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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma (Mini Monstera): Care Guide

A bit about the Mini Monstera

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a reasonably modern houseplant that does exceptionally well indoors if given proper care. It has only really become popular and grown as an indoor plant within the last five years.

It might be "new," but they're fantastic value, grow quickly, are easy care and look both exciting and attractive simultaneously. Although common, they're still unusual enough to attract attention and look impressive in most settings.

Tall rhaphidophora tetrasperma houseplant in a white planter

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma (Mini Monstera) is an easy care vining plant that has become a popular houseplant in recent years.

If you allow your "Rhaphi" to climb, it will shoot straight-upward and creates a slender footprint without you needing to prune it into the shape. This is great when space is tight.

The vines are quite sturdy and thick, so they can hold themselves in position a little without support. But it does best if you let the aerial roots grip onto something, like a totem filled with sphagnum moss or coconut coir.

How do you pronounce Rhaphidophora tetrasperma correctly? Say:
Ra-fid-DOH-for-ruh Tet-Ra-Sper-Ma

It tends only to produce leaves facing one direction, so I've also seen people trailing it up walls behind sofas or beds. It's a really adaptable plant. Although, perhaps the best part of these plants is how fast they can grow.

This will be a fast grower if it's warm, gets good light, and is watered properly. Like super fast. Actually, when I think about it, I would say it's my fastest-growing houseplant. Ever.

In less than 18 months, one of mine (pictured in the photo above), went from a small plant with four leaves to one pushing into the ceiling. I was also dealing with an Aphid infestation for several months, which stopped it from growing altogether. So in ideal conditions, I think it would have easily arrived at the ceiling in 12 months.

Rhapidophora Tetrasperma single leaf showing the dark green leaves and fenestrations or splits

With its common names of Monstera minima and mini Monstera, it shouldn't be too surprising they have a "Monstera" look about the leaves.

Most people will know it by the common name, Mini Monstera because of its leaf shape that strongly resembles its cousin, Monstera deliciosa. I've sometimes seen it go by "Philodendron Ginny" or "Monstera Ginny", but this name doesn't seem to be used as often anymore.

Either way, the Mini Monstera isn't actually a Philodendron or a Monstera. It belongs to the Rhaphidophora genus. All three genuses, though, are within the Araceae family, so similarities in appearance and growth habits are to be expected.

Buying Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Plants

In the early days, they'd cost a fortune to buy. For the simple reason, that availability was very limited because so few plant sellers were selling them. Even small plants would cost well over $100.

They quickly became known as "rare houseplants," and when something is rare, it's often more desired, so the price bumps up even more. The demand led to plants being created by tissue culture, which allowed the market to be flooded with these plants, which lowered the price massively.

Today you should be able to pick up a reasonably decent-sized plant for well under $20. Plants with multiple stems, several in one container, or larger ones will cost considerably more. But this is all part of the usual "houseplant rules" and probably common sense.

Get what you like, but remember they're fast growers, so even small plants will become large quickly.

Can Rhaphidophora tetrasperma be variegated?

Yes, there are currently three main variegated varieties out there. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma "Variegated" has lightly speckled markings. You can get an idea of what it looks like on this Reddit Thread.

Care Differences
The all green variety will grow quicker and has more tolerance to lower light.

The variegated types grow slowly and you need to get the light requirements perfect for a healthy plant.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma "Albo" Variegated, has white or creamy variegation. It can cover large sections of a leaf or be more spread out and splotchy.

Finally you may come across Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Aurea. Similar to the Albo, but the markings are light green, almost yellow at times. Again another Reddit Thread to see a photo.

This might not come as a surprise, but all the variegated types are still considered "rare" and come with a heavy price tag. Often three digits. So if you really want one for your collection, be prepared to search and dig deep into your wallet.

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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Photos

Mini Monstera Care and Growing Guide

Light

Any care guide will just say that your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs bright indirect light. This is true, but what does that mean?

Basically, give as much light as possible without it being direct sun. Some very early morning or late afternoon sun should be tolerated, but watch your plant. If it's too much sun, the leaves get subtle yellow markings or straight-up black scorch marks.

Some lower light levels are okay too. My oldest Mini Monstera plant is around 10 feet away from a large South-East facing window and it produces new leaves every few weeks during the growing season.

I have another in an even darker spot, which is noticeably slower to grow. It's not ideal, but it's getting by. Too little light, though, can cause issues like leggy growth or new leaves not having as many fenestrations.

Watering

Overwatering can be a serious problem with these houseplants. They seem to have sensitive roots and are very prone to root damage if allowed to sit in waterlogged soil. So do be extra careful not to overdo it.

I let mine dry out almost completely. Well, I say I let it, but it's not on purpose. The potting mix just dries out incredibly fast. They're thirsty plants and will quickly use up the water. Once dried out, they hang a little more than usual, and it's obvious from a quick glance they need water.

