If you're looking for a split-leaf look at the Monstera deliciosa but don't have the space, you need to check out the Mini Monstera. This vining plant has many nicknames, such as "Monstera Minima," "Mini Split-Leaf," and "Ginny Philodendron" - but it's actually not a Monstera at all! It's a Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
Monstera plants and Mini Monstera Rhaphidophora tetrasperma (a miniature version of Monstera Deliciosa) are both aroids from the Araceae family of plants. This plant family contains just shy of 4000 different plants. This means your Mini Monstera is a cousin to many of your favorite houseplants, like pothos and philodendron. They also all have similar care requirements. However, the tropical Mini Monstera stays smaller and grows quicker than other true monstera plants. They are an ideal choice to add an exotic vibe to small spaces.
Mini Monstera Care Guide
With the right growing conditions, this plant is considered a fast grower. Now, what is the right optimal condition:
The Mini Monstera originally comes from Southern Thailand and Malaysia. It naturally grows on trees, where it is shaded from direct sunlight by the foliage above. This means that Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs bright indirect light.
Avoid direct sunlight as the harsh sun can scorch leaves. It can grow in low light conditions as well, although it will grow slowly and produce smaller leaves. This serves to underline the point that indirect sunlight is more important than bright sunlight. Still, bright light is preferred, so try to find a space that has a "bright shade" - well-lit but without direct sun.
A window that receives gentle morning sun and then is generally well-lit during the rest of the day would be a great spot and best mimic its natural environment.
The best soil for mini Monstera is a well-draining substrate high in orchid bark, sand, perlite, or other additives that encourages aeration.
This plant thrives in a moist environment; however, it can be affected by waterlogged soil and root rot. Using a good soil mix is important.
The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs its soil to stay slightly moist. Note that slightly moist does not mean soggy. It won't throw a fit if it misses a watering occasionally, but it will turn brown and yellow if it's overwatered. Check to see if your Mini Monstera needs watering by feeling the top inch or so of the soil. If the soil feels dry or completely dry, water it.
Typically, it will need weekly watering during the warmer months and every two weeks when the weather turns cold. Use lukewarm water so that you don't shock its tropical roots.
Being a tropical plant, mini Monstera enjoys a high humidity environment. Mist the plant frequently. Placing it in a bigger pot or close to other plants will help increase the humidity level around it.
Your Mini Monstera will grow during the spring and summer and more or less stay the same during the fall and winter. During the growing season, it's beneficial to fertilize it monthly. Any fertilizer formulated for indoor plants will do just fine, and the plant babies will thrive with regular fertilizing during growth season.
Mini Monstera is not pet friendly, as it contains calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are highly toxic to pets.
Temperature and Humidity Preferences
Remember that your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a tropical plant. You want to keep it in temperatures between 55°F and 85°F, and keep it well away from air conditioning vents or heaters. Feel free to set your Mini Monstera outdoors to add some color and interest to your balcony or patio during the summer. If the temperature drops below 55°F at night, bring it indoors.
All tropical plants love humidity, and Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is no exception. You can simulate that tropical mugginess by misting the air around the plant's leaves. You can also use a small humidifier placed nearby to push more moisture into the air. A third way to manage air moisture is by setting your plant on a humidity tray.
To grow Mini Monstera, you will need a well-drained pot that has enough space to grow. When you are repotting the plant, carefully remove it from its pot and check for root rot. If there are signs of damage, be sure to cut it off with a sterile knife. Otherwise, place the plant into a new pot.
Training A Mini Monstera To Climb
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma likes to climb, and you'll find that it grows more quickly than Monstera deliciosa does. It will do okay hanging down from a shelf or in hanging baskets, but it's aerial roots are great at pulling it upwards.
Besides, having a plant hang down when it would prefer to climb up will lead to patchy growth and smaller, unsplit leaves. If you'd like to have your Mini Monstera grow upward, establish a moss pole or a trellis in it's pot. As new growth unfolds, support it to the pole with nursery tape or zip ties until it gets itself wrapped around.
Propagation is half of the fun of having houseplants, isn't it? Water propagation is particularly suited to Rhaphidophora tetrasperma. Cut a piece of the stem that has one or more leaf nodes, and then place the leaf node in water.
Place the jar somewhere with bright indirect light. Change out the water regularly, and give it a good dose of patience. Roots will appear after a few weeks! Once you have roots on your cutting, you can place them into any well-draining pot filling with a standard potting mix.
Mini Monsteras are fairly low maintenance, but you should be aware of a few pests and problems.
It is perfectly normal for young leaves to come in without the characteristic holes and splits, and they'll appear as the leaves grow. However, if your plant receives too little light, the leaves will stay small and won't even form those splits.
Mini Monsteras are sensitive to overwatering, and they'll show you with yellowing leaves. Give your soil ample time to dry out between watering, and make sure that it is in a pot with a drainage hole. You'll also see yellow leaves if it's receiving too much sun and if it's fertilizing isn't handled quite right. Too much will lead to fertilizer burn, and too little will lead to nitrogen deficiencies.
There are potentially a few reasons. Brown spots are often another marker of overwatering, and you can diagnose further if you feel the brown spots. If they are very dry, your plant is likely getting too much direct sunlight. If it's mostly the tips and edges of the leaves turning brown, the humidity level is likely too low.
Spider mites are small, reddish-brown, and have spider-like bodies. They live in colonies and typically hide on the underside of the foliage. And lucky for you, they are very easy to treat with neem oil. To prevent spider mite infestation, keep plants on a consistent water schedule during dry weather and make sure to clean your plants.