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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Problems and Issues Guide

Your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Problems Solved

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma problems and issues are not a common occurrence. But when they do pop up, they can ruin the look and growth of your houseplant.

The good news is that if you fix the cause of the issue, these plants will recover quickly. And this guide will let you identify what's gone wrong and help you solve the problem.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma with a yellow leaf

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a modern houseplant with the common names of Mini Monstera, Monstera minima and Philodendron Ginny.

If you've had this plant for a while (or if you are new to it), you should definitely spend some time reading my guide on how to care for your Mini Monstera.

It's usually a trouble free plant, so if you're having issues, a refresh in what it needs for care would be a really good idea.

Naturally, if you've found this article, you likely already have issues that need to be solved. So let's get on with sorting that now.

What's wrong with my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma?

  1. Yellow Leaf Markings
  2. Yellow Leaves
  3. Root Rot
  4. Dying Growth Shoots
  5. Brown spots or brown leaf edges
  6. No growth
  7. Loss of Fenestration / Leaf Splits
  8. Plant Touching Ceiling
  9. Aphids
  10. Spider Mites
  11. Mosaic Virus
  12. Slow Propagation

Yellow Leaf Markings

Usually, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaves are a constant shade of green, but sometimes slight yellowing or markings will appear on the leaves. It could be in small patches or splashes. If the entire leaf is going yellow, that's another issue.

Causes

Several things can cause this yellowing. You'll have to do a little investigating to see which of the following causes fits.

  • Too much light.
    Leaves are easily damaged by intense sunlight hitting them. Move it out of the sun's rays or provide some shielding to create indirect light instead.
  • Mosaic Virus.
    This has its own entry a little further on.
  • Pest Pressures.
    Any sap-sucking pest will cause microscopic damage to the leaves of a rhaphidophora plant, which can cause random patches of yellowing. Check the underside of the affected leaves and look out for Aphids, Spider Mites or Thrips in particular.
  • Too much feed.
    Giving too much fertilizer can cause fertilizer burn. But in all honestly, this is fairly rare for most houseplant owners, so the causes above are much more likely.

    If you're a known overfeeder, just add some slow-release organic fertilizer to the soil mix whenever you repot your plant and then make a point only to feed your plant once or twice each year.

Yellow Leaves

Almost every single houseplant will give you yellowing leaves from time to time. This is quite drastic appearance wise and can cause worry. It might not be anything to be concerned about though.

Mini Monstera houseplant with yellowing leaves

This Mini Monstera has yellowing leaves, which a few issues could have caused.

Causes

Several things can cause this type of leaf yellowing. These are the most likely.

  • Natural aging.
    Mini Monstera plants do not shed their leaves often, but they will occasionally still do it. The odd leaf going yellow could be natural aging, especially if it's one of the oldest leaves.
  • Overwatering.
    If a couple of leaves are going yellow at once, check the potting mix. It could be the early (or advanced) stages of root rot caused by overwatering if the soil is very damp or wet.
  • Draughts with Cold Temperatures.
    These are tropical plants and like it warm. The cold or chilly draughts blowing by the leaves can be harmful. If you've noticed a chill near your plant, it could be time to move it somewhere warmer.

Root Rot

Every plant's parent's worst nightmare. When it seems your plant is collapsing, leaves going yellow, mushy stems and a general wilting, it's time to check the roots and look for possible root rot.

This will be the problem if the roots are mushy or black rather than firm and grey or white.

Causes

Root rot almost always occurs when the potting medium has been saturated with water for a prolonged period. It's more common in planters without drainage holes but can still happen easily in other circumstances when the plant needs less water, such as during winter.

The water pushes out all of the air, stopping effective root respiration. At the same time, harmful bacteria and fungi are taking over and damaging your plant's roots.

  • Overwatering.
    This is the primary cause of root rot. Essentially putting too much water into the soil and not letting it drain out of the pot or not allowing the potting mix to dry out enough before reaching for the watering can again.
  • Not using a free draining potting mix.
    Some potting mixes are very compact or hold a considerable amount of water. Many plants would struggle in this type of growing medium. Use "open" and free draining mixes. This helps excess water flow through and not create boggy or saturated soils.
  • Avoid Overwatering and spot the early signs of it happening.
    In this article, I'll teach you how to know if you're overwatering your houseplants?

