Have you ever seen a plant with foliage like a wall painting? Sounds strange, right? Let’s talk about today.
Rhaphidophora hayi is an exotic plant that has a unique climbing pattern. It is sure to amaze your mind.
Generally, Rhaphidophora hayi thrives in bright, indirect light, 55-80°F temperature, 60-70% humidity, slightly acidic, well-draining soil, fertilizing twice a week, and repotting every 2-3 years.
If there is a Rhaphidophora hayi in your home, you would want to read this guide to the last. A simple mistake from your side can even kill this plant.
So be glued to your screen and read on to find the perfect care tips for this plant.
Table of Contents
- Overview of Rhaphidophora Hayi
- Where to Buy Rhaphidophora Hayi?
- Rhaphidophora Hayi Ultimate Care Guide
- Propagating Rhaphidophora Hayi Via Stem Cutting
- Toxicity of Rhaphidophora Hayi
- Common Problems with Rhaphidophora Hayi
- Rhaphidophora Hayi in Contrast to Other Varieties
Overview of Rhaphidophora Hayi
Rhaphidophora hayi is also called the “shingle plant” because they produce aerial roots on their stem and climb on any vertical surface.
According to google, shingle means a group of small rounded pebbles on a seashore. Pretty fitting, given the structure of the plant.
Let’s look at the basic overview of this plant.
|Scientific Name||Rhaphidophora hayi|
|Common Name||Shingle Plant|
|Native||Queensland and New Guinea|
|Growth Zone||Zones 10-12|
|Plant Type||Perennial, Shingling hemi epiphytes|
|Growth Size||10m in its natural habitat
Up to 5 feet indoors
|Growth Speed||Medium growth|
|Grown For||Strange foliage and growth habit|
|Container||Glazed or plastic pot|
|Flowering||Small orange or cream colored flowers.|
|Flowering Season||During growing season of spring and summer|
|Availability||Difficult and rare to find|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and humans|
Many people confuse Rhaphidophora hayi with Monstera dubia for both of their shingling habits. But as the genus is different, they are different.
Where to Buy Rhaphidophora Hayi?
You have heard about this plant, read about Rhaphidophora hayi on the internet, and now you want to grow this plant in your house yourself.
If you are lucky, you can get one of these beauties in your local nursery.
Or, if you are thinking of giving up, you can look for this plant on some of the online sites mentioned below.
|Ebay||They can take up to 30 days to ship|
|Etsy||Dispatch in 1-2 working days|
|Bumi||Takes 2-3 days to process orders|
|In Succulent Love||1-2 weeks to process order
3-5 days to ship
|Tropics At Home||7-14 days to ship|
Rhaphidophora Hayi Ultimate Care Guide
If you are a little patient and care for your plant the right way, you will be rewarded with a beautiful Rhaphidophora in your vicinity.
|Lighting||Bright Indirect Sunlight
Can withstand up to 3 hours of direct sunlight
|Watering||Once a week or if the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.|
|Temperature||Warm temperature ranging from 55-80°F|
|Humidity||High humidity about 60-70%|
|Potting Soil Mix||Well-draining soil mix consisting of 80% potting mix and 20% perlite.
Soil pH: Acidic (6.1 to 6.5)
|Fertilization||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer bi-weekly during spring and summer|
|Pruning||Occasional pruning dead or damaged foliage|
|Repotting||Once in a year or once in two years after the plant has become rootbound
Repot only during the spring or summer
|Common Pests||Mealybugs, Spider mites, Aphids, Scales|
|Common Diseases||Mosaic virus, Southern and Botrytis blight and red leaf spot|
1. Bright Indirect Sunlight
Being a tropical plant, Rhaphidophora hayi prefers to stand in a spot in the bright light for a few hours a day.
Generally, Rhaphidophora hayi likes bright, dappled sunlight to grow optimally. They can even survive staying in direct sunlight for up to three hours.
The shape and structure of the plant depend a lot upon the amount and type of sunlight they get.
A few hours of direct indoor light can not render damage to the plant, whereas if you want to put your plant outside, you must use some shades.
Look below for the effects of improper light on Rhaphidophora hayi.
|Low Light||Extreme Light|
|Lower leaves turn yellow||Black or brown spots develop on the leaves|
|The growth slows down or stops eventually||Tips of the leaves will burn|
|The leaves won't split||Dry soil and stem|
The amount of light this plant needs sometimes depends on the amount of water it gets. So, keep an eye on that as well.
Tips to Provide Adequate Light to Rhaphidophora Hayi
- You should place the plant where it gets at least 70% light.
