With more than 50 species of the monstera plant globally with surprisingly similar features, it’s easy to understand why many people often confuse one for the other.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha and Monstera Dubia are cute houseplants that fall into this category of monsteras.
They too look nearly identical in some visual features particularly at their juvenile stages, yet they are distinctively different.
Hence, knowing their similarities and differences can help you care for them as expected.
This Rhaphidophora Cryptantha vs Monstera Dubia comparison is timely and will help you learn more about what makes the climbing vines similar and distinguishable.
What a name and a contrast to the plant’s velvet leaves at maturity! If you can’t get it quite right, call it the shingle vine, shingle, or shingling plant.
Botanically, R. Cryptantha is a monstera genus from the Araceae (aroids) family and native to the tropical regions of Africa and Papua New Guinea.
This fascinating climber is also popular in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Australasia, and the Western Pacific.
During its juvenile state, the most memorable phase, the leaves of Rhaphidophora Cryptantha lie flat on the surface it climbs.
At maturity, the plant develops silky, dark green leaves with a silverish veneration lining that overlaps the thick stems.
Ever heard of a monstera plant with three distinctive foliage stages in its lifespan? Well, this is it.
The ever-changing vine, the Monstera Dubia or M. Dubia is a beautiful genus in the Araceae family that deserves a place in your collection of houseplants.
Being native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, the plant thrives in a warm and humid environment. Dubia is also a shingle plant, just like Rhaphidophora Cryptantha.
During its juvenile phase, the Monstera Dubia forms heart-shaped leaves with dark and light green variegations, but once the plant matures, its leaves grow bigger, forming fenestrations.
Proper Dubia care includes providing the plant with plenty of indirect sunlight and keeping the soil evenly moist. It’s also important to avoid drastic changes in its environment, including extreme temperature fluctuations.
R. Cryptantha vs. Monstera Dubia: Key Differences and Similarities
As shinglers, R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia are unique and relatively rare plants—trust me, there are only a few at your local nursery.
So, what are these similarities and differences? Keep reading to find out based on their:
- Leaf structure
- Root system
- Growth habits
- Heights and Structure
- Toxicity, and
- Temperature limitations
Rhaphidophora cryptantha vs monstera dubia:
The Leaf Structure
A closer look at their leaves will tell you a lot about the plants’ overall health, need for water, nutritional inadequacy, state of the root system, and its general growth environment.
The most remarkable similarity between R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia is the leaf structure with dark-green veins.
These creepy plants also ‘shingle’ upwards against a flat surface, as the leaves alternate on the sides of the shingles.
Similarly, the mature leaves of these two plants don’t transform morphologically from their juvenile leaves, especially when they grow indoors, apart from their thickness.
The leaves of Monstera Dubia at the juvenile stage are usually heart-shaped, light to dark green with silvery variegation linings.
With dark green veins, the leaves of M. Dubia become bigger, darker, pinnatifid (split), perforate, and hang as they grow and mature.
A mature M. Dubia forms fenestrations, which is the most notable feature distinguishing this shingle plant from Rhaphidophora Cryptantha.
In its juvenile stage, the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha produces flat, tiny green leaves with light green veins.
As the plant matures, the leaves grow large, overlapping, and appear as though they are painted.
Cryptantha has leaves with silvery variegations, unlike the Monstera dubia, whose leaves have shimmery variegations on the veins.
The Root System
Similarities in the rooting system of these plants are in the aerial roots, which transport water and nutrients to the plant’s main root.
Given the shingling nature of the R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia, the two species can be propagated via stem cuttings planted in rich moist soil or a potting mix.
When it comes to diseases, both plants suffer from root rot. You can diagnose it through the color of the leaves, which change to black or brown. Root rot is a condition caused by overwatering.
That explains why using well-aerated pots or baskets is important because when the roots are bound, it leads to poor health and growth.
As a seasoned botanist, I often rely on the root system to clearly distinguish between shingle plant species.
