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Rhaphidophora tetrasperma VS Monstera deliciosa (Differences and Similarities)

Difference between Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa has become a famous houseplant nowadays because of its unique leaves, consisting of pattern-like splits and holes.

But even though it has a unique appearance, you may still confuse it with other houseplants like Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma.

They may be sharing similar resemblance, but they are totally different from each other. In this article, you’ll find out how to carefully distinguish these two climbing vines from each other.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa might be similar in their leaf appearance, but looking further, you will see a distinguishable difference in size as Monstera is much bigger compared with Rhaphidophora.

Difference Between Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa

I would like to start by identifying the differences that Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa have, so you won’t get confused between the two.

Here are some factors that you need to check so you can verify if your houseplant is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma or Monstera Deliciosa.

Taxonomy

Looking at Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa, you’ll notice that both these plants have unique structures that most people are confused about. But checking on their taxonomy, you’ll find out that these two are totally different.

Refer to the table below so you can see the difference in their taxonomy.

Plant Name:Rhaphidophora TetraspermaMonstera Deliciosa
Other Name:Mini MonsteraSwiss cheese plant
Kingdom:PlantaePlantae
Subkingdom:EmbryophytaViridiplantae
Class:LiliopsidaMagnoliopsida
Order:                  AralesAlismatales 
Family:Araceae – Juss.Araceae  – Arums
GenusRhaphidophoraMonstera Adans.

Now, you can conclude that Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is totally not similar to Monstera Deliciosa. Apparently, they just look the same, but they belong to two different families.

Leaf Shape and Texture

Upon looking at the leaves of these two houseplants, you might conclude that these are just similar plants because they both have the same heart-shaped structure.

But if you place them side by side, you will see a big difference.

As monstrous as its name is, Monstera Deliciosa is totally larger than Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. 

Monstera’s leaves alone might reach up to two feet long, while the whole plant size can measure up to eight feet high.

On the other hand, Rhaphidophora’s leaves only grow up to less than a foot long, while the whole plant can measure up to five feet high.

In terms of their foliage color, Monstera has darker and glossier leaves compared to the dull light-green appearance of Rhaphidophora.

As you look closer, you will also see some elliptical or round holes in the middle part of Monstera leaves which are not present in Rhaphidophora leaves.

Furthermore, there is also a clear difference when comparing younger leaves since Rhaphidophora already possesses splits and holes, whereas Monstera doesn’t.

Fruit and Flower

Monstera has a low chance of blooming when growing as a houseplant, but when planted outdoors it would take around 2-3 years to bloom completely.

After a year after flowering, Monstera produces an elongated edible fruit harvested when the caps of base fruitlets start to appear.

Meanwhile, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma does not produce edible fruit at all.

Growth Habit

Both Monstera and Rhaphidophora are both fast-growing houseplants, considering that adequate sunlight, nutrients, and watering requirements are met.

However, Rhaphidophora is much more rapid in terms of its growth habit. In fact, it is considered one of the fastest flourishing types of aroid.

For best-growing results, allow both these plants to climb on so they can quickly branch out in every direction.

Price

If you’re growing houseplants, you need to know the difference between the price of these two varieties.

Simply put, it’s pretty evident that Monstera is more expensive compared to Rhaphidophora. 

The average price of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma ranges from $5 to $20. On the other hand, Monstera Deliciosa has an average price of $20 to $40. 

The price of both plants significantly varies depending on the plant’s size, variegation, and location.

A friendly reminder, though, be careful in purchasing your plant online as some claim that they’re selling Monstera, but it was instead a mini Monstera. There’s a big difference between their prices, so make sure not to be fooled.

Growing Requirements

Honestly, Rhaphidophora and Monstera have almost the exact growing requirements since they both have tropical features. However, there are still specific differences in their growing necessities that you need to know once you distinguish your plant’s identity.

Proceed on reading this article to become aware of your plant’s needs.

Watering Frequency

As you have previously read, Rhaphidophora is a fast-growing houseplant compared to Monstera.

In that event, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma leaves can take as much water as they can, making their soil quickly dry out. Therefore, frequent watering is needed to help your plant with its physiological needs.

Ideally, water your plant once every 5 to 7 days during summer and once a month during the winter seasons.

On the other hand, Monstera Deliciosa requires drying out its soil in between watering. Therefore, only occasional watering is needed. 

Preferably, water your plant once every 5 to 7 days during summer and avoid watering during the winter seasons.

Although both Rhaphidophora and Monstera are moisture-loving plants, they can be prone to having root rot once overwatered.

Fertilizer

Using fertilizer is not really required in growing either Rhaphidophora or Monstera, but you can still occasionally apply an adequate amount.

In fertilizing your Monstera Deliciosa, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks during the growing period and once a month after that.

Fertilizing your Raphidophora is relatively more complicated than Monstera since it has very delicate roots susceptible to fertilizer burn. To avoid that, you may opt to use a high-quality organic fertilizer with fewer chemicals to prevent burning.

Repotting

There are also few differences between Rhaphidophora and Monstera regarding their repotting purposes.

Though Monstera is a big kind of plant, it has slower growth habits compared to Raphidophora. 

Therefore, repotting will most likely be needed every 2 to 3 years or once you observe that it has already outgrown its pot.

