There is a new boss in the houseplant town – Raphidospora Tetrasperma. An even bigger boss is the Variegated Raphidospora Tetrasperma.
This new plant is so beautiful and rare that the cost was outrageously high when it first came out, but now, you can pick one up for a reasonable price.
Variegated raphidospora tetrasperma boasts of leaves with varied colors and flowers with spathe, making it an exotic indoor plant. However, you can grow one outside.
Coming across this kind of plant can be intimidating, but it is a blessing because it is easy to care for and maintain and grows fast.
Guide to Grow and Care for Variegated Raphidospora Tetrasperma
Variegated raphidospora tetrasperma is so low maintenance that even gardeners with little to no experience can grow it well.
This plant can tolerate little care if your schedule is tight, but total neglect can cost you your plant.
The following requirements must be considered to ensure you have provided your plant with total care.
Bright Indirect Light
Variegated raphidospora tetrasperma grows best with at least 7 hours of bright indirect light daily.
Exposing this plant to direct light has several negative consequences, which include brown patches appearing on the edge of the leaves, the leaves becoming dry, curling, and then falling.
In the same vein, too little light can affect your plant too. The leaves may grow without the fenestrations or be smaller.
The plant may also lose its variegated leaves, making them all turn fully green.
If nothing is done to correct this situation, the leaves will turn yellow, reducing the photosynthesis rate, which would hamper the overall functioning of the plant.
If your plant is outdoors, you can keep it close to an already mature tree so it would have support to climb onto, and the tree’s canopy can filter the light reaching it.
For an indoor plant, ensure it is placed in a location that receives bright light, for example, in front of a window.
You can use light drapes or curtains to filter the harsh sunlight. Also, remember to rotate your plant regularly to make sure it receives light equally.
The variegated raphidospora tetrasperma prefers moist soil; hence, there is a need for you to water moderately. Overwatering or underwatering would have adverse effects.
The best way to water a variegated raphidospora tetrasperma is to wait for the top 2 inches of the soil to dry before giving your plant a drink.
It is essential to water your plant according to its needs, like watering as frequently as every week or every other week during the growing season and reducing the amount of water during its dormancy.
Using rainwater or distilled water is preferable, but if you use tap water, let it sit for a day or so before watering your plant.
Being native to a tropical climate, your variegated raphidospora tetrasperma would grow best in a warm environment, but room temperature would be effective.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can tolerate from 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature falls below 50 degrees or your plant is kept in a freezing environment, your plant will undergo cold damage, and death may result.
In contrast, extreme heat would cause moisture loss, so the leaves would start to yellow, curl, and drop. The stems may also be affected.
To keep the temperature around your plant steady, here are a few things you can do.
- Bring your plant inside during the winter or night if the temperature falls too much.
- If the winter gets too harsh, you can protect your plant with a blanket or use heating pads to warm it up.
- Avoid placing your plant somewhere with sudden temperature changes, heat waves, or cold drafts.
Variegated raphidospora tetrasperma, as an aroid, loves a humid environment. It would be best if you endeavored to keep the humidity level around your plant at 40% to 60%.
If the humidity level goes lower than 40%, the leaves may start to curl, wilt, and droop. If it goes above 60%, the plant will collect too much moisture, resulting in fungal diseases.
If you need to raise the humidity level in your house, you may want to invest in some humidifiers. A cheaper option is to mist your plant every two to three days, but make sure not to wet the foliage.
Another option is to take a pebble-filled tray and fill it halfway with water, then place the plant on top. Ensure to keep the bottom of the pot above the water level.
A well-draining, airy soil is crucial to the growth of your plant. It should be able to hold enough water for the roots to absorb and also dry quickly.
This way, the roots are not drowning in excess moisture and can take in enough oxygen for the plant.
You can buy already mixed potting soil or make it at home using regular nutrient-rich soil mixed with peat moss, perlite, pine bark, and sphagnum moss.
For the best results, fertilize your plant regularly during the growing season, but you do not need to do this during the winter when it is dormant.
You should use an all-purpose, balanced, liquid fertilizer at half-strength once a month. You can also use slow-releasing pellets.
