Rhaphidophora decursiva, also known as “creeping philodendron” is a spectacular plant – though not, in spite of its common name, a Philodendron. It is not a Monstera either, though they do share certain characteristics.
Rhaphidophora decursiva features stunning dark green foliage or leaves. These leaves are known to change shape as the plant matures. Rhaphidophora decursiva juvenile plants have small oval-shaped leaves, but as these mature they develop into slender but large leaves.
The plant is also sometimes called dragon tail because of its beautiful leaves. Their shape and sheen are magnificent and shaped like the tail of a dragon.
They do produce flowering blooms of yellow color, though only rarely when grown as houseplants indoors.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is native to Asian regions. From central China to Southeast India. They belong to the Araceae family and can reach a large height of 50 feet in the wild. Indoors, they can be controlled to a height of around 5 feet.
The Philodendron decursiva plant makes a great ornamental plant. But It can be toxic when ingested, so it’s best to keep them away from children and pets. Bear this in mind when choosing where to grow this plant.
Of course, you also need to think about where these plants will be happy, and the conditions that they need to thrive when it comes to light, temperature and humidity, and potting soil.
Dragon tail plants are best kept in areas with bright but filtered lighting. They can survive some direct exposure to sunlight. But this should not be for long hours as you risk them getting scorched. Low lighting can limit its growth but would make it creep more in search of better lighting.
They should be grown in a room with a south-facing window in it. The lighting requirements should be met with ease there. You can consider moving the potted plant a few inches from the window.
Another option would be to use a cloth or light curtain. This should help in filtering the intense sun rays from the hot afternoon. Do this in situations where you can’t move the plant.
Temperature And Humidity
For temperature levels, it should range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid cold temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So keep them away from frost or cold windows. They should also be kept away from Air condition vents.
As tropical plants, they love hot and humid regions. Try and simulate this when growing them indoors. A humidity level from 50% upwards should be perfect for the exotic plant. Try misting the plant often or use a humidifier.
The decursiva rhaphidophora does need a well-draining soil mix. It should be light and well-aerated as the roots do not like to be choked by the soil.
You can achieve this by mixing potting soil with perlite. Vermiculite and coco coir are also good additions to make the proper soil mix.
Ensure you use a well-draining pot for the plant. It should contain enough drainage holes at its base for easy passage of water.
The dragon tail rhaphidophora is an easy-to-grow plant. They are low-maintenance as they have simple needs to achieve healthy growth.
Watering should be done at least once a week during the hot seasons. Avoid watering them in winter. Do try to avoid soggy soil by overwatering the plant. They are susceptible to root rot from fungal buildup. Instead, aim for moist soil.
You can start by deep watering the plant’s soil. Before the next watering, check the moisture level of the soil and ensure it is almost dry. Try making use of a moisture meter for accurate readings.
Improvisations can be made by using your finger to feel the top part of the soil. If it feels dryer then you can water the plant. Try using tepid, dechlorinated water, so avoid tap water.
Good quality fertilizer should be given to the plant once a month. This should be during its growing seasons. Use an organic fertilizer with high nitrogen concentrations. It could be slow-release fertilizer or an organic liquid plant feed.
Avoid fertilizing Rhaphidophora decursiva in the winter seasons. They go dormant during this period.
This plant has an average growth speed. You will typically need to repot them once a year or after around 18 months, with new growing medium.
You can propagate the plant through stem cuttings. Always sterilize the tools you use for this process before use. Wear protective gloves too as the plant’s sap can irrigate the skin.
Common Health Problems
Most of the problems experienced by those growing Rhaphidophora decursiva arise because something is wrong with the growing environment or because the plant has not been cared for correctly.
When stressed in some way for example, yellow leaves often arise. The most common cause of this is overwatering or waterlogging, which may have led to root rot. Curling leaves are often a sign of under-watering. Follow the proper watering schedule to revive the plant.
Root rot is one disease that can occur when growing these houseplants, though, and mosaic virus is another.
There are also pests to look out for including:
- & Spider mites