Monstera Adansonii vs. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (Key Differences)

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This blog will help you differentiate between two popular houseplants that may look somewhat similar but differ from each other in numerous ways: Monstera Adansonii and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma.

Read on to learn the following details:

·        Introduction to Monstera Adansonii

·        Introduction to Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

·        Key Similarities between Monstera Adansonii and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

·        Key Differences between Monstera Adansonii and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Monstera Adansonii, a.k.a. Swiss Cheese Plant

Monstera is a genus encompassing more than 55 species and varieties of flowering plants from the arum family, Araceae. These plants are categorized as climbing vines. In the wild, they cling to other trees with aerial roots to climb and grow upwards for more sunlight.

Monstera is a Latin word meaning ‘monstrous’ or ‘abnormal.’ It represents their large, shiny green foliage decorated with unique splits and fenestrations.

Monstera plants also go by the names of Swiss cheese plant, fruit salad tree, and Split-Leaf Philodendron. The most common Monstera species are Deliciosa and Adansonii. Other Monstera varieties include Monstera Dubia, Monstera Siltepecana, Monstera Acuminata, and Monstera Pinnatipartita.

Monstera Adansonii is generally a little smaller than a Monstera Deliciosa, growing up to five to eight feet as a houseplant. You can grow it in a hanging basket to enhance any spot in your house.

Other known names for Adansonii are:

·       Swiss Cheese Plant (just the same as Monstera Deliciosa)

·       Swiss cheese vine

·       Adanson’s Monstera

·       Five holes plant

·       Monkey Mask.

Rhapidhophora Tetrasperma, a.k.a Mini Monstera

Monstera Adansonii and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Raphidophora is a genus of approximately 100 species of evergreen climbing plants from the family of Araceae. With their bold, perforated leaves, Raphidophora species are quite popular amongst houseplants enthusiasts.

Raphidophora Tetrasperma is one of the most popular Raphidophora species that originates from Southern Thailand and Malaysia. Being a part of the same family, it looks strikingly similar to the Monstera species. This is why it is more commonly known as Mini-Monstera or Monstera Minima.

The Greek word Raphidophora translates to ‘needle bearer,’ representing the calcium oxalate crystals found in the tissues of all aroids. The word Tetrasperma refers to the four-sided seeds produced by this plant.

Key Similarities between Monstera Adansonii and Raphidophora Tetrasperma

Since both Monstera and Raphidophora species belong to the same family of aroids, they share numerous similarities.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Soil

Both Raphidophora and Adansonii thrive well in a well-draining, nutrient-rich, loamy soil.

You can use a basic aroid mix containing perlite, peat moss, orchid bark, and charcoal; this mixture can provide extra drainage while retaining enough moisture. A pH level from 6 to 6.5 works well for the healthy growth of both aroids.

Note: Both species might fall prey to root rot if the soil is excessively sandy or, in other words, not well-draining enough. Also, you must ensure that the pot you use to grow these plants has proper drainage holes at the bottom.

Temperature & Humidity

Both species are native to tropical areas, so they love moisture and humidity more than other houseplants. High humidity ensures the growth of bigger and stronger leaves.

A humidity level between 50 to 60% is ideal for these plants. You can mist the leaves regularly, use a pebble tray filled with water, or get a good quality humidifier to maintain a favorable humidity level around them. Although low humidity doesn’t kill them, it affects their health and growth.

Moreover, both tropical species require high and humid temperatures to thrive. An ideal temperature range is around 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sunlight

The natural habitat of both Monstera Adansonii and Raphidophora Tetrasperma are sparsely-lit, tropical jungles. Hence, they need a lot of bright, indirect light to grow well.

You can place these plants at a decent distance from east or west-facing windows that are usually adequately well-lit. In winter, artificial grow lights can compensate for the lack of sunlight.

Make sure you don’t expose Monstera Adansonii and Raphidophora Tetrasperma to direct sunlight because it can scorch their delicate leaves and leaf stems.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in white wall background

Toxicity

Monstera and Raphidophora plants contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause allergic reactions if your skin comes into contact with the sap or you ingest the plant.

The after-effects of ingesting this plant include mouth and throat pain and swelling, vomiting, drooling, and difficulty in swallowing. You should keep children and pets away from the plant to avoid accidental ingestion.

Common Pests

Common pests that attack all types of tropical houseplants include thrips, spider mites, scales, and fungus gnats. These pests are phytophagous, meaning they cause damage by sucking on the sap of the leaves and stems.

You must first identify which pest has attacked your plant. This will help you decide the method you should use to eliminate pest infestation.

You can manually remove the pests and spray the plant with neem oil or pesticides. Ladybugs can also help you control common pest infestations over your plant.

new Monstera Adansonii leaf

Pruning

Trimming tropical plants like Monstera Adansonii and Raphidophora Tetrasperma can help you manage their shape, growth, and health.

Prune your plant from the points where you want to see new growth. Make sure your cuts are two inches below the node (the knobby points where a leaf meets the stem). Cuttings that include a node can help you propagate a new plant.

Remember that early spring is the best time to prune both Monstera and Raphiodophora plants. This is because early spring brings new growth spurts that help plants quickly recover from the pruning cuts.

Propagation

Growing a new Monstera Adansonii or a Raphidophora Tetrasperma is easy if you already have one growing at home.

