Most homeowners can’t tell the difference between Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera deliciosa because of their close resemblance. The two plant species look alike and share many other similarities.
Of course, both plants are beautiful and have unique benefits, making them great additions to any design. Whether your style leans more towards classic or contemporary, tropical or bohemian, both can definitely bring new life to your interior.
But this post highlights the most important distinguishing features to help you decide the right plant for your home’s aesthetics.
Join us on this journey as we explore these two confusing tropical plants.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma vs Monstera Deliciosa
The difference between Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma and Monstera Deliciosa is their leaf size and fruit production. Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma has small leavers, while deliciosa has larger ones. Also, monstera deliciosa produces fruits, while Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma cannot produce fruits.
About Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma – affectionately known as the ‘mini monstera plant’ is a tropical vine. It also goes by Monstera minima and features green leaves that add a pop of nature to indoor spaces.
This esthetically pleasing plant is often mistaken for an exotic Monstera deliciosa due to its majestic aerial roots and iconic leaf splits. But the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a tropical climbing plant native to Southeast Asia.
So be on the look– the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma may look like a mini Monstera, but it’s quite different. With its unique foliage and elegant trailing vines, this plant brings an air of sophistication and tranquility indoors.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is a resilient plant, tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It performs best in moist, well-drained soil and in moderate to bright light.
Rhaphidophora Fun Facts
- The tropical vine is a member of the Araceae family, which also includes Philodendron and Monstera.
- The mini Monstera can be propagated easily from stem cuttings
- Plus, it’s resilient and not susceptible to pests and diseases.
About Monstera Deliciosa
The distinctively-looking Monstera deliciosa is an evergreen species native to Southern Mexico.
It’s known for its stylish leaves. Monstera leaves are large and leathery and are often variegated with holes or fenestrations. The plant produces white flowers and edible fruit that has a sweet, pineapple-like flavor.
Often called the Swiss Cheese or split leaf philodendron– due to its appearance– Deliciosa is sure to make an eye-catching addition to your room.
Monstera deliciosa typically grows from 6.5 to10 feet tall indoors, with large, heart-shaped leaves 10 to 35 inches in length. The best way to show it off indoors is to stake it upright so that the leaves drape downwards as if to cascade over you.
Monstera deliciosa prefers bright indirect light and warm temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Swiss Cheese Plant Fun Facts
- Monstera deliciosa is a species of flowering plant in the arum family, Araceae.
- The plant is also known as the “Swiss cheese plant” due to the holes in its leaves.
- The plant flowers in the late summer or early fall.
- The flowers are small and white/cream and blossom on an inflorescence that is significantly larger than the flowers themselves.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma vs. Monstera Deliciosa: The Primary Differences?
There are several key differences to check if you’re considering buying either of these plants.
Use this Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. Monstera deliciosa comparison to make an informed choice.
1. Plant Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms and an easy way to distinguish between two closely related plant species.
For example, while both mini Monstera and Deliciosa belong to the same family (Araceae family), they come from different classes, Liliopsida and Magnoliopsida, respectively.
They also belong to slightly different families; Rhaphidophora plants falls under Araceae Juss., while Monsteras belong to Araceae Arums.
These taxonomic differences explain the many disparities we will discover moving forward.
|Family||Araceae Juss.||Araceae Arums|
2. Optimal Growing Conditions
Providing optimal growth conditions is important in achieving lively and healthy houseplants. These include things like temperature, light, moisture, adequate nutrient supply, etc., and the requirements vary by plant.
For instance, while both plants prefer moderate to high humidity and indirect sunlight, Rhaphidophora will do better under slightly brighter light than Monstera.
Both plants have very sensitive roots. They need well-drained soil to prevent root rot and good air circulation, such as near an open window. However, their temperature needs vary slightly– with Monstera’s optimal temperature at 68°F- 86°F and Rhaphidophora at 65°F – 80°F.
