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I don’t like the ‘mini monstera’ nickname, but it’s a common name and (crucially) it’s easier to type than Rhapidophora tetrasperma. I’ve never used copy and paste so much in a single article.
A bit of back story: I bought my Rhapidophora tetrasperma last year, and it was very cheap. Like, a tenner. It was also in AWFUL shape, hence the price drop.
The leaves were damaged and it looked a bit like pest damage, probably the reason it was such a bargain. It didn’t have pests. In my experience, Rhapidophora tetrasperma are pretty delicate – it’s easy to damage the leaves by accident.
It was also one long vine, and I wanted a bushier plant, so I took cuttings. THe one last year just rotted, but I sucessfully rooted three cuttings this years
How to propagate Rhapidophora tetrasperma:
- Take a stem cutting with a node (and preferably a single leaf)
- Put the cutting in water for a couple of weeks
- Transfer the cutting to a jar. Cover the node with damp moss. Wait
- Pot up when the roots reach an inch or two
If you’d prefer to watch a video, rather than read this long-ass post, then there’s one here:
Quick Rhapidophora tetrasperma care guide
The plant itself is not delicate or particularly hard to care for.
It’s recommended that you keep the soil moist, but mine’s accidentally dried out a few times and it’s fine.
Rhapidophora tetrasperma is not a low-light plant. They get floppy and sad very quickly. Bright, indirect light is ideal, but medium light is also tolerated.
Although higher humidity would be appreciated, mine is in a room with 45%ish humidity and it’s growing nicely.
I’ve not fertilised mine yet since it’s recently had a soil change. I’m sure a regular seaweed fertiliser would do perfectly well.
Due to it’s vining nature, you’d assume that Rhapidophora tetrasperma are easy to propagate.
To be fair, they might be for some people. It wasn’t until I saw a few people on Reddit struggling to get roots that I realised that my experience of propagating Rhapidophora tetrasperma might not have been a one-off.
Hence writing this post.
Can you propagate Rhapidophora tetrasperma in water?
Ok, you probably can. But it didn’t work for me.
You see, it takes Rhapidophora tetrasperma a long time to root. Often it takes so long for the roots to form that you end up with stem rot. Or the leaf will die. It’s not unusual for the leaf to die, but it happens much quicker if you root in water.
It’s not impossible to root your cuttings in water, it’s just more difficult. I start my cuttings in water, and then move them after couple of weeks.
Can you propagate Rhapidophora tetrasperma in soil?
Ok, so ordinarily I would say no. Propagating in soil can be a pain BUT with vining plants like RT, there’s an easy way.
Don’t take the cutting until after the node has rooted.
This is how I’m making my extremely leggy mini monstera less leggy.
This is how it currently looks:
Rather than taking cuttings, I’m just sticking the last node in the soil, and waiting until it roots before cutting it.
The stem that’s lying horizontally has actually rooted – there’s a second growth point now (as well as the one with the new leaf unfurling at the top of the picture.
I’m not entirely sure why it chose to grow under the soil and then pop up somewhere else. I’m sure it had its reasons.
BTW, if anyone is one the fence about getting grow lights for your Rhapidophora tetrasperma, LOOK:
There’s been no Gandalf/Frodo perspective shit happening here. The leaves are actually touching. It’s not even under the grow light:
The Pilea peperomioides next to it is properly THRIVING too.
This is the grow light I have – the one next to it is about half the price, but still really good. Also Available on Amazon.
If anyone knows of a way to make professional grow lights look more aesthetically pleasing, PLEASE let me know. I can’t go back to cheap grow lights – these are too good.
How to take a cutting
Rhapidophora tetrasperma don’t root from leaf cuttings (as far as I’m aware) so you’ll need a bit of stem.
Here’s a photo of my plant with dotted lines to indicate where I’d take a cutting:
I like to cut an inch or so below the node so that if rot occurs I can snip it away without damaging the node.
Rhapidophora tetrasperma nodes are easy to see – they usually grow one leaf and an aerial root per node.
They’ll only deviate from this pattern if you take a cutting, so if you want a bushy plant, you’ll probably need to take cuttings.
How I finally got my Rhapidophora tetrasperma to grow roots
In short, I put it in moss.
Now, I don’t like using moss, because it’s bad for the environment. I’m pretty sure it’ll work in damp perlite too, but I haven’t tried it (yet – I’ll update when I do).
The only reason I tried it was that I had a bag of moss in the shed that I didn’t want to waste. I’m interested to see how long I can get away with reusing it.
I’ve seen people online saying that perlite is also bad for the environment, but I can’t find much to back that up. Only a tiny fraction (less than 1%) of the world’s perlite is being mined, and it’s reusable.
If anyone has any information that disputes that, please leave a comment. The link does go to a perlite producer and they’ll be pretty biased, I imagine.
But anyway, potting it in a damp medium that allowed a lot of airflow and light caused my rhapidophora to root pretty quickly.
Yes, the root is covered in moss, but it’s there! I toyed with the idea of picking all the moss off, but you know what a root looks like. If the roots are as delicate at the new leaves I’d have probably killed it.
