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Plant of the week: Mini monstera, a plant with striking leaves

Monstera leaves are an iconic shape that almost anyone could recognize, even if they aren’t plant parents. While the monstera is a beautiful plant, you might be looking for another option that’s similar but not quite as… monstrous. That’s where mini monstera, or rhaphidophora tetrasperma, comes in. It’s a vining plant with fenestrated leaves that gives the look of a mini monstera. Unfortunately, this plant is hard to find, so you’ll want to be sure you know how to care for it before you purchase one. Below, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to successfully grow a mini monstera in your home.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma with trellis

What is a rhaphidophora tetrasperma?

The rhaphidophora tetrasperma is native to Thailand and Indonesia and is a small vining evergreen that will add a bit of rainforest greenery to your home. This plant is also known as a mini monstera, dwarf monstera, or philodendron ginny, and it looks like a mini version of a monstera deliciosa — hence the nickname. While its nicknames all include monstera or philodendron, it’s important to note that this plant is neither of those. Hhowever, it is related to them! It is part of the Araceae or Arum family, which includes monstera, philodendron, and rhaphidophora.

The mini monstera is a fast-growing plant with fenestrated leaves that feature a bright green color. They’re vining plants and will gladly grow up a trellis or moss pole to add vertical interest to your houseplant collection.

Monstera leaf

How to care for a mini monstera

Now that we know more about the rhaphidophora tetrasperma, let’s talk about what it needs to thrive.

Water

Watering is the area of plant care that plant parents mess up the most. It’s hard to get right, especially for a plant like the mini monstera, which likes its soil moist. We encourage you to use a moisture meter to measure the amount of moisture in the soil more accurately so you can know when to water the plant. This will help you avoid overwatering the rhaphidophora tetrasperma and keep your plant living a long and healthy life.

Water the plant when the top of the soil is dry to the touch or when the moisture meter gauge is reading at the dry end of the moist section. It will be critical not to overwater this plant since it likes its soil moist. Without the moisture meter, you might find it hard to find the right balance between moist and soaked.

Light

The mini monstera prefers bright indirect light; however, it will tolerate some direct sunlight. Just be careful because too much direct sunlight will yellow the leaves or, worse, give them sunburn and die. To avoid this, you can place them next to a window with a sheer covering to allow light to filter through but protect the leaves from the sun.

Food

The mini monstera likes to be fed up to three times a month during the growing seasons. Find a balanced and gentle fertilizer to use on this plant and watch its growth skyrocket with each feeding.

Temperature

The typical household temperature of 65 to 80 degrees works perfectly for the mini monstera. They don’t like extreme temperatures in either direction, so you’ll also want to avoid drafty doors, windows, and air vents.

Humidity

This is where the care for a rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a bit trickier than other plants. These thrive in higher humidity, around 60 percent, and will most likely need a humidifier in the room. Most homes sit around 30 to 40 percent, and while the plant will survive, it will not thrive.

Toxicity

Unfortunately, the rhaphidophora tetrasperma is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. Signs that your pet has ingested this plant are oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and mouth irritation. While these symptoms rarely lead to death, you’ll still want to keep everyone in your home safe by keeping this plant where animals and children can’t reach it.

Common issues

The dwarf monstera is known to suffer from spider mites. These tiny pests create webs on the underside of the leaves and will slowly kill your plant if not dealt with. You can hose down the plant to wash the pests off or use a safe insecticide like neem oil to get rid of these nasty little creatures.

Additional care

For this plant to be happy, we suggest growing it on a trellis, totem, or moss pole. This way, the vines are adequately supported as they would be in the wild, and the leaves can get the optimal amount of sunlight and grow bigger and healthier leaves.

When you finally find your rhaphidophora tetrasperma, you’ll want to be sure you can not only keep it alive but provide it with the care that will allow it to thrive. Use these tips and maybe invest in a moisture meter if you don’t already have one.

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