If you’re a plant lover, you’ve likely heard of the Monstera Deliciosa plant. The Monstera Deliciosa plant has large, intricately shaped leaves and makes a beautiful indoor companion. However, the large Monstera Deliciosa takes up a lot of space and can be difficult to care for indoors.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, also called mini Monstera - which we will focus on in this guide - is the smaller cousin of the Deliciosa and is the perfect option for apartment dwellers or anyone who loves these fabulous tropical plants.
About Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Plants
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is commonly known as the “Mini Monstera.” As the name implies, they are the miniature version of the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. They are compact climbing plants perfectly suited for any space, big or small. A highly sought-after houseplant, it’s important to know a bit more about the houseplant before you purchase one for your home.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is native to lush and humid regions of Thailand and Malaysia. The plant was first formally documented in 1893 by British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. As a Rhaphidophora, it falls into the same family as the Monstera Deliciosa but is its own unique genus.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant has a few other common names, including:
- Philodendron Monstera
- Philodendron Piccolo
- Philodendron Ginny
- Monstera Ginny
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma features six-inch split leaves. Each point of the split leaf may be rounded or sharp, depending on the maturity and particular conditions of your plant. Leaf color can range from a brilliant bright green to autumnal yellow.
Though the leaves are small and look like baby leaves as compared to similar species, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants can grow surprisingly tall. Left unchecked, the climbing vines can reach a towering height of twelve feet.
When kept indoors, it’s fairly easy to keep these lovely little plants trimmed and manageable in comparison to other plants. Most growers keep their Mini Monsteras between 4 - 6 feet.
How To Care for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
Despite their delicate appearance, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is quite hardy and an easy to grow houseplant! Its resilience and ability to adapt are key factors to its widespread popularity as an indoor ornamental plant. Here are a few important facts to know about Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma care.
How long can you expect your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plant to live? This plant is somewhat seasonal; it's growing season in the Spring and Summer. It will not necessarily die in the winter, but its growth will slow or stop.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma does best in filtered but strong sunlight. If you are keeping your Philodendron “Ginny” indoors, placing it by a sunny window with direct sunlight is perfectly fine. However, you will need to do a bit more work to find a suitable outdoor spot; you won't want to place it in too much direct sun. Direct sun will be too harsh on your plant - you want to place it in a spot with bright indirect light. Find a space that gets consistent but lightly shaded but bright indirect light throughout the day.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is not a low light plant; it needs enough light! While it enjoys shade, it does not tolerate low-light conditions and too little light. Look for spots that receive morning sun or filtered or “bright” shade such as spaces with indirect light to avoid leggy growth and small folliage.
Thanks to its hardy nature, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a forgiving plant when it comes to watering. While you should strive to keep the soil moist, it won’t uproot and wither from one or two missed drinks.
To know if you’re properly watering your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, check the soil! It should be moist, but not wet. If there is sitting water, you’ve watered far too much.
For more detail-oriented folks, measure the dry soil’s depth. A well-watered Philodendron “Ginny” will have soil that has expanded around one to two inches above this baseline with proper hydration.
During the winter or when temperatures are on the chilly side, you can cut down on your watering as these plants require less water rin the winter season.
Humidity & Temperature
As has been the theme with this lovely plant, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma can tolerate a wide range of environments. It will do well in any home, where the usual humidity hovers between 30-50%. These plants love warm temperatures. If you are able, increase humidity to create moist conditions for the best growth possible!
These plants should be kept in a temperate climate. A temperature range of 55–99°F is perfect. This means that, if you happen to live in an area that experiences extreme heat or cold, it’s best to grow your Philodendron “Ginny” indoors. In more temperate climates, it’s a splendid outdoor plant. Should temperatures become extreme, it may be best to bring your botanical friend inside until the weather normalizes.
Soil & Fertilizer
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants will fare perfectly well in a pot with standard store-bought potting mix. The ideal potting mix is chunky but loose so that it can drain properly after a good watering and allow for proper aeration. Potting mix that becomes soggy, damp, or smelly when wet is not a good choice for this plant.