- During summer and spring, place the plant in the southern-facing window to provide it with the quantity of light it needs.
- Or, you can place the sun in an east-facing window to get soft morning light.
- While protecting the plant from harsh sunlight, do not end up placing them in areas with low to no light.
- Rotate the plant every few weeks so that the plant grows evenly.
- If your plant cannot get enough light from natural sources, use artificial grow lights to fulfill the plant’s lighting needs.
If you want to know in greater detail, read our article “What Light Color is Best for the Plant’s Growth?“
2. Watering Once a Week
All the varieties of Rhaphidophora require a fair bit of water to ensure efficient growth.
Rhaphidophora hayi prefers soil that is a bit moist and soggy as its shingling action needs a lot of nutrients.
Water your Rhaphidophora hayi once every week during the growing seasons of spring and summer, or only water if the top 2-3 inches of the soil feels dry.
As per the rule of thumb, you should cut back the watering in winter to once every two weeks during the plant’s dormant season.
Remember, the plant is different as it does good when the soil is soggy. The soil’s sogginess helps the plant gather nutrients and provides a good place for beneficial soil microbes to thrive.
Sometimes, you may ignore the plant’s watering needs, and other times you may overdo it.
Underwatering and overwatering have their effects on the plant. Let’s look at some of them.
|Grey soil||Mold can be seen on the soil|
|Yellow spot on the leaves||Leaves and stem become mushy|
|Curled leaves||Brown colored patches on the leaves|
|Leaves appear crispy||Curled leaves|
If you see symptoms of underwatering, immediately water the plant by the soaking method.
Similarly, stop watering and inspect for root rot if it shows signs of overwatering.
Tips to Ensure Proper Watering for Rhaphidophora Hayi
- While watering the plant, make sure you water it till the water oozes out of the drainage holes.
- Water the plant every 15 days during the plant’s dormant season.
- A soil moisture meter can be handy for watering the plant. Check the soil moisture before watering the plant.
- Check the saucer beneath the pot regularly and empty it if water has accumulated.
- Frequently check the plant for root rot and other associated signs to prevent grave damage.
- Water the plant with tepid water. Rainwater or distilled water is the best quality water.
3. Warm Temperature and High Humidity
Rhaphidophora hayi prefers a slightly warm temperature and high humidity as a tropical plant.
Generally, this plant can grow well in the temperature range between 55°F to 80°F (13°C to 27°C).
But if you want optimal growth, you should maintain a temperature of at least 60°F and at most 78°F ( 15.5°C and 25.5°C).
Temperature is the main reason this plant thrives the most when grown in USDA zones 10 to 12.
You should keep the plants away from the cold drafts, heat stress, and, most importantly, sudden temperature changes.
Remember, Rhaphidophora hayi cannot survive frosty temperatures. So, chin up and be prepared for the harsher winter.
Let’s look at some of the effects of inappropriate temperature on Rhaphidophoras hayi:
- Wilted plant
- ‘Plant frostbite’ can occur
- Leaves turn yellow, curl up and drop
- They turn yellow
Talking about humidity, being tropical plants, Rhaphidophoras are pretty picky about the humidity range they want.
Rhaphidophora hayi thrives the most when the humidity ranges between 60% to 70%.
If the humidity is too low, the plant will lose too much water due to ‘transpiration.’
Let’s look at the effect of humidity on Rhaphidophora hayi.
|Too High Humidity||Too Low Humidity|
|Stems and leaves rot||Wilting and shriveled Leaf|
|Patches of grey mould on the leaves||Yellowing of leaves edges|
|Fungal growth||Brown leaf tips|
|Mold presence in the soil and flower as well.||Leaves may fall in severe conditions|
Tips to Maintain Ideal Temperature and Humidity for Rhaphidophora Hayi
- Place the plant in the bathroom or the kitchen to boost the humidity levels.
- Place the plants under grow lights when the sunlight and temperature are scarce during winter.
- You can invest in heating pads, frost blankets, or clear plastic bags to keep the plant warm even during winter.
- Do not place the plant in the direct path of air conditioning vents and radiators.
- Group your indoor plants to create a humidity-sharing environment. Check the plants thoroughly for pests and diseases before doing that.
- Mist the plant occasionally during spring and summer.
- You can go for a room humidifier or wet pebble tray to maintain the humidity around the plant.
4. Acidic, Well-Draining Soil
The soil’s quality and texture are equally important in the better upbringing of the plant.
Rhaphidophora hayi prefers a well-draining, airy soil mix with soil pH(6.1 to 6.5) that combines 80% potting soil and 20% perlite.
