it. If the plant seems too moist for watering, just mist to prevent the leaves from drying. Take special care of this during the early growing weeks and months.
After 4 months: The plant should be healthy and green by now, with leaves looking lush and split. Missing a few watering sessions should not bother it much at this stage. Mist the plant regularly and watch out for any signs of sickness.
Growing Problems of a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Plant
Even though Rhaphidophoras are pretty easy to take care of, they can have some problems while they’re in their growing phase.
When the plant does not receive the optimum amount of sunlight in certain areas of its growing body, it starts giving out extra growth. The easiest solution to this problem is to trim these leggy vines and fix the plant’s position. Put it under bright, preferably indirect, light and try turning the plant so that all parts of it receive the light they need to grow.
Rhaphidophora is not a pest or disease-resistant plant, and the pest you will most probably find lingering around are spider mites. Even though they’re not big enough to be easily visible, the damage they do to the plant makes their presence known. If your plant has spider mites, its leaves will turn yellow, speckled and possibly scarred. You will also find small webs under the leaves and around the stem.
The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to use Neem oil. However, Pyrethrin-based sprays are also recommended for severe cases.
Another pest you should look out for are small, black thrips. These leave your plant’s foliage looking metallic and ruined. However, they can be gotten rid of. Checking the plant weekly, cleaning it and spraying pesticides should do the job. (Keep a steady, light hand while giving your plant any insecticides though, because an overdose may burn your plant.)
The one thing that you should be afraid of if you own this plant, is fungal root rot. Soil-borne fungi can be deadly for your Tetasperma plant’s roots because once they become infected, it is almost impossible to bring them back. In this case, prevention is your best solution.
To avoid any fungal growth in the roots of the plant, eliminate the most common cause of its growth- Excessive water. Monitor the plant closely every day. Make sure the soil is damp and not wet. Make sure there is no water standing in the pot and avoid over-watering it. Another common cause of fungal growth is a dense soil mix, so keep the soil texture in check as well. If you see any signs of your plant being unwell, take a quick exam of its roots to make sure everything is okay down there.
The two most probable reasons why your plant’s leaves are turning yellow are too much sun and too much water. Tetraspermas love bright lights, but as we discussed earlier, too much sun or the direct sun is going to cause more damage than benefit to the plant. Try to put the plant near a window where it is bright but not directly under the scorching heat and light. If the sunlight is fine, check the soil. You’re either watering it too much or the soil is not well-drained. Proper Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma care can solve this issue in no time.
Some Common FAQs
What is the Difference Between a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and a Monstera Deliciosa?
Even though the two look unrealistically alike, they are completely different on multiple levels. M. Deliciosa is a fairly larger plant to begin with, whereas a R. Tetrasperma is comparatively smaller in size. Even though they have the same care requirements and they both grow into beautiful green plants, Tetrasperma plants do not grow any fruit and have smaller leaves. Another visible difference is the holes on their leaves. Even though both of these plants have holes on the surface of their leaves, the Monstera plant has variegated leaves and visible holes only after it matures, whereas the Tetrasperma has holes even when it is young and immature.
Also, the holes of a Monstera plant are enclosed inside the leaves, whereas, as we discussed earlier, the Tetrasperma plant has holes that cut out the edges of the leaves, giving them that split-leaf appearance.
Why Are The Leaves of My Tetrasperma Plant Not Split?
As we just discussed, a Tetrasperma has holes and split leaves prematurely. But this is not always the definitive case. On some occasions, the plant may not have the typical split-leaf appearance when it starts growing. But do not panic. Some Rhaphidophora Tetraspermas lack holes in their leaves when they sprout. Give your plant the time to grow and mature and it will split naturally.
Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma An Economical Houseplant?
Considering that it is a rare plant, it can cost you quite some bucks looking for it and then purchasing it. It also requires continuous care and attention as well as fertilizer, pruning, and occasional insecticide spraying so it is not exactly the most affordable option out there. However, in the long run, it will not cost you any more than your other regular plants.
How to Display Your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Plant
This gorgeous plant can be stored and displayed in containers as well as baskets. If you decide to put it in a container, attach a pole or stick along with it to support the climber as it grows.
If you prefer storing it in a hanging basket, make sure it stays out of the reach of any pets and children in the house as this plant tends to grow long vines that hang and are toxic if ingested.
These lush, dark green plants will look beautiful sitting in your kitchen window or in your sunroom. You can plant it in a sophisticated-looking pot and add it to your chic interior setting or even color and design the pot, hang it and make it look perfect for your casual living room. When it comes to styling, this plant is very versatile. You can be as creative as you want with it.
A Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a small, beautiful climbing plant that resembles a Monstera Deliciosa but it is completely different. It is easy to take care of and very versatile to display and style, but can be pretty expensive as it is rare. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma has leaves with splits and holes and this feature sets it apart from all the others of its kind. It grows fast if given the ideal Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma care and does not give the caretaker a lot of problems as it is pretty low maintenance in terms of regular care and can grow under indirect sunlight and irregular watering.