If you really want to see your plant thrive, you’ll also need some fertilizer. Brown-heavy compost, rich in dried materials and nutrients, does wonders for this gorgeous climbing plant. You can purchase fertilizer at the store, but making some at home can save you a great deal of money.
The convenient Lomi countertop composter is perfect for creating a fantastic compost mix for your current or future Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Simply add the proper composting components and run the Lomi for two days. The result can then be mixed at a ratio of one part compost to ten parts soil (1:10).
Repotting & Pruning
In addition to its longevity and spunk, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a prolific grower! When you first purchase your Philodendron “Ginny”, be sure to stock up on a few pots. With proper conditions, you may need to re-pot this plant twice (or more!) per year. On average, however, you should only need to re-pot it annually.
Pruning your Philodendron “Ginny” is simple. Aside from trimming the plant down when its height becomes too much for you, there is little additional maintenance. When you see dried or dead leaves, these may be easily plucked from the stem by hand.
Much like how Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma care is a breeze, so, too, is its propagation!
You’ll be able to know when to start propagating when you see tiny leaf nodes on your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. These are small, often bulbous portions of stem from which multiple leaves will emerge. When you spot these, take a clipping!
From here, you may opt for one of two options.
The most common variety of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma propagation occurs in soil. After you take your node clipping, find the bulbous base. This will be the point at which the roots will branch out. Bury this beneath some soil and care for the plant as usual. Make sure that the lowest leaf node is under the surface.
After some time, you’ll see a new plant start to grow! If you want to give the process a boost, a delicious mix of Lomi-powered fertilizer will give this little sprout the nutrients it needs to take off.
An alternative to soil propagation is to place the node’s chunky end into some water. This provides the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma with the nutrients and moisture needed to grow. Over time, roots will form, and you can eventually repot the sprout into some soil.
A healthy Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma needs climbing support to thrive! This cannot be stressed enough as they are vining plants. While some places may decide to hang their houseplants from a hanging basket, this will result in a thin, gangly-looking plant. The vines will not be as strong as they should be, and the plant may be more prone to diseases and breakage.
The type of climbing support provided to your plant will vary based on its size. Smaller plants can be trained for some time with a simple stick of moss or bamboo. When the plant begins to take off, upgrade to a proper trellis.
A well-trimmed, tall plant will do well on something as basic as a teepee setup. If you want to get a bit fancier, you can build or purchase a more ornate trellis.
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a healthy plant. When kept in optimal conditions, it will experience few complications. Most problems this plant will encounter can be traced to poor conditions, such as improper watering, poor humidity, excessive heat or cold, and having too small of a pot. It's important to be knowledgeable about Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma care to avoid these common issues.
While the plant, itself, is quite resilient, it can have sensitive roots. To ensure the best health for your plant, be sure to carefully measure any fertilizer mixes; excessive fertilization will easily cause fertilizer burn. Symptoms of this malady will appear one or two days after fertilization and include withering, yellowing, and wilting of the plant.
Another common malady of the Philodendron “Ginny” is root rot, which occurs when the soil has become too waterlogged. This may be treated by removing the plant from its container with a sterile knife and repotting it in fresh, dry soil.
Leaves can be a variety of greens on these plants, but they may sometimes appear an unnatural color. The root cause may be more complex than it may first appear. In general, there are two common leaf discolorations, and each has its own unique set of causes.
Brown or spotty leaves indicate that the plant is either overly dry or excessively wet. For dry plants, provide more water. Waterlogged plants should be allowed to sit and dry out a bit more than usual.
Yellow leaves often indicate that the plant is stressed. These are a bit trickier to fix, as the cause can be one of many things. The most common sources of this issue are poor soil quality (either excessive or insufficient fertilizer), extreme conditions, and lighting problems.
Small or Solid Leaves
Sometimes, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants may present with small leaves, perhaps without their usual fenestrations or “forks”. If this is the case, your plant probably isn’t receiving enough sunlight. Move your friend into a better spot; you should start seeing some fenestration soon enough.
A plant that has excessively long, fragile vines is often called “leggy” by plant enthusiasts. This is not necessarily an affliction, but it leads to undesirable visual results. To solve this issue, be sure that you’ve provided your Philodendron “Ginny” with proper climbing support.