3. Leaf Appearance
Appearance is a big deal because you want your in-house plant to match your decor.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma or mini Monstera leaves are heart-shaped and tend to stay relatively small (around 5-8 inches), with splits along their edges. Meanwhile, Monstera deliciosa boasts large and unique leaves (up to 20 inches) with characteristic holes accompanying the intricate edge splits. This is where it draws the name split leaf philodendron monstera.
Monstera plants have a darker and shinier appeal than Rhaphidophora. The latter looks dull and light green but still blends perfectly into various indoor designs.
Switching pots is one way to revitalize your houseplant, and timing is key!
Rhaphidophora tends to grow faster than Monstera and can easily become root bound. It needs repotting every year or two years, depending on your plant’s growth rate. You can also switch pots if you notice root rot or pest infestation.
In comparison, Monstera deliciosa typically doesn’t need frequent repotting– you can switch pots after 2 years thanks to its slow growth rate.
Tip: Consider repotting both plants in spring in preparation for the growing season. You also want to prepare the right potting mix before switching pots.
5. Fertilizer Needs
Fertilizer isn’t necessarily a growth requirement for both plants, but slow growth and nutrient deficiencies can beg the need to apply additives. It’s also okay to use liquid fertilizer from time to time to supplement soil nutrients.
The Monstera plant enjoys a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing period (spring/summer). Try applying once per two weeks in the growing season, then reduce usage to once a month moving forward.
Raphidophora has more complex fertilizer requirements because of its delicate roots prone to fertilizer burn. To stay safe, use low-chemical organic fertilizer.
Are you a busy plant lover, or maybe you’ve got plenty of time to spare for your greens? Remember, the two plants have different requirements.
The Rhaphidophora is a low-maintenance plant and doesn’t require too much attention, while the Monstera deliciosa requires more care and attention. It requires regular watering, fertilizer applications, and pruning to maintain its healthy appearance.
You’ll also need to spray the Monstera leaves with water from time to time to achieve an evergreen vining plant.
7. Growth Patterns & Habits
Are you after a fast-grower or slow-grower? What maximum growth height will fit your room? Remember, these plants have very different growth patterns and habits.
The Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant grows rapidly in optimal conditions and can reach heights of up to three feet in just a few months.
On the other hand, the Monstera plant is a slower-growing plant that takes longer to reach maturity.
Fortunately, you don’t need to stress about how long do monstera leave. It’s perfect if you want an in-house plant that you can nurture and keep around for years.
In terms of growth habits, the Rhaphidophora has a vine-like structure that grows rapidly if given plenty of support (think trellises or stakes). In comparison, Monstera is more like a climbing shrub and takes on a dense form due to its aerial roots.
8. Water Needs
When it comes to watering, both Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera deliciosa require consistent moisture, but they differ in how much water they need.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma likes to stay evenly moist, while Monstera deliciosa enjoys a good soak and then drying out a bit in-between.
This means you should water your Rhaphidophora every 4 – 7 days in summer and once or twice a month in winter. Monstera is way more resilient, it can survive on a watering frequency of once a week (in summer) and once per month (in winter).
Though both greens prefer wet conditions, you want to avoid overwatering as this may subject them to root rot and root infections.
You also want to look at the size when comparing Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. Monstera deliciosa. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma or Monstera minima can reach up to 8 feet when mature, while Monstera deliciosa maxes out at 10–12 feet.
The Monstera also requires more growth space because of its wide leaves that extend out to cover extra width. Therefore, your indoor space should dictate the right plant for your home.
10. Flowers and Fruits
Flowers add a touch of class to any home, and growing natural florets indoors is a better way to make a statement.
While Rhaphidophora plants do not bear fruit, Monstera deliciosa often produces white/cream flowers in spring/summer, followed by edible fruits in late summer/early fall. The latter is perfect if you prefer a versatile houseplant that bears flowers and fruits.
Finally, bear in mind that these two plants vary widely in terms of price—Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants are typically sold for around $5–$25 per plant depending on size and quality, while Monstera deliciosa can cost $20 – $40. Of course, other factors like plant size, locality, etc., may also influence the price.
