The vertical growth of the Mini Monstera is perfect as a space-saver. This low maintenance plant will quickly climb up a wall or a pole without taking up too much room — a great plant for small spaces!
The name “Mini Monstera” often confuses people because it is actually not a Monstera at all! It is named so because its fenestrated leaves look rather like a smaller version of a mature, fenestrated Monstera Deliciosa.
The Mini Monstera actually belongs to the Rhaphidophora genus, and its official name is the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Because that’s so hard to spell, let alone pronounce, people have nicknamed it the Mini Monstera and the nickname has stuck!
In this article, we’re sharing with you care tips, origin facts, growth behavior, and other interesting facts about the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma!
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My Experience With Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma aka Mini Monstera
I [Allison, the editor] bought a fully-mature Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma from a local collector already at quite a large plant size — about 5 feet tall from its base to its furthest leaf!
While there can be something really satisfying about buying a small Mini Monstera and allowing it to slowly take over your space, buying a mature Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma will get you that “indoor jungle” vibe almost immediately!
I placed it right beside my desk and I look at it every time I work on Monstera Mash! I love the tropical paradise look it gives my little home office space.
To keep my plant vining up the wall, I simply put a few nails in the wall and then used green-colored twist ties to attach the vines to the nail. This has worked for me so far and can be an easy, fun DIY project for you!
This corner of my apartment receives south-facing low light in the morning but it’s rather far back from the window. That hasn’t kept my Mini Monstera from thriving and pushing out new growth even in winter (though winter in California is definitely different than winter elsewhere).
Where Can I Find Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma for Sale?
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is not a particularly rare plant anymore so you should be able to find it fairly easily at your local nursery. However, if you have a hard time sourcing one in person, we’ve found a few online options where you can buy one.
Mini Monstera Cuttings
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma grows like a weed, so if you have a friend who has a mature Tetrasperma, don’t feel guilty asking for a cutting! They will likely have plenty to spare!
This seller on Etsy sells cuttings of a Mini Monstera for a cheap price.
Mini Monstera Plants
You can also buy a smaller but fully-rooted plant from a seller like this one.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma aka Mini Monstera Overview & Origin
The Mini Monstera is a vining plant with deep green, unique fenestrated leaves. Its gorgeous split leaves might remind you of the famous Monstera form, but it actually has no genetic connection to Monsteras. It belongs to the genus Rhaphidophora.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma Hook. f. is the official ID of this plant. Its name might leave you tongue-tied, so plant hobbyists have resorted to calling it the Mini Monstera, Monstera Ginny, or the Philodendron Minima. In our FAQ section below, we’ve listed 10 other common names for this plant!
Regardless of technicalities, we can leave the taxonomy to the botanists and enjoy the elegance of this houseplant instead!
Its small glossy green leaves don’t really grow big (unlike other climbing varieties of Aroid plants). It does, however, vine prolifically and get rather tall — so while the leaves of the Mini Monstera may be “mini”, the plant itself is not so pint-sized!
First identified in 1893, this species of plant is naturally found in the Malaysian and Thai Peninsula. Although R. Tetrasperma has been rarely sighted in the wild, it now adorns the homes of many plant collectors all over the world.
Mini Monstera Care Guide
The Mini Monstera is a fast grower that is popular for its ease of care. When exposed to optimal conditions, it grows like crazy against walls and any nearby structures. You will need to control the growth of your plant through pruning, otherwise, it can quickly take over your house!
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is generally a pest-resistant plant, but it might occasionally be visited by thrips. In that case, put up yellow sticky traps near the pot and spray the leaves with neem oil.
In the wild, R. Tetrasperma is found growing in wet forests and also on sandstone and granite. This means that the plant can thrive in high moisture conditions while also being capable of tolerating short periods of drought.
It’s this versatility that makes the Tetrasperma a fantastic addition to homes, terrariums, and greenhouses alike!
Mini Monstera Light Needs
The Mini Monstera plant can handle medium light conditions, but it will do best in bright, indirect sunlight. Limit its morning or late afternoon sun exposure to two hours or less.
Too much light can result to a faded, bleached appearance or even burn the leaves of your R. Tetrasperma. You might notice yellow patches on the leaves if the light is too bright for its liking.
If your plant sits near a window where sunlight directly hits the leaves for several hours, consider getting tinted glass windows to filter out the UV rays. You may also install curtains, or simply pull back the plant a few feet away from the source of light.
