Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is a shingling plant or shingle vine native to Papua New Guinea, tropical regions of Africa, and Southeast Asia. These tropical plants are also found in Australia, Bali, Thailand, and New Zealand. The name is pronounced [ra-fid-OH-for-a krip-TAN-tha.]
This plant is a perennial, tropical aroid that belongs to the Araceae family and the Rhaphidophora genus. Although Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can be a mouthful, it’s commonly known as a shingle vine, shingle plant, or shingling.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha’s most distinctive features are its condensed, rounded leaves with striking silver veins. It can either grow horizontally or vertically when support is provided.
Being used to tropical climates, this vine doesn’t take kindly to colder parts of the world. However, it can survive with enough care and provided warmth.
They flourish when grown in moist soils and humid, somewhat sunny climates. Thus, making rainforests the most common place to find them.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Plant Care
To give your new vine the best care, there are a few things you’ll need to learn about it.
Size & Growth Rate
How tall this plant grows depends entirely on the space given for it to do so. When grown outdoors with plenty of room, the vines can reach about 6′-8′ feet long.
When grown indoors, depending on whether you grow it on a moss pole for support or inside a terrarium, it’ll grow as much as the space you designate for it.
In its budding stage, the plant has thin stems with small leaves and will grow horizontally. Once it finds something to climb on, it’ll start climbing. Young leaves won’t grow over an inch diameter, while more mature leaves can grow up to 3″ inches.
The leaves are flat and condensed, and when growing onto a wall or tree, they can almost seem artificial.
When the plant matures, the stems get thicker, and the leaves will expand. You’ll notice the vines looking denser and resembling a scaly pattern. Once the plant matures and reaches the end of its vertical support, it’ll start to hang freely.
Flowering and Fragrance
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha doesn’t produce noticeable flowers. However, it does flower behind the leaves where you can’t see them unless you flip it over. But the tip of the flower’s spathe may peak through.
The flowers grow from a shoot behind the leaves, usually in a weak, yellow, spongy shape. Once fully developed, the flowers begin to close and dry.
There’s no specific documented fragrance for the vine that distinguishes it from other aroids.
Sunlight Light Conditions & Temperature
This vine can’t withstand direct sunlight. Instead, it’s best to place it in bright, indirect light. However, R. Cryptantha can take artificial light well.
If you plan on making your shingle move to the outdoors, it’s best to gradually increase its light intake until it’s used to the bright light.
The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha thrives in warmth and doesn’t tolerate cold and frost. We recommend growing it indoors in temperatures of 55 to 80 °F. If you live in the colder regions of the world, we recommend taking your outdoor vines inside around fall to keep them safe.
Watering and Fertilizer
Although these plants grow in rainforests, this doesn’t mean that you need to water them till the soil turns soggy. The soil should always be moist to dry but never fully wet.
Mist the plant often, especially when growing on a moss post.
Soil & Transplanting
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha requires moist soil that drains well. Avoid using dry, completely wet or sandy soils as they can cause the the roots to wither. The soil should be rich in organic matter or good humus.
These vines are relatively easy to move around and re-pot. In their budding states, they tend to grow horizontally till their roots grow out enough. When growing them indoors, we recommend using moss poles to give them vertical room for growth.
They also require big pots to accommodate the roots. Otherwise, their growth slows down, and you can see their health deteriorate.
Grooming And Maintenance
Shingles are low-maintenance plants and require minimal grooming. However, if you feel your plant is looking dull, you can trim a few leaves from the lower parts of the vine.
In the case of an outdoor vine that has grown a lot, you can trim bigger parts and propagate them.
If you notice any brown or dry leaves, trim them to keep your vine looking and feeling fresh.
Another important thing to note is that Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is toxic and shouldn’t be ingested. It’s best kept away from kids and pets.
How To Propagate Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
Before propagating your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, you need to ensure its new home is in indirect, bright light and away from the cold and frost.
Get a nice sharp blade, and find a stem with one or two roots. If your plant is on the smaller side, just cut a small piece of the stem. Once you have your piece, place it into aerated, moist soil in a well-drained pot or container.
If you want to give your vine a boost, you can always add slow-release fertilizer on top of the soil. Another option is dipping the stem in growth hormone before planting.
Once planted, make sure to moisten the soil but not wet it too much.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Pests or Diseases
This plant has no specific diseases to look out for, but it can suffer from grasshoppers and caterpillars. These two can be easily removed from the plant or sprayed with insecticides.