Dubbed the 'Mini Monstera', this tropical climber is an absolute growth machine, seemingly unfazed by seasonal changes (when kept indoors). This week we take a peek at how to look after this unique plant.
First things first, this easy-care, low maintenance plant is not a Monstera, despite the name. Whilst being a member of the arum plant family (check out our run down on aroids here), and often mistaken for a Monstera or Philodendron, its actually from its own genus Rhaphidophora, and is a native to Thailand and Malaysia.
So, what separates them from Monsteras?
Apart from being found in completely different parts of the world (Monsteras are from Mexico and Central America), some other key differences include:
- Fenestrations (holes in leaves) can be found on the juvenile leaves of Rhaphidophora tetraspermas, while they are commonly non-existent or very small on those of juvenile Monstera deliciosa.
- The fenestrations on the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will generally be open, with the tips splitting.
- Rhaphidophora tetraspermas have much smaller leaves
These differences are part of the appeal of the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. It's smaller habit, fast growth rate (up to 60cm a year!) and versatility make it a great option for any indoor plant parent.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Care Guide
Like most aroids, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma requires bright, indirect light. Hook this guy up to a good dose of morning sun and dappled light through the remainder of the day and it'll reward you with strong growth year round.
Too much shade though, and the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will suffer - symptoms of too little light include the leaves not splitting, so watch out for this and shift to a brighter position if necessary.
Too much sunlight, on the other hand, and you'll notice black or brown spots on the leaves. If this occurs, shuffle into a little more shade.
Like all aroids, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma will thrive in a light, aerated medium that drains excess water well. We're talking a perfect combination of perlite, horticultural charcoal, chunky orchid bark, and organic matter (if only there was some way you could buy a mix this good...)
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma also has aerial roots, so supporting with a moss pole will allow these roots to support the plant and reward you with larger foliage.
These plants can be thirsty.
Water when the top few centimetres of the potting mix is dry - you want to keep the potting mix moist, but not wet and definitely not dry. As always, we suggest the old "stick a finger in" test is ideal, but if getting your fingers dirty isn't as delightful for you as we make it out to be, then grabbing a moisture meter is a good idea to keep on top of things.
Overwatering can be havoc for these plants, so if the leaves start to yellow it could be a sign things are getting a little too wet. Cut back watering slightly. (And don't forget to adjust for seasonal changes!)
A fast growing plant is a hungry plant. Regular feeding with a liquid Indoor Plant Food is ideal (fortnightly with active growth).
Like most tropical aroids, the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma prefers warm, humid conditions. Most home temperatures are fine (but don't forget to watch out for common mistakes especially when winter comes).
Leaves not splitting - This is most often caused by a lack of sunlight. Move to a brighter space, but still avoid direct sunlight.
Yellow Foliage - Usually this is a sign of overwatering. Reduce watering and consider repotting with some fresh mix.
Pests and Diseases - Watch out for Spider Mites. Check under the leaves for signs of webbing, and
Leaves Curling - Root ball is too dry, meaning you've left it too long between drinks. Increase watering frequency
Brown Edges - This is a humidity issue. Try to increase humidity around the plant
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