The soil you use for this plant must be airy and porous so that the air circulation in the soil and roots happens more efficiently.
Aroid soil mix is perfect for this plant because it helps retain moisture without becoming compact and dense.
Thanks to its climbing growth habit, you can also grow this plant on a moss board.
Ideal Potting Mix for Rhaphidophora Hayi
Look below for a few potting mixes for Rhaphidophora hayi.
- An equal amount of standard peat, coco coir, or perlite with peat moss.
- Mix an equal amount of perlite, peat moss, coco coir, horticultural charcoal, and regular potting soil.
- 40% coco coir or peat moss with 20% bark chips, 30% coco coir, and 10% charcoal.
You can also opt for commercial potting mixes. Here are a few recommendations;
5. Regular Fertilization
Rhaphidophora hayi has a medium growth speed and does not require much fertilizer growing up.
But hey, a little nutrients boost won’t hurt, right?
Feed Rhaphidophora hayi with an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer twice a week during its growing season, i.e., spring and summer.
You can also feed your Rhaphidophora hayi with a diluted balanced fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks during its growing season.
But always be careful while fertilizing your plant, as excess fertilizers can lead to salt buildup on the base of the plant.
Look below for the symptoms of overfertilizing and under-fertilizing.
|Foliage turns light green||Growth will be slowed down|
|Chlorosis can be observed||Roots and leaves are brown and mushy|
|Older leaves turn purple at the base||Yellow and brown leaf patches on the leaves|
Tips to Revive Overfertilized Plant
- Flush the excess salt on the soil surface by washing it off using a high-pressure hose.
- Stop fertilizing the plant for some time and let it recover independently.
- If the damage is severe, transplant the plant to another pot with fresh potting soil.
Here is the list of some commercial fertilizers in case you need them.
- Miracle-Gro – NPK ratio 1-1-1
- Joyful Dirt – NPK ratio 3-1-2
- Espoma Plant Fertilizer – NPK ratio 2-2-2
- Mother Earth Products – NPK ratio 5-3-1
6. Growth Rate and Habits
Rhaphidophora hayi has a medium growth speed, but the rate can be decreased or increased depending on the care provided to this plant.
Rhaphidophora hayi can grow up to 10 meters in its natural habitat. However, it goes up to 5 feet when grown indoors.
This plant is an epiphyte and hence takes the support of other trees to grow in its natural habitat.
However, even indoors, due to its strange growing habit and climbing nature, you need to give it the support of a board or plank to let it grow as it matures.
The leaves and stem of Rhaphidophora hayi lie flat on the surface of anything the plant grows on.
To let it grow fully and optimally, you can let the plant grow on a peat and sphagnum moss-wrapped pole or board.
Its leaves are small (up to 5 inches) and dark green. The leaves are smaller at first but can grow significantly if they get support.
The flowers of this plant are something you can ignore. It has spadix-borne flowers shaped like a cigar and a yellow spathe.
This may help you choose the plank for your plant.
7. Repotting Every 2-3 Years
Rhaphidophora hayi does not need to be repotted frequently due to its medium growth speed.
It will take its time to outgrow its pot and be rootbound. So, it would be best if you were prepared for the situations where you’ll start seeing symptoms.
Repot Rhaphidophora hayi every 2 to 3 years during the spring growing season. Make sure to get a container 2 to 3 inches larger than the current one.
The rootball of this plant is so small that you don’t need to repot it frequently. If you see roots peeking out of the drainage holes, it’s high time you think about repotting.
Steps to Repot Rhaphidophora hayi
Look below for the step-to-step guide to repot Rhaphidophora hayi.
Step 1: Choosing Container and Preparing Potting Mix
As I mentioned earlier, you need a pot at least 2-3 inches bigger than the current pot.
Look below for the container suggestions.
|Plastic Planter, HOMENOTE (Plastic)||Comes in five different sizes 7/6/5.5/4.8/4.5 Inch|
|LE TAUCI Ceramic Plant Pots (Ceramic)||4+5+6 inch, Set of 3, Planters with holes in the bottom|
|Classic Planter, 8" (Plastic)||They are durable and lightweight. The drainage holes lie at the bottom|
For potting mix, you can mix perlite with damp sphagnum moss in a small container.
Step 2: Remove the Plant From the Container
- Thoroughly water the plant on the morning of the repotting.
- Set your palm on the topsoil of the plant and turn the pot upside down.
- Gently tap the bottom of the pot till the plant slides out.
- Tend the roots and remove any excess soil from there. Check the roots for any signs of root rot as well.
- Trim the affected parts if you find any.
