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Monstera Minima Care Guide

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Seeking a distinct plant with remarkable foliage that won’t overpower your space? You might find your answer in the Monstera Minima.

Perhaps you’re already familiar with or desire the imposing Monstera Deliciosa, but seek a more compact alternative. The Monstera Minima, while retaining the distinctive fenestrations (natural holes and slits in the leaves) of its larger counterpart, remains beautifully petite.

In this guide, we aim to address all your inquiries about this charming tropical plant. So, let’s dive into the world of Monstera Minima care.

What Is A Monstera Minima?

Monstera minima close-up with white background.
Monstera minima close-up with white background.
  • Scientific name: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
  • Alternate Names: Ginny Philodendron,  Philodendron Piccolo, Mini Monstera, Monstera minima
  • Family: Araceae 
  • Type: Aroid
  • Size: 5 to 8 ft tall indoors, up to 12 ft outdoors
  • Blooms: Similar to Peace Lily flowers, a single petaled spath
  • Light: Bright indirect light
  • Watering: Let the top layer of soil dry before watering
  • Where to buy: Online and most nurseries

If you have any experience with houseplants or garden plants you know how confusing the names can be. I hate to say it, but the Monstera Minima is another plant that has a plethora of names. 

This plant’s scientific name is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma. Definitely, a tongue twister, so people decided to give it several more names just to make things “easier.” Rhaphidophora is also called Philodendron Piccolo, Mini Monstera, Monstera Minima, Ginny, or Ginny Philodendron, Philodendron minima, Dwarf Monstera, and more. 

To add to the confusion, this plant isn’t even a true Monstera, nor is it a Philodendron, but it is in the Family Araceae, which includes Monstera plants, Philodendrons, Pothos, and Peace Lily. So, basically, all of these plants are cousins, and the Mini Monstera enjoys the same names as its cousins. 

Interesting Facts About Monstera Minima

This plant changes its shape as it grows. When it starts out, the Monstera Minima grows very close to the trunk of the host tree. In fact, it looks just like a shingle plant. The leaves slightly overlap as they grow on opposite sides of a single runner as it climbs vertically.

Once the plant gets high enough to get out of the deep shade, the leaves start to grow larger and show the familiar fenestrations. It also takes on more of a vining growth habit.

Scientists think the holes in the leaves are for allowing some sunlight to filter down to lower leaves. 

What Does Monstera Minima Look Like?

This plant looks almost identical to a Monstera Deliciosa, only in a miniature form. The leaves may have a slightly different color and texture, but overall they look very similar. 

The green foliage on a “mini” could be slightly lighter, but it’s still a gorgeous plant. They still have the familiar heart-shaped leaves with the deep slits along the sides. 

The Monstera Minima even has aerial roots that help the plant climb up tree trunks in the wild. These roots don’t get nearly as long or intrusive as the Deliciosa though. 

Where Are They Found In Nature?

Most other species of Monstera are typically found in Central and South America, but these little beauties are typically found in Southeast Asia. Deep in the hot, humid rainforests of Malaysia and Taiwan, the Monstera Minima can be found. 

What Kind Of Habitat Does Monstera Minima Live In?

These climbing plants live in the southern rainforests of Malaysia and Taiwan. The dense forests are hot and humid nearly year round so you’ll need to replicate these conditions for the best growth. 

Where Can I Buy These Plants?

Monstera Minima or Rhaphidophora tetrasperma are not hard to find. The most difficult aspect of finding them is sorting through all the confusing names they go by. 

Most of the time you can find these plants in local nurseries, or home improvement stores that have a tropical, indoor plant section. You can also do a quick search of the internet and find plenty of online nurseries willing to ship them directly to you. 

Get your own from Amazon right here: Monstera Minima, 4 inch, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma

Caring For Your Monstera Minima

Monstera minima growing in a pot.
Monstera minima growing in a pot.

To make sure your Monstera Minima stays healthy and growing well for you, we have compiled comprehensive instructions for the best care. It may look like a lot, and it may seem like these plants need a lot of care, but if you have any experience with other tropical houseplants you already know how to care for them.

  • Soil: These plants need a rich, well draining soil mix. You can purchase a Premium Aroid Potting Mix right here. If you have the materials on hand or like the idea of making your own you can. 

Simply mix with up to 5 parts of orchid bark or mulch, 2 parts small, activated charcoal pieces, and 4 parts moistened coconut coir. For added nutrients add in about 2 parts earthworm castings and for additional aeration, throw in 5 parts coarse perlite.

Monstera Minima plants live in the rainforest and like to have a slightly moist soil, but they are quite prone to root rot so they need a fast draining and very aerated soil. The bark, charcoal pieces, and perlite provide the needed air pockets for the roots.  

