Rhaphidophora Decursiva Care And Propagation

Sometimes known as the Dragon Tail Plant, Rhaphidophora decursiva is a beautiful plant that will stand out in any houseplant collection, with its lush leaves and lovely fenestrations.

It also helps that this plant isn’t complicated to look after, as long as you know what it needs.

Interested in knowing more about Rhaphidophora decursiva? Want to know if it will grow in your home without too much trouble? Let’s take a look. 

Rhaphidophora Decursiva At A Glance

Rhaphidophora decursiva is a beautiful aroid plant, meaning it is in the same plant family as Monsteras, Pothos plants, Aglaonemas, and ZZ plants.

Sometimes it’s called a Monstera plant, probably because of the beautiful fenestrations this plant develops as it matures, but it’s not in the same genus, it belongs to the Rhaphidophora genus.

You can easily recognize this plant by its glossy deep green, pointed, and oval-shaped foliage. 

Mature plants can produce leaves that are longer than 3 feet, adding a jungle vibe to any room.

A Note On Toxicity

It’s worth knowing that all parts of Rhaphidophora decursiva are toxic, so this isn’t a plant you want pets or children chewing on.

If you suspect that someone has been chewing on your Rhaphidophora decursiva, and symptoms include swelling, an upset stomach, excessive drooling, and a burning sensation, seek appropriate professional advice.

How To Care For Rhaphidophora Decursiva

This plant hails from the warm parts of Southeast Asia, India, and China, so it needs warm conditions to thrive. 

The closer you can mimic this plant’s natural conditions, the better it will grow in your home.

How To Support Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Rhaphidophora decursiva does need some form of support, as it is a climbing plant. While it will start off upright, it will eventually look for a surface to clamber up.

You can easily give this plant the support it needs by using a moss pole, a bamboo trellis, or a tepee to keep the plant upright, tying in the aerial roots every so often as the plant grows.

Where To Grow Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Rhaphidophora decursiva needs plenty of light to thrive, but you’re better off putting it somewhere bright and indirect rather than in the path of direct sunlight, as prolonged sunlight will damage the leaves.

Once the leaves are damaged, they will never be healthy again, so keep this in mind.

At the other extreme, if your Rhaphidophora decursiva is looking a little sad, growing more slowly than it normally does, or new growth is drastically smaller than before, your plant isn’t getting enough light.

Make sure that wherever you grow it, temperatures do not drop below 55°F, as this plant does not do well in cold temperatures.

Rhaphidophora decursiva is usually grown as a houseplant, but if you like, you can grow it outdoors all year round in USDA zones 9-11. 

Alternatively, put this plant outside for the summer to really give it a boost!

If you do want to summer your houseplants outdoors, it’s worth knowing that you’ll need to gradually harden them off, both to prevent shock and to make sure the plant doesn’t burn.

You cannot do this slowly enough. To start, put your plant outside in the full shade, for a couple of hours before bringing it inside again. 

Over a few weeks, gradually increase the amount of light and time spent outside until your plant is in dappled sunlight or bright shade, and it remains there all day. 

If temperatures in summer stay comfortable at night, you can leave your Rhaphidophora decursiva outside overnight, but keep an eye on the weather, as low temperatures won’t do your plant any good.

Don’t be tempted to put your Rhaphidophora decursiva in direct sunlight outdoors, as this is more than this plant can handle, but some indoor direct sunlight is beneficial, as long as it’s not for too long.

Ideal Soil For Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Getting the soil right is a vital part of any plant care routine. For Rhaphidophora decursiva, the soil needs to drain well, and allow plenty of oxygen to get to the roots.

Get the soil wrong, and you will encounter all sorts of problems. Soil that doesn’t allow for good airflow can suffocate the roots, and keep everything wet for too long.

If the soil drains too well, the roots may not be able to get the water the plant needs to survive. 

This may sound difficult to get right, but it’s not that complicated. You can even use generic houseplant compost as a base.

Grab a good-quality one formulated for leafy tropical houseplants, and then add some perlite and maybe even a little orchid bark to the mix, which helps sharpen up the drainage.

When To Water Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Rhaphidophora decursiva doesn’t like drying out completely, but neither should it be wet for too long.

To maintain a good balance, allow the top two inches of soil to dry out in between watering. This will allow the plant to get what it needs without practically drowning it and starving it of the oxygen it needs.

Exactly when your plant will dry out depends on several things unique to the room you’re growing this plant in, including light levels, temperature, humidity, and even the size of the pot and type of compost.

And some of these factors can change, especially during different seasons. If the watering regime does not alter as well (i.e. watering on a set schedule such as every week without fail), this can quickly mean your plant is getting too much water, and it can rapidly decline.

The best way to avoid this entirely is to check your plant’s moisture levels on a set schedule, whether that’s every few days, every week, or just when you remember.

This largely helps prevent overwatering from becoming an issue.

When your plant does need watering, make sure you water all the surface you can reach without splashing the leaves or the stems.

Water your plant thoroughly instead of giving it a trickle of water, which will promote stronger roots, as the root ball will follow the water deeper into the pot.

Don’t forget to allow water to drain away from the soil, so make sure your pot has a couple of drainage holes that aren’t blocked, and tip out any water that collects at the bottom of the pot.

You can scale back the watering a little in winter, allowing the top quarter of compost or so to dry out in between watering, but don’t let the soil dry more than halfway through, as this can damage your plant.

Should You Increase Humidity For Rhaphidophora Decursiva?

As for humidity, Rhaphidophora decursiva will be okay at average household levels. But if you really want to get the best out of this plant, it’s a good idea to put it in a room with higher humidity.

A kitchen or bathroom that sees a lot of use is a good idea for higher humidity, but you can also achieve less dry air with a humidifier, grouping your plants, or using a pebble tray filled with water underneath your plant.

If you want to take all the guesswork out of where to grow your plant, you might also consider putting your plant in an enclosed environment such as a greenhouse cabinet to keep things stable, where higher humidity and plenty of warmth and moisture are in abundance.

Just keep in mind that if humidity levels are very high (regardless of whether you’re using a humidifier or a greenhouse), this can cause rot and fungal problems.

Repotting Rhaphidophora Decursiva

Always repot your Rhaphidophora decursiva during the growing season, only going one size upward at a time.

Gently tease the edges of the root ball away from the soil to encourage new roots to make use of the fresh compost, and water after repotting. 

Rhaphidophora Decursiva Propagation

To propagate your Rhaphidophora decursiva, take stem cuttings that have at least a node or two, and about two leaves each.

Put your cuttings straight into water or compost, somewhere bright and warm, but with no direct sun. Within a few weeks, you should see new roots!

Final Thoughts

Rhaphidophora decursiva is a beautiful plant, and it looks more difficult to care for than it is. Provide this plant with stable and warm conditions, and watch it thrive!

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