Like all plants, your mini Monstera may attract bugs like spider mites. Spider mites are quite common pests that are attracted to mini Monsteras, but can be removed easily. Other critters that may seek shelter in your plant include springtails, weevils, and common house flies. Keep in mind that some of these bugs are beneficial to your plant. Springtails can help break down dead or dying potting soil components, creating natural nutrients for your botanical buddy.
However, if you simply cannot stand these additional roommates, removing them is simple. Placing your mini Monstera in the shower and hosing it off will remove any pests from its leaves. To remove soil-based critters, however, you may need to re-pot your plant in a new pot.
Many of the diseases of a mini Monstera overlap with common care concerns. Moisture-induced root rot and sunburn are all easily treatable by upgrading your plant’s setting and environment.
With its resilience, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is not particularly prone to any major botanical diseases. However, it may fall prey to fungal root rot. The symptoms of this are the same as the more common moisture-induced root rot; the plant will wilt and growth will slow. To treat the condition, spray the potting mix with fungicides.
There are commercially available fungicides, but you can also make your own treatment with some detective work. If you can spot the fungus in the potting mix, your pantry likely has a solution! Milk, compost “tea”, vinegar, and baking soda are all amazing fungicides when used properly.
The best treatment for a mini Monstera is prevention! You can easily prevent fungal root rot by keeping your plant in proper conditions and using the right soil. Caring for your plant should revolve around a safe, mindful routine.
To avoid fungus in the first place, you can follow these tips:
- Have the right soil. It should have good drainage and aeration.
- Water around the plant, not on the leaves.
- Add new soil and compost at least once a year to help cycle out harmful bacteria.
- Avoid over-watering your plant.
- Stay on top of maintenance by removing any fallen or dead leaves.
- Don’t cluster too many plants together in your room. This makes it easier for diseases to spread!
- For outdoor plants, encourage springtail population growth! These tiny critters eat fungus and waste.
Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Pet Safe?
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is not pet safe!
As a member of the Araceae family of plants, these gorgeous plants contain components that may be harmful to many common pets. In particular, the Philodendron “Ginny” produces calcium oxalate crystals.
These microscopic substances are meant to prevent herbivores from eating the plant. When ingested by a dog or cat, these same calcium oxalate crystals may cause stomach upset, lethargy, or (when eaten in large quantities) death.
If you want to keep a mini Monstera in a pet-friendly home, keep it in a space or room that is off-limits to your furry friends!
For exotic pet owners, however, the plant may be suitable for a large setup or room. While Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma should not be used with any herbivorous animals (such as rabbits, hamsters, hedgehogs, and geckos), it is perfectly safe to use in a terrarium housing frogs, toads, or snakes.
Boost Your Plant’s Growth
If you really want to amp up your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma’s growth, you should invest in some high-quality fertilizer. A biweekly regimen of growth-boosting fertilizer can be beneficial to your Philodendron “Ginny”. However, its delicate roots can be easily harmed by poor quality or too much fertilizer. When this occurs, it’s known as fertilizer burn.
Preventing fertilizer burn revolves around carefully measuring the amount of fertilizer you use. To ensure your plant’s wellbeing, you should also monitor the amount of nitrates in your fertilizer; if you’re using compost, this will come from an abundance of “green” or “wet” components. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is particularly sensitive to nitrates, and excessive amounts can easily harm the plant.
For the absolute best results, consider investing in an at-home composter to create your own fertilizer! With this solution, you can do good for your plant and the earth. By using your food scraps to create compost, you reduce your overall footprint while also maintaining the perfect balance of nutrients for your plant.
One of the best options available to consumers is the Lomi countertop composter. These innovative units begin to roll out in January 2022, and each is capable of creating fresh, nutrient-rich, custom-made compost within two days or less!
With the Lomi, you can use your food waste, which would otherwise end up in a landfill, to create a perfectly balanced compost for your mini Monstera.
By coupling this amazing compost with proper care and attention, you’ll be able to enjoy the company of a gorgeous, healthy mini Monstera for years!