·        Choose a section from your current plant that you want to trim.

·        Trim off the chosen section with a sharp, sterile tool; your cutting must include at least one or two nodes.

·        Set the cutting into water, soil, or sphagnum moss and wait for new roots to sprout.

·        Transplant the newly rooted cutting into a proper pot after a few weeks.

Key Differences Between Monstera Adansonii and Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma

Monstera Adansonii in the bathroom

Taxonomy

Although Monstera Aadansonii and Raphidophora Tetrasperma belong to the same family of aroids called Araceae, they are a part of different genera.

While Adansonii is a species from the genus of Monstera, Tetrasperma belongs to the genus of Raphidophora. This is why both species are different in many ways despite the strong resemblance.

Growing Habits

new Monstera Adansonii leaf

Monstera Adansonii can be categorized as an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte. It creeps on the ground as a juvenile plant but matures and leaves the ground if it finds a place to climb.

In the wild, it grows quite vigorously by clinging and climbing onto other trees with its aerial roots, reaching 6.5 to 13, or sometimes even 20, feet. At home, it can reach up to four to eight feet long and one to three feet wide. In an outdoor environment, it may grow a little longer than that.

On the other hand, Raphidophora Tetrasperma is categorized as a small to medium slender liana. It grows towards the light in its seedling stage and shingles upon reaching its juvenile phase. Its petiole grows longer and halts shingling once the plant reaches adulthood. The leaves change their shape and develop splits and holes.

A Mini Monstera plant can grow up to 16 feet in its natural habitat, but you may not see it go beyond six to eight feet indoors.

Leaf Shape & Size

Swiss Cheese Plant leaf

Raphidophora Tetrasperma has smaller leaves than Monstera Adansonii.

On average, the leaves of Tetrasperma may measure about 5 to 18 inches long and 4 to 15 inches wide. Their shape is usually oval to elliptical.

On the other hand, Monstera Adnasonii has huge, heart-shaped leaves that may measure around 9 to 30 inches in length and 9 to 25 inches in width.

Fenestrations

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma on a coffee table

Lacy holes in the leaves of a plant are called fenestrations.

Both plants develop splits and holes, but Monstera features more, evenly-pinnatifid, heart-shaped leaves with elliptical holes in a series. The gaps between the pinnae (the divisions in a pinnate leaf) are narrower than the pinnae. Remember that it is normal for Monstera Adansonii to have no holes sometimes.

In comparison, Raphidophora Tetrasperma plants have fewer splits. Also, their pinnae are thicker, and the gaps between them are larger. Their fenestrations are few, rhombic, and located close to the midrib. The holes don’t develop in series.

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma climbing up a wall

Leaf Appearance

Monstera plants have thick, leather, dark green leaves with a glossy feel. On the other hand, the leaves of Raphidophora plants are thinner and not as leathery or glossy as Monstera.

Stems

·        The stems of Swiss cheese plants are thick, around 0.8 to 3 inches. Comparatively, the stems of Raphidophora plants are thinner, probably less than an inch.

·        The internodes of Monsteras are longer than the internodes of Raphidophora plants.

·        The leaves grow alternately in both plants, but Raphidophora leaves appear weakly spiral.

Fruits and Flowers

Both these plants feature bisexual inflorescence on a spadix surrounded by a spathe.

However, Monstera plants have a larger spadix and a more prominent spathe than Raphidophora. The spathe of Monstera plants has larger spheroidal seeds that look like large peas.

The spadix of a Monstera plant turns into a delicious fruit you can enjoy after ripening, while Raphidophora Tetrasperma doesn’t produce edible fruit.

Growth Rate

Monstera Adansonii plants in coco coir poles

A Monstera plant has a moderate growth rate of around one to two feet per year. In contrast, Raphipdophora Tetrasperma has a fast growth rate; it can grow more than two feet per year, requiring more frequent repotting.

Price

Prices of both these plants depend upon the size and the place where you buy them from. Generally, you can get Raphidophora Tetrasperma at a lesser price than the Monstera species. This is because Monstera species are more popular than the Raphidophora species as houseplants.

Petiole

The petiole is the stalk that joins a leaf to the stem.

In a Monstera plant, the petiole is longer than the lamina (the flattened, extended part of the leaf attached to the petiole). In Raphidophora Tetrasperma, the petiole is slightly grooved and shorter than the lamina.

Dry Leaves

The leaves of a Monstera plant turn brown when dry. In contrast, the dry leaves of a Raphidophora species are dark brown in color.

Native Habitat

Monstera Adansonii originates from the tropical jungles of Central and South America.

On the other hand, Raphidophora Tetrasperma is native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, specifically Southern Thailand to Malaysia.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Monstera Deliciosa and Mini Monstera?

Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma in the shop

A major difference is that Raphidophora plants grow faster than Monstera. This is why a Monstera plant may require more care than Raphidophora. Moreover, both plants differ in terms of size; Monstera species may grow larger than Raphidophora plants.

Is Monstera Adansonii rarer than Monstera Obliqua?

Monstera Adansonii isn’t considered rare, except for its variegated cultivars. It is commonly propagated and easily available in most parts of the world. Instead, Monstera Obliqua is a much rarer variety of Monstera.