If you’re looking for another fascinating tropical plant to add to your collection, then the Rhaphidophora Decursiva may be what you’re looking for! It’s easy to care for, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is a tropical climbing plant belonging to the Arum/Araceae family. As a young plant, it looks like a Philodendron with its smooth, arrow-shaped leaves. But as it matures, the leaves split to create foliage with symmetrical fenestrations.
Below, I discuss the plant further, along with its primary care:
(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Table of contents
What is a Rhaphidophora Decursiva?
It is a plant native to several parts of Southeast Asia, such as India and China. It develops into lianas, aka woody vines in the wild, some growing more than 65 feet tall against trees! They can also be found creeping on the ground or rocks under the vast tree canopies as groundcovers, spanning about 6 to 10 feet. But as houseplants, their maximum height is about 5 feet.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva starts out looking like a Philodendron as a young plant. Except it is darker green and typically has faint vertical indents on the arrow-shaped leaves. As it matures, the leaves start to split evenly on each side. It also produces inflorescence or tiny blooms on its gray-green spadix (fleshy, bumpy stalk), surrounded by a yellow spathe (modified leaf). The flowers often appear underneath the foliage and are present throughout the growing season from spring to fall.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is often mistaken as the Dragon Tail plant. This is due to the similar features it shares with Epipremnum Pinnatum (the actual Dragon Tail plant) when it’s young. If you’d like to know more, I’ve detailed their differences in this ‘Rhaphidophora Decursiva vs. Epiprenum Pinnatum’ article.
It is also known as the ‘Creeping Philodendron’, ‘Monstera Decursiva’, and ‘Pothos Decurvis’. However, it’s none of those things, it belongs to the ‘Rhaphidophora’ genus/subfamily. But they are all close relatives and belong to the same Arum/Araceae family. For more articles related to Philodendrons, Monsteras, Pothos, and other Rhaphidophoras, you can check out the following list:
- Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’: A Unique and Beautiful Houseplant
- What Is A Philodendron Minima? Here’s What You Need To Know
- What Is A Philodendron White Princess & How To Care For It?
- Why Do Pink Princess Philodendrons Revert – The Truth You Need to Know
- Training an Indoor Monstera to Climb – With Helpful Tips
- Are Terracotta Pots Good For Monsteras? – With Helpful Tips
- Do Monsteras Like To Be Misted To Grow Better?
- Do Pothos Plants Like To Be Misted? (All You Need To Know)
- How to Make Pothos Fuller: The Ultimate Guide
- Are Harlequin Pothos Real? The Truth About This Unbelievably Rare Houseplant
- Can I Save My Beautiful Pothos From Root Rot?
- How to Give The Best Care for Your Rhaphidophora Pertusa
- Can You Fix Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma With a Broken Stem Easily?
Rhaphidophora Decursiva Care 101
It is very easy to care for this plant, especially if you’ve taken care of Philodendrons and Monsteras before. But for the beginners out there, here’s what your Rhaphidophora Decursiva needs:
- Sun: Indirect light, away from direct sun. It can also survive in low-light conditions but will develop slowly as a result.
- Soil: Well-draining, slightly acidic soil with pH 5.6-6.5.
- Water: Weekly watering after the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out. Ensure the potting media/ground is constantly moist to keep the plant happy.
- Fertilizer: Monthly feeding from spring to summer using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer.
- Temperature: 60 to 80°F/16 to 27°C. Outdoors, the plant can handle as low as 30 to 35°F/-1.1 to 1.7°C. But it is safer to keep it indoors in colder regions to protect them from frost.
- Humidity: 30-70% humidity levels.
- Trellis support: Place a moss totem pole in its pot from the beginning. This will encourage it to grow upwards and develop bigger and more fenestrated leaves. To get started, you can follow the instructions in the ‘Train Monstera to Climb’ article.
Additional Care for a Rhaphidophora Decursiva
After you’ve covered the plant’s basic care, there’s also additional maintenance to keep your Rhaphidophora Decursiva in tip-top shape:
- Prune: Only trim off old and damaged leaves. It’s unnecessary to cut back this plant. But if you find it getting too tall for your living room, you can cut it down and propagate the cuttings.
- Propagate: You can create new offspring by propagating healthy stem cuttings or air-layering the vines. You can follow the instructions in this ‘Ultimate Propagation’ article to get started.
