Last Updated on October 9, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
This tropical plant is a lovely indoor pot plant, an aroid from the plant family Araceae.
Originating from Southern Thailand and Malaysia, it displays rapid growth and requires minimal day-to-day care, which is one of the reasons why Rhaphidophora tetrasperma has begun to grow in popularity over the years.
Another reason is that, while not everyone has the space for the huge ornamental leaves of a full-on Monstera Deliciosa plant aka Swiss Cheese Plant, this species of ‘mini Monstera’, is a perfect compromise, just on a smaller scale, ‘monstera minima’, a miniature version if you like, and without the edible fruits.
Plus, they are vining plants, so they can be used in various different scenarios; climbing up, hanging down, or forming a focal point when trained around a decorative trellis or other support.
However, they are displayed, the fascinating, bright green leaves that are split multiple times add a modern decoration element to any room.
But how do you take care of a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma correctly, to achieve a good specimen?
Well, caring for Rhaphidophora Plants is actually a relatively easy task, as The Bovees Team is going to explain in more detail below, covering subjects like;
What soil mix is best for a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma? Are there any pests or diseases that the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are prone to? Can you propagate a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma?
How To Care For A Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a lovely tropical plant that does exceptionally well indoors.
Let us go through the care requirements of a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma so that you understand precisely what you need to do to keep this plant healthy and happy.
Watering A Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
A Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs the appropriate watering schedule to properly to ensure it stays healthy. Keeping the correct moisture level is key.
To know when your plant requires more water you need to watch the soil. When the first inch (2.5 cm) of the soil is dry, it is time to water your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
This will help you ensure that the plant’s roots remain moist but do not get waterlogged. To know when you have watered your plant enough, you can watch the drainage holes at the bottom of your plant pot.
While watering your plant, wait until a bit of water begins to trickle out of the drainage hole/holes; when this happens, stop watering your plant.
Then put your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma back in a location with plenty of light. If any water starts pooling in the tray below your pot, empty it immediately to ensure your plant does not get waterlogged.
Watch out for yellow leaves and also for droopy leaves, both of these symptoms most likely signify over-watering,
Lighting For A Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant requires bright, indirect light conditions, but it needs to be protected from direct light, which can damage the plant. So, bright light but not direct sunlight.
Filtered sunlight/indirect light is the best light for this plant, so if your preferred room has direct sun then consider placing the plant behind a sheer curtain, this works excellently for a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
Alternatively, you can place this plant in an east-facing window. An eastern exposure window gets some morning sun and then shade for the remainder of the day.
But, if you do this, you do need to ensure that the light is adequate to keep your plant happy.
If you keep your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma in the shade for too long, it will begin to suffer. If your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant does not get enough sunlight, the leaves will not produce split lobes, which is, after all, the iconic style of this plant.
Low light could also stunt your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma’s growth or cause leggy growth.
If you think it doesn’t seem to be growing very fast, then it’s probably getting too little light, so simply move it plant to a brighter location in your home and see if that makes a difference.
If you lack a room with extra light, then consider investing in a small grow light. These days they come in some very attractive designs and add attractive ambient lighting to the room as well.
Soil Requirements For Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
R. tetrasperma needs light, aerated soil that has good drainage and with a decent amount of organic matter. This means that an ideal potting soil mix for this plant is; peat-based soil mixed with some pine bark or orchid bark, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
This organic mix is perfect for a R. Tetrasperma plant as it holds in moisture and provides good nutrients for the plant. However, you could also use an orchid potting mix as the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma has aerial roots.
Whichever soil mixture you choose, you need to ensure that it can hold moisture without becoming waterlogged or soggy. If water starts to pool on the soil’s surface when you water it, then it is time to repot your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma to change the soil.
Although they do benefit from regular fertilizing, especially during the growing season, be sure not to overfertilize your Rhaphidophora plant, as they have sensitive roots in the form of aerial roots.
Aerial roots are very sensitive to fertilizer burn so it’s best to stick to a liquid fertilizer, following the manufacturers dilution instructions carefully.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Temperature & Humidity
As the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant is a tropical plant, like almost all tropical plants, it does require high levels of humidity to ensure it is healthy.
The best humidity levels for this plant are relatively high humidity between 30 and 40%. This does mean that the usual humidity in households is too low to keep this plant happy.
To ensure that your R. tetrasperma gets enough humidity, you will need to mist its leaves or use a humidifier in the room at least once a day.
R. tetrasperma does well at average room temperature, but it does have an ideal temperature range that you should try and reach for.
As mentioned before, this plant originates from the tropics, so it prefers warm temperatures. The temperature ranges that this plant thrives in are between 68- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 27 degrees Celsius).
Never let the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
It is essential to try and keep the temperature in your home stable for your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, as extreme fluctuations can also stress the plant.
Repotting And Propagating A Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a fast-growing plant, and it will require repotting once a year.
To tell if your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs to be repotted, you can look at the drainage holes of your plant pot. If the plant’s roots are peeking out of the holes, it is time to repot the plant.
Some other signs that your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs to be repotted is if the water begins to drain slowly from the soil or if the plant’s growth begins to slow down. Repotting your plant is also an excellent time to check its roots for any sign of disease.
To repot your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, gently take the plant out of the pot, and remove any excess soil from the roots.
Trim off and decaying or dead roots, and then half fill a new, slightly bigger pot with your chosen soil mix. Place your plant into the new pot and fill the remaining spaces with soil rexchanging any existing trellis or moss pole for a larger replacement.
It is pretty easy to propagate your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant.
To do this, cut off a stem with a sterile knife/sharp shears/scissors, ensuring that the stem has at least three leaves and one node on it.
If there are any leaves at the lowest leaf node, remove them, so that you have three or four inches (7-10 cm) of space from the node to the rest of the leaves.
Then place this stem in a jar or glass of water and wait for new roots to grow from the node.
When the new roots are two inches (5 cm) long, you can plant the new plant in the soil.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Pests And Diseases
You need to watch for two main issues with your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma; these are root rot and spider mites. Spider mites are a pest that feeds on the sap of your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. These pests can quickly overrun and kill your pant.
If your plant has a webbing-like material under the leaves, that is a sign of spider mites. To rid your plant of spider mites, you can use a pesticide spray at low strength, and to prevent spider mites, you can spray diluted neem oil onto your plant’s leaves.
Root rot is a disease that over-watering your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma causes.
If your plant’s leaves turn yellow and the soil is very damp, you need to check for symptoms of root rot by removing the plant from it’s pot and checking to see that the roots have not turned brown.
If you do find symptoms of root rot then try trimming the roots back to find healthy ones and then do not water your plant until the soil starts to dry up; follow the watering instructions mentioned earlier in this article.
If your plant is in a plastic or ceramic pot, then you could also try repotting it in a terracotta pot which doesn’t hold onto as much moisture.
Is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Toxic?
Simple answer…it is toxic to cats, dogs & other small household pets and mildly toxic to humans.
This is due to the fact that it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which act as a defense against the plant being eaten by animals in the wild.
As indoor plants go, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a lovely exotic-looking plant with dramatic split leaves that provide a fascinating decoration for your home. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are relatively easy to care for as they are not prone to many pests or diseases, just like their cousins, Rhaphidophora decursiva.
Just ensure they get the proper humidity and bright indirect light, water them correctly, and they should be fine.
Even if you invest in a small specimen with a single bamboo stake as your initial plant, given the correct care, being a rapid grower, it will quickly grow into a full-sized plant and need a decent sized trellis, and before you know it you’ll have a beautiful, exotic jungle plant!