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Rhaphidophora Decursiva care: Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Rhapidophora decursiva is a rare epiphyte gaining popularity all over for its pinnate lobed leaves.

Rhaphidophora decursiva grows best in 6-7 hours of bright indirect sunlight, 60-80° F temperature, 60-80% humidity, and well-draining soil with a pH of 5 to 6. Provide monthly fertilizing in its growing season with weekly watering. Repot once every 1-2 years with seasonal pruning.

Let me guide you toward how you keep these tropical gifts vibrant for many years.

Plant Overview

Rhaphidophora decursiva natively ranges from the Indian Subcontinent to Southern China.

Let’s look at a brief overview of the favorite piece of décor of many households:

Common nameCreeping Philodendron, Mini Monstera
Scientific nameRhaphidophora decursiva
Plant OriginIndian subcontinent and China
Plant typeEvergreen Tropical
USDA zone11 to 12
Growth rateFast-growing plant
Growth size5-8 feet in indoor
FoliageDark green, pointed tip and oval body
BloomSmall flowers with yellow spathe
Bloom seasonSummer and spring
ToxicityMild toxic to human and pets
Grown forFoliage

Rhaphidophora Decursiva: Best Care Hack

Regardless of how intimidating the plant appears, if you own any tropical plants like Monstera and Philodendron, taking care of Rhapidophora decursive will not bother you.

Illustration showing basic care guide of Rhaphidophora decursiva
Under proper care, Rhaphidophora survives for a longer period.

1. Sunlight & Temperature

Decursiva adores 6-8 hours of bright dappled light with temperatures ranging from 60-70°F.

While the plant is tolerant to slight increases in temperature, it is not cold-hardy, which is why it is best suited for an indoor setting.

A drop in temperature below 50°F causes frost injuries to the plant. Also, harsh sunlight scorches the leaves of the dragon tail.

Likewise, low-light conditions slow down leaf development and ultimately cease plant growth.

Moving the plant near an east-facing window or using a grow light helps maintain optimum warmth and light condition. 

You can have a delightful experience raising a Rhapidophora if you live anywhere from zone 10 to 12.

2. Water & Humidity

Rhapidopera decursiva is a vining tropical plant that thrives in relatively high-humid conditions demanding weekly watering.

They require more than 60% humidity, perfectly mimicking their native home. However, they can easily adapt to low humidity, not less than 40%. High moisture and humidity lead to root system damage.

Lightly mist the plant with distilled or rainwater, or simply group it with other house plants for enough moist air.

Humidifiers could be a savior if the leaves of your plants are curling and yellowing.

A leaf of Decursiva plant curling.
Leaf curling in Decursiva could be a consequence of overwatering and low humidity.

Also, water the plant deeply and thoroughly only once the top half of the soil is dry. You can use a hygrometer or a chopstick to check the soil’s dryness before watering.

Bottom watering could be a perfect way to water decursiva. 

Further, reducing the watering frequency to every 10-14 days during the colder months is essential when the plants are less active.

3. Soil & Fertilizer

Dragon tails attain fuller growth in a well-draining nutrient-rich medium, similar to Rhapidophora pertusa.

Soil that is porous and slightly acidic with a pH of 5.6-6.5 yet retains enough moisture is ideal for this plant. Feeding the plant with a balanced fertilizer during the spring and summer helps keep the leaves flapping.

While overfeeding triggers salt buildup triggering the root burn, your plant might be wilting and droopy due to a lack of nutrients in the soil.

For that, use some all-purpose fertilizer or a 20-20-20 fertilizer once every month, diluted to its 1/4 strength.

However, it would be best to avoid fertilizing the plants, for winter is the plant’s sleeping phase.

Meanwhile, the texture of the soil has a lot to do with plant growth. Add perlite, peat moss, and bark chip in the soil mix to avoid soil compaction elevating to a withered plant.

4. Potting & Repotting

As a vigorous grower, Decurciva requires annual repotting in a 2-3 inch larger pot.

Repotting allows the roots to have enough space for airflow and growth.

The plant might not mind being slightly rootbound, but consider repotting the plant immediately if you witness a few roots poking out of the drain holes.

In addition, it might be a signal for a bigger home if the water quickly runs out from the bottom of the pot and the leaves appear discolored and gloomy.

While repotting, use a terracotta pot with a few drain holes, or drill the hole on your own to prevent roots from going soggy.

Pro Tip: Keep the freshly repotted plant under constant but filter light.

5. Pruning

Pruning in Rhapidophora is essentially done to make it aesthetically appealing when it has outgrown your space.

The other reason to prune the decursiva would be to remove any damaged, dead and diseased parts lurking around.

