Skip to Content

Join the Brittany Goldwyn newsletter today! Subscribe

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Care

Learn how to care for the gorgeous rhaphidophora tetrasperma care tips.

All about growing rhaphidophora tetrasperma!

Time for a new plant care guide! This one hits all the marks, too—easy to grow and prolific with the ability to climb over trellises and poles for a lush look. It’s the rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant…but you might see it labeled “mini monstera,” “monstera ginny,” “philodendron monstera,” or “philodendron piccolo.”

This is all very confusing because it’s not a monstera or philodendron. It’s a rhaphidophora. But it’s easy to see why this plant is often confused with a monstera deliciosa. The leaves have similar fenestrations (splits) in their leaves, and tetrasperma leaves truly do look like smaller monstera deliciosa leaves. So let’s talk care.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma climbing on a pole

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma care overview

  • Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is native to Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Fast growing with small leaves and vines that can reach up to 12 feet.
  • Often confused with monstera and called a “mini monstera” due to similar leaf fenestrations.
  • Thrives in bright indirect light; too much direct light can burn its leaves.
  • Does not tolerate low light well.
  • Water when the top few inches of soil are dry.
  • Plant in a well-draining houseplant mix.
  • Does well in normal household temperatures; not cold hardy.
  • Appreciates extra humidity but does fine without it.
  • Support with a trellis or pole to encourage upward growth.
  • Propagate easily using stem cuttings.
  • Considered toxic due to calcium oxalates in its sap.

Where is this plant from?

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is an aroid in the Araceae family, rhaphidophora genus, tetrasperma species. It is native to Thailand and Malaysia and is a gorgeous evergreen vining plant. While it vines like crazy, its leaves stay fairly small—only about 4 to 6 inches long.

And the vines can get up to 12 feet long, though typically they are much shorter when potted as houseplants. I have pictures of my plant throughout this guide, and you’ll see that it has grown quite a bit in the years I’ve had it! I’ve even pruned it a few times.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. monstera deliciosa

Many plants have “common” or well-known names at nurseries that can be confusing, and this is definitely one of those. You’ll often see it referred to as a “monstera ginny” or a “mini monstera.” It doesn’t help that this plant’s leaves look a lot like the monstera deliciosa’s leaves.

But this isn’t a monstera. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a cousin of both of these since they are all members of the Araceae family. But it’s from a totally different genus. In fact, they are actually from different parts of the world. Have a look at the comparison photos below.

large monstera deliciosa
Mature monstera deliciosa
rhaphidophora tetrasperma climbing on a trellis
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

How much light does it need?

Tetrasperma grows very well in bright indirect light. Right in front of a sunny window is great, but avoid too much direct sun outdoors. It can and will burn the leaves—in its natural habitat, it lives under a canopy of dense foliage, leading to dappled sunlight. 

Don’t keep your tetrasperma in an area with too little light, though. You can’t get away with snake plant and zz plant levels of low light inside. If you don’t get a lot of good light inside, you can add a grow light. I have had mine under a single LED grow light hanging from the ceiling in a lower light area of my home for a while.

I’ve also had it in my high-light area that gets bright indirect late morning, afternoon, and early evening sun. And in the summer I’ve even moved propagations outside onto my covered patio so they can enjoy the humidity—they’ve all done well!

me holding a rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant

What is the best soil?

If you plant your tetrasperma in light, well-draining soil, it will help to facilitate air flow and drainage. You can add a bit more coco coir or fine moss, perlite, or both to indoor potting soil to help with drainage. However, most mixes labeled “indoor” or “houseplant” at the garden center will be just fine.

Water when the top two inches of soil are dry. When you do water, soak the soil thoroughly, letting all of the excess water drain from the pot. I do not recommend letting this one dry out much more before watering again.

I tend to have a light hand when watering many of my plants, but the rhaphidophora tetrasperma will not tolerate underwatering very well. It will quickly begin showing its discomfort by yellowing off and killing the oldest leaves on its stems. These leaves will not grow back once they have dropped.

How often should I water it?

Watering is also a very important part of rhaphidophora tetrasperma care—and I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get the right routine down! This plant comes from tropical environments, so it enjoys being moist during the growing season. However, it doesn’t want to be waterlogged. This will prevent the flow of oxygen to the plant’s roots.

rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaves
rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaves
mini monstera plant with a new leaf unfurling
mini monstera climbing up a bamboo stake

Temperature & humidity

R. tetrasperma tolerates a variety of normal household temperature levels quite well. It doesn’t like to get below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and can be grown outdoors year round in USDA zones 9–12. It isn’t hardy to frost and will die. On the other extreme, it may wilt with temperatures above 100F.