  • Humidity: The humidity levels are very important for this plant. Ideally, you want to have between 40% to 70% moisture in the air around your Monstera Minima plant. You can even go as high as 80%.

You can spritz your plant daily or twice daily to help with the humidity, install a humidifier in the room, or use a pebble tray to help increase the humidity if the air tends to be dry. 

To make your own pebble tray, get a tray and add a layer of rocks. Get as decorative as you want here and use polished stones or glass beads and fill it to the top of your pebbles with water. 

Next, place the pot on the pebbles, making sure it’s not absorbing water through the bottom of the pot. 

  • Fertilizer: These plants are fairly fast growers, especially compared to Monstera Deliciosa and others in that genus. While they probably have plenty of nutrients straight from the nursery, they will devour them pretty quickly.

It’s a good habit to start adding fertilizer about a month or two after bringing it home. Use a light, liquid fertilizer and add it to your watering schedule about once every month. A good NPK ratio should be something similar to 5-2-3 like this HOUSEPLANT RESOURCE CENTER Monstera Plant Food.

During the growth period—spring and summer—you’ll need to fertilize a little more often because this is when the plants are burning through the nutrients. During the dormant months of fall and winter, you can scale back on fertilization.

When you start to see a white crust forming on the top and edges of the soil, it’s a good idea to do a soil flush. This will help remove the mineral buildup. 

To do a soil flush, take your plant somewhere it can drain freely such as the kitchen sink or outside. Next slowly pour plenty of clean, fresh water through the soil until it starts to pour out of the bottom. 

Do this 2 to 4 times to rinse away the built up salts and minerals in the soil. After you have finished flushing it, leave it to drain for a few hours before bringing the plant back inside. 

  • Water: Despite being a tropical plant, your Monstera Minima won’t require a ton of water. It does need its air humidity though. 

Water needs can fluctuate depending on the temperature, light, and season. A good rule of thumb is to let the top inch dry out before watering again during the growth season, and letting it dry out up to two inches during the cooler, winter months. 

The Monstera Minima is a fairly hardy plant that can tolerate being dry more than it can tolerate being overwatered. As we mentioned before, root rot can set in quickly, but it’s definitely more tolerant of dry periods.

  • Temperature: Aside from root rot, low temperatures will harm this plant just as quickly. They come from a region that can be up to 85 degrees all year long. Ideally, the temperature for Monstera Minima should be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Any temperature below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can be detrimental to your Monstera Minima. If you take your plants outdoors during the warm months, be sure to bring them in if the nighttime temps threaten to drop around or below 60. 

  • Light: Monstera Minima grows best with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. In their natural surroundings, these plants grow from the forest floor and get a lot of filtered sunlight. 

Direct afternoon sunlight can cause sunburn damage to the foliage, but a few hours of direct morning light is fine. You don’t want to filter the light too much though or the holes, or fenestrations, won’t appear on the foliage.  

  • Climbing and Support: Sometimes you will find these younger plants growing up a plank in the form of a shingle plant. As it gets bigger and receives more light it will start to change into the more familiar Monstera plant.

They start to take on a more vining habit during this time and you may want to add some support for them to climb. You can also simply let it drape over the pot and create a hanging basket if you like that look. 

If you want to let it climb like it’s in a natural habitat, there are plenty of options available to you. Bamboo sticks and wood stakes work in a pinch. 

Since this plant is a fast growing specimen, these may not last long, and the thinner bamboo sticks might get too flimsy over time as the plant continues to grow. 

You can use a trellis and train it to grow in a certain shape. These plants can grow up to 5 or 6 feet tall over a couple of years so this may be a long term option. 

There are also moss poles or plant totems that are very easy for your Monstera to cling to. These can be purchased in several sizes, and some can be bent and shaped for an aesthetic appeal, or you can make your own with a few supplies.

  • Repotting: Every year or two you will probably have to repot your Monstera Minima as the roots spread and lose space. One telltale sign is roots coming out of the drainage holes.

You might be tempted to put your plant in a large pot and let it go to keep from having to repot it frequently. The problem with this is the additional soil can hold on to moisture longer, leaving the roots wet, and can allow root rot to set up quickly.

When repotting your Monstera Minima, get a pot that’s only an inch or two larger than the one it’s in. It doesn’t matter if you prefer ceramic, plastic, or terra cotta (just know that terra cotta dries out quicker) the main thing to look for in a pot is good drainage.

Plan to repot your Monstera Minima during the growing months between spring and summer so the roots have time to expand and grow. After repotting, give it a good drink of water and continue your normal care. 

