• Flora Collector

Love It Or Yeet It: Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Rah-fid-doe-FOR-AHTeh-trah-SPERM-ma (that was a mouth full), apart of the Araceae family but funny enough this plant was nick named after the Monstera Deliciosa, “Mini Monstera”. I personally hate that big box stores use make up plant names, or worse, tagging Plants “assorted“.

I know it’s a tropical plant (insert name of big box retailer here), give me the genus.



The Tetrasperma is often confused as a Epipremnum pinnatum AKA Dragon Tail. However, the Dragon Tail is much longer and more narrow. The Tetrasperm is found in Southern Thailand and Malaysia and the dragon tail is native to French Polynesia. The Dragon Tail is an evergreen vine that can grow 20 ft tall . Where as the Tetrasperma gets to about 12 ft tall in The wild but is typically seen at 6 ft tall with a spread of two feet.



The tetrasperma is a climber and does well when trained to climb up a moss pole. However, I have seen them cascading out of their pots and I like both effects. I have seen some grown on trellises.Maybe if I keep this one alive I will try letting the grow both ways so my family can enjoy the esthetic of both growth patterns.


This is where I tell you about the first attempt to keep a tetrasperma alive. I had been on facebook looking on sites and decided I NEEDED a Tetrasperma, like stat. Not only did I need to have one but I wanted the best deal and with the popularity with plants during the pandemic this plant was a little pricey. That weekend I drove down to Scotts Nursery with a friend and the kids. It was a shot in the dark really. They get interesting varities but it is never consistent. I walked to the gazebo that is used as an out door check out area and a place they display their uncommon varities, no Tetrasperma. I sighed and looked around one more time to make sure that I had not missed anything and made my way into the indoor building. There sitting ontop of teracotta planters was what I had been dreaming of, my wish list plant for the moment. It was $32.00 and way bigger then the ones online. I grabbed that plant and cooed with joy. I also picked up a nice Monstera Deliciosa I named Bruce Lee that day too for $15 ( it had fenestrated leaves and was about 2ft tall).

I looked online, watched videos, looked at the forums and what I like to call,

“big plant confidence”.

I treated the Tetrasperma for pest and quarantined for 2 weeks, then repotted it in a 50/50 coco coir perlite mixture. I watered it once a week and kept it in a partial lit area of my home and loved it to death slow over 4 months. It was the first plant I killed completely, it went from thriving to a one leaf propagation on a sad node so quick. What happened, improper drainage people! I was so mad at myself after trying to resuscitate this plant. I flipped its planter over and a sticker covered to drainage hole. Like the “noobiest” mistake ever.



I was devastated and also I couldn’t help but chuckle because I knew I was going to try to not kill another one.

Here is my new tetrasperma I ordered online in October, his name is Seeley and I almost killed him once but for now he is thriving. I just got three leaves in one month a the leaves are gorgeous.



Here are some plant care tips for the Tertrasperma

  • These plants are meant to climb so if you see it struggling or are looking for big growth grab a moss pole

  • These plants are big fans of diffused bright light and if it’s too bright the Tetrasperma will let you know by browning leaves

  • The ideal temperatures that the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants need to grow healthy are somewhere between 55°F and 85°F (12-29°C)

  • Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants thrive in an all-purpose potting soil, damp, well-draining, and rich in organic matter ( I use a orchid mix)

  • Rhaphidophora plants are quite susceptible to fertilizer burn

  • Your plant will be happy and healthy if you water it no more than once every 7 to 10 days (about 4 times per month) in the summer or warm temperatures. In cooler conditions or the winter season, the plant should be fine with watering every two weeks.

  • In general, the best percentage of humidity needed to prevent microorganism growth and to keep your plant happy would be exactly 40%.

Love it or Yeet it results

I love it!

I will hopefully be keeping this one thriving because I am a fan. I think the reason my other one died was slow draining soil. Once the root rot set in there was no saving it. I don’t think this is a good beginner plant just because of its particular light needs , I would say intermediate level for sure. Humidity is another important factor for this plant as the leaves turn real fast if they are not in the perfect place.

I hope you enjoyed my post dedicated to all the plants I have killed and rebought!

🌿Happy planting,

Flora Collector

Refferences

Espiritu, K., 2021. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma: Split-Leafed Tropical Wonder. [online] Epic Gardening. Available at: <https://www.epicgardening.com/rhaphidophora-tetrasperma/>


Stamen & Stem. 2021. Plant profile: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma — Stamen & Stem. [online] Available at: <https://www.stamenandstemblog.com/blog/rhaphidophoratetrasperma>


Secuianu, M., 2021. Guide to Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma: How to Care & Grow for “Mini Monstera”. [online] GardenBeast. Available at: <https://gardenbeast.com/rhaphidophora-tetrasperma-guide/>




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