But there’s a slight difference when it comes to R. Cryptantha and Monstera Dubia. The Rhaphidophora Cryptantha grows relatively faster, while the roots of a Monstera Dubia grow slowly.
Compared to my other monstera species such as the Monstera Deliciosa that grow more rapidly, I learned to be a little more patient before seeing the flowers and leaves of my Rhaphidophora Cryptantha and M. Dubia grow to full potential.
Cryptantha and M. Dubia are creepy vines that climb on stuff. In nature, after germinating, these vine plants climb on tree trunks and canopies with the help of aerial roots.
Their distinctive growth habits of climbing on rocks, trees, and any vertical support make them shingling plants. If you have to grow these plants indoors, they will require some support.
I love how my R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia look fantastic in terrariums and hanging baskets as their long, hard vines sway in the air.
And as tropical plants, the two vines thrive in similar environmental conditions with warm temperatures all year round.
Monstera Dubia and Rhaphidophora Cryptantha are tropical plants found in different regions.
The perennial, evergreen, and stout climbing Monstera Dubia is indigenous to parts of Central and South America.
Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, on the other hand, thrives in the tropical parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. You can also find it in other regions, including Bali, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.
And when it comes to growth conditions, the potting mix for M. Dubia has to be well aerated with moderate amounts of peat moss, orchid bark, and moist sphagnum moss. Without this, the plant is likely to rot by the roots.
For the Rhaphidophora Cryptantha, all you need is well-drained moist soil with pH levels between 6-6.5.
The flowers of both plants have inconspicuous inflorescences on the plant’s spadix.
Monstera Dubia blooms with flowers only at maturity—immediately after the first juvenile leaves mature.
Their spadix, which has a length of around 2-4 inches and thickness of 0.6-1 inches, produce a white inflorescence flower borne.
The lovely flowers feature spathe, usually non-showy or whitish on the inner side and salmon-colored on the outer side, with a terete stalk measuring about 2-3.5 inches long.
Eventually, after flowering, the plant produces thick, clustered yellowish fruits with oblong seeds and gray pulp.
The flowers of R. cryptantha have cream-whitish, inconspicuous inflorescences on the spadix. Moreover, the flowers develop into tiny berry-like fruits with seeds at maturity.
Height and Structure
Both R. cryptantha and M. Dubia are slow-growing vine plants. Their active growth depends on having ideal growth conditions and vertical structures to climb on.
Regarding the Monstera Dubia, the height and thickness of its vines depend on the available space and growing conditions.
In nature or open space, the plant grows to up to 25 meters. But indoors, the M. Dubia only grows to a height of 5 to 6 feet, keeping in mind that it must be regularly trimmed.
While in their natural habitat, Rhaphidophora Cryptantha can grow to heights of up to 10 feet, given it has a vertical structure to climb on. But you can expect your houseplant to reach 4 to 6 feet tall when supported on a moss pole.
All parts of the Rhaphidophora cryptantha and Monstera Dubia plants are poisonous to humans and pets and should not be ingested. Be sure to keep the plants out of reach of pets and children.
The toxicity in both plants is due to the insoluble calcium oxalates (raphides) present in their crystals. The raphides can cause:
- Difficulties in swallowing
- Acute oral pain and inflammation
- Mouth pawing
- Swelling or redness of the tongue, lips, or mouth
- Irritation of skin or contact dermatitis
Before hurling your mature Monstera Dubia into the fire, remember that they are mildly poisonous, so you or your pets must ingest a lot of it. That may not be the case for Rhaphidophora cryptantha.
Temperature is an essential factor in the growth of shingle plants, including R. Cryptantha and the mature M. Dubia.
The ideal temperature for Monstera Dubia ranges between 65-85°F while the temperature requirements for Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is 55 to 80 °F, which is quite similar.
Regarding their survival, the two shingle plants take a human-like nature, especially during extreme conditions when chances of survival are slim. Always keep the plants in ideal temperature ranges.
M. Dubia prefers humid conditions as a tropical plant, 65°F or more. However, it can tolerate lower temperatures, about 60°F. This is within the standard household temperature, but if required, raise the