Humidity plays a really important role in this plant’s health too. It will do well in normal household humidity, which is typically around 40%. But it will do really well in higher humidity—60–70% humidity levels. You can add a humidifier near the plant to boost moisture in the air. 

You can also group your plants together to help keep ambient humidity levels a bit higher. This is what I try to do with this plant. It’s too big to fit in my glass cabinet for higher humidity plants, but that’s the perfect spot for a tetrasperma propagation!

huge climbing rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant on a trellis
rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaf close up

Growth rate & repotting

Tetrasperma is a prolific grower if it is happy. It generally grows quite quickly, even without the assistance of a fertilizer. (Though you can certainly fertilize your plant using a balanced fertilizer for houseplants.)

This isn’t a plant you’ll need to repot only every few years. It’s possible you’ll need to repot it every year depending on its growing conditions. When potting up, make sure the bigger pot is about 2 inches larger in diameter, and use fresh soil. I’ve also noticed that the leaves on this plant are fragile—specifically right where the stem meets the leaves. So be careful when repotting.

How to help your plant climb

The vines on this plant are thick, so even though they are vining, they don’t look great hanging. I had mine in a pot on a shelf with no trellis for a while. But once the vines started getting longer, I needed to add some support. 

Some rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants come on trellises already, but if you buy a small plant, you’ll probably need to figure it out for yourself. That’s what I had to do with my plant.

I’ve had a couple different solutions over different periods of growth. My first solution was to use a small bamboo stake and a couple black zip ties. I simple stuck the stake down into the soil until it reached the bottom of the pot. Then I loosely tied the zip ties—just tight enough to keep the plant upright. Don’t squeeze the stem!

When the plant outgrow this (and boy did it outgrow this solution!), I leaned it up against a sunny window frame while I decided what to do next. I ended up getting a much taller bamboo stake and using that for a while.

When the plant outgrew that, I eventually made a bamboo trellis to support it—that’s a whole tutorial about that process! No major tools required. Bamboo stakes are such a handy houseplant accessory to have around. Whatever you use, I highly recommend giving your plant something to climb. It craves it!

rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma trellis idea
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma trellis idea

Should I prune my plant?

Pruning is usually not necessary with houseplants. And a lot of pruning is based on personal preferences. However, it’s not unlikely you’ll have to prune your tetrasperma at some point in its life. As such a prolific grower, it very well might reach your ceilings!

To prune this plant, simply snip along one of the stems. New growth won’t emerge again from that point, but it will eventually emerge from the growth point nearest to the cut. And you can use your cuttings to grow new plants!

vining rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma propagation

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is incredibly easy to propagate, much like its cousin the monstera deliciosa. To propagate it, cut right below a node on a stem. Below is an example of where you could cut on a stem. You must have a growth point—a single leaf will not produce a new plant.

You can root the cutting in water, well-draining soil, sphagnum moss, or something like LECA. Once the cutting begins to develop roots from the node and they grow a few inches long, you can plant the cutting in well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist while the plant gets established.

Below illustrates the propagation process using LECA. I took a bunch of cuttings from my tetrasperma when we moved a few years ago and I needed to tidy up my collection. I then rooted this bundle of cuttings in LECA and water. (New to LECA? See my guide for How to propagate cuttings in LECA.)

For a more detailed look at the different ways you can propagate this plant, see my full tutorial all about Propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma!

rhaphidophora tetrasperma nodes and propagation
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cuttings
rooting a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cutting in water
rooting a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cutting in LECA
rooting a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma cutting in LECA

Toxicity issues

This plant is toxic to cats and dogs because of the calcium oxalates it has in its sap. These can lead to drooling, vomiting, irritation, etc. I recommend keeping it away from nibbling pets and curious kids who may think it’s a snack.

In conclusion…

Caring for rhaphidophora tetrasperma involves remember just a few things—mostly about how much light it needs and when to water it. This plant grows quickly and is easy to propagate, making it a fun plant to grow and pass along to friends.

Try out these care tips and share your progress. Have any questions or tips of your own? Drop a comment below, and happy planting!

Pin my care tips!

collage of plants with text that says caring for rhaphidophora tetrasperma
gorgeous plant with text overlay that says all about caring for rhaphidophora tetrasperma
plants on a table with text overlay that says all about caring for rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to re-create any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility. Read my full Terms of Use here.