Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is a shingling plant or shingle vine native to Papua New Guinea, tropical regions of African tropics, 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, due to its shingling or funky growth habit.
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.
Related Rhaphidophora Varieties
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 and 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 at maturity.
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 in diameter, while more mature leaves can grow up to 3″ inches.
The dark green 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 small heart-shaped leaves will expand with silvery green markings along the veins. 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 like green roofing shingles, hence the common name.
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 and 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 freezing temperatures and frost. We recommend growing it indoors in temperatures of 55° to 80° Fahrenheit.
If you live in the world’s colder regions, we recommend keeping your outdoor vines inside around fall to keep them safe.
Watering and Fertilizer
Although these plants grow in rainforests, this doesn’t mean you need to water them until the soil turns soggy. The soil should always be moist to dry but never fully wet.
Moreover, your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha plant prefers high humidity. So mist the plant often, especially when growing on a moss post. You can also use a pebble tray.
Be careful not to overwater, as it can result in root rot. If you notice your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha has brown or black leaves, it’s likely root rot.
Also, avoid too much moisture, so ensure there are adequate drainage holes for containers.
For fertilizer application, feed your plant with diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Soil and Transplanting
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha requires moist soil that drains well. Avoid using dry, completely wet, or sandy soils, as they can cause the roots to wither.
The soil should be rich in organic matter or good humus. High-quality potting soil will also work well.
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 tropical perennial climber native 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
The easiest propagation method for this plant is stem cutting.
Before propagating your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, you must 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, 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.