Top Tip
Overwatering is this plant's main weakness. Don't mess up by giving too much. It's far better to underwater it for a while than letting it sit in soaked wet soil. You've been warned!

This "hanging" though might not be so noticeable to new plant parents. In the early days of ownership just use your senses and look at the potting mix or feel if it's damp.

The temperature, light levels and how warm it is will all determine how often you'll need to water your plant. My personal "normal" is at least once a week during Summer (sometimes twice), and maybe once every 10 to 14 days at other times of the year.

Humidity

You'll be fine if you have medium or high humidity levels in your home, which is anything above 40%. My plants have never had any issues relating to humidity problems. No brown tips or edges for example.

If you have regular spells of very low humidity, then you may experience these issues from time to time, but this is a pretty resilient indoor plant. Find ways to increase the humidity if you notice symptoms of a problem.

Low humidity levels can sometimes encourage pests like Spider Mites, which can be a pain to eliminate. However, I've not personally had them. If you're prone to problems you could look to increase the humidity with pebble trays or humidifiers, which may help improve your growing environment for all your houseplants.

Further reading -
Humidity and Houseplants Guide

Feeding

They can grow really fast, so it might fool you into thinking they're very heavy on the need for feed. But the leaves are quite far apart, the root system is fairly basic and the aerial roots tend to be relatively short. Average feeding is all that's required.

Anything with a high nitrogen content should be a good pick (most general houseplant feeds will provide this). You can use a slow release fertilizer, or a water based one.

If using a water based fertilizer, once every month during the main growing period (late Spring, Summer months) will be enough. It won't need anything in Fall or over Winter.

Temperature

They only grow when they're warm, so that's where I'm coming from here with these instructions.

If you're after growth too, the warmer the better should be what you're providing. If the temperatures drop to a cooler level, growth will slow or totally stop. 16°C (61°F) is the lowest I'd want in the growing seasons, so avoid cold spots like hallways.

They'll only grow when they're nice and warm.

Ideal temperatures though are a fair bit above 16°C (61°F). Mine becomes a super fast-growing plant in temperatures around 22°C (72°F) or more during the daytime.

Keep it out of cold draughts and unheated rooms during the Winter, as chilled temperatures can easily cause damage.

Repotting

Some Monstera plants have very thick and robust root systems, bursting out of their containers after 6 months. But this is a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, which is totally different and the roots are much more agreeable to life in a planter.

So the plant in the first picture in this article is almost 8 foot (250cm) tall. You can see how small the pot is relative to that height. They're slender plants and don't need masses of root space to reach heights like this.

The main reason for repotting really is to replace and refresh the growing medium. You will only need to repot once every two years. Maybe longer if things seem healthy.

What kind of potting soil should I use?

Aroids, including Rhaphidophoras, will grow well in various potting mixes. You can use ordinary straightforward peat (although I'd urge you to think about your carbon footprint and not contribute to needless environmental damage when alternatives exist), coconut coir, or most peat free blends are good picks too.

The goal is a free draining product that holds water but still provides plenty of space for air. Potting mixes that are kept too wet will result in your plant getting lots of yellow leaves and root rot.

Anything that feels chunky in your hands (think bits of orchid bark or perlite) will help with that "open" quality and that's what you need for an easy life (and best results).

Speed of Growth

Give them warmth, good light, and enough water, and you'll have a rapidly growing houseplant. They're super fast and will rapidly scramble up a moss pole or whatever support you give. One of the fastest growing indoor plants you can buy.

How big can it get?

Huge. That's how big they can get.

Like this big:

Mature plant with very large leaves

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care is easy stuff and with some time (and we're talking years here) your own plant could end up looking like this.

Did your eyes widen in surprise? Yes, the ones you buy from shops are mostly single-stemmed, with only a handful of leaves and dainty looking. Most photos online will just show elegant looking climbers.

Did You Know?
On mature, happy plants, each new leaf will get larger each time. Although the fenestrations in the leaves appear in the same position for almost every leaf, more will form in larger leaves.

But after several years, they can easily turn into outstanding show pieces with only some basic pruning along the way. The good news is that this look is optional. You can keep it looking neat or trim if you want or aim for something more robust and I'll go over that in more detail later.

Flowers

Blooms aren't common indoors. So you may go years without seeing anything. However, they are not rare or impossible to get, and it's pretty typical for flowers to appear occasionally.

Like many plants in the Araceae family, they have the same kind of look as a Peace Lily flower. The main difference is the "hood" (spathe) is thicker and wraps around the spadix more. Interesting for sure, but not overly remarkable. This is truly a foliage plant.

Is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma safe around pets?

Like many Aroids, these plants have evolved to produce calcium oxalate crystals that flow through most parts of the plants. One curious nibble is usually enough to deter any cat, dog or person. Forever.

It's not pleasant and although sensitive animals may have more adverse reactions like drooling or vomiting, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone whose pet suffered a fatal reaction.

