How to Propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (Mini Monstera)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

I first wrote this article back in 2020 and three years later it needs a revamp. I’ve gained a lot more experience in propagation, and I can share a lot of tricks that can help you either root Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cuttings successfully or speed up your existing routine.

Propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is as easy as:

1. taking a cutting
2. rooting the cutting
3. potting the cutting up

You can even root the cutting before you cut it, if you prefer. 

Mini Monstera is just another name for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, though they’re not particularly closely related.

They actually come from opposite sides of the world.

You might also see Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma* referred to as 'Monster Ginny'. 

They're all the same thing, the different names come from a combination of growers trying to set their products apart, and botanists fighting about taxonomy. 

*I have a keyboard shortcut set up, so don't worry about me having to type Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma a million types

Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma easy to propagate?

In the first iteration of this article, I confessed that I struggled with propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, and I was met with disbelief. It turns out that they’re easy for some people and not others.

I think the reason behind my initial lack of success was a lack of experience in propagating combined with a plant that has a slight predilection for getting root rot. Not a great combo, tbh.

Don't let me put you off. I persevered, and I've come up with easy ways to maximise your chances of success with rooting Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cuttings. 

I've also got an alternative method of propagation for newbies who aren't confident about how to take cuttings and would rather propagate their plant whilst it's still intact.

Let’s go!

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma from stem cuttings

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, like many aroids, can’t root from a single leaf – you need a node too.

A node is just the part on the stem that the petiole (leaf stalk) attaches to.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma  stem vs petioles

The aerial roots will also come out from a node.

A wild Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma will climb up a tree to get more light. An aerial root will grow from the back of each node, and the leaves will grow from the front.

We tend to prefer bushy Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma when we have them as houseplants, so don’t worry about the back and the front. Just know that we need a node to propagate a cutting and make a new plant.

If you just cut off a leaf and petiole, you could get it to root, but you won’t be able to get it to produce more ‘proper’ growth.

You can, by all means, try to root dropped leaves in the hopes that there’s a cell or two of node at the base, but your success rate will be low. Like, far less than 1%.

How to take a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma stem cutting

Like I said, we need a node. To get a node, find the end of your plant (i.e. where the latest leaf is), look at the stem between two leaves, and cut somewhere between the two leaves.

I like to cut halfway between the leaves because if you do get rot, you get more time to get rid of it before it hits the node.

The way I’ve explained it here seems simple because technically, that’s all there is to it.

However, if your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma grows quickly, often there's barely any gap between the two newest nodes, and the node itself is covered by the petiolar sheath.

Sometimes there's a cataphyll  or petiolar sheath in the way:

If you like, you can remove the cataphyll – just pull it off gently.

Once the leaf is fully emerged the cataphyll’s job is done and it’ll drop off anyway.

The petiolar sheaths go brown after a while, and you can pick them off, but they tend to get all stringy like celery and it’s a pain to do so I leave them.

Removing the cataphyll can make it easier to see the node. I removed the one on mine, and I can see where to cut.

The two newest leaves are close together and protected by the petiolar sheath, so rather than figure out how to separate them, I’m going to take a cutting that has two leaves.

Here’s where I would cut:

You could either:

  • cut the bottom line only and have a three-leaf cutting
  • the top only and have a two-leaf cutting
  • or cut both and have a single-leaf cutting and a two-leaf cutting.

This is a matter of personal preference. It honestly doesn’t matter.

In my experience, the fewer leaves the cutting has, the quicker it is to root, and you're less likely to lose the initial leaf. However, it can take a while for new growth to get going. 
Multiple leaf cuttings can take longer to root, but new growth is faster.
Top cuttings (any cutting that has an active growth point) tend to be faster to produce new growth. 

Mid cuttings (so if you cut the above example in both places, the single-leaf cutting would be a mid-cutting) don’t root much slower than top cuttings in my experience, but they can take a while to produce new growth because they have to activate their axillary bud.

Axillary buds are ‘spare’ buds that are activated when plants are propagated. It’s so that they have a backup plan if they get trodden on or eaten in the wild.

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in water

This is probably the most popular way to root cuttings. It’s easy for beginners and you can see the roots forming without risking damaging them. I have an in-depth guide to propagating Rhaphidophora tetrasperma in water.

It’s as simple as popping the cutting in a glass of water. I like to put mine in my south-facing kitchen window so I don’t forget about them. I just use regular drinking glasses and tap water from, er, the tap.

pothos and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma propagations

The hardest part about propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in water is keeping the leaves out of the water.