Trimming of the leggy stem growth allows room for new luscious growth, discouraging the spread of infections.

That said, excessive pruning of the plant (over 25% ) will stress the plant.

Instead, trim a few leaves in a day until all the deformed parts are removed.

Propagating Rhaphidoptera Decursiva

The most effective way to propagate Rhapidoptera Decursiva is via stem cutting and air layering. 

You might find some seed propagation methods online, but trust me, it takes ages for your seed to turn into a full-fledged plant.

The perfect time to jump into propagation would be spring and summer.

1. Air Layering

Producing a new plant from the stem still intact to the mother plant is called air layering.

  • Select a healthy stem and make a small cut using a garden knife in the middle.
  • Keep the wound open by using a toothpick.
  • Wrap the wound with moist sphagnum moss as a substrate to initiate rooting.
  • Use plant twine or ties to secure the layered portion and cover it with a plastic bag.

It might take a few weeks to a month for new growth and roots to appear.

You can transplant the rooted portion into a new pot or container, separating it from the mother plant.

Pro Tip: Make sure to apply fungicide on the exposed portion of the mother plant to heal on time.

2. Stem Cutting 

To propagate your plants, stem cutting is the easiest method. 

To start, you will need a garden shear, rooting hormones, and some potting mix.

  • Identify a healthy stem with multiple leaves, nodes, and vibrant colors.
  • Cut 2-3″ of the stem, preferably with aerial roots. Make sure the cutting has at least two nodes.
  • Fill a jar with water, add a few drops of rooting hormone and place the cutting.
Stem cutting of Decursiva held in upright manner.
Decursiva cutting should be free from any disease and damage.
  • Make sure to change the water once every week to avoid root rot.
  • Or, simply plant the cutting into a fresh potting mix.
  • Rooting shall begin in about 4-5 weeks.

When directly planting the cutting in soil, regularly mist the potting soil. 

Transplant the cutting once the root is firm and the plant is 3-4 inches tall. 

Pro Tip: Ensure the temperature is around 75°F for root initiation.

Rhaphidophora Decursiva: All About Growth

Rhaphidophora is a fast-growing plant depending mainly upon the environment you provide them.

This robust plant could easily reach up to 40 feet in its natural habitat, with each leaf 40 inches long and 20 inches wide.

Rhaphidophora Decursiva can vine up to 5-8 feet indoors if you provide some trellis or support.

And the oval, disk-like shaped green colored leaves contain asymmetrical 9-15 lobes that extend up to 6 inches, resembling a dragon’s tail. 

You might have a rare view of flowers in thick spadix covered in the yellow spathe, up to 3.5 cm, during spring and fall.

Pro tips: Rotate the plant once every 20 days for balanced and uniform growth.

Rhaphidophora Decursiva : Plant on sale

These mini monsters like plants, are considered shop favorites and are touted as rare.

It is not available often, and when it is, it gets out of stock too soon.

Here are some genuine sellers to get your plant on your doorstep. 

Website nameDelivery time
Brumley & Bloom5-7 days
Planterina4-7 days
Etsy3-7 days
Ebay1-4 days
Walmart1 week

Toxicity of Rhaphidophora decursiva

According to Queensland Government, each and every part of Rhaphidophora decursiva are poisonous as they contain calcium oxalate crystals.

The needle-like raphides are actually the plant’s defense mechanism against potential damage by predators.

Following this, your pet might have a puffier look due to irritation, burning of the mouth, and swelling of the lips.

While in humans, the poisoning has other distinct symptoms like painful urination, numbness of the tongue, and dizziness.

It is always recommended to contact the vet nearby or the hotlines below if your pet or kid mistakes the plant for food. 

Despite the risk, if you long for the plant, keeping them away from the reach of your pets and kids could help.

Rhaphidophora Decursiva vs. Philodendron dragon tail

Rhaphidophora Decursiva is often mistaken for Epipremnum Pinnatum due to the ‘dragon tails’ in their names.

Although both belong to the same family, ‘Araceae,’ they differ in appearance, size, and genus.

Basic differencesRhaphidophora Decursiva Philodendron dragon tail
Leaf size and appearance40 inch long deeply lobed leaf12-20 inch long arrow shape leaf
Flowering timeSummer and springOnly in summer
Growth rateFast growing plant with maximum size up to 5 feetFast growing with max height up to 3.5-4 feet.
PriceIts expensive than Philodendron dragon tailIts cheaper than Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Wrapping up…

Rhaphidophora Decursiva is a rare tropical beauty that could satisfy your rage of having a fenestrated leaves houseplant.

Make sure to regularly wipe or clean the leaves to avoid dust buildup so that you flaunt the plant as interior decor.

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