Meanwhile, Raphidophora requires more frequent repotting since it has fast-growing capabilities. 

Another possible reason to repot your Raphidophora is because of root rot and other pathogenic infection that might occur since it has very sensitive roots.

In that case, repot your plant once a year or when you suspect that it suffers from root infections.

In repotting both Monstera and Raphidophora, make sure that you check the following guidelines.

  • Always check the roots for any possible signs of infection. Immediately remove all infected parts.
  • Repot your plant into a pot a few inches larger than the previous one. Do not use extra size pots as it will affect the growth of the plant.
  • If a pathogenic infection is present, do not use the previous soil. Instead, use a new well-draining potting mix.
  • After repotting, initially water the plant and, after that, refrain from watering for 7 to 14 days to allow the plant to recover from a possible transplant shock.

Similarities Between Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa

Aside from having the same structure and design, there are more similarities that Rhaphidophora and Monstera share in common. The reason why most gardeners tend to interchange these two species.

To give you a better insight, you may refer to the list that I provided below.

Sunlight

Originally, Rhaphidophora and Monstera came from warm regions, so they will most likely enjoy the environment where sunlight is abundant.

They will both thrive in areas where there is bright indirect sunlight. However, too much exposure might scorch the foliage, especially during hot seasons.

Simply put, placing them in an east-facing window is advisable because sunlight is much bountiful in that location.

It is also recommended to install a shade in your window to control the entry of light.

Soil

Rhaphidophora and Monstera are climbing plants that use aerial roots as vertical supports. This is most likely the kind of set-up you need to mimic when you’re growing them as houseplants.

However, this is most likely impossible to achieve at home. Still, you can improvise by using a well-draining and well-aerated potting mix that will retain moisture for a short period.

Since both Raphidophora and Monstera love moisture, placing them in a sandy yet medium loamy mix is suitable. It is essential so they can drain well and retain moisture at the same time.

Preferably, use a peat-based potting mix and combine it with orchid bark.

Bear in mind as well that both plants do not have adhering roots to pull themselves up. Therefore, placing a stake or pole to help them climb is a good substitute.

Temperature

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa will both love temperatures between 55 to 85°F (12 to 29°C). 

But if you’re growing them as houseplants, don’t worry, they can totally adapt to your home temperature as long as tolerable within the given range.

If the temperature drops below 55°F (12°C), you should relocate your plant to a warmer location.

Humidity

Regarding humidity, both Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa enjoy a humid environment.

It is recommended to put them in places with humidity levels between 50% to 60%.

However, they are very adaptive to their environment, so you don’t need to worry if the humidity level rises or drops within the advisable range.

Common Pest

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa have common invaders in their systems. 

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips are some of those who usually cause damage to your plant leaves.

If you suspect that there is possible pest infestation, wipe your plant’s leaves with cotton soaked in alcohol or wash it with insecticidal soap. For a more organic solution, spray your plant with neem oil twice a week until the infestation is over.

Toxicity

In terms of toxicity, both plants are part of the Araceae family which usually contains calcium oxalate crystals which are relatively toxic to your pets.

Apparently, those saps are also dangerous to humans when eaten. It can cause swelling of lips and diarrhea.

If you have dogs, cats, or children in your place, consider hanging either your Rhaphidophora or Monstera in your ceiling or within areas where they cannot reach it.

Pruning

Apparently, pruning is also essential in growing both Rhaphidophora or Monstera as houseplants. It helps them promote new growth within their system and manipulates the growth of leaves, making it more beautiful for landscaping your home.

You can occasionally trim their aerial roots once it gets messy and hard to control.

If your plant is suffering from root rot or pathogenic infestation, pruning is also a remedy that you should apply to balance the volume of leaves from the remaining healthy roots.

Nonetheless, pruning is ideal for both Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa to help them obtain their thriving state.

Propagation

One good reason why growing either Rhaphidophora or Monstera is its capability to excellently respond in trimming.

There are two ways of propagation that you can apply for both of these plants. Fortunately, these are all effective methods that most gardeners are using in propagation.

The first in our list is the traditional way of using cuttings.

  • Using a pruning shear, make a cutting below a node or aerial root. Preferably 5 to 6 cuttings.
  • Remove extra leaves. Two to three leaves will do.
  • Place it in a container filled with water. Make sure to submerge the roots or node.
  • Habitually change the water every three days and observe for your roots growing.
  • In case the roots are ready, transfer them in a clean potting mix. 

Moving on to the second one, Air layering.

  • Using a pruning shear, make an incision cut below a node or aerial root.
  • Wrap the node together with the aerial roots using moistened sphagnum moss.
  • Wrap it again with plastic wrap and secure the end with lace.
  • Every 5 to 7 days, untie the lace and spray the sphagnum moss with water, retaining its moisture.
  • After a couple months, you’ll see some roots growing. Unwrap the root package and pot it in a clean, well-draining, and well-aerated potting mix.

Final Words

Though they might look the same in appearance and structure, Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is totally different from Monstera Deliciosa in terms of their taxonomy, leaf shape, growth habit, fertilizer usage, and some of their growing requirements.

As you reach the end of this article, I hope you can now quickly determine whether you’re growing a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma or Monstera Deliciosa.

(Sources: Interagency Taxonomic Information System – Monstera deliciosa, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development – Western Australia)