How to Grow Mini Monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma)

Mini monstera was first identified in 1893 by British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. This is an easy-to-care-for and interesting houseplant that has gained popularity over the past few years.

What is mini monstera?

Family Araceae
Botanical name Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Common names Mini monster, Philodendron ‘Ginny’, Philodendron ‘Piccolo’, Monstera ‘Ginny’, Amydrium ‘Ginnie’, Epipremnum ‘Ginny’
Plant type Perennial, vine
Flower colour White
Sun exposure Bright, indirect light
Soil pH Neutral, acidic
Mature height 180 – 240 cm (6 – 8 foot)
Soil type Rich but well-draining
Habitat Rainforests
Native to Southern Thailand and Malaysia

 

Mini monstera is a tropical aroid native to Southern Thailand and to Malaysia. Despite the common name ‘mini monstera‘, this plant is a member of the Rhaphidophora family, comprising approximately 100 species. The name comes from its similar pinnatifid (slit) leaf shape to the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa).

Mini monstera are part of the Araceae family (sometimes referred to as aroids), which includes other species Alocasia, Arisaema, Caladium, Colocasia, Dieffenbachia, Monstera and Philodendron.

Mature leaf size ranges from 15 – 20 cm (6 – 8 inches) with slits along the side. In the wild, mini monstera

Care

Mini monstera is one of the easiest houseplants to care for and is perfect for the novice. If you have ever grown other aroid species, you will have no problem with mini monstera.

Light: Its preferred position is bright, but indirect light. Avoid full light as this will burn the leaves. Remember, in its native habitat, mini monstera grows beneath larger trees and receives filtered light. My mini monstera is in a north/west-facing position (southern hemisphere), but about 2 metres from the glass doors.

Water: Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. Dip your finger into the top 2.5 cm of soil and if it is dry, water your plant. As a guide, water twice a week in the warmer months but every 7 – 10 days when it’s cooler.

Fertilising: Fertilise with a good-quality liquid fertiliser once every two weeks during the active growing season. I usually use Powerfeed but have just purchased We the Wild which has good reviews, so we will see how it goes. Slow down on fertilising in winter, I generally feed once a month.

Repotting and soil: I always like to repot houseplants I bring to the home so that I know they’re in fresh potting mix. An everyday potting mix is suitable for mini monstera, however, some people like to make a mix of 1/3 peat moss or leca (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) for extra drainage, 1/3 pearlite to help aerate the soil and 1/3 premium potting mix. If you can’t find pearlite or leca at your local garden centre, they are available to purchase online.

When you bring your mini monster home, carefully remove it from its pot and check the roots. If they are potbound the plant should be repotted into a larger pot.

Resist the temptation to go too large as overpotting can hold more water, which can cause root rot. The new pot should only be 3 – 4 cm larger than the current pot. Ensure the pot has a hole in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out of the pot. Look for a heavy ceramic pot that will be able to accommodate both the plant and the support pole.

Temperature and humidity: Mini monstera likes a warm climate and humidity. Increase humidity with a humidifier, spray with a misting bottle or sit the plant in a wide tray with pebbles. Excess water drains into the pebbles, so the pot isn’t directly sitting in water, and increases humidity around the plant.

Pruning: Mini monstera can be a vigorous grower if it becomes too large, snip off some stems with nodes, put them in a glass of water and propagate. You can either sell the cuttings or give them to friends and family.

Climbing: Keep your mini monstera upright by providing a moss pole for it to climb up. You can loosely secure the plant to its pole with plant ties. Be careful not to secure it too tightly and damage the stem.

How do I keep my mini monstera upright?

Leaf cleaning: Wipe down leaves with a damp (not soaking wet) microfibre cloth every 2 months to remove dust and debris. Avoid wiping newly emerged leaves until they have had time to harden.

Propagating

Propagation of mini monstera is extremely easy in water.