On the other hand, your plant will have lanky stems and small, malnourished leaves if it doesn’t get enough indirect light. You can supplement your indoor growing space with artificial lighting or move it closer to a brighter spot.
Mini Monstera Watering Needs
When it comes to watering your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, consistency is of utmost importance. You might notice dark retention marks on the underside of the leaves if you have an irregular watering schedule.
Use your finger to feel the soil for moisture. If the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry, generously pour water on your plant then let it drain right through. It’s also a good idea to use a soil moisture meter to be more precise!
You may need to water your plant more frequently if you are using a terracotta pot which absorbs moisture, or if your plant is exposed to a lot of light.
During its growing season in the spring and summer, your Mini Monstera will be more thirsty than usual so don’t hesitate to adjust your watering schedules!
Mini Monstera Soil Needs
The Mini Monstera will prefer a porous type of soil which will retain moisture but at the same time allow its roots to breathe. The best way to achieve this is by using lightweight materials such as orchid bark, charcoal, perlite, peat moss, and cocopeat (made from coconut fibers).
For a nutrient boost, add a little bit of organic components such as worm castings, compost, animal manure, or coffee grounds to your potting mix.
With a fast growth rate, your R. Tetrasperma will thrive better if you keep the growing medium constantly moist (but not soaking wet)! Just make sure there is at least one drainage hole at the bottom of the pot to avoid root rot.
Mini Monstera Temperature & Humidity Needs
The Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a tropical plant that thrives in high humidity and warm temperatures. To replicate this environment for your houseplant, maintain the temperature at a range of 55-85°F (13-29°C) and the humidity between 40-80%.
R. Tetrasperma does not like the cold. Close windows during colder weather to protect your plant against cold, dry air. Don’t pour cold water on your plants, and make sure they’re not placed near the AC.
R. Tetrasperma has thin leaves that don’t have a lot of waxy coating to them. It loses water from its pores through the process of transpiration. That means your plant will partially rely on the moisture in the air to stay hydrated.
The easiest way to increase humidity levels in a room is to install a humidifier. You can also place the pot above a pebble tray with water, then allow it to evaporate. If you have many houseplants, huddle them closely together to create a bubble of humidity.
Mini Monstera Fertilization Needs
As a tropical plant, the roots and foliage of the Mini Monstera will grow more actively when the weather gets warm. If you notice your Mini Monstera pushing out leaves at a consistently fast rate, you can apply fertilizer every 2-4 weeks. Dilute the solution to half-strength.
When growth slows down in the colder months, cut back on fertilizer application. If your plant is not actively growing, that means it’s not using up the plant food. A build-up of minerals, nutrients, and salts can burn the roots and leaves.
Pruning Mini Monstera
Pruning your R. Tetrasperma is an efficient way to control the growth behavior and direction of this fast-growing vine.
Once your plant outgrows its supporting structure, you can either wind it back down (then up again later) for a fuller look, or you can trim off the top and propagate it into a new plant.
You can also allow your Tetrasperma to vine its way up a wall then prune it back once you’re happy with the height it reaches. Cutting above nodes will encourage the stem to branch out in multiple directions.
Propagating Mini Monstera
Below are 3 methods to choose from when propagating your Mini Monstera. We didn’t include the classic soil propagation method because it has low success rates for the Mini Monstera.
1. Water propagation: Cut your plant below a node. Leave some internodal allowance in case there will be issues with rot. Let the cutting sit in a glass of water with the nodes submerged. Replace the water regularly. Once the roots are about 2 inches long, plant the cutting into potting soil. If you wait too long, the roots might not transition well.
2. Propagating in Sphagnum moss: When taking a cutting from your plant, it is always recommended to include a node (a protrusion on the stem where the roots and leaves will grow from). Simply wrap the nodes with damp moss, then keep the cutting in a well-lit area with good airflow until it grows roots.
3. Propagating in Perlite: Take some stem cuttings and bury their nodes in damp perlite. You can use a Ziploc bag, a plastic bag, or a flat plastic tupperware to trap moisture and encourage faster rooting.
Repotting Mini Monstera
The root system of this plant develops incredibly fast, so you may need to repot once or twice a year. You can repot your Mini Monstera in 4 easy steps:
- Dig up. When your Mini Monstera is root-bound, loosen the soil by tapping at the sides of the pot with a heavy object. Gently tug at the plant to remove it from the pot.
