Rhaphidophora cryptantha care infographicThe Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is such a unique and beautiful climbing plant that you will want one in every area of your home.

They will stick to whatever surface they climb like a living wallpaper and barely need any attention at all.

Continue reading to know all about how to properly care for this eye-catcher.

Quick Overview

Here is a quick table of this plant’s requirements.

Requirements Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
Light Loves bright, but not direct, sunlight
Water Water two or three times a week during spring and summer; once a week during winter
Soil Rich and well-draining
Temperature Recommended temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit will do
Humidity Higher than 50 percent
Fertilizer Once a month during the growing season

What is Rhaphidophora Cryptantha?

The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is an Araceae plant with deep emerald-green leaves that have light green or silver veins that lie against whatever climbing avenue they get, resembling shingles.

Its two-to-three-inch-long hemi-epiphyte leaves are thick and shaped like hearts, and the plant typically will grow as tall as you let it or until it has nowhere else to climb.

– Where Does it Originate?

The Cryptantha is part of the Araceae family and the Rhaphidophora genus from Africa, Malesia and Australasia. It is a tropical plant that is often found growing on trees or on other plants with large stalks. 

– Other Names for the Raphidophora Crypthantha

Your Rhaphidophora Crypthantha is also known by several other names. You may see them advertised or described as:

  • Shingle plant
  • Climbing vine
  • Rhaphi plant
  • Mini Monstera

How to Care

Caring for Raphidophora Crypthantha is not difficult. As long as they get a bit of water, some sunlight and a lot of humidity, these plants will thrive and be happy. These stunning tropical plants make excellent houseplants no matter where you live, since you can easily control the environment indoors. 

– Light

Rhaphidophora Cryptantha-tropical plantYour shingle plant loves bright light, but not direct sunlight because it is used to growing as a climber in the forest. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves and eventually kill your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha.

The best spot for your plant is near a window with bright light, as long as the sun does not shine directly on it.

Early morning sunlight is fine, so place it where it can get the best morning light such as an eastern-facing window. About 70 percent to 85 percent of light is best. 

– Water Requirements

Watering Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is not a difficult task. During the spring and summer, your plant will probably need to be watered two or three times a week depending on the size of the pot, size of the plant, and the temperature and humidity level in the house. In the winter, your plant will do fine with just being watered once a week

No matter when you water it, you should always check your plant before watering. Put your index finger in the soil and if the top inch of soil is dry, you can water it. If not, check again daily until you get a routine going. But even after you seem to have a routine, you should still check the soil regularly to make sure you are not overwatering your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha.

– Soil

Soil for Rhaphidophora Cryptantha should be rich and well-draining. You can use a premade aroid houseplant potting soil or make your own mix. The preferred recipe for your aroid soil is:

  • 10 percent sphagnum moss or perlite
  • 20 percent peat
  • 30 percent potting soil
  • 40 percent bark

-Temperature Requirements

Since your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is a tropical plant, it enjoys the heat. The recommended temperature for this plant is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but anywhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit will do. Anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit will likely put your plant into dormancy. 

– Humidity Requirements

Just like the temperature, your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha needs high humidity too. Try to keep the moisture level higher than 50 percent for best results. If you are having a hard time keeping that moisture level in your home, there are a few things you can do. 

Try using a warm-air humidifier nearby. Keep it close enough to supply humidity but not enough to drench your plant. Any kind of humidifier is good as long as it does not put out cold air because your plant needs heat. 

If you do not want to constantly run a humidifier, you can also try a pebble tray. Place a handful of clean pebbles in a tray and put enough water in it to reach just under the top of the pebbles. If your plant still seems dry, you can also mist it with water to keep it moist. 

– Try a Terrarium

Because Rhaphidophora Cryptantha plants need so much moisture and heat, this makes it an excellent candidate for terrarium planting. Just make sure it has the right kind of soil texture and do not let it get waterlogged. Terrarium plants can almost take care of themselves, but you should still keep it clean and mist it as needed. 

– Feeding

It is good to give your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha fertilizer once a month during the growing season. You can use diluted liquid fertilizer but make sure it is of high quality. Another option is to use a slow-release fertilizer stick or supplement. During the winter, you do not need to feed your plant at all. 

– Pruning

Although it is not really necessary to prune your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, you can trim it to keep it from overgrowing its surroundings. The plant may also benefit from removing a few leaves on the bottom of it to enhance growth. 

 

How to Propagate

Growing a new plant from your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can easily be done by using a stem cutting, but wait until your plant is in a well-established, mature age before trying to propagate from it. Here are the steps for effective propagation:

  1. Sterilize a sharp knife or pruning shears with alcohol.
  2. Cut about 5 to 7 inches off a vine with at least two or three aerial nodes or roots.
  3. Fill a pot with soil just like you did with your original plant. Make sure it has plenty of aeration.
  4. Dip your new cutting in some type of growth hormone and place it gently in the soil.
  5. Be sure you have at least one node under the soil and one above the soil.
  6. Water thoroughly and cover it with a plastic baggie.
  7. For the first 30 days, keep it in very low light and mist it daily.
  8. After 30 days, limit the misting to every other day and place it in a similar spot as the mother plant with indirect sunlight.

