A Tale of Two Rhaphis (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma)

This blog is a comparison of my two Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants – one is a tissue culture Rhaphi and the other began its life as a stem cutting.

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while you may remember an article I posted a year ago, questioning if I’d paid (a very handsome sum) for a Rhaphidophora but received a different plant. I had thought this because I had purchased a Rhaphi from a different vendor and the two plants just did not look very similar. (Here’s a link to that blog Rhaphidophora or Cebu Blue Pothos???).

It turned out that I did have two Rhaphis, but most of the plant world had not yet discovered the existence of “tissue culture Rhaphidophoras”. Here is a photo from October 2019 of the two plants next to each other.

On the left is TC Rhaphidophora and on the right is the stem cutting Rhaphidophora in October of 2019.

It’s fun to look back almost exactly a year. They were so little! Now it’s almost impossible to get a decent photo of either of these plants because I can’t get them in frame.

But let’s get back on track. A year after this photo was taken, the saga continues. My Rhaphis are continuing to act very differently from one another most especially in the way they are growing.

The tissue culture Rhaphidophora is massive, reaching up higher with each passing month. It has already outgrown the bamboo poles (in a tripod shape) I gave it when repotting a few months back. They are 4 foot poles and I guess I’m going to have to trade them in for some 6 foot poles. The leaves are still rather small but most of them have some fenestrations. See photo below.

The tissue culture Rhaphidophora – one year later.

In an attempt to make this plant look fuller, I have taken two stem cuttings and added them back in to the planter where they rooted and have begun growing.

My stem cutting Rhaphidophora has been rather a different story altogether. It is still barely reaching my waist and sits on a plant stand. So, no crazy growth story here. But…let me show you the size of the leaves it has been growing recently…

My rather large man-hand is looking small compared to these huge new leaves.

Oddly, they have been given almost identical growing conditions. Both are growing in Lechuza pon (a semi-hydro growing medium) and both are planted in Lechuza self-watering pots. They are in the same room, receiving very similar light. The only difference in light is that the stem cutting Rhaphi is fairly close to my Milsbo greenhouse cabinet and is probably enjoying some supplemental light from the grow lights in the cabinet. Here’s a photo of the full plant.

Not many leaves at all…but the ones she has are aaaahhhmazing!

I suppose the Rhaphidophora Rule in my household is, “Grow many small leaves or just a few massive ones. But not both.”

My planty friend, Michele Jones, pointed out to me that many plants grow very differently under the same growing conditions. Even some that are “sibling” plants taken from the same parent plants. And she’s absolutely correct. The differences I am observing in my house may have nothing at all to do with whether these plants began their lives as tissue culture or stem cutting plants. What do you think? (I’d love to hear your opinions, so be sure to comment under this article.)

And that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed this follow up blog. Make sure to check out our other Rhaphidophora content on our A-Z list of blog articles. Also, if you’d like to see this in a video form, here is our YouTube video Comparing Tissue Culture Rhaphidophora to Stem Cutting Rhaphidophora.

P.S. If any of you want to send me a Rhaphidophora decursiva, you know…just to see if I can grow it, you just feel free to do so. Teehee.

Take care everyone!

Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.

8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Rhaphis (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma)

  1. Thanks for the pictures, I like the plant both ways! Unfortunately, I don’t have either but it is fun to read how others do with this plant, it does not seem too difficult to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, since I don’t know that MUCH about tropical plants, to me, it’s a matter of personal preference between the two (and I like the cutting one the best (maybe just because it makes a better – sized HOUSE plant. sue

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    Liked by 1 person

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