As you can see, the root has grown out of the aerial root.
We also have what looks to be new growth, which is extremely exciting.
My mother plant grows like a weed, so I’m hoping that once the roots are established, the plantlets should start to grow pretty quickly. fingers crossed!
How long does it take for Rhapidophora tetrasperma to grow roots?
My cuttings had been in water for about two weeks before I transferred it over, so we’re looking at about a month/six weeks from cutting to potting up.
Propagations always take longer than you’d think. I took Sansevieria cuttings last year that took MONTHS to root, and still haven’t produced anything other than roots.
Be patient. I’m going to take another cutting at some point that I’m going to start in moss and see if it’s quicker. I just need to wait until I get a bit more growth on the mother plant.
I have an article here on how to get cuttings to root faster.
This growth happened about a week after I switched from water to moss. Interestingly, this cutting didn’t produce roots from the aerial root.
I can only assume that the cutting that produced roots from the aerial root was younger growth. Or maybe it’s just a matter of chance. Anyone know?
You can also see from the picture that the leaves are looking pretty sad. I’m afraid they’re basically sacrifices to the cause, and will probably die completely in a month or so.
How I potted up my Rhapidophora tetrasperma
I’ve potted my three rooted cuttings in one pot, and eventually I want them to be in the same pot as their mother.
To be perfectly honest, the roots weren’t as big as I’d have liked – maybe an inch long, but only just.
I have no excuse – I’m just impatient. If you want to see updates, follow my Instagram. I’ve not done much propagation yet this year, but my Golden dragon babies are doing super well.
If anyone has plants that they’d like me to try to propagate, let me know. I’m game.
I used these ones from Amazon because they’re my fave. They come in a pack of ten, they have drainage holes, they come with a saucer, they’re pretty, and they’re cheap.
I used my regular homemade potting mix. I make it in bulk because it’s easier. If there’s a way to break up coir blocks, please let me know.
The potting mix is
- 3 parts coir
- 3 parts orchid bark
- 3 parts perlite
- 1 part horticultural charcoal
- 1 part worm castings.
My mother plant is in the same mix and seems to like it. It’s pretty much the mix I use for all my plants, and no one’s complained.
How to make Rhapidophora tetrasperam more full
RT grow in a vine-like way, and they only tend to have one growth plant per plant.
This means that if you only buy one vine, you’ll end up with one long string of leaves.
The only guaranteed way to make it more full is to plant multiple plants together. You could buy several and put them all in the same pot, but I find that you can get more bank for your buck if you trim your existing plant and propagate the cuttings.
That way, you’re filling out the bottom by adding more plants BUT you’ll also encourage the plant to pick a new growth point (you know, since you decapitated the last one).
There’s no way of telling which node the new growth will come from. I took maybe 6 cuttings (spaced apart) from my Rhap, and all the new growth came from the node closest to the cut end.
…And then one day it decided enough was enough and the new growth point was the first node on the vine, closest to the roots.
I have no idea what governs this, or if it’s just chance.
Multiple growth points on a Rhapidophora tetrasperma
This is a GREAT way to get your plant to grow fuller, but it’s not easy.
It is very simple though.
This one is growing in a terrarium, and she’s growing FAST. I highly recommend a terrarium,or clear plastic box, or SOMETHING that will keep the humidity up.
Misting will NOT work. The humidity needs to be constant. And, like 85%+. Oppressively humid.
How much do Rhapidophora tetrasperma cost?
RT are pretty common nowadays, so you shouldn’t have to fork out a fortune for a small one. In the UK, expect to pay the same amount as you would for a Monstera adansonii – £20 would get you a decent sized one with a couple of vines.
I bought one long thin one for £10, which was a bargain. I assume it was marked down because it was the total opposite of full. It was basically a string of leaves.
If you’re in the UK, a lot of garden centres have them, so I recommend going to find one you like in person.
In the US, prices vary WILDLY, so I’ll link a few shops on Etsy that have them in stock at the time of writing this article. They’re a pretty common but popular plant so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.
Different plants require slightly different conditions in order to root, but here are a few factors that can influence rhaphidophora tetrasperma propagation:
- Only take cuttings with one leaf
I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but the cutting I took with two leaves struggled to root, and it’s the only difference I could find between the cuttings.
- Don’t worry if the leaves droop
I’m pretty sure that the leaves are on borrowed time. That’s ok – the roots are growing, so new leaves should start forming soon.
- The aerial roots may produce roots
As I explained in this article, aerial roots are unlikely to change into ‘proper’ roots. But in the case of rhaphidophora tetrasperma (and probably a lot of other plants) the aerial roots can start to produce roots, so don’t cut the aerial root off the cutting.
Good luck with your propagating!
Someone asked what happens to the mother plant after you take a cutting – in my experience the plant will keep on growing from the node nearest to where you took the cutting. It doesn’t take very long for the mother plant to get going again, and you don’t need to do anything other than your regular care routine to encourage new growth.