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Dying Growth Shoots

I would say this is unusual, but it's clearly worrying to see. The growth tips go rotten or start to die off and go brown.

mouldy and brown growth stem on a rhaphidophora tetrasperma

This is more common in the winter but can still occur at any point during the year.

Causes

This can be tricky to accurately diagnose as a many factors could be at play. Look through the following and see if anything resonates.

  • Overwatering.
    Overwatering typically affects the leaves, but sometimes, it can cause rotten stems or the growing tips to rot. It's not the most common reason, but if you can rule out the following two issues, come back to this one.
  • A cultural problem.
    A pest infestation can weaken the plant resulting in it abandoning the main growing stem. High humidity or lots of water sitting around this area (perhaps from misting) can also cause this type of rotting. If you clear up the issue, then the growing stem should recover.
  • Damage.
    If the growing tip has been hit, knocked off, or damaged somehow, it can cause a problem. If the damage is minor, it should grow around the issue. If it's more severe damage, you should see a new growth shoot at a leaf node below (where the leaf and aerial root emerge from), gradually taking over and becoming the main stem.

Brown spots or brown leaf edges

Fortunately for most owners, this is pretty rare and when it does occur, it usually only appears on one or two leaves.

This section covers random brown circles on the leaf, or brown leaf edges as similar things can cause them.

Brown crispy marks on leaf

Brown spots with yellow halos can be tricky to diagnose.

Causes

There are a couple of things that can cause this, the trick to working out which it could be is to think about how the plant has been cared for in recent weeks.

  • Low Humidity.
    This can trigger brown patches to appear. Normally on the leaf edge rather than within the leaf.
  • Sun damage.
    If intense sunlight falls onto the leaves, some areas can burn and go brown.
  • Underwatering.
    Sporadic underwater usually does no harm, but it can result in brown patches on the leaves over long periods. During Spring and Summer, try and give it regular waterings for a happy plant.

No growth

These are generally fast-growing plants over the growing seasons of Spring and Summer and put out a lot of growth during this period. That's almost six months every year where you can expect a new left every few weeks. So if you're not getting any new growth over this period, something is wrong.

Causes

Not growing is usually a cultural or environmental condition. It can normally be resolved pretty easily and one of the four reasons is typically the culprit.

  • Not warm enough.
    Tropical houseplants usually need it warm and I've found Rhaphidophora tetrasperma to be quite fussy in cooler temperatures. Daytime temperatures should always be above 16°C (61°F). This is the minimum level for growing, if you want faster growth you'll need to put it somewhere warmer than this.
  • Not enough light.
    They'll get by in lower light areas, but not thrive in these places. It could be a light issue if you notice little to no growth. Move your plant out of the low light conditions and you should see improvement quickly. If you can't do this, look into getting a grow light.
  • It's time to feed your plant.
    Although they're not heavy feeders, they will still benefit from a high nitrogen fertilizer. Try and feed every few months as a minimum.
  • Does it need repotting?
    They do alright in smaller planters, but the time will come when there is no spaces for roots to grow into. When this happens growth will slow and it's time to repot your plant into a new container a little bigger than the existing one.

Loss of Fenestration / Leaf Splits

Brand new plants typically produce simple leaves with no holes or fenestrations. Once established, all leaves going forward should be fenestrated with a similar pattern from leaf to leaf.

Over time the leaves being produced get larger and with that comes more and more leaf splits and details. If that's not happening, then somethings wrong.

Causes

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are adaptable based on the growing environment, so any change in leaf shape will be caused by an environmental issue.

  • Too little light.
    This is perhaps the most common reason. When light levels are poor for a prolonged period, the leaf shape becomes more simple looking. You may also notice smaller leaves and that the stems grow for longer before producing a leaf, so things seem sparse or "leggy".
  • No support.
    Although they're not Monstera plants, they have a similar quirk to Monstera deliciosa plants. Both types are much less likely to produce leaf splits and fenestrations if the aerial roots are dangling and not attached to anything.

    Grow them up a moss pole / totem so the aerial roots can anchor into something and the splits should quickly start to form in the new leaves going forward.

Plant Touching Ceiling

If this is a problem you're facing, I should probably start by congratulating you for growing your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma so well!

But yes, once your plant has reached the roof of its growing environment, then what?

