Discover how to care for the Rhaphidophora cryptantha, also known as the shingle plant. Learn about lighting, watering, temperature, humidity, soil, fertilization, propagation, and precautions. Add this unique and striking houseplant to your collection today!


Are you looking to add a unique and striking houseplant to your collection? Look no further than the Rhaphidophora cryptantha, also known as the shingle plant. This fascinating plant is not only visually appealing but also relatively easy to care for. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of caring for a Rhaphidophora cryptantha houseplant, including its lighting, watering, temperature, humidity, soil, fertilization, common issues, propagation, and precautions regarding its toxicity. So, let’s dive in and discover all there is to know about this intriguing plant!


When it comes to lighting, the Rhaphidophora cryptantha thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. It is best to place the plant near a window with filtered light, avoiding direct sunlight, as it can burn the leaves. If natural light is limited, providing artificial light can also be suitable for its growth.


Proper watering is crucial to the health of a Rhaphidophora cryptantha. During the spring and summer, water the plant two to three times a week, allowing the soil to dry about 70% between waterings. In winter, reduce the watering frequency to once a week, allowing the soil to dry about 90% between waterings. It is essential to ensure the soil is well-draining and rich. A recommended aroid houseplant potting soil mix consists of sphagnum moss or perlite, peat, potting soil, and bark, which helps maintain adequate moisture levels.


Rhaphidophora cryptantha plants prefer warmth, with a suitable temperature range of 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. While they can tolerate low temperatures to an extent, it is important to avoid freezing temperatures and protect the plant from frost. In colder regions, it is advisable to bring the plant indoors during the fall.


A humid environment is key to a thriving Rhaphidophora cryptantha. The plant prefers a humidity level above 50 percent and benefits from higher humidity, around 80 percent. To maintain the desired humidity levels, you can use a warm-air humidifier, place a pebble tray filled with water near the plant, or mist the leaves occasionally. These practices help prevent the leaves from drying out and curling.


Choosing the right soil mix is essential for the success of your Rhaphidophora cryptantha. Well-draining soil with a high concentration of organic matter is crucial to prevent waterlogging and provide necessary nutrients. An aroid mixture, which generally consists of peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark, is recommended for indoor potting. Avoid using heavy soils that retain excessive moisture, as they can lead to root rot and restricted root growth.


Regular fertilization is necessary to promote healthy growth in your Rhaphidophora cryptantha. During the growing season, which is the spring and summer months, apply a high-quality, diluted liquid fertilizer once a month. Ensure the fertilizer is at least seven inches away from the plant base to avoid damage to the roots. Slow-release fertilizers can also be used sparingly to provide essential nutrients.

Common Issues

While the Rhaphidophora cryptantha is generally a resilient plant, it can face some common issues. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  1. Yellow Leaves: This can indicate overwatering or excessive sunlight. Adjust your watering and lighting conditions accordingly to prevent these issues.

  2. Black Leaves: Root rot caused by overwatering can lead to black leaves. Ensure the soil has proper drainage and let it dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.

  3. Dry or Curly Leaves: Low humidity can cause the leaves to become dry or curly. Increase humidity by misting the leaves or using a pebble tray with water to create a humid environment.

  4. Drooping Leaves: Insufficient watering or the presence of pests like mealybugs or spider mites can cause the leaves to droop. Adjust your watering routine and treat any pest infestations promptly.


If you’re looking to expand your Rhaphidophora cryptantha collection or share this unique plant with friends, propagation through stem cuttings is a viable method. Wait until the plant is mature before attempting propagation.

To propagate your Rhaphidophora cryptantha, follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy stem and make a clean cut below a node (the area where the leaf is attached).
  2. Remove the lower leaves, leaving a few on the cutting’s upper portion.
  3. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage root growth.
  4. Plant the cutting in well-draining soil, ensuring the cut end is buried at least one inch deep.
  5. Create a humid environment by covering the cutting with a plastic bag or container.
  6. Place the cutting in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
  7. After a few weeks, when roots have developed, remove the plastic cover and treat the cutting as an established plant.


It’s essential to be aware that the Rhaphidophora cryptantha is toxic to both animals and humans. The leaves contain insoluble calcium oxalates called raphides, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues and skin irritation. Therefore, it is crucial to keep this plant out of reach of pets and children to prevent any accidental ingestion or contact.


The Rhaphidophora cryptantha, or shingle plant, is an excellent addition to any indoor plant collection. Its unique foliage, relatively easy care requirements, and ability to climb make it a captivating choice for plant enthusiasts. By providing appropriate lighting, watering, temperature, humidity, soil, and fertilization, you can ensure your Rhaphidophora cryptantha thrives in your home. Just remember to keep it away from children and pets due to its toxicity. So, go ahead and bring home this charming and distinctive houseplant!


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