  • Using a sterilised pair of sharp scissors, take a snip from the plant, which must include a node. The node is where the new growth will come from.
  • If there is more than one leaf on the cutting, remove the bottom leaves, leaving one remaining one at the tip.
  • Place the node into a clear glass of clean water, with the leaf above the water. Some people like to dip the cutting in rooting powder, but mini monstera is so easy to propagate that I don’t do this.
  • Place the glass on a bright windowsill.
  • The cutting will develop roots from the node within 2-4 weeks.
  • Once the roots are 5 cm (2 inches) long, plant them in premium quality potting mix (see above for making the perfect substrate mix for your mini monstera).

Propagating a mini monstera

Toxicity

Mini monstera is toxic to pets and humans. The toxic principle is insoluble calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides that penetrate the delicate tissues inside the mouth causing pain and in some cases swelling. If this occurs, remove any remaining plant matter from the mouth and offer the cat or dog a drink of something tasty such as tuna juice or milk.

Pests and diseases

Overall, mini monstera is a hardy plant but can be susceptible to spider mites.

Frequently asked questions

Is mini monstera rare?

Mini monstera is not always available in nurseries/garden centres, but it is not rare. It can easily be purchased from online plant stores or private sellers on eBay, Etsy or Facebook for around $20.

Is there a variegated mini monstera?

Variegated mini monstera

Yes, there is a variegated mini monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma ‘Variegata’) but it is one of the rarest houseplants on the market and comes with a hefty price tag. You will not find variegated mini monsters for sale in nurseries, but they are available online. Prices start at $1,000 for a single leaf/node cutting. The most expensive houseplant ever was a variegated mini monstera that sold for $27,000.

What is the difference between mini monstera and Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa)?

  • The leaves of mini monstera are considerably smaller than those of a mature Swiss cheese plant. The image below shows the size difference between mini monstera and Swiss cheese plant. The mini monstera leaf has been placed directly onto the Swiss cheese plant leaf which is 5 or 6 times larger.

Monstera vs mini monstera

  • Both mini monstera and Swiss cheese plants have pinnatifid (slits) in their leaves, the Swiss cheese plant also has holes (fenestrations) which mini monstera generally doesn’t have.
  • Mini monstera comes from Thailand and Malaysia, Swiss cheese plant comes from Central America and Southern Mexico.
  • The mature leaves of the Swiss cheese plant are somewhat dry and leathery, while the mini monstera leaves are considerably softer.

How fast does mini monstera grow?

This is my mini monstera photographed 11 months apart, as you can see, there has been considerable growth in this period. We live in a temperate climate. As we didn’t provide it with a moss pole, it climbed up the wall. At some point, we will have to cut it back as it’s getting a bit out of hand. The aerial roots, secrete a sticky substance to help the plant cling to the surface.

Mini monstera growth over 11 months

Is mini monstera a philodendron?

Even though mini monstera is sometimes called Philodendron ‘Ginny’, mini monstera is a member of the Rhaphidophora genus.

How big does mini monstera get?

Mini monstera can grow to approximately 180 – 240 cm (6 – 8 foot). If your mini monstera grows too much, it is easy to cut back.

Yellow or brown leaves on your mini monstera

Soft and yellow leaves are usually a sign of overwatering or lack of light. The soil must be moist but not saturated and light should be bright, but not direct.

Crispy brown leaves may be too much sun exposure, not enough water or lack of humidity.

Should I repot my mini monstera?

Eventually, your mini monstera will outgrow its pot, and should be moved into a larger one.

Signs a mini monstera needs to be repotted:

  • Roots growing through the drainage hole of the pot
  • The plant seems to need water more than usual
  • Growth slows down or stops, if leaves do grow, they are smaller than normal
  • When you remove the plant from the pot, there is very little soil left and the roots have grown around the inside of the pot in a circle

As noted above, only go up one size, don’t be tempted to buy a huge pot for the plant to grow into.