That can introduce rot and we don’t want that. I just hook the leaves over the edge, but if you’re having problems, use sliced pipe insulation or a pool noodle as a flotation device for it.

Or use something with a narrow neck.

You could even fill the bottom of the glass with (clean) stones/gravel and wedge the bottom of the cutting in that – it would make changing the water a pita though.

Change the water often. The more often you change the water, the faster the cuttings will root.

Once the roots are long enough, you can pot them in soil. I usually wait until the roots are 1.5 inches long.

golden dragon propagations

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in soil

I don’t recommend propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in soil, because it’s either quite time-consuming or very unsuccessful.

If you’re thinking ‘well, it’s easy for me, and I have a high success rate’ then you probably have the perfect conditions for it – if you live somewhere warm and humid, you may love propagating plants in soil.

In order to root Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma successfully, the roots need a lot of moisture and a lot of oxygen. 

It's difficult to find the balance when you're dealing with a plant that has a tendency to rot.

You’ll need a very airy soil. Something that dries out in a few days.

Equal parts coir, perlite, and orchid bark would probably do ok.

I wouldn’t add anything with nutrients into the potting mix, because in my experience it increases the chance of rot.

Then you need to keep it moist. But it can’t be waterlogged.

I highly, highly recommend investing in one of those pressure sprayers. I use them to water all my plants now, but they’re SO GOOD for moistening soil without soaking it.

they’re great for crawling philodendron pots too

One of the things I don’t like about propagating anything, not just Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, in soil, is that you can’t see how the roots are doing.

Don’t keep getting the cutting out of the soil to check their progress.

You can either put the cuttings in a teeny clear pot (make sure it has holes)so you can see the roots, or you can just accept that you won't be able to see them. 

Instead, GENTLY give the cuttings a pull to see if there are any roots anchoring them. Wait two weeks before even attempting this. 

And that’s it. The one great thing about propagating any plant in soil is that you don’t need to transplant it, which is usually the most risky time for cuttings.

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in moss

Propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in moss is very popular because it’s more hands-off than water. It’s also a great way of maximising both oxygen and moisture levels at the root without having to change the water every day.

First, you need some sphagnum moss.

It usually comes dried, so you need to rehydrate it. It’s pretty hydrophobic, so I’ve found that soaking it for a few hours in warm (more towards tepid than hot) is the most effective way to get it to absorb water again.

Then wring it out super well. You want it damp, not dripping wet. Then lay the node on the moss, press it down to maximise contact, and you’re done.

I like to use small vessels for moss – you know those tiny Tupperwares that are too small for even half an onion? Now it’s their time to shine.

Keep the moss damp – I just spray the top with my power sprayer every few days -whenever it starts looking dry. I keep these on my coffee table so I remember to check.

spider plant flower

I keep my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma moss propagations in the same vessel until I get new growth. That way, I know there’s a decent root system.

Moss and soil roots are pretty much the same, but I still find that switching them from moss to soil can be a bit of a shock. You could keep them in moss forever (I mean, you could keep them in water forever if you wanted) but I… don’t like to. I can’t come up with a reason – I just don’t really like moss as a substrate.

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in perlite, LECA, or Pon

I consider all of these semi-hydro propagations, because all the media can absorb water, and they’re all great for allowing air flow to the roots.

They’re all made of different materials, but that doesn’t really matter here. The only difference of note is that pon contains nutrients, and therefore can result in faster rooting.

First, you need something to put your cutting in. Again, your tiny Tupperware is good, or those little plastic cups that kids have at parties. I use a drinking glass and a tiny net pot because I nought 50 of them and I WILL use them all.

I like to presoak my substrate and make sure it’s, er, full of water. Hold your cutting in position in the cup before you add the substrate. Mark the side of the vessel so that you know more or less where the base of the cutting will sit in the pot. Don’t worry about it being too accurate – just do your best.

Then add the pon, leca, or perlite until it hits the line you made. Put the cutting in, and fill around the stem so the cutting can stay up without you having to hold it.

Don’t have the base of your cutting more than a third of the way down the vessel, otherwise you’ll be forever having to add water.

The reason we make the mark is that we want the water level to be just below the cutting, and the size of the cuttings will vary. You may have a three-inch long bit of stem, it might only be half an inch. There’s no point in me telling you to fill the vessel a third full if your cutting is sat at the very top.