Here’s a photo of new growth (taken in a dark kitchen at 10pm, so apologies for the quality):
the node already has a leaf and an aerial root coming from that node, but it doesn’t seem bothered.
21 thoughts on “How to propagate Rhapidophora Tetrasperma (mini monstera)”
I’m not trying to be mean but the information about tetrasperma being slow to root is so blatantly wrong. Maybe to tried to propagate in the winter? I am water propping one cutting and roots came out within days. Maybe research a little more and rework your information.
But…mine was slow to root. Before I used moss my cuttings just rotted. So I tried moss. And it worked.
Please don’t erase other people’s experience just because it doesn’t align with yours.
If your tetrasperma roots easily GREAT. If it doesn’t, try moss.
Thank you for this! I’ve had one sitting in water for month and no roots at all. I’m going to try the moss and hope my cutting will make it, as I received it from a friend and don’t have access to more cuttings.
Good luck! Increase light, humidity, and temperature (so a sunny windowsill and maybe pop it in a clear plastic bag) if they’re not optimal already and hope!
When you take cuttings is it long before the plant healed and start to grow again? I cut mine and I regret it so much… Cuttings died and now the top of the main stem is just dried out.
How big’s the mother plant? The smaller the plant the longer it’ll take to heal, but it should start growing again. The top will dry up, but a new stem should come out of one of the nodes. It may well sulk until next spring and then put out a tonne of growth.
Leaves can dry and drop off cuttings, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not viable – you can trim the dead leaf off and lay the stem on some damp moss. As long as there’s a node, there’s hope!
Thank you!!! I’ll know it next time and won’t give up even if the leaves dies!
I got a root stump of a TR in a package with other plants. It took at least 6 months to grow! I now root most things in what I call my hillbilly terrariums. I use the plastic containers my family buys Costco rotisserie chicken in. I use live moss layered over some soil and lay the stumps on top and put the large clear lid on. It works sooo well. I don’t even vent until I get new growth. They work amazing for propping begonias too. I do those on straight perlite.
I need to get myself a hillbilly terrarium – a really big one so I can use it release beneficial bugs into and finally rid my monstera of thrips. Live moss is a great idea – I shall ‘borrow’ some from my boyfriend’s fancy-ass terrarium.
A customer at my work brought me in a begonia cutting (my first begonia). She has the most amazing plant that fills her window and I was so happy when she brought me a piece! It’s really woody but has rooted super quickly in water, but I’m gonna switch it to straight perlite because I’m terrified of losing it!
I’ve had good luck with putting RT cuttings in bark and watering carefully.
Do you know, I never thought using bark – thanks for the tip!
Great post! 🙂
I do notice that my propagations with fewer leaves tend to do better at rooting- I figure it’s because the plant is able to direct more nutrients/energy towards forming roots vs supporting leaf growth? I could be wrong. Propagations are all an experiment for us mere mortals anyways!
Have my current RT cutting in water for about 4 weeks and finally it’s forming more water roots out of the aerial root! Think I might transfer into LECA now
Yes, that makes so much sense! I have a really big syngonium cutting propping at the moment and it’s taking it’s sweet time – I think I may cut it into small pieces. Mine are in Leca, and whilst I’ve had 0 leaves, the roots looks incredible!
Thanks for the explanation! Can I ask what happens to the main plant after you take a cutting? Does it just keep growing new leaves from where you cut it? I can’t seem to find this info anywhere.
Mine continues to grow as normal from the node nearest where I took the cutting. I’ll insert a terrible photo in the article because I can’t seem to add one in the comments on mobile!
Take some pothos cuttings and put them in water with the tetra cuttings. Pothos has a natural rooting hormone, helped my tetra cuttings grow roots in just a few weeks!
Great tip! I’m currently trying to root a syngonium in my aquarium, and it has a pothos buddy, so hopefully that’ll speed things up!
I got a tetrasperma cutting off my friend’s new plant she rescued. It’s all floppy and out of my three cuttings only one is somewhat left. I cut them then let them callous over then potted them into damp perlite. the parts where I cut are all shrivelled and it looks like it’s about to rot again. the ariel root is also damaged and seemed to have been knocked off. quite sad since i decided to be too generous with the trade with my friend since i was so excited.
They are SUCH a pain. Don’t give up – they may still root, and the aerial root dropping off isn’t a massive deal. I have a baby RT in my terrarium at the mo, and it’s thriving – I assume due to the high humidity. See if you can find something you can use as a cloche to increase the humidity, and stick it on a bright windowsill.
Don’t be sad that you lost out on the deal! Congratulate yourself for being such a generous soul! It sounds cheesy, but it’s the best way to think about stuff like that.
a few leaves were broken off my tetrasperma during transport, and even though they didn’t have any nodes I gave it a shot and just stuck them in a pot with soil. with regular watering they continued to live, and after about 2 years a couple new stems popped out of the ground! obviously not an ideal wait time, but apparently leaves can propagate.
Wow! There must have been a few node cells at the base! I’m impressed that you stuck at it!