Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a wonderful vining epiphyte from Malaysia and Thailand.
It’s a member of the Araceae family and is often mistaken for a member of the Monstera genus due to the way its leaves split as they mature, although they only reach around 4″ to 6″ inches long.
This has led to it getting the misleading nickname of “mini monstera.”
However, monsteras have fenestrations or holes in the leaves that act like little windows. Fenestra is a Latin word that literally means window.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, on the other hand, tears completely to the margin, resulting in a shape more akin to an oak leaf.
The plant isn’t known for its flowers, leading many first-time growers to scratch their heads to get more of these “mini monsteras.”
However, there are many easy ways to do so, allowing you to enjoy its uniquely shaped leaves through multiple identical offspring.
How To Propagate Rhapidophora Tetrasperma?
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma has two main methods of propagation:
- Air layering
- Stem cuttings
The latter has a few different options, which we’ll discuss in more detail.
Air layering is a fun technique used mostly on epiphytes and other climbing plants.
Because the nodes on Rhaphidophora tetrasperma can double as aerial roots, you won’t have to do any cutting to air layer the plant.
Here’s how to do it:
- Simply dampen some peat moss and wrap it around a node.
- Cover the moss in plastic wrap.
This will fool the node into thinking it’s come in contact with the ground, and it will begin growing into roots.
Meanwhile, the plastic wrap serves to hold the moss in place and keep moisture in.
- Check the moss every day or so to ensure it remains damp.
- Once the roots have grown to around 1″ to 2″ inches long, you can cut the section off below the rooting node and plant it.
- Make sure you keep your new plant in a warm spot to encourage faster root development.
Harvesting Cuttings For Propagation
Stem cuttings are sometimes confused with leaf cuttings, but the latter means you can take a leaf section and successfully grow a new plant, and it is only viable for a few select plants.
Instead, you will need a section of vine with at least one healthy leaf and at least one node.
The nodes are easy to spot, as they’re little brown nubs that vaguely resemble a finger in shape.
Select the portion of stem you wish to use and cut it around ¼” inch below one of these nodes.
Since you only need one node and one leaf (more are fine), you can take multiple cuttings from a relatively short section of vine.
Preparing The Cuttings
Oddly enough, there’s not really anything you need to do to the cutting once you’ve removed it.
Some people like to dip the node in rooting hormone for soil propagation, while others will let the cutting dry for a day to reduce the risk of infection.
However, you can technically skip both of these steps and still have a healthy plant.
Propagating In Soil Or Solid Medium
This is a more traditional propagation method, and it saves the need to transplant the plantlet once the roots form.
Here’s how to do it:
- Begin by filling a small pot with potting soil (one designed for aroids will work great).
- Alternatively, you can fill the pot with an equal mixture of peat and perlite or LECA (clay balls), but this will require transplanting to soil later on.
- Rooting hormones can really speed up the process when using soil, but again, this isn’t necessary. You may also choose to sprinkle in some worm castings, so the plantlet has some nutrients to work with.
- Dampen your potting medium and gently plant the cutting so the node is submerged.
You’ll want a warm, humid environment to ensure good rooting.
A popular way of doing this is to:
- Take a clear storage bag (such as a Ziplock) and use it to create a humidity tent over the plant.
- Keep your potting medium slightly moist, checking it every 1 to 2 days.
- After a month, give the plant a very gentle tug.
- If it resists, the roots form nicely.
- At this point, you’ll need to transplant to the soil if you weren’t already using that as your medium, but thankfully the peat/perlite or LECA mediums will rarely cause transplant shock when.
Propagating In Water
This method of propagating stem cuttings is a bit riskier but a lot more fun.
Here are the following steps to do:
- Get a clear container such as glass and fill it with room temperature distilled water.
- Avoid tap water, as it can significantly increase the risk of a failed cutting.
- Sit your cutting in the water, making sure the node is covered but the leaf is clear of the water’s surface.
- Set the container in a warm, sunny spot and check it every few days.
- If the water appears murky or has evaporated noticeably, drain the container and replace it with fresh water.
- Wait until the roots have grown to around 2″ to 3″ inches long (they’ll be easy to see through the container), which will take about a month or two.
- Once the roots are at the proper length, transplant the plantlet to its permanent container.
Note that this method can result in transplant shock, so expect your plant to get moody for a few days or so.
There’s also an increased risk of stem rot if you submerge the plant too far, and getting the leaf wet can cause fungal infections or contribute to the risk of rot.
However, watching your new plant’s roots grow makes this the preferred method for many growers.