That said, our advice is always the same with this question. Keep cheeky pets away from these houseplants. It's not worth risking the integrity of the plant by having your pet damage it, and seeing a pet in distress is worrying.

Let's talk about growing aesthetics

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma can be grown as a trailing plant, as a single stem up some natural (or artificial) support. It can also be encouraged to branch and become more bush-like with multiple stems.

Trailing

You can leave them to trail in a pot or a hanging basket if you want. They will look neat and "cute" for a little while, but if left alone within 6 months, they'll look unattractive.

They have a sprawling and untidy nature when grown like this. In their native habitat, they want to grow upwards and will look for trees or other taller plants to clamber up. In the home, they'll try and search for something.

A trailing Mini Monstera

If grown as a trailing plant, over time you may find it grows smaller leaves. Although, even a smaller leaf can still look pretty. - Photo by Jule.Kat

New leaves can also become smaller and the fenestrations are often lost. It doesn't reflect the desirable aesthetics about these plants and so I don't recommend trailing them in the long term.

That said you can cut off new growth and keep it pruned back so it stays neat and tidy. I've seen people doing this for several years quite successfully. The photo above illustrates how doing this would look.

Growing up a Support.

Growing up a support is probably the most common, and in my opinion, the best way to grow them.

Aerial Root Care
Although the Mini Monstera will grow aerial roots, they're not normally a nuisance and can be left alone.

I've seen people saying you should mist them for best results. But in my experience, you don't need to. The roots in the pot will provide enough moisture to all parts of the houseplant.

The support can be something like a moss pole or totem, you could also use a trellis of some kind. The advantage of a coconut coir totem or moss pole means the aerial roots will naturally adhere and anchor the growing stems into place.

I've seen people using cable ties for this, but you do not need to. These aerial roots are tough and will easily hold the plant in place.

Save the cable ties for any support structure that the roots can't grip into, like a solid wood trellis, or if you want it to cover a smooth wall.

There is something very visually appealing about how the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma has fairly spacious gaps between each internode. On top of this, each leaf will then alternate in a different direction to create a fan type shape. This results in a very sleek and elegant shape.

A less congested look with a single stemmed plant

Aerial roots emerge opposite every new leaf node. They're looking for something to grab hold of to support it.

Single stem plants like the one in the photo above, will give you a graceful and dainty looking plant. If you have two plants in one pot, or a plant with at least two stems (like the plant below) you'll get a slightly fuller look, but still retain the overall elegance.

Perhaps you're asking how to get double stems? There are two ways. The first is to simply grow two plants within the same pot, they'll intertwine and eventually look like one. (If you only have one plant, you could propagate new ones).

The second option is to cut the stem. Providing you have a healthy plant a new shoot will emerge from the leaf nodes below the cut. Super healthy plants will often create two or more growing shoots.

A two stemmed plant growing up a moss pole creates a more full look

Compared to the earlier photo, this plant has two stems growing together which creates a slender but "fuller" final result.

The choice is yours and will primarily come down to the look you want for your plant. Let me know in the comments how you grow yours, I'm always looking for design inspiration.



How to Grow Recap

  1. Low, medium or some direct sunlight

    Medium to Higher light levels without any intense sunshine is the best, but your plant will take some lower light areas for several months. Just don't expect much growth. A grow light can help supplement growth in low light conditions
  2. Regular watering needs.

    In warm temperatures and if it's getting decent levels of light, it does drink quite a bit of water. But it's perfectly happy to dry out completely for a few days without any major problems.

    For best results, try and water your plant whenever 50% or so of the potting mix has completely dried.
  3. Warm Temperatures.

    The Mini Monstera is a tropical plant and therefore needs warm temperatures to be truly happy. Anything above 17°C (62°F) will be fine. Lower temperatures or those only a little above 17°C (62°F) might stop or restrict growth completely.
  4. Occasional Feeding.

    Not heavy feeders, but Rhaphidophora plants will respond well to being fed at least on a semi regular basis. Aim for once a month with a well balanced feed. No feed is needed in Winter.
  5. Overwatering is often the biggest reason plants fail.

    Avoid soggy soil at all costs, and be extra careful during the winter months. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma does not cope well in growing mediums that take a very long time to dry out and root rot is common in these circumstances.

    A free draining potting mix and a planter with at least one drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, is a must.
  6. The aerial roots don't need to be pruned.

    The aerial roots that form to the side of the leaves are fairly small and not invasive like those on the popular Monstera deliciosa. My advice is to leave them alone.
  7. Common Pests

    Watch out for the occasional Spider Mite or Aphid. They can weaken the plant and stop it growing. Treat any invaders in the usual ways, such as insecticidal soap, or neem oil etc. We have a full Pest Guide for further help.

Common Problems and Issues

So I hope my Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care guide helps you properly raise your plant and has given you some tips and useful information.

If you're having a problem with your Mini Monstera though, we're working on an article that explores all of the issues and common problems owners come across. It'll be ready soon.


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


Credit for trailing Mini Monstera Jule.Kat


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