  • Pruning: Pruning your plant can help to keep a certain overall shape of the plant and help it remain healthy and vigorous. Be sure to use clean, sharp pruning shears to prevent cross contamination or introducing pathogens.

Perform pruning during the growth season so the plant can heal quickly. Be sure to prune off any discolored, dead, or damaged leaves first. Then plant out how you want the plant to look and snip off growth accordingly.

When pruning, don’t take off more than 25% of the plant. This can put it into shock. 

Monstera Minima is easy to propagate, so if you think you’d like to have a few more, or you want to share this wonderful tropical with friends and family, now is the time to propagate them.

First, look for the little root nodes near the stem. When you’re pruning, snip the stem just below the nodes, and then place them in a water filled jar, or some damp seedling mix. 

If using the water and jar method, change the water every day or 2 to keep it from becoming stagnant. Once the roots are about an inch or two long, place them in some soil and water accordingly.

When using the seed starting mix, just mist the soil and keep it damp for 2 to 3 weeks. As long as the plant is healthy and doesn’t show any signs of stress, transplant it into some regular soil and a small pot after a few weeks.

When propagating them, place them where they will get plenty of indirect sunlight every day. 

  • Common Pests: Indoors, your Monstera Minima won’t get infested with many pests, but fungus gnats, spider mites, and scale could affect them. 

Using a brand of Neem oil such as Neem Bliss – Pure Neem Oil for Plants will organically, and naturally get rid of most of these pests. Scale on the other hand can be difficult to eradicate, especially if they have a hard shell covering them.

Scale bugs go through a metamorphosis when they attach to a plant. First, they may appear like soft-bodied, fuzzy, very slow moving bugs found on the underside of the leaves. 

When they attach to the plant, their body fuses with the leaf, and a hard, immovable shell covers them. When they are covered with this shell, nearly all insecticides are ineffective. The best way to remove scale when it hardens is to remove the affected leaves and dispose of them. 

If fungus gnats are a problem, Neem oil may not affect them when they are hiding in the soil. Mix a 1 to 1 mixture of over the counter 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle and dampen the soil to get rid of these pests. 

You may have to treat the soil a few times to get rid of all the fungus gnats. 

There aren’t many infections that affect these plants, but you may notice yellowing or browning leaves that can eventually dry up or drop. Most of the time, these problems are caused by water, temperature, or lighting issues. 

Check to make sure there aren’t any drafts coming in, the humidity is high enough, and the plant isn’t getting too much water.


Are Monstera Minima plants toxic?

Monstera minima close-up with white background.

Like most other aroids, the Monstera Minima is considered toxic to humans and pets. This is because of the extremely high amount of calcium oxalate crystals in the plant. When ingested it can cause a strong burning sensation which in pets can cause drooling, swelling, and extreme discomfort.

If cats consume much of the plant, the oxalate crystals can damage their kidneys and other urinary organs if they consume much of the plant.

How much light do Monstera Minima need?

Monstera minima close-up.

These tropical plants require plenty of indirect sunlight. A sunny window that doesn’t receive direct sun rays will usually suffice. Aim for a minimum of 6 hours of indirect light.

Do Monstera Minimas like small pots?

Monstera minima growing in a pot.

These plants can survive in smaller pots, but they do need an inch or two for growth when repotting them. If you are starting with a 6” pot, go up to an 8” pot when repotting. They don’t mind being mildly cramped, but for optimum growth, increase the pot size when they start to get root bound.

Why aren’t my Monstera’s leaves splitting?

Monstera (Monstera Deliciosa) plant leaves

Very young Monstera plants usually will not show fenestrations, or splitting in the foliage. These plants start out like shingle plants, but eventually, they will change shape and start vining.

When this happens the fenestrations should start to appear. If the plant starts vining out, but the foliage still does not show the unique holes and splits, it’s probably not getting enough sunlight.

They need plenty of indirect light to provide the energy to make these fenestrations. Make sure your plant is getting at least 6 hours of indirect light for the splits and holes in the leaves to appear.

Final Thoughts On Caring For A Monstera Minima

When looking for a beautiful looking plant with unique foliage, the Monstera plants are hard to beat. The only problem is, most of these plants can get very large—some reaching 10 or more feet tall indoors!

When you don’t have that kind of space, a Monstera Minima or Rhaphidophora tetrasperma can give you what you’ve been looking for. 

Care for these plants isn’t difficult if you know what you need. Plenty of indirect light, a coarse, well draining soil, higher humidity, possibly some type of support as they get older, and regular fertilizing will keep these plants happy and healthy. 

They come from warm, tropical regions that can get heavy rain, and then be quite dry, so only water them after the top of the soil has dried out. They do better being underwatered than they do being overwatered.

By following these steps, your “Mini Monster” plant will give you many years of enjoyment!

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