The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant is generally referred to as the “Monstera Minima” due to its striking resemblance to the Monstera Deliciosa.
It is smaller than Monstera Deliciosa and a good replacement in situations where there is not enough space to grow the Monstera plant.
Other popular nicknames associated with the plant include the Philodendron Piccolo, Philodendron Ginny, or mini split-leaf.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is often mistaken for the Monstera Deliciosa or philodendron ginny as they have similar-looking split leaves.
Although they are all from the Araceae family also called Aroids, they are of different genera and species. Another difference between the plants is that the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma doesn’t produce fruits.
They are native to southern Thailand and Malaysia. They are a rare vining plant that sprouts astonishing split leaves that aid in airflow and helps to keep the plant cool.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant performs well both indoors and outdoors. Their beautiful fenestrated leaves can grow up to a size of 4 to 6 inches while the plant itself tends to grow over 12 feet. They can be grown as trailers or climbers.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma looks good indoors when placed in hanging baskets as this allows the plant to move in different directions.
They can be trained to be climbers as they produce aerial roots which assist in attaching themselves to trees and trellis for upward growth.
When choosing where to grow this plant, remember that the leaves of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma contain calcium oxalate crystals which when ingested, can irritate the mouth, lips, and digestive system. Always keep the plant away from children and pets.
The right location is also somewhere where the basic growing needs of the plant can be met. That means thinking about light, temperatures, humidity and which soil or potting mix you use.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is no different from most tropical houseplants. They require bright indirect sunlight for healthy growth. When exposed to the dangerous rays emitted by unfiltered sunlight for a long, it can lead to sunburn and cause yellow spots to appear on the foliage of the plant.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma on an east-facing window is good as it provides the plant access to early morning sunlight and also provides shade against direct sunlight during the rest of the day.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma can also withstand low light. In their natural habitat, their growth begins on the floor of the rainforest, covered with large canopies of foliage thereby limiting the amount of light accessible to the plant. Plants grown in low light conditions experience a slow growth rate and their leaves might not experience fenestration.
For indoor cultivation without an adequate source of lighting, a LED grow light can be used to provide extra bright light.
Temperature And Humidity
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant needs warmth and humidity to survive. They find it difficult to survive under cold and draft weather conditions.
The room temperature of most households is suitable for the healthy growth of the Rhaphidophora plant. A temperature of around 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit ( 12 to 30 degrees Celsius) is good enough for the plants to thrive.
For humidity, place the plant in locations in the home with high humidity such as the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Plants kept in areas with low humidity should be supported with a humidifier.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma thrives best in light, well-aerated, and moist soil that drains quickly. Waterlogged soil causes soil compaction which can lead to root rot which is detrimental to the plant. A potting mix that includes part orchid, perlite, pumice, and pine bark among its ingredients aids in water drainage and proper airflow.
The pot used for holding the potting mix can either be clay, terracotta, plastic, or ceramic. The porosity in the body of the clay and terracotta pot allows for water and air to penetrate the pot, keeping the soil moist. Drainage holes should also be made at the bottom of the pot to allow drainage of excess water.
These plants are relatively easy to care for when they are given the right environmental conditions to thrive. The main elements of their care are watering and feeding.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant needs to be kept constantly moist but not soggy or waterlogged. Waterlogged soil left to sit for too long could cause compaction which could lead to root rot. Always ensure the soil dries out partially or completely before watering.
Like most tropical houseplants, watering the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma can be done weekly during the growing months. During the winter season when the weather is cold and dry, only water when the soil is completely dry. Always water slowly and let the water run through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
For accuracy, use a moisture meter to measure the dryness of the soil. Water the plant when the top 1″ (25cm) of the soil is dry. Also, measure across all parts of the pot to prevent taking wrong readings as a result of inconsistent drying across the pot.
When fertilizing the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, use a well-balanced organic fertilizer diluted to half its strength and apply it once a month during the growing season. During the winter season, lay off fertilizing the plant as it can burn the inactive roots because most plants go into dormancy during this period.
Propagating the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant is best done through stem cutting. It can be propagated through water or soil as a medium. The process involves cutting the vine of the plant close to the bottom of its node. Each leaf-cutting should have between one to three leaves, an aerial root, and a node.
When using water as a medium for propagation, use sharp disinfected scissors or pruning shears to cut the vine close to the bottom of the node you wish to propagate. Place the bottom part of the leaf-cutting containing the node and aerial root in clean water ensuring the leaf is kept above.
Drop it close to a window so it can gain access to sunlight. After a week or two, you should start to see new roots begin to form. Transfer the newly formed plant into an already prepared potting mix.
Always change the water every two days to ensure freshness.
Using soil to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma follows a similar procedure, except that the leaf-cutting will be directly placed in an already prepared potting mix. A hole should be made in the middle of the soil and the bottom of the leaf-cutting placed in it. Cover the soil up and water until all excess water drains out of the drainage holes. Place close to a window for the plant to gain access to sunlight.
Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases
Some common health problem prevalent in the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant includes no-fenestration and leggy growth which is caused by inadequate exposure to sunlight, yellow leaves which occur due to excessive direct Sunlight, and overwatering, brown/black spots on leaves caused by low humidity and excessive direct sunlight, etc.
Common pests that affect the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma include sap-sucking insects such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Using Insecticidal soaps or Neem oil to wipe the surface of the leaves regularly should be enough to handle these pests.