- Transplant. Without disturbing the main root ball, trim the tangled roots at the bottom then carefully move the plant into a bigger pot size. Fill it up with a fresh batch of soil to replenish the nutrients.
- Support the stem. Give your plant a coco pole or moss pole to climb on.
- Care for it. Keep the plant in a bright, shaded area. Frequently moisten the soil, but don’t apply fertilizers or any treatments that might be too harsh on the recovering roots.
Mini Monstera FAQ
Now that you know how to properly care for your plant, let’s take a look at more interesting facts and tips about the R. Tetrasperma, a.k.a Mini Monstera!
Is Rhaphidophora related to Monstera?
Despite its striking resemblance with the ever-famous Monstera Deliciosa, the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is actually NOT genetically related to any plant in the Monstera genus.
R. Tetrasperma is more like a Southeast Asian counterpart of the M. Deliciosa, so to speak. It is exclusively native to Southern Thailand and Malaysia.
In contrast, Monstera plants can only be found naturally in Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the southern tip of Florida.
Despite coming from different parts of the world, both the Rhaphidophora genus and the Monstera genus fall under the Monstereae tribe, in the Monsteroideae subfamily of aroids, from the Araceae family of plants.
If that’s confusing, well, that’s just how botanists categorize plants!
What are some other names for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma?
The Mini Monstera is rarely sighted in nature and scarcely described in scientific literature. When it first came out in the houseplants market, there was a lot of confusion on its origin and taxonomy. As a result, sellers and collectors gave this plant so many different labels.
Common names of R. Tetrasperma include:
- Mini Monstera
- Dwarf Monstera
- Monstera Ginny
- Monstera Minima
- Mini Split-leaf Philodendron
- Philodendron Minima
- Philodendron Piccolo
- Philodendron “Ginnie”
- Philodendron imbe “Ginny”
- Ginny Philodendron
- Amydrium tetrasperma
- Amydrium ‘Ginnie’
- Epipremnum “Ginny”
- European Dwarf Deliciosa
Take note that all of these names are incorrect! The only correct botanical name is Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.
How do I make my Mini Monstera climb?
R. Tetrasperma is a natural climber in its habitat. With long spaces in between the nodes and aerial roots protruding from those nodes, it hugs its host to climb upwards and reach for more light.
Your Tetrasperma will grow beautifully when given a supporting structure to climb on. This can be in the form of a moss pole, a coco pole, a bamboo stick, a totem, a wooden plank, or a trellis.
To secure the stem on the structure, use soft and pliable materials such as floral wire, twist ties, bread tape, hemp twines, or even yarn. When tying up the stem, tie below the nodes and be careful not to choke any unfurling leaves.
How fast does Mini Monstera grow?
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is an incredibly fast-growing vine that can quickly overwhelm an indoor space. It grows especially fast in the spring and summer, and may even continue to push out new leaves through the fall and winter.
In the tropical rainforests of Southern Thailand and Malaysia, this plant attaches itself to trees and grows to a height of 16 feet. Each leaf will measure between 4 to 13 inches long.
Indoors, the leaves tend to grow smaller, and they usually will not grow larger than an average human hand.
Is there a variegated Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma?
Yes! A rare variegated Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is highly sought-after by collectors. Some of these plants can have yellow variegation, while others have Albo. In 2021, a plant with 8 variegated leaves was sold for a whopping $27,100 in an online auction!
Variegation is a randomly-occurring mutation in nature. Although variegated plants lack the chlorophyll to compete with green plants in the wild, humans found the splash of colors beautiful. We then propagated these plants for collecting and selling.
While some Mini Monsteras are naturally-variegated, there are also some variegated Mini Monsteras that were a product of genetic alteration in a laboratory.
Growers of the R. Tetrasperma artificially induced variegation in the leaves by 1) injecting a chemical or 2) by introducing a harmless color-breaking virus during the process of tissue culture.
This was confirmed by Pete Boyce, a botanist who is the recognized authority on aroids from Southeast Asia.
In the case of variegated Mini Monsteras produced through tissue culture, the variegation will either naturally vanish in time, or surprisingly manifest in future generations of the plant!
Eliza is a writer and a plant hobbyist from the tropical country of the Philippines. She views gardening as an art, but she has made it her mission to learn the scientific aspect of anything that grows on Earth.