- Apply some fungicides to the root ends to sever any chances of spreading of infections.
Step 3: Place the Plant in the New Pot
- Sterilize the new pot. Fill 70% of the pot with potting soil.
- Insert the plant root first into the new pot.
- Fill the remaining part with the same potting mix and thoroughly water the pot.
- Leave some space for fertilizing in the future.
- Place the plant in a suitable location with enough warmth and light.
8. Occasional Pruning and Grooming
Plants like Rhaphidophora hayi, or “shingling plants,” don’t need frequent pruning.
Occasionally, you must prune the plant to remove the dead, infected, yellow, and diseased leaves.
People usually prune Rhaphidophora hayi to maintain its aesthetic charm. However, do not prune more than 30% of the plant in one pruning session.
Remember to sterilize the pruning tools properly before pruning to avoid infection.
Only pruning will not maintain the good looks of the plant. It would be best if you also focused on occasional grooming.
Wipe the plant’s leaves from time to time to remove any dust or unwanted particles lingering there.
Propagating Rhaphidophora Hayi Via Stem Cutting
Due to Rhaphidophora hayi’s beautiful and strange growth, you would want to propagate this plant.
If you follow all the steps correctly, it’s not hard to propagate this plant.
There may be many methods to propagate this plant, but the most used and preferred way to propagate this plant is Stem cutting.
This is one of the easiest methods of propagating Rhaphidophora. Let’s look at the steps.
Step 1: Get the Cuttings
- The first step is to identify and choose one of the healthy stems for the process.
- Make sure the stem you choose has at least two nodes. Cut 3-4 inches of the stem below the lower node. Having an aerial node is a bonus.
- Do not leave any leaves at the bottom of the stem you cut. Snip them off but leave the leaves at the top.
Step 2: Rooting in Water
- Take a transparent jar and fill it with clean tepid water.
- You can add a few drops of liquid rooting hormone to ensure sound propagation.
- Dip the cutting in the water, but leave the leaves out.
- Put the jar somewhere warm with ample and proper sunlight and change the water every week or when the color of the water starts being dirty.
- Within six weeks, you’ll be able to witness feeble roots. Transplant the cutting to a pot when the roots reach a significant length.
Step 3: Rooting in a Potting Medium
- Take the instructed-sized pot and fill it with coco coir, peat moss, and vermiculite.
- Apply some rooting hormone to the cutting to ensure sound propagation.
- Lightly water the potting mix and slowly insert the cutting in the middle.
- Take a plastic bag and cover the plant with it. Poke some holes in the bag to let the plant breathe.
- Place the plant somewhere with ample sunlight and a warm temperature.
The plant can grow good roots and foliage if you maintain the temperature of around 75°F.
- You can see the roots in about six weeks.
Also, watch this,
Toxicity of Rhaphidophora Hayi
You would want a beautiful plant that boosts the decoration and is good around pets and kids.
Unfortunately, Rhaphidophora hayi is not free from flaws.
According to ASPCA, Rhaphidophora hayi is toxic as it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which have varied effects on humans and pets.
You should constantly be on guard if you have this plant in your household.
When chewed on, this plant contains sharp needle-like raphides that can tear the flesh on the mouth, neck, etc.
These raphides fix themselves on the gastrointestinal mucous membrane.
If your pets chew on the leaves of Rhaphidophora hayi, they will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Irritation and burning on extreme levels
- Pawing the mouth area
- Excessive drooling
- Swelling in the mouth, lips, and tongue
- Loss of appetite
Also, ensure you or your pet does not touch this plant with your sensitive part, as it may lead to dermatitis. Make sure to limit your pets and kids around this plant.
Save the following numbers somewhere in case of emergency.
- American Association of Poison Control Center (AAPCC) at (800) 222-1222
- ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435 for pets
Common Problems with Rhaphidophora Hayi
No matter how magnificent the plant looks, Rhaphidophora hayi is not free from problems.
Look below for the common problems in this plant.
1. Common Pests
If you take good care of the plant inside your house, it is unlikely to incur any problem.
But even the mightiest fall sometimes. Certain pests find Rhaphidophora hayi extremely tasty and feed themselves on its sap.
Few pests that attack this plant are Mealybugs, Aphids, Scales, and Spider Mites.
The table below describes the pests and their symptoms.
|Mealybugs||Oval shaped, waxy, flat-bodied, cottony-white insects.
The foliage curls, droops and wilts.
|Scales||Oval-round bumps on the leaves.
Yellow or discolored leaves.
|Spider mites||Spider-like webs can be found on stems and leaves.