Next, add water up to just below the line you marked. You don’t really want the water to touch your cutting, but also don’t put so little water in that you risk it running dry if you forget about it.

And that’s it! Again, I like to use a power sprayer to keep the top of the substrate damp. Try not to let the water reach the bottom of the cutting, but also…it really doesn’t matter too much if it does. You can, after all propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in just water. The risk of root is just higher when you’re propping in leca because you’re not changing the water.

How to root Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cuttings faster

So those are the main methods of propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma stem cuttings at home.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I didn’t have a lot of success in propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma that way, which is why I often recommend that people who struggle with stem-cutting propagation try layering (which we’ll discuss next).

However, this year I tried loads of experiments with water propagating to see if I could speed up the rooting process.

Here are some of the things that worked:

If you’re rooting in a substrate that isn’t water, try using a propagation box. All you need is a clear plastic box. You can either add your vessels to the box, or you can put your substrate into the box directly.

Moisten the substrate, add your cuttings, and close the box. Put it somewhere sunny and wait a couple of weeks. Open it, and remoisten the substrate if it’s dried out. Wait another couple of weeks and you should have decent roots on your plants.

How to transfer Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cuttings from water (or moss/leca/perlite/pon to soil

This is typically the trickiest part of propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Water roots and soil roots are different, so when you move the cuttings, the water roots aren’t particularly efficient at absorbing oxygen from the soil.

In the few weeks of transfer the plant has to develop soil roots, so whilst we’re not starting from scratch, because it does have some roots, we have to be mindful of maximising oxygen and moisture.

You'll need and airy soil mix. I like to mix any store-bought houseplant or terrasium soil with leca. At LEAST 50/50 - more leca if you're worried. 

Presoak the leca, then mix the two together. 

Be gentle when you're potting it up - we need all the roots we can get.

Water the plant thoroughly, and then put the cutting somewhere sunny. Keep the top of the soil moist with a sprayer (just a spray bottle will do), and water the plant thoroughly if it needs it.

And that’s it!

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma by layering

You know how plant people refer to propagating as ‘chop and prop’?

Well layering prop and chop. You don’t cut the propagation away from the main plant until the node has already rooted. This was my preferred method of propagating Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma until I figured out where I was going wrong with water propagation.

Layering is less risky than taking cuttings because if the node won’t root, you haven’t lost anything – you’ve haven’t cut anything off. Propagating in water is…more fun. And possibly quicker. Pick your poison.

How to layer Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in soil

If you have a long vine, you can bend it into the same pot, and pin the node down. I use two greening pins, one on either side of the node. But you can weigh the stem down with whatever you have. All you need is for the node to have contact with the soil.

The soil type doesn’t really matter. I prefer something chunky, but I add moss to make sure it doesn’t dry out too quickly.

The great thing about soil layering is that the energy comes from the main plant, so you don’t risk the cutting failing AND they typically root faster than cuttings. Once the cutting produces new growth, you can separate it from the mother plant OR leave it and get a bushier plant.

If you lay multiple nodes on the soil – there’s three in the picture above – you may get three growth points. One will take over after a while and the others will shrivel up, so if you want maximum growth points separate the nodes as soon as the growth point gets going. If you’re going for a bushier plant, you don’t need to remove the nodes – just slice between then with a knife so they’re separate plants.

How to propagate a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma by air-layering it

Air layering is creating a new root system using an aerial root.

Here’s what it looks like (though this is a Monstera):

Just pick a node (any node, though you’ll probably need cut it off if you want new growth, so pick one close to the end of a vine if you don’t want to butcher your plant), wrap it in damp moss, taking particular care cover the aerial root, and then wrap that in cling film.

Secure the clingfilm with garden ties (I used the pipe cleaner-y ones) and wait. Re-wet the moss when/if required – I usually check it every week.

Once you have roots – you’ll be able to see them in the cling film) you can cut the cutting and pot it up.

I don't know why air layering is less likely to cause a new growth point than soil layering. 

Maybe it's a nutrient thing? 

Or I haven't waited long enough?

In any case, you typically air layer a plant until the roots form, and then you take the cutting and pot it up.

How toto propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma by layering using a moss pole

This works best in either those flimsy plastic moss poles or homemade mesh ones with big holes. Those firm plastic ones with small holes aren’t great for this because you’ll decimate the roots trying to get them out.

This is just a case of growing your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma up a moss pole (real moss, not a coir one).

If you keep the moss moist, the aerial roots will grow into it and create a secondary root system. A lot of people like clear plastic-backed moss poles so they can see them.