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma touching the roof of a room

The Mini Monstera is a vining plant from Southern Thailand that will grow to impressive heights. So at some point, those stems are going to reach your ceiling.

Causes

Good care and a happy plant are the causes of this "problem".

  • Prune the top few feet.
    You can cut the stem towards the top of the plant. A new growth shoot (or two) should form from the first internode below the cutting point. Depending on how low down you prune, this will buy you a few months (maybe more) before it hits your roof again.

    You can also propagate new plants from the stem sections you've cut off.
  • Train it in a different direction.
    Generally, the stem will always grow upwards. But you could train the stems to grow in a different direction, so it takes longer to reach the ceiling. Gently secure them in place with pins, or ties.

Aphids

All my Mini Monstera's, including propagated cuttings, are resistant to many pests. However, Aphids seem very attracted to them and I've had to battle them on two separate occasions.

Aphids on a tetrasperma leaf

Aphids feeding on a tetrasperma leaf

Causes and Solutions

The causes are varied, from bringing home a new plant that's already infected or having them growing near an open window and one of these insects flying in and setting up a home.

The fact you can see them, makes treatment a bit easier.

  • Treatment.
    Insecticidal soap or Neem Oil can be effective fixes. But if they're not shifting, we have a full guide dealing with houseplant pests that covers Aphids, so check it out of you need help.
  • Keep a close eye on your plant going forward.
    Your plant could be susceptible to pests so keep a careful watch for any recurrences and treat quickly. Aphids are common carriers of Mosaic Virus as well as stunting or stopping growth. So it's in your interest to deal with them as soon as they appear.

Spider Mites

These can be prevalent insect pests for some people, especially if you live in a low humidity country or home. Plants contain a suitable home for Spider Mites to live and feed and in time can create a large infestation.

The little insects constantly pierce the leaves and the plant heals by creating small brown dots in the process. Over time this both weakens the plant as well as ruins the look.

Solutions

Trying to find ways to deter them is the best approach as they can be tricky to get rid of entirely once they've set up home. Here are my easy tips.

Mosaic Virus

Viruses aren't very common for indoor plants, but Mosaic Virus is fairly common in plants that fall in the Araceae family. Such as Monstera's and of course Rhaphidophora plants.

Some owners might think it's a pretty pattern, or they have a rare variegated plant. But often it's just the Mosaic Virus. While it rarely kills plants, it can be unattractive, potentially weaken plants and if there is a subtle carrier, it can spread to other houseplants in your collection.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaf infected with the mosaic virus

It may look like a nutrient deficiency, but it's actually a virus.

Causes

It's normally caused by a pest that pierces leaves and feeds off the plant's sap. Aphids are popular carriers, but any sap sucking insect could theoretically transmit it. This is how to avoid it and deal with the problem.

  • Deal with pests Promptly.
    Inspect your plants regularly, and if you spot a pest problem, try to deal with it quickly before it can multiply and pose a bigger threat.
  • Infection tends not to spread around the plant.
    Although the pests can move around and affect several leaves, once they've been taken care of, it's not common for Mosaic Virus to naturally progress to other leaves on the plant. This means you can remove affected leaves, and the new ones that grow should not be infected.
  • No cure.
    There is no cure to deal with the leaves and plants already affected. However, the virus should stop spreading once the pests have been removed. It might be worth discarding badly affected plants if the damage is very widespread.

Slow Propagation

You can propagate new plants easily through stem cuttings, but many people seem to have issues with the cuttings being slow to take or grow new roots. They're not considered a rapid grower at this stage, but once established they take off.

Mini Monstera cutting rooting in a glass jar filled with water

This cutting has finally rooted, but it's taken over a month as the green algae growing shows.

Causes

Cuttings usually root pretty well, whether that's in soil or water, but a few things can slow it down.

  • Too cold.
    This is a tropical plant so just like the main plant, cuttings need to be warm to grow.
  • Not enough light.
    If you're trying to propagate in a darker location it will take time for roots to start growing from the nodes. Keep your plant out of direct sunlight, but see if providing a little more light could help.
  • The time of year.
    Fall and Winter are cooler months, as well as darker generally. This time of year presents the cuttings with a double whammy of difficulty, with the cooler temperatures they dislike and the reduction in light. If you need replacement plants fast, try and propagate in Spring and Summer.


About the Author

Tom Knight

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years, Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the .

Also on Ourhouseplants.com



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