How to grow and care for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Indoors

Houseplant, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Botanical name: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Family: Araceae

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is an evergreen vine which bears leaves with split lobes. The plant is often incorrectly referred to as a Monstera or a Philodendron where it goes by such names as "Mini Monstera", Philodendron "Ginny", Empipremnum pinnatum and Philodendron "Piccolo". At a glance this plant resembles a Monstera deliciosa or a split-leaf Philodendron. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma belongs to the genus Rhaphidophora and is native to Southern Thailand and Malaysia. The plant is an epiphyte and climbs by means of aerial roots to the top of trees in its natural habitat. The plant can grow to a height of 12 ft when provided with a sturdy support like a trellis or a pole. Regular pruning is necessary to maintain the plant at a manageable size.

How to Grow Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Light

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma prefers bright indirect light away from direct sunlight as it can cause sunscorch on the leaves. Place it next to a sunless window or near a bright window. Inadequate light will cause small leaves and spindly growth. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Rhaphidophora tetrasperma liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to Root-rot Disease which can result in the eventual death of the plant. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. Protect the plant from cold draughts. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. When the air is too dry, employ these techniques to raise humidity for the vine. Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestation.

Feeding

Feed Rhaphidophora tetrasperma with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Rhaphidophora tetrasperma during the growing season when it becomes pot-bound; when the roots grow through the drainage hole. Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole. The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot.

Pruning

Pruning Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is easy. Remove yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To keep the plant in a manageable size, cutback the vines to the desired height. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma can be propagated at the beginning of the growing period by use of stem cuttings or by air layering.

Propagating Rhaphidophora tetrasperma from stem cuttings in soil
Take a stem cutting from a healthy Rhaphidophora tetrasperma by cutting at a point just below an aerial root. Ensure the cutting has at least one leaf node and some aerial roots. Insert the cutting in moist free-draining soil. Place in a shaded well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Allow the new Rhaphidophora tetrasperma to be well established before transplanting.

Propagating Rhaphidophora tetrasperma from stem cuttings in water
Take a stem cutting from a healthy Rhaphidophora tetrasperma by cutting at a point just below an aerial root. Ensure the cutting has at least one leaf node and some aerial roots. Place the cutting in a jar containing plain water. Place the set up in a well-lit spot and change the water every 3-5 days. Once adequate roots have developed, plant the cutting in soil and place in a shaded well-lit place. Maintain the soil moist through out until the plant is well established.

Common Problems in Growing Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Overwatering Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is the reason for yellowing leaves. If leaves are pale colored and have straw-colored patches the problem is too much sunlight.

  • Rotting stems
  • The reason for rotting stems in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is the fungal Stem-rot Disease which is promoted by high moisture and too little warmth. You can save the plant by repotting and keeping the soil dry and warm.

  • Leaves with brown papery tips and edges
  • The reason for leaves with brown papery tips and edges in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is dry air; employ these techniques to raise humidity or the plant may be pot-bound; repot in a larger-sized pot.

  • Leggy growth, small pale leaves
  • Too little light is the cause as Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will not thrive in deep shade; move the plant to a more brighter spot.

  • Diseases
  • The most common disease in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is Leaf Spot.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Rhaphidophora tetrasperma are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the plant to prevent further spread to other plants.

Toxicity

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is toxic to humans and pets. If ingested it can cause pain and swelling in the mouth, tongue and lips, vomiting, excessive drooling and difficulty in swallowing.

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