Bronze halo appears in the leaves.
|Aphids||Stunted, yellow, curled leaves.|
- Certain bugs can have a significant size and can be handpicked. Pick such pests and their eggs and drop them in soap water solution.
- Scales can be scraped off the plant using a blunt knife.
- If the infestation has escalated, you can go for Malathion and Pyrethrin spray.
- There is a treatment that will feel more natural. Use horticultural neem oil to get rid of the pests.
- Use isopropyl alcohol to get rid of some pests. Dip a cotton ball in the alcohol and wipe the infested leaves.
If you are confused about neem oil, read our article “How to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?“
- Check the plant regularly for any anomalies in the foliage of the plant.
- Check for the infestation if you see honeydew, sooty mold, or any type of webs.
- Yellow curled leaves may indicate a heavy infestation.
- Check the plants thoroughly before you bring any new plants home. After you get it home, keep it separate from other plants for a week or two.
- Overwatering and too much humidity are the leading causes of pests in the plants. Avoid them.
2. Common Diseases
Although this plant may look hardy, it is not free from certain horticultural diseases.
Different factors like watering, location, soil quality, etc., can be the prime causes that invite diseases in these plants.
Rhapdhidophora hayi is prone to diseases like Mosaic virus, Southern and Botrytis blight, and red leaf spot.
Look below for the table with other details about these diseases.
|Mosaic Virus||Mosaic Virus||Leaves have mottling pattern.
Light green, dark green and yellow streaks in leaves.
|Southern Blight||Sclerotium rolfsii||Lower leaves of the plant discolor and wilt.
Eventually the plant collapses.
|Botrytis Blight||Botrytis cinerea||Flowers and buds will turn brown and grow abnormally.|
|Red Leaf Spot||Entomosporium||Bright, circular red spots on the upper side of the leaves.|
- Separate the infected plant from other plants to avoid spreading the diseases.
- There is no cure for the Mosaic virus once the plant is affected. It would be best to destroy the infected parts of the plant once diagnosed with Mosaic virus.
- You can use solarization, fungicides, fumigants, organic amendments, or fertilizers for southern blight.
- Daconil fungicide is effective against the Botrytis blight.
- Prepare a sodium bicarbonate solution using half a teaspoon per 4 liters of water and spray it on the plant to eliminate the red leaf spot.
- Most diseases are caused by improper watering and overwatering. Always stick to your watering schedule.
- Make sure you do not wet the leaves too often. This plant’s flat, laid-back leaves can be in contact with water for too long.
- Check the plant regularly for any signs of diseases.
- Maintain the temperature and humidity in your house to suit the plant’s needs.
- Move your plant away from damp locations to avoid fungal infections.
Rhaphidophora Hayi in Contrast to Other Varieties
Sometimes you go to the plant store to buy Rhaphidophora hayi and bring out other varieties of Rhaphidophora home.
Fret not; we are here to prevent that.
1. Rhaphidophora Korthalsii Vs. Rhaphidophora Hayi
One of the Rhaphidophora family varieties, korthalsii, closely resembles Rhaphidophora hayi.
They both share the same ‘shingling’ growing pattern.
Korthalsii also needs the support of a pole or a board to climb and grow. Their leaves ‘stick’ to the surface of walls or boards.
Differences Between Rhaphiodphora Korthalsi and Hayi
- Hayi has oval dark-green leaves, while korthalsii leaves’ color varies from green to bluish-green, and they can be either heart-shaped or oval.
- While both plants have the same ‘shingling’ growing pattern when they are juvenile, korthalsii takes a different approach and grows outward as it matures.
- Korthalsii has more oval or round tips compared to hayi.
- The leaves of korthalsii are more irregular and have more texture than hayi, which has smoother leaves.
2. Rhaphidophora Pachyphylla Vs. Rhaphidophora Hayi
Another variety hailing from the family Rhaphidophora, pachyphylla, has the same strange growth as the Rhaphidophora hayi.
It shares the same growing habit as Rhaphidophora hayi.
Differences Between Rhaphiodphora Pachyphylla and Hayi
- Rhaphidophora pachyphylla is comparatively smaller than hayi after both of them mature.
- Hayi has disarticulating side shoots and may have shoots that search for food, while pachyphylla lacks these qualities.
- The flowering shoots of hayi have a broad base, and the stigma of hayi and pachyphylla is different.
Rhaphidophora hayi is a great indoor plant if you are up for the challenge.
Be it decorative or air-purifying qualities, it is always aesthetically a treat to your eyes to grow one of these cuties.
Want to read about the other Rhaphidophora? Read “Rhaphidophora Pertusa – Ultimate Grow & Care Guide”