But this is not to say the Sweese cheese plant is particularly expensive, it’s still cheaper than Monstera varieties like the Monstera Adansonii.
Unfortunately, both plants have calcium oxalate crystals in their rhizomes which can be toxic if ingested.
The calcium oxalate crystals can cause gastrointestinal issues in dogs and cats, as well as nausea and vomiting in humans. Some people may experience skin irritation from the plant’s leaves, but this is not common.
The placement of these greens is important for the safety of your pets and children. Deliciosa grows upright and does not attach itself to other surfaces as mini Monstera does. This means that it isn’t as likely to get hung up on something and cause an issue for animals who are curious about it.
Mini Monstera vs. Monstera deliciosa: What Do They Have in Common?
Well, you may wonder; if the mini Monstera and the Swiss Cheese plant are so different, what do they have in common? For starters— both plants come from tropical climates and can make for excellent indoor plants. With the right amount of light, water, and care, you’ll find that both of these beauties will thrive in your home.
Both Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera deliciosa be trained to climb as they grow, making them ideal choices for interior design.
Plus, they’re low-maintenance plants that don’t require too much fussing over. Monstera deliciosa is known to tolerate a bit of drought and usually responds positively to some pruning here and there. Meanwhile, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma requires bright, indirect sunlight and weekly watering sessions but is fairly resilient all the same.
Both of these plants also have incredible air-purifying capabilities, which means you can help preserve air quality in your home.
They act as natural filters by taking in toxins from the air and converting them into harmless elements—all while providing a bit of extra oxygen to boot.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma vs Monstera Deliciosa: Which Indoor Plant Should You Go For?
If you’re looking to spruce up your home with a houseplant, deciding between Rhaphidophora and Monstera can be challenging.
Here are some questions to guide you when choosing between the two.
How much space do you have?
The first major difference is the amount of space they require. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma requires less space—it leans towards being a smaller specimen that is perfect for tight corners or shelves. Monstera deliciosa is larger and looks elegant in bigger planters or hanging pots.
How long are you willing to wait?
Another factor to consider is how soon you want a grown mature plant. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma grows much faster and is best for homeowners who want quick results.
Meanwhile, Monstera plants are slow growers and will take 2-3 years to grow into a mature plant.
Do you care about flowers and fruits?
The Monstera deliciosa plant bears flowers and edible fruits. It’s a perfect option for homeowners looking for something different than the non-fruiting plants they have in their interior.
Since mini Monstera doesn’t produce fruit, Deliciosa is your next choice if you want a flowering vining plant with edible fruit.
How much time do you have?
In terms of care, both plants need bright indirect natural light and good air circulation and should remain moist at all times.
However, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma needs more frequent watering compared to Monstera deliciosa. So it’s important to take note of this if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
At any rate, you would be making a good choice with either plant—both are low-maintenance and can offer beauty wherever you choose to keep them!
Why Do Homeowners Get Confused When Comparing Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs Monstera deliciosa?
Appearance is the primary cause of confusion when comparing Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. Monstera deliciosa. At first glance, these two plants may look similar, but a closer examination will reveal that they are quite different.
Rhaphidophora tetrasperma leaves are arrowhead-shaped, and its vines resemble an umbrella-like structure, while the Monstera deliciosa has heart-shaped leaves with a perforated pattern.
Split leaves are another shared characteristic, as they both tend to split on their edges. Still, you can easily separate the two because Monstera’s leaf surfaces also have conspicuous holes.
Read Also: Monstera Deliciosa vs Borsigiana
When shopping for indoor plants, choosing between Rhaphidophora tetrasperma and Monstera deliciosa can be a difficult one.
Whether you choose the ever-popular Monstera deliciosa or the less common Rhaphidophora tetrasperma, both plants can be great additions to your home.
Remember, each plant has it’s unique charm and beauty, and it all comes down to personal preferences.
We hope this write-up shared all the details you needed to make an informed choice. Happy planting.
Also, read this care guide for Monstera and Split Leaf Philodendron to ensure your plants stay healthy and look beautiful for many years.