Mini Monstera vs. Monstera Deliciosa

This article will cover the following information about both plants. Read on to discover:

  • A brief description of both plants
  • How are both plants similar?
  • The differences between both plants
  • Frequently asked questions

A Brief Description of Both These Plants

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma, also known as Mini Monstera, is one of the most exotic houseplants to exist. It is popular among plant lovers, thanks to its unique leaves and easy-to-manage needs.

People think of Mini Monstera as a smaller version of Monstera Deliciosa because they look very similar at first glance. But in reality, Mini-Monstera isn’t a Monstera at all! It belongs to a completely different genus than Monstera Deliciosa.

Mini-Monsteras are much smaller than Deliciosa but grow at a greater speed. Also, their leaf appearance (size, color, texture, etc.) and a few care requirements significantly differ from the Deliciosa species.

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Mini Monstera

Mini-Monstera is a rare tropical vining plant that goes by many names, like Monstera Minima, Ginny Philodendron, and Mini Split-Leaf.

But why so many nicknames for a single plant? Because it resembles many other plant species and varieties from the same family, like Epipremnum Pinnatum, Philodendron, and especially Monstera Deliciosa.

However, the actual scientific name of this plant is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. It is one of the unique species in the genus of Rhaphidophora.

Here is a word breakdown to help you understand the meaning better.

  • The word ‘Rhaphidophora’ is the fusion of two words: the Greek word ‘rhaphis,’ which translates to “needle,” and ‘phoreus,’ which means “bearer.”  The name refers to needle-like calcium oxalate crystals found in the tissues of all Aroids.
  • The term ‘Tetrasperma’ refers to the four-sided fruit this plant germinates in the autumn season.

With its small beautiful pinnate foliage, this small-sized climber can give your home those jungle vibes without taking up too much space.

Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa is the most common yet exotic species of the Monstera Genus. Their attractive leaves with splits and fenestrations make them a favorite of many houseplant enthusiasts. They are also known as Swiss cheese plant and Split-leaf Philodendron.

Monstera comes from the Latin word ‘monstrous’ or ‘abnormal,’ which refers to their leaves that grow huge and develop unusual holes and splits. Deliciosa, meaning delicious, refers to the fruit those plants produce while growing in the wild.

Monstera Deliciosa

Similarities between Monstera Deliciosa and Mini-Monstera

Some gardeners wrongly sell Mini-Monstera under the name Deliciosa because of numerous similarities in features and appearances. Let’s look at what makes these two houseplants similar.

Sunlight

Monstera Deliciosa and Mini Monstera both thrive well under adequate bright, indirect light.

Both plants originate from warm, tropical regions where the sun shines bright. Hence, you must provide them with adequate bright light to ensure quick and healthy growth. Too little light can slow down their growth and lead to smaller leaves.

These plants grow in diffused bright light in the wild because of the canopies hovering over them. Hence, you must remain careful not to overexpose them to direct sunlight; their leaves might burn otherwise.

To grow them indoors, put them near an east-facing window that receives adequate bright light but add a curtain to avoid too much exposure to direct sun. You can add extra ambient lighting if your area doesn’t receive enough bright light from the sun.

Soil

Both plants need soil that drains well and retains enough moisture to support their growth. If the potting mix isn’t well-draining, these plants will suffer from root rot due to excess moisture.

The soil also needs to be airy and rich in organic matter. You can feed it with a balanced liquid fertilizer to keep your plant happy during the growing phase.

Sandy or medium loamy soil is best for them; it maintains moist conditions after draining out the excess water. Try using a potting mix of peat and orchid bark to grow your plant well.

Both plants have aerial roots that help them climb trees and grow upright in the wild. Don’t forget to fix a moss pole or trellis in the soil to support the growth of these climbers.

Temperature

Since both are tropical plants belonging to warm regions, ideal temperatures for them are 55 to 85 F. They will quickly adjust to your home temperature as long as it stays within a tolerable range.

Don’t forget to move your plants to a warmer location if the temperature around them falls below 55 degrees F. Also, avoid placing them near air conditioning vents, heaters, or radiators to protect them from extreme temperatures.

Humidity

Highly humid environments are a favorite of both Monstera Deliciosa and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Why? Because they originate from dense forests where humidity is at an all-time high.

You must maintain humidity between 50 to 60 percent in your homes to ensure the healthy growth of these houseplants. Put these plants in high-humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms, or raise humidity levels by spritzing your plant once or twice a week or using a pebble tray.

Common Pest

The beautiful, shiny foliage of both houseplants is prone to pest attacks. Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and thrips can invade these plants at any time. They suck the sap out of leaves, resulting in injuries that lead to loss of water and nutrients.

If you sense or observe a pest infestation, clean off the insects from the plant with alcohol-soaked cotton and wash it with insecticidal soap. Spray Neem oil on your plants twice a week to eliminate the infestation completely.

Toxicity

The leafy foliage of most plants in the Araceae family contains calcium oxalate crystals.

These crystals are toxic for both humans and pets; ingesting them by mistake can result in severe digestion issues.

You should hang these two plants in areas kids and animals can’t reach. Always use gloves while handling these plants to avoid skin irritation and allergies from the sap.

Pruning

You must prune both Deliciosa and Rhaphidophora to control growth and maintain appearance. Pruning can also give these plants a beautiful shape.

To prune your plant, take a sterile knife and make planned cuts on leaves, stems, and aerial roots from the sides and the top.

Pruning is not only crucial for encouraging new growth but also for preventing the spread of pests or diseases in plants. Cutting away dead (or dying) leaves and roots helps your plants restore their health quickly.

Propagation

Pruning gives you a great opportunity to grow a new Deliciosa or Mini Monstera plant from your existing plant through propagation. You must trim the stems, leaves, and aerial roots to manage the plant’s size and shape. These cuttings can help you propagate new plants if you cut below the leaf nodes.