As the plant grows, each node will root into the moss as it goes, essentially layering itself. if you want to take a cutting, just take one as normal, and carefully draw the roots from inside the moss pole. 

It's one of the few ways you can take cuttings in about five minutes. 

Just be careful - the roots are delicate and are probably all entangled with the roots from other nodes. 

It's fine to cut the roots - just make sure you have a decent root system - anything over a couple of inches is fine.

How to layer Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma using a Kratiste pole

I’m terrible at keeping moss pole moist, so Kratiste poles are more my thing. They’re made of potato peels and elephant grass, but look bark-like. Plant put out aerial roots as they go, as they would in the wild, and they stay active for much longer, rather than browning off and shrivelling up.

If you want to take a cutting, each node (depending on how long it’s been on the pole) will produce a few aerial roots.

You don’t need aerial roots to propagate a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cutting, but they tend to root faster, as the root is already actively growing.

If you put an aerial root in water it can switch to a water root and get growing in a week. It can take a few weeks for brand-new roots to emerge from the stem.

I don’t know why one aerial root grew and the other didn’t

What’s the best way to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma?

I prefer to propagate in water. I can put multiple cuttings in one pot, add a Pothos cutting (yes, it works, I’ve tried it a few times), and change the water every day and I can see new roots within a week.

By the way, I like to take cuttings in spring/summer because it’s quicker and the cuttings can be well-established by winter, but you can take cuttings whenever you want.

However, I can definitely see why so many people like to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma through layering. You don’t really need to worry about giving the plant extra attention (though I find keeping the top of the soil damp helps) – it just does everything by itself.

How long does it take to propagate Rhaphidophora tetrasperma?

It usually takes anywhere for a week to a month for cutting to develop roots.

I took three cuttings on 12th April, and today, on 22nd September, they look like this:

There were three cuttings, they all lost their original leaf, and one cutting has two leaves (the two you can see), one has one leaf (you can see it under the top two) and one just has a leaf spike.

I’d consider that a complete propagation timeline – so from taking the cuttings to producing new growth takes Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma 164 days.

*If you live somewhere more tropical (which is most places, tbh) you can probs get this done faster.

Can you grow Rhaphidophora tetrasperma from seed?

You absolutely can, and they’re not considered hard to germinate. The issue is that Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma seeds are pretty difficult to come by and there are a LOT of scammy seed sellers online.

I’m not sure if you could pollinate them yourself. They’re EXTREMELY unlikely to produce fruit when grown indoors, and I can’t find any information on whether or not they’re self-pollinating.

The only thing I could find was a report from the New Zealand government that says they’re not worried about it being an invasive species for a few reasons, one of them being that it required a specialised pollinator. Monstera are self-pollinating, so one flower contains all you need to make seeds. Anthurium clarinerveum aren’t so you have to collect pollen, then wait for another flower and rub the pollen on the, er, sticky bits, with a paint brush.

How to propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma on a large scale

Growers propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma through tissue culture. It is possible to do tissue culture at home, but you’ll need to find the protocols for Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma are renowned for being heterophyllus, which means there is a TONNE of variation on the leaves – both between specimens and on the same plant.

Different labs will take explants from different mother plants, so there are a few different Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma ‘types’.

They’re not classed as cultivars because leaf shape variation is a characteristic of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and I imagine it’d be difficult to copyright a cultivar that could just change on a whim.

Will Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma regrow after cutting?

Yes. Most plants will start regrowing after cutting. It might take them a couple of weeks to activate an axillary node, but they’ll get there.

What’s interesting about Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is they tend, at least in my experience, to start growing from the bottom of the vine, near the roots. Most vining plants will activate the axillary bud of the end node – so the one closest to where you cut.

All of my Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma have started growing from, if not the very first node, one much closer to the soil than the end of the vine.

I’d love to know if other people have had this experience. I’ve only had two Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, though I’ve propped both a lot, and they’ve both displayed this behaviour.

I thought perhaps it was a Rhaphidophora thing, so I propagated my Rhaphidophora decursiva to see and…no, it’s normal.

Final thoughts

So there we go! I hope I’ve provided you with the confidence to chop and prop your Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Don’t worry if you lose a cutting or two – your plant will regrow and you can try again.

If there’s something you don’t understand or you want me to cover, drop me a comment here or dm me on Instagram, I’m happy to help.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

21 thoughts on “How to Propagate Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (Mini Monstera)”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

Leave a comment