- Repot: Replant Rhaphidophora Decursiva into a new, slightly larger pot every 1-2 years. Be extra careful if it’s already attached to its moss totem pole, so it doesn’t break off.
- Pests & Disease Check: Doing a weekly investigation will ensure you can catch any infestation/infection early to save the plant. Some common insects to watch out for are spider mites and mealybugs. You can learn about getting rid of them in this ‘Common Houseplant Pests & Disease’ article.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rhaphidophora Decursiva
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is not a rare plant species, but it is hard to find in nurseries and garden centers to purchase. You can try finding young plants or stem cuttings to propagate on Etsy. But it’s best to find a gardener or plant owner who has the plant to trade stem cuttings with them.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is moderately fast-growing, provided its basic needs are met. Otherwise, it develops at a slow pace like any other houseplant. It also grows only up to 5 feet as an indoor plant.
There are six essential things to remember when caring for a Rhaphidophora Decursiva:
1. Give plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.
2. Plant in a well-draining, slightly acidic soil.
3. Water weekly, but only after the surface soil has dried out.
4. Feed monthly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer.
5. Keep it in a warm room of 60 to 80°F with 30-70% humidity levels.
6. Provide a trellis support like a moss totem pole or a sturdy stake to encourage upward growth.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is not a Dragon Tail plant. This is a common misconception because it shares similar traits with the true Dragon Tail plant, aka Epipremnum Pinnatum. One significant difference to tell them apart is that the E. Pinnatum has tiny holes along the middle of its leaves.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is a climbing plant capable of reaching more than 65 feet in length. It grows against trees for support to receive more sunlight but is not known to feed on the host plant. It is also a prolific groundcover, spreading 6 to 8 feet long over rocks and forest floors.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva requires a moss totem pole or sturdy wooden/bamboo stake to develop fenestrated leaves. If the plant doesn’t have a trellis support to grow against, it is unlikely to create split leaves. Ensure to insert the pole or stakes early during the potting process to avoid damaging roots.
Rhaphidophodra Decursiva is a creeping plant that can act as a groundcover when not growing against a tree. The plant is known to develop over rocks and the ground, spreading about 6-8 feet long. But ensure to check whether the plant is considered invasive in your local area before planting.
E. Pinnatum and R. Decursiva are different plants that look nearly identical in their juvenile state. They also belong to the large Arum/Araceae family but within their respective genus. Their differences are more prominent when they mature. You can learn more about it in this ‘R. Decursiva vs. E. Pinnatum’ article.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva is toxic, just like all plants in the Arum/Araceae family. Ingesting them can cause serious health problems. Keep them far away from pets and children with grabby hands.
Rhaphidophora Decursiva does best in high humidity. Using a humidifier may benefit its growth and encourage larger leaves. But they can generally still grow in low humidity.
Use zip ties or jute rope to attach a Rhaphidophora Decursiva against its trellis support. It’s helpful to wrap its aerial roots against the pole/stake as you go along. This has to be done consistently to encourage the plant to take hold of the support and eventually grow upwards on its own.
Water a Rhaphidophora Decursiva once a week after the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried. The plant grows best if the potting media is constantly damp but not soaking wet. Do this in the morning and direct the stream at the soil level, ensuring no splashback to the foliage.
Using a sharp and sterilized cutting tool, remove old and damaged leaves first before getting rid of leggy vines. The plant doesn’t require frequent trimming or severe pruning unless you want to keep it at a certain height. Generally, it’s unnecessary to cut the plant back.
All in all, Rhaphidophora Decursiva is a pretty low-maintenance plant to care for. Finding this plant in stores may take a while, but once you do, you can rest assured that it will be pretty easy to maintain. Happy planting!
- Plant database entry for Creeping Philodendron (Rhaphidophora decursiva) with 14 images and 23 data details. (n.d.). Garden.org. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://garden.org/plants/view/166232/Creeping-Philodendron-Rhaphidophora-decursiva/
- Rhaphidophora decursiva (Roxb.) Schott. (n.d.). Www.gbif.org. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://www.gbif.org/species/5329707
- Rhaphidophora decursiva (Roxb.) Schott – Encyclopedia of Life. (n.d.). Eol.org. Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://eol.org/pages/1131879