When to Repot

Once your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha starts looking leggy or it is not growing anymore, you probably need to put it in a larger pot. This is simple to do by just filling a clean pot with new soil the same texture as the old soil. 

Remove the plant gently and rinse the roots carefully before placing it in the new pot and covering with fresh soil. Give your plant a good watering next, but make sure you do not overwater it. Continue to check on it every day to see if it needs more water. 

Growing the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha Outdoors

The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha needs warmth and humidity, so it is best to grow it indoors where you can control the environment. However, if you live in zones 10 to 13, you can place it outdoors in a spot that does not get direct sunlight or under a shade cloth. It is a good idea to keep the plant in its pot so you can easily move it or bring it indoors if needed. 

– Problems 

The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha leaves can indicate when there is a problem with your plant if you pay attention to what they are saying to you. This can help you ward off any issues before they become major problems

– Yellow Leaves

Anytime you see yellowing leaves on your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha foliage, you will want to check the moisture in your plant because this is a sign of too much water. If that is not the problem, it could be that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Try moving it to another spot in your house.

– Black Leaves

If your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha has developed brown or black leaves, this could be a sign of root rot. This is caused by overwatering your plant and can be fixed by removing the rotten parts of the roots and repotting them in fresh soil. You will recognize the rotten parts of the roots by their appearance as they will look mushy and black.

– Dry or Curly Leaves

Dried-out leaves will curl up and may even break off — this is a sign of not enough humidity. Remove the damaged leaves and increase the humidity around your plant by misting, adding a pebble tray, or getting a humidifier.

– Drooping Leaves

The most common cause of drooping leaves is not enough water. Check the soil to see if there is any moisture just under an inch of the surface. If there is enough moisture, the problem may be mealybugs or spider mites instead. 

Pests

Even though the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is mostly unaffected by pests, there is the possibility that they may attract a bug or two. And where there are one or two, there will eventually be a hundred, so you need to take care of the problem as soon as you think there is one.

– Spider Mites

Does your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha look like it has been wrapped in a cocoon? Your plant probably has spider mites and if it is that bad, it may already be too late. Remove the leaves that are cocooned and dispose of them by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and taking it to your outside trash can. 

After removing the affected leaves, give your plant a good hard shower to get all the other live spider mites off your plant. You can do this by taking it outside if it is warm and spraying it with a hose. Otherwise, place it in the shower and use the showerhead to wash the pests away. 

Once your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha dries, apply a coating of neem oil or insecticidal soap to kill the eggs and any lucky survivors. Reapply it every few days for two weeks to make sure you get them all. Keep an eye on your plant and check the leaves daily for several months to prevent reinfestation.

– Mealybugs

A mealybug is a tiny, oval-shaped pest that looks tan or yellow with a coating of gray or white powdery wax on it. These little bugs can lay 300 to 600 eggs before they die, so your plant can be quickly overwhelmed. Mealybugs suck the nutrients and chlorophyll from your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha and will eventually kill it if you do not get rid of them.

If the infestation is bad, remove the leaves and stems that are affected rather than trying to remove the pests or spraying them away. However, because of the large number of eggs they lay, you will need to be vigilant and stay on top of treatment during the next few days. 

Treat the remaining areas with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol and coat it with neem oil or insecticidal soap afterward to keep them from coming back. Because mealybugs are attracted to nitrogen, be sure not to overfertilize your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha. 

Different Varieties of the Raphidophora Genus

The Rhaphidophora genus has over 100 species, the most common ones besides the Cryptantha are:

