Despite its name and appearance, the mini monstera does not belong to the Monstera genus. Even so, this equally exotic plant is easy to care for and propagate.
The mini monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) dons impressively glossy green, fenestrated leaves and can be grown as a climbing or hanging plant. Read on to find out where this exotic plant comes from as well as how to care for and propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
Mini monstera: origin and characteristics
Confusingly, the mini monstera, also sometimes known as monstera minima, is not actually a member of the plant genus Monstera, but rather belongs to the genus Rhaphidophora. That said, the two are related as they both belong to the arum family (Araceae) and look quite similar. Mini monsteras have the dark green, fenestrated leaves that are typical of Monstera plants, but they are much smaller. Raphidophora tetrasperma is native to Thailand and Malaysia, where it can climb up to 5 metres high. When kept as an indoor plant, it grows 1 to 2 metres tall. It uses its aerial roots, which grow from the nodes along its shoot, to climb. When grown outdoors and under the right conditions, mini monsteras form small, white flowers that have a spadix with a single bract. However, when grown as houseplants, mini monsteras will not produce flowers.
There are several newer varieties of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, although they are quite rare and usually very expensive. Variegated Rhaphidorphora varieties such as Rhaphiodorphora tetrasperma variegata and Rhaphidophora tetrasperma ˈAlboˈ have white markings on their leaves and are highly sought after.
How to grow a mini monstera
Mini monsteras need a light to semi-shady location without exposure to direct sunlight. They also require at least 50 % humidity, making bathrooms and kitchens with east or west-facing windows perfect for these plants. An average room temperature of 16 to 24 °C is ideal. Avoid exposing mini monsteras to temperatures greater than 27 °C in summer and below 15 °C in winter.
Once you have found the right spot for your mini monstera, you will need to decide how you want your plant to grow. Mini monsteras can be grown in baskets as hanging plants or up moss poles as climbing plants. Choose an organic, nutrient-rich soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost, for planting. Aroids prefer chunkier potting mixes, so mix about 50% organic drainage material, such as coconut chips or pine bark, into the soil. Remember to check the soil pH as well, as mini monsteras benefit from a slightly acidic environment. Last but not least, ensure your mini monstera’s pot has a drainage hole to avoid waterlogging.
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When your mini monstera is rootbound, it is time to repot it. Usually, you will need to repot mini monsteras at least every two years, and the best time to do so is between December and April. When doing this, make sure the new pot is only about 5 centimetres larger in diameter than the old one. Using a pot that is too large increases the risk of the soil becoming waterlogged.
Mini monstera care
Mini monsteras are not fussy houseplants, so caring for them is typically straightforward. Water your mini monstera with water that is low in lime, such as rainwater. Keep the soil evenly moist, but never wet, as soil that stays wet for a long time attracts fungus gnats and can eventually lead to root rot. Likewise, ensure your mini monstera’s root ball never dries out. To this end, place one or more of your plant’s aerial roots in a glass of low-lime water. This way, your mini monstera will still have access to water even if the substrate dries out. To know when it is time to water again, check your plant’s soil. If the uppermost layer of soil feels dry, it is time to water your mini monstera.
On top of needing moist soil, mini monsteras also require high humidity. If the air is too dry, the leaves curl up and they will start to get brown tips. To increase the humidity around your plant, spray it with a little rainwater twice a week.
Tip: One of the main causes of root rot is overwatering, and the first sign of root rot is drooping leaves. However, drooping leaves can also be a sign that a plant needs more water. If the leaves of your mini monstera are drooping, check the root ball for moisture immediately. Additional signs of root rot are yellowing leaves and a musty smell coming from the soil.
From March to October, feed your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma with an organic liquid fertiliser every two weeks. Our high-quality Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food is ideal for this, as it contains mainly nitrogen and potassium as nutrients, as well as microorganisms that improve your plant’s ability to absorb phosphate. Simply follow the instructions on the packaging and dilute some of this fertiliser into the water you use for watering. Just keep an eye on your plant, as the leaves will turn yellow if you fertilise too often.
Tip: If you decide to grow your mini monstera as a climbing plant, it will need some sort of climbing support, such as a moss pole.
Feel free to prune your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma any time of year, but do not cut off any aerial roots. If you cut off whole shoots, you can go ahead and use them as cuttings to propagate your mini monstera.
Propagating mini monstera
Mini monstera plants are easiest to propagate by cuttings. To do this, follow these steps:
- With a sharp knife, cut off a 15 – 20 cm long shoot that has at least one leaf node with some aerial roots.
- Place the cuttings either directly in fresh soil or in a glass of low-lime water. Change the water every 2 – 3 days.
- Place the cutting in a bright spot without direct sunlight. Ensure the humidity is high and the room temperature is 16 – 24 °C.
- The cutting will develop roots after a few weeks. When the roots are 4 – 5 cm long, plant the cutting so that only the leaf protrudes from the soil.
- Water regularly to keep the soil moist.
Tip: If you first place your cutting in water, try adding sphagnum moss to the water. This creates a slightly acidic environment that aids with root formation.
Is Raphidophora tetrasperma poisonous?
Whilst touching a mini monstera is harmless, you should not eat it. This plant contains toxic calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause vomiting and a burning sensation in the mouth. Keep mini monsteras out of reach of both pets and small children. Although mini monsteras do not actually members of the Monstera genus, they share many similarities with Monstera species.