The large and impressive leaves of Rafidophora sit on thick stalks and appear very massive. But the vine itself does not at all give the impression of being cumbersome. This amazing plant with feathery leaves is also great as a treetop, but in landscaping interiors on the walls, the plant has become a real hit in recent years. Rafidofora is far from the easiest vine to care for. Watering and air humidity are critical for her, but the conditions, on the contrary, are very easy to choose for her: the rafidofora seems to be created for growing in living rooms.
Rafidofora – indoor liana for wall landscaping. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Mokkie
Rafidofora – a large-leaved vine is not for everyone
Among the vines with impressive leaves, Rafidophora is not a clear favorite. The plant is much less common in comparison with both figs and monsters, but the status of “culture not for everyone” does not detract from the beauty of this Asian star.
Rafidophora are original vines, whose impressive leaves give a special charm to the tropical forests of Malaysia and India, although the plant is found in nature not only in Asia. Rafidophores grow both in Africa and in Australia and New Zealand, they are found on almost all the islands of Oceania.
At the first glance at this, though not too original, but not an ordinary plant, there is a feeling of a special atmosphere. The tropical exoticism of Rafidophora leaves helps to add a special mood to landscaping. But the plant still looks much stricter than many of the more popular species.
The Rafidophores represent the Aroid family. The name was given to them for the needle-like thorns on the stems of some species of this plant (from the Greek “bearing needles”). This quality is not expressed in indoor rafidophores or manifests itself at a very impressive age.
Rafidophores are among the climbing and ground cover vines that can turn into real indoor giants without control. Powerful, thickened, remaining green even at a considerable age, the trunks of the Rafidophora seem to hint at the gigantic size of the vine.
The internodes of the plant are elongated, which allows the liana, with all the massiveness of the leaves, to remain a not so bulky plant that aggressively affects the perception of space. Rafidofora releases aerial roots along with leaves, which, when grown on walls, root in moist moss, stimulating even more thickening.
The most decorative feature of the Indian creeper is its huge leaves. They are able to grow up to more than half a meter in diameter, impressing with the beauty of the surface, and the size, and color. In rafidophores, young leaves are almost always whole, as they develop, they separate and turn into luxurious feathery leaves, sometimes instead of separate lobes, holes simply appear on them, which only emphasizes the special character of the plant.
The nature of the featheriness of the Rafidophora reminds of palm trees, and not of the division of monster leaves. The shape of the leaf plates is almost round or oval; with age, the leaves always become more cordate, changing at the base. The lobes are dissected to the base, lanceolate.
Rafidophore leaves are tough, leathery, with a very pleasant surface texture and a rich dark green color with a cold shade. The leaves sit on long, cranked petioles, the length of which can be almost equal to the length of the leaves: the petioles of adult plants reach 40 cm.
The flowering of Rafidophora is often called nondescript, but it is at least original and does not spoil the appearance of the plant at all. Dense-flowered cobs with bisexual flowers hidden in large wrappers look exotic and perfectly emphasize the beauty of the leaves.
Types of rafidophora for growing in rooms
In nature, the number of species of rafidophores reaches almost a hundred, and their list is constantly expanding. As a houseplant, and even a greenhouse plant, only one type of raffidophora has become widespread – rafidophora descending (Raphidophora decursiva). This is a powerful liana with huge half-meter leaves, the appearance of which is sometimes compared, albeit not quite rightly, to a monster.
A rarer plant is considered rafidophora stem or latent stem (Raphidophora korthalsii). It differs from the more popular type by shortened internodes and oval-heart-shaped leaves up to a maximum of 30 cm long (in rooms it is most often limited to 10 cm in diameter). This is a large-leaved, but inferior in size to the competitor, short-peaked vine, which is more suitable for growing in a wall format.
Conditions for growing indoor rafidophores
Photophilous Rafidophores feel very good in the same rooms as their owners. They do not require the selection of conditions atypical for city apartments, therefore they are considered one of the best options for a modern interior. The selection of lighting can cause some difficulties, but in general the plant is much more hardy than its competitors.
Lighting and placement
Despite its origin and natural environment, the Rafidophora living in the rainforests in the rooms are not at all shade-tolerant. This is one of the most light-loving species of lianas, which thrive in full sun. Only at the height of summer can the midday sun’s rays leave burns on the leaf plates, but since, due to its size, the rafidophora is almost never displayed on the windowsills, no measures to protect it from the sun are necessary.
Rafidophora is a large-sized plant suitable for those who need a massive evergreen accent to decorate large rooms. It can be used as a single plant or for landscaping walls, especially if the effect of forest thickets, tropical screens is created, complex texture options are made.
When grown in splendid isolation, Rafidofora feels great on supports. Placing as close as possible to the window is ideal. For Rafidophora, rooms with east or south orientation of windows are preferable.
Temperature control and ventilation
Due to the heat-loving nature of Rafidophora, it is more than easy to select temperatures for the plant. This liana cannot stand even the coolness: it is better to protect it from falling temperatures below 18 degrees. In any living room that is comfortable for leisure, this liana also feels great. Extreme heat affects the leaves, but with proper care, there is no upper temperature threshold for Rafidophora.
Rafidophores are not very fond of sudden changes in temperature and drafts. This liana is not taken out for the summer in fresh air (although, mainly because of its bulkiness).
Rafidophora care at home
Unlike the conditions of detention, caring for a plant cannot be called simple. Rafidophores require very careful watering and high humidity, but in general, caring for them is standard for any tropical indoor vines.
Watering and air humidity
Despite its huge leaves, Rafidophora is not at all as hygrophilous as most of its tropical counterparts. The plant is afraid of dampness and waterlogging, the soil between waterings should dry out a little more than in the upper layer. Even in the height of summer, the frequency of watering is set by checking the drying out of the substrate.
Rafidofora is not afraid of short-term drought, but the latter can affect the beauty of the tips of the leaves. In winter, the substrate for the plant is dried almost completely, and the amount of water used for one procedure is reduced.
High air humidity is a prerequisite for those who want to achieve both good growth rates and the beauty of huge leaves from a plant. For Rafidophora, it is advisable to include regular spraying in the care schedule, and in the summer – frequent spraying. For vines, you can use only small sprayers and prevent water droplets from accumulating on the leaves. Installing humidifiers creates ideal conditions for the plant.
Rafidophores respond well to frequent rubbing of leaves. Removing dust from large sheets is easy with any damp sponge. For this vine, especially if it is used to create screens and walls, you can use special polishes to make the leaves shine.
In order to avoid soil compaction after watering for Rafidophora, it is periodically necessary to loosen the top layer of the substrate, acting very carefully.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
For Rafidophora, fertilizers are applied not only during the period of active growth. In winter, top dressing is minimized. They are carried out in half with a lower concentration and once every 1-1 months (but even in winter). During the period of plant development, from spring to mid-autumn, the frequency of fertilizing is suitable for Rafidophora once every 1,5 weeks. The fertilizer concentration is selected according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
For rafidophora, it is better not to use special fertilizers for ornamental-deciduous plants: only universal complex preparations can fully satisfy the plant’s need for nutrients.
Trimming and shaping
Rafidophora is a powerful and fast growing plant. To control its growth, the plant can be pruned at a considerable age. To obtain a more lush crown and thick wall covering, vines stimulate branching by cutting or pinching the tops of the shoots.
If you want to grow a vine in the form of a spreading bush or limit the maximum length, you can carry out annual spring pruning at half the length of the branches. With a loss of decorativeness, the rafidophora can be subjected to cardinal rejuvenating pruning, but at least two pairs of leaves should remain on the stems.
When installing rafidofor supports, it requires careful selection of structures. For this heavy creeper, only poles or forged structures that are stable and capable of withstanding the mass of leaves with age are suitable. Rigid support surfaces should be protected with moss or twine, sisal or decorative sheeting.
Transplant and substrate
Rafidofora grows very quickly, growing roots and mastering the substrate at a young age at a rate that may require not one, but two transplants per year. Even mature plants are usually transplanted at least once every 1-2 years.
It is always better to focus on the rate of development of the substrate, the presence of signs of filling the soil with roots completely. The optimal time for transplanting is early spring, but if necessary, you can transplant Rafidophora even in summer or early autumn.
For this liana, universal high-quality soil mixtures are used. A commercially available substrate with good looseness and nutritional value, and an independently compiled soil mixture (for example, from equal parts of leafy soil, humus and peat with the addition of loosening sand or inert materials) is also suitable. If possible, you can purchase a special substrate for indoor vines or Aroids for the plant.
Rafidophores are afraid of contact with their roots. Injuries of small adventitious roots are especially dangerous. The plant is rolled over, trying not to destroy the earthen coma. In the first days after transplanting, Rafidofora needs high air humidity and light soil moisture. The lighting shouldn’t be too bright. Standard care is resumed with the start of feeding.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Rafidophores can be severely affected by pests that spread in dry air. They often attract scale insects, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs are not uncommon. Pests on rafidophores are fought with the help of insecticidal preparations and by cleaning the leaves with soapy solutions.
Common problems in growing Rafidophora:
- shrinking leaves with strong shading;
- lengthening of the petioles in insufficient lighting;
- spots on leaves in direct sunlight;
- yellowing and wilting of leaves with high soil moisture;
- the appearance of black spots and drying of leaves with cold content and dampness.
Reproduction of rafidophora
In the indoor format, Rafidophora is propagated only vegetatively, growing new plants from cuttings. For grafting, stem cuttings of a fairly large size are cut – about 20 cm long, with a mandatory oblique cut at the lower end and either with an aerial root or with a bud (one leaf is enough).
After treatment in a rooting accelerator solution, the cuttings must be planted in a substrate consisting of half of sand and half of ordinary soil for rafidophores. Plants are buried at an angle, immediately covered with a cap and maintain a stable humidity with periodic spraying and ventilation.
To root the shoots of Rafidophora, it is necessary to provide a hot environment – a temperature of about 26-28 degrees (bottom heating is perfect). On average, rooting takes about 2 months. After the roots appear, the plants are planted in individual containers.