  • Rhaphidophora Africana can grow to about 30 feet tall in the wild but will rarely get that tall indoors. The long flat oval leaves are dull green with parallel veins. In perfect conditions, you may see a yellow spadix that is shaped like a banana if your plant grows to full maturity.
  • Rhaphidophora Beccarii is a small to medium-sized plant that has long, slender, dark green leaves. The Beccarii is a hemi-epiphyte with a long white spadix and is one of the least common varieties. In nature, it can reach heights of 20 feet but typically grows to just a few feet indoors. 
  • Rhaphidophora Crassicaulis is another medium-sized Rhaphidophora species that has large leaves that pinnate as they mature. Although the Crassicaulis is highly sought after, it is a very uncommon variety that you will not find easily.
  • Rhaphidophora Decursiva is one of the larger varieties with unique leaves that are so deeply lobed that they look like palm tree leaves when they mature. The leaves can get as large as 40 inches long and the overall plant will grow to over 15 feet indoors. In the wild, it can grow up to 30 feet and may produce a white spadix. 
  • Rhaphidophora Foraminifera is very rare and if you do find one, you will probably have to pay quite a bit for it. Like the Monstera genus, the long leaves start out shiny and solid but develop round or oval holes as the plant matures. Not much is known about this variety.
  • Rhaphidophora Sylvestris is a huge variety of Rhaphidophora that can grow up to 60 feet in nature if it has something sturdy to climb. The shingling leaves are slender and long with an oval shape and a dark green color. The short yellow spadix is surrounded by a pale-yellow spathe.
  • Rhaphidophora Glauca is also rare and if you find a true Glauca, you should buy it and start propagating it to save the species. The huge plant can grow up to 40 feet in the wild if it has something tall enough to climb. Its long slender leaves are dull green but not fenestrated.
  • Rhaphidophora Puberula is a hardy medium-sized plant that grows to about 10 to 20 feet. The leaves are long and thin with small fenestrations when mature. It will produce a creamy yellow spadix with a yellow spathe if the conditions are right.
  • Rhapidophora Tetrasperma has huge light-green leaves that look similar to monstera leaves with large fenestrations in the mature leaf. This vining plant can grow up to six feet tall if you give it something sturdy to climb. 
  • Rhaphidophora Korthalsii is similar to the Tetrasperma, but its leaves are broader and the veins are not as prominent. It will grow to a humongous 50 feet in the wild but probably will not get more than five feet indoors. It also has a dull yellow spadix surrounded by a green spathe in perfect conditions.
  • Rhaphidophora Latevaginata can grow to about 35 feet in nature as long as it has something to climb. Its dense, shingling leaves are a smooth dark-green without prominent veins. It may also grow a pale green spadix if the conditions are right.
  • Rhaphidophora Elliptifolia is another large type of Rhapidophora that has woody stems with long leaves. If allowed to reach maturity, it may reach up to 30 feet, but that rarely happens indoors. What makes it unique is the glossy yellow fruit that encloses the pale-yellow spadix. 
  • Rhaphidophora Lobbii is a smaller type of Rhaphidophora, only growing to about five feet tall and has alternating leaves that grow close together. It will climb anything it finds and produces a very unique bright white or lilac spadix in a large white or yellow spathe in the wild.
  • Rhaphidophora Megasperma is small, in contrast to its name, and only grows a few feet tall with long narrow light-green leaves. The spadix is a dull white with a darker spathe but only grows in perfect conditions in the wild.
  • Rhaphidophora Tenuis is one of the most unusual species of Rhaphidophora with long pointy juvenile leaves unlike any of the others. When the leaves mature, they fan out and end up deeply lobed like a palm tree.

Toxicity

Always keep your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha out of the reach of children and pets because it has insoluble calcium oxalates. Signs of toxicity include pain in the tongue, mouth and lips as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can be dangerous if a large amount is ingested as it can cause swelling of the airways.

Conclusion

We have covered a ton of material about your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, so you may be feeling pretty satisfied that you are ready to grow a huge and healthy plant. These highlights of the most important topics will help you get what you need at a glance. 

  • The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is a climbing hemi-epiphyte that is part of the Araceae family from Africa, Malesia and Australasia.
  • The large thick heart-shaped leaves are a deep emerald green that may reach two or three inches long.
  • You may also see your plant referred to as the shingle plant, climbing vine, Rhaphi plant, crypto and mini monstera, although it is not related to the monstera. 
  • Your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can get up to about five feet tall indoors but reaches over 20 feet in the wild.
  • This plant needs at least 70 percent light, but it must not be direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves.
  • Water your plant when the first inch of soil is dry, which may occur once or three times a week depending on the size, heat, humidity and time of year.
  • The soil should be an aroid potting soil mixture of 10 percent sphagnum moss or perlite, 20 percent peat, 30 percent potting soil and 40 percent bark.
  • It is important to keep your tropical Rhaphidophora Cryptantha between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let it go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • The humidity near this plant must be kept high at all times. To help keep it moist, you can use a humidifier, pebble tray or mister.
  • A terrarium would be perfect for your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha since the inside stays warm and humid all the time.
  • You can propagate your plant with a stem cutting.
  • It is best to grow the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha inside, but if you live in a warm climate, it can live outside.
  • The leaves of your plant will tell you if there is anything wrong with it such as root rot, overwatering, underwatering, low humidity or too much sunlight.
  • Your Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can also be susceptible to pests like spider mites or mealybugs.
  • There are over 100 species of Rhaphidophora, but only about 15 are commonly grown as a houseplant.
  • All varieties of the Rhaphidophora genus are toxic to children and pets.

Having one or two of these evergreen beauties in your home can make you feel like you are on a tropical island and they will climb anything they can find. Give it a good wood totem to climb and it will make a wonderful unique decorative piece in any room.

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