Are you just learning about Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, the “Mini Monstera”? It’s one of the most photogenic of all houseplants and, well, it’s been having a bit of a moment.
This wonderful plant is worth getting to know, no matter how green your thumb might or might not be.
R. Tetrasperma Basics
R. Tetrasperma is a tropical plant that originally comes from Thailand and Malaysia. It’s a small climbing plant with lush green leaves with a shiny, waxy appearance. The leaves have a waxy nature to them that give off that tropical vibe, like neat little palm fronds that were redesigned by a minimalist.
The plant has taken off as a house plant because it’s handsome and it’s hardy. You might not think about your houseplants every day, and that’s fine for R. Tetrasperma, which isn’t a fussy plant so long as you give it sufficient water and light, both of this don’t need to be delivered in exact amounts or with unerring regularity.
Light And R. Tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma grows better in lots of light. Indirect and direct light are both fine and filtered light is OK too, but the point is that the plant likes a lot of light. West and south exposures are ideal in the United States but East will work as well.
Low light situations won’t necessarily kill this plant, but it’ll see slow growth and below average size, with the plant sometimes appearing pale or unhealthy.
Watering R. Tetrasperma
Being a tropical plant, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma grows best when it’s keep moist. It doesn’t need to be wet, and it doesn’t need to be regularly watered all year long, just during the growing season.
During the warm months, you’ll want to water the plant about once a week, or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch at a depth of about an inch.
During the winter you can water it every two weeks, making sure that the roots stay reasonable moist, even if the surrounding soil is on the dry wide.
Much of this fill vary with how larger of a pot the plant is in, so, generally speaking you should figure on weekly waterings and not stress out if you miss one or go on vacation.
Soil And R. Tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma isn’t picky about its soil but you want the soil and its container to drain well. The soil should be loose and aerated, the way you might image a jungle topsoil to been, not tight or firmly tamped down. Potting soil with a mixture of moss, charcoal, and other organic matter additives is ideal.
You can add some peat-vermiculite or peat-perlite into your soil or you could even go completely soil-less with 100% peat-vermiculite or peat-perlite if you’d like.
You can use sphagnum (peat) moss as an additive into your potting soil or use 100% of this if you happen to have a lot of it. The plant will be fine either way, so long as it’s stable and kept moist.
Fertilizing R. Tetrasperma
The plant is a bit on the greedy side, preferring a rich fertilized soil. Light, regularly fertilizing is best as opposed to do occasional, heavy doses. Any general house plant fertilizer will be fine so long as it is has nitrogen in it. You can use a balance fertilizer or nitrogen-heavy one, but make sure you fertilize during the growth season and not during the winter.
If you are having trouble finding a fertilizer look for one an “NPK” variety with the first number being equal to or above the rest (the first number is the nitrogen).
Humidity And R. Tetrasperma
We only have so much control over the humidity level of our homes, so this one is going to be hit and miss for people. This plant is ideal at 40% humidity, perhaps a bit more, so placing it near a bathroom or humidifier is a good idea if you live in a drier area (like the Northeast US). That said, lower than optimal humidity isn’t going to be a major factor in the plant’s living or dying.
Temperature and R. Tetrasperma
This, again, is a tropical plant so temperature ranges of 60 to 100 degrees F are fine and 70-80 degrees F are ideal. This means you can keep it outside or perhaps on a balcony or fire escape for part of the year, but you’ll want to take it in during the cool/cold part of the year.
Also, if you live in a warm area, you won’t want to forget it outside in the direct sun on a hot patio or rooftop and it can can scorched if the temperature jumps above 100 degrees F. If this happens make sure take the plant inside as soon as you think of it and get it some water.
Splitting R. Tetrasperma
If you have a healthy plant and you’d like more, you can propagate this plant without problems. You can do this by cutting off a tip or leaf bud and planting it in any of the above soil mixture and giving the plant a month (or so) to get roots down. Stem cuttings should grow nicely given the same growing conditions as the plant, and making sure moist levels are consistent and, if anything, generous.
Image Courtesy Wikipedia