Collect five to six cuttings and remove any extra leaves from them. Fill a container with water and submerge the root (which forms the lowest leaf node) in that container. Change the water every three days and see new roots sprout up after some time.

You can also fill the container with moist soil to grow the new plant. Once the new roots sprout, shift the plant to a proper pot filled with well-draining soil.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

How Are Mini Monstera and Monstera Deliciosa Different?

Here are the factors that make these two plant species different from each other.

Taxonomy

Taxonomy refers to the classification of different organisms.

Mini Monstera and Monstera Deliciosa are cousins from the same family of Araceae plants. But they both belong to a completely different genus.

  • Monstera Deliciosa is a part of the Monstera genus that contains 48 other species of flowering plants.
  • Mini Monstera belongs to the genus of Rhaphidophora, which comprises around 100 species.

Native habitat

Both Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa are adapted to survive in warm tropical climates but originate from different continents.

Monstera Deliciosa comes from Central America’s tropical areas like Southern Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, etc. In contrast, Mini Monstera belongs to Asia’s lush and humid regions, mainly Southern Thailand and Malaysia.

Leaf Size and Texture

Now, let’s talk about the main difference between Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa. The heart-shaped leaves of both plants may look similar to anyone at first glance. However, you can spot clear differences by closely observing the texture, size, and structure.

  • Mini Monstera has much smaller leaves than Monstera Deliciosa. While Mini Monstera’s leaves are usually less than a foot long, the leaves of Deliciosa can reach up to two feet.
  • Monstera Deliciosa has darker, thicker, and glossier leaves than Mini Monstera.
  •  You will find the middle of Deliciosa’s split leaves covered in elliptical or round holes, which are not there in Mini Monstera leaves.
  • The younger leaves of Rhaphidophora plants have splits and holes, whereas Monstera Deliciosa leaves don’t develop these features until they are mature.

Fruit and Flower

Both Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa produce flowers on a spadix, a spike of minute flowers around a fleshy axis. Their spadix is surrounded by a single modified leaf or scale called a spathe.

Deliciosa has a white or green, larger spadix that turns green or bluish-green in the fruiting period. Moreover, its cream, white, or yellow spathe is much more prominent, and the seeds are large and spherical, like a pea.

Mini Monstera plant has a tinier spadix with small white flowers enclosed by a smaller, canoe-shaped white spathe. Along with flowers, they develop two reduced small leaves called cataphylls for protection, which turn dry and black over time.

Deliciosa rarely produces flowers and fruits when grown indoors. They take around 2 to 3 years to bloom completely in the wild.

One year after the flowering period, Deliciosa produces long, edible fruit known as monster fruit, Mexican breadfruit, etc. On the other hand, there are no chances of Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma plants producing edible fruit.

Petiole

Petiole refers to the stalk that joins the leaf to the stem.

The petiole of Mini Monstera is a little shorter and grooved than the lamina (the leaf’s flat and expanded part). It also has a visible upper and lower genicula (a bent knee-like structure that facilitates leaf movement).

Monstera Deliciosa’s petiole is larger than the lamina that may fall or remain in its place, even after drying up.

Growth Habit

Mini Monstera is a smaller plant but grows much faster than Monstera Deliciosa. In fact, Mini Monstera is known as one of the fastest-growing houseplants.

The Deliciosa species prefer lateral growth and do not vine as quickly as their cousin, Mini Monstera. More precisely, Deliciosa can only add one or two feet to its height each growing season, whereas Mini Monstera can grow much more than that.

Both plants require support to grow upright. If they don’t have anything to cling to and climb on, they will grow in width rather than length.

Price

This is a difference every houseplant lover should know about! Although the actual price varies depending on various factors (location, size, variegation, etc.), Deliciosa is a more popular houseplant than Mini Monstera and sells at a higher price.

Growing Requirements

Since Mini Monstera grows faster than Deliciosa, they absorb water and nutrients from the potting mix more quickly. They might need more frequent watering and fertilizing than Deliciosa plants in their active growing phase.

Rhaphidophora’s fast-growing capabilities also make them outgrow their pots quickly, which means they need more frequent repotting than Deliciosa. Both these plants have very sensitive roots, so make sure you don’t damage them while repotting.

On the other hand, Deliciosa species require higher humidity levels than Mini Monstera to thrive well. While Deliciosa requires humidity around 50-60% or more, Mini Monstera can survive and grow in average house humidity, like 40-50%.

Note: Remember not to use excess water or fertilizer for both plants, or they might suffer from root rot and fertilizer burn.

Monstera Deliciosa

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Mini Monstera also a Monstera or a Swiss Cheese Plant?

Even though they are both members of the Araceae family and remarkably similar to one another, Mini Monstera isn’t a Monstera at all. They are a completely different species.

This climbing plant belongs to an independent genus called Rhaphidophora. It is frequently referred to by a variety of names, including “Monstera Minima,” “Mini Split-Leaf,” and “Ginny Philodendron,” but its real name is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma.

Fun fact: Mini Monstera is more closely related to Pothos than Monsteras.

Are Mini Monsteras rare?

Mini Monsteras were once considered rare, but they are now available in many shops worldwide. The number of these plants is multiplying through propagation. The variegated varieties of Mini Monstera are still rare and sold in the market at unbelievable prices.

How do I identify my mini Monstera?

Firstly, Mini Monstera is a smaller plant than Deliciosa. Also, these mini-monsters have smaller leaves than their cousin.

You can also look at the leaf color and texture; Mini Monstera leaves are less thick and glossier than the leaves of Deliciosa.

Also, the minis look more vine-like, unlike Monsteras. They don’t hang down over their pots — they climb and grow vertically instead.