If your plant doesn’t get enough feeding, it will suffer from nutrient deficiency which could lead to stunted growth.
But, it is better to err on the side of too little than too much. Overfeeding can burn the roots, causing the plant to dry.
Do remember to flush your houseplant every four months to get rid of accumulated salt residue. Salt accumulation can lead to plant damage.
Due to the fast-growing nature of the variegated raphidospora tetrasperma, you would need to repot your plant every 2 – 3 years into a pot at least 2 inches bigger.
Roots emerging from the drainage holes is an indication that there is a need to repot your plant. Make sure not to repot in winter, as this can weaken your plant.
A terracotta type is the best option when choosing a pot because its porous nature allows water diffuse through it, allowing the soil to get dry faster.
In addition, make sure the pot has multiple drainage holes at the bottom so that excess water can drain out. You can add some stones to the bottom.
Although pruning is not mandatory for the variegated raphidospora tetrasperma, it would help your plant maintain its size and keep a specific shape.
You can also prune to remove the dead, damaged, or infected parts of your plant and prevent leggy growth caused by a lack of light.
Is the Variegated Raphidospora Tetrasperma Toxic?
Yes. This plant has insoluble calcium oxalate in its leaves and stems and can cause symptoms including oral irritation, burning, vomiting, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.
Kindly keep your plant out of reach of children and pets. If they happen to ingest a part of this plant, see a medical professional.
How to Propagate Variegated Raphidospora Tetrasperma
For those of you that would like to gift your family or friends or even make a sale, you will be happy to know that propagating this plant is easy.
When propagating your variegated raphidospora tetrasperma, do so during the growing season.
You can propagate using soil or water. Here are the steps to take:
Propagating With Soil:
- Cut off a 2 to 3 inches long stem with at least two nodes using sterilized shears.
- Place the cutting in a container filled with appropriate potting soil mix, covering the nodes.
- Water the soil and cover the container with a plastic bag. Puncture holes in the bag to enable circulation.
- Locate your potted cutting somewhere with bright, indirect light.
- By 2 to 3 weeks, you will notice the growth of roots. Continue with regular care.
Propagating Using Water:
- Cut off the 2 to 3 inches long stem with 2 or 3 nodes along the stem using sterilized shears.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom nodes and place the cutting in a glass of water, submerging the exposed nodes.
- Place the container in a place with access to bright, indirect light and change the water once a week to prevent the breeding of pests or infections.
- Within two weeks, roots would have started to grow. When these roots are at least 1 to 2 inches long, transfer to a container with the appropriate potting mixture.
- Water properly and follow the guidelines listed above to encourage healthy growth.
Problems Associated with Variegated Raphidospora Tetrasperma
Although variegated raphidospora tetrasperma is generally a non-problematic plant, some pests and diseases sometimes disturb its health and growth.
Mealybugs, scales, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, and thrips are the insects that disturb the variegated raphidospora tetrasperma.
They may appear as spots, bumps, and dots, with some featuring wings and translucent bodies.
Signs of an infestation include webbing, honeydew, sooty mold, and black, brown, whitish, or yellow spots.
A heavy infestation would lead to the leaves turning yellow and dropping.
To get rid of these pests, you can rub alcohol all over the plant using cotton wool, apply horticultural oil or neem oil, or use a sterilized knife to scrape all the scales off your plant.
To prevent a pest infestation, here are a few things you can do.
- Use a leaf shine to wash the foliage.
- Refrain from grouping all your houseplants, as infections can transfer from one plant to another.
- Remove the damaged parts of an infected plant.
- Avoid overwatering and overfertilizing your plant, as this can attract these pests.
Variegated raphidospora tetrasperma is mainly affected by root rot. Root rot is caused by a fungus that resides in the soil.
Root rot results from overwatering, and it causes extensive damage, which can lead to the death of your plant.
To save a plant affected by root rot, the first thing to do is to stop watering immediately.
Then, remove your plant from its pot and gently wash away the soil clinging to its roots.
Clip away the rotted roots and other parts of the plant that are damaged, then repot into a fresh potting mix.