Rhaphidophora Decursiva Vs. Tetrasperma: Key Differences!

Due to their similar characteristics, deciding which to choose between decursiva and tetrasperma as your house plant can be difficult. However, if you notice closely, they are not completely similar.

So, Rhaphidophora decursiva vs tetrasperma, what’s the difference? 

In Rhaphidophora decursiva vs tetrasperma, Decursiva has compound, solid green leaves that can grow 5 – 8 feet tall while indoors. In contrast, tetrasperma has simple, variegated leaves and grows 4- 6 feet long. Decursiva is easier to take care of as it doesn’t need as frequent fertilizing and repotting as tetrasperma. 

Both plants have their own pros and cons when being considered house plants. Read this article to discover those.

Rhaphidophora Decursiva Vs. Tetrasperma: Quick Comparison

Both decursiva and tetrasperma originated from tropical climates and the Rhaphidophora genus. Despite being from the same family, they show a few dissimilarities. 

The following table will give you a quick comparison of Rhaphidophora tetrasperma vs. Rhaphidophora decursiva.

Feature Rhaphidophora Decursiva Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
Appearance  Has compound pinnate leaves and solid green color.  Simple, lobbed, and variegated leaves
Indoor Height 5 to 8 feet 4- 6 feet  
Natural habitat Height 50 to 60 feet Up to 12 feet
Fertilizer interval Once a month Thrice a month
Repotting Once every one or two years Twice every year
Temperature Requirement 60° to 80° Fahrenheit 55° to 85° Fahrenheit

Rhaphidophora Decursiva Vs. Tetrasperma: In-Depth Comparison

Rhaphidophora decursiva and tetrasperma are spectacular and can be a great addition to your garden. Still, if you want to choose any one of them for your garden, let’s go through their differences in detail to help you make a proper decision. 


Rhaphidophora decursiva and tetrasperma

The most obvious difference between the two is their appearance. Rhaphidophora decursiva has compound pinnate leaves. These are thin, oval-shaped, but long and pointy leaves. 

Indoor Rhaphidophora decursiva plants are lighter to mid-green in color and have darker-colored veins. 

On the other hand, Tetrasperma leaves are oval shaped, simple, and lobbed with significant splits. They are variegated leaves that are glossy and vibrant. The subtle yellowish marks make the plant more unique, and the veins of tetrasperma are lighter in color.

Verdict on Appearance: Both plants are gorgeous for indoor decoration as well as outdoor. If you want the solid green colored plant to match your home decoration, you can choose decursiva. If you want a variation in color and a yellowish touch, tetrasperma can be a good option. You can use many ideas to decorate indoors with gorgeous plants.


Indoor potted Rhaphidophora decursiva can grow up to 5 – 8 feet tall. Whereas, indoor potted tetrasperma can grow around 4- 6 feet only.

On the other hand, in wild, Rhaphidophora decursiva can grow as huge as 50 to 60 feet. Contrarily, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma can grow only 12 feet on average in their natural habitat.

In wild Rhaphidophora decursiva, the leaves can grow up to 3 feet long, whereas tetrasperma has smaller leaves. A naturally grown tetrasperma grows 4–6 inches long leaves only.

Verdict on Height: If you are looking for a smaller plant, Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is the right one for you. But, if you want a taller plant with compound leaves, get a Rhaphidophora decursiva for your plant collection. 

Fertilizer Interval:

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma requires more frequent fertilizing than Rhaphidophora decursiva. You have to fertilize your Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plant at least 3 times a month. In contrast, you have to fertilize a Rhaphidophora decursiva only once a month.

Both plants require a half-strength and balanced fertilizer with equal nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium level. Here are some great fertilizers for these plants.

  1. Burpee Bone fertilizer is a balanced organic mixture of calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. 
  2. Bonide Houseplant fertilizer promotes the healthy growth of your houseplants by ensuring all the vital nutrients. 
  3. The Andersons fertilizer is a balanced mixture of vital nutrients with 2% iron which dissolves quickly on the soil.

Make sure you don’t fertilize any of those plants in the winter season, as these plants do not grow during that time. Also, make sure to apply the fertilizer to moist soil to avoid burning the roots.

Verdict on Fertilizing Interval: Have a tetrasperma plant at your home only if you have time to fertilize it thrice a month. If you prefer not to fertilize the plants frequently, go for a Rhaphidophora decursiva. 


You have to repot the Rhaphidophora decursiva plant once every year. On the contrary, due to its extensive growth, you must repot the Rhaphidophora tetrasperma twice yearly.

If there is a slow growth rate in Rhaphidophora decursiva plant, repotting it once every two years is also sufficient.

However, these plants have extensive root growth. It is recommended to take a pot that is twice the size of the previous one when repotting each time. Prepare the new pot with fresh pot mix and place the plant from the previous pot with some of the old substrates.

While repotting tetrasperma, take deeper and larger pots every time. While changing the pot, check if there are any rotten roots and cut them off carefully.

Similarly to fertilizing
Source: Joy Us garden

Verdict on Repotting: Similarly to fertilizing, you have to bother more with tetrasperma for repotting. To avoid frequent re-potting, you can choose Rhaphidophora decursiva. 

Temperature Requirement:

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants can thrive in regions with colder or hotter temperatures than Rhaphidophora decursiva.

Tetrasperma has a temperature tolerance of 55° to 85° Fahrenheit. In contrast, decursiva plants have a temperature tolerance range between 60° to 80° Fahrenheit.

Depending on the temperature, the approved hardiness for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma plants is USDA Zones 9b-12. For decursiva plants, it is Zones 10 – 12.

For both plants, ensure the temperature isn’t below or above this range. Otherwise, these plants won’t be able to survive.

In winter, you can use room heaters at a controlled temperature to keep these plants warm. But the heater shouldn’t be too close to the plants.

Some outdoor plants are great for the winter seasons. For example, Camellia, winter garden, Box hedge, etc. Try those if you live in a colder region instead of planting decursiva or tetrasperma.

Verdict on Temperature: If you live in zone 9b, including California and Florida, you shouldn’t have a decursiva as a garden or outdoor plant. Either keep it as an indoor plant, or you can go for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma.

Which One To Choose?

Tetrasperma and Rhaphidophora decursiva

If your preference is longer and bushier house plants with solid green colors, Rhaphidophora decursiva is a great choice. Also, they are easier to maintain as they don’t need as much fertilizing and re-potting as tetrasperma.

However, if you want a smaller plant with more variegated leaves and if you live in a USA 9b zone, you may go for the tetrasperma plant. But there isn’t a doubt that both plants will make your house look extra beautiful. Like these plants, another common debate among gardeners is about the differences between sugar-baby and crimson-sweet watermelons. Both are worth having in your garden.

Things To Remember About Decursiva And Tetrasperma 

Despite some differences, Decursiva And Tetrasperma plants are from the same family and have many things in common. The following are essential Tetrasperma and Rhaphidophora decursiva care you should consider. 

  1. Both plants have certain toxic levels and are not edible. It is recommended to keep them out of reach of children and pets. 
  2. Make sure the pots have proper drainage holes, and the soil isn’t soggy. Otherwise, the root will get rotten. The solid shouldn’t be completely dried out, either. 
  3. If you notice insecticides attack these plants, spray some rubbing alcohol on the leaves. Insects can ruin your house, plants, and flowers. For example, they can bite off the head of your tulips. So, be careful of them. 
  4. Water them twice a week, depending on the soil condition. 
  5. Decursiva and tetrasperma were both climbing plants and recommended to give support with a trellis, pole, or totem. 
  6. Both plants will survive on around 30 to 40 percent humidity. However, they will thrive if you can provide around 60 percent humidity. Investing in a good humidifier would be a great decision. 
  7. If you are keeping these plants indoors, don’t worry if you don’t see any flowers during the blooming season. They rarely bloom while kept indoors. 
  8. These plants don’t have distinctive fragrances. If you notice any foul odor, that might be a result of rotten roots due to overwatering. 


That was everything you need to know on Rhaphidophora decursiva Vs. Tetrasperma. I hope this article will help you choose the ideal plant for your home.

Both of these plants can add a beautiful and unique touch to any home. However, no matter which plant you choose, don’t forget to keep them out of the children’s and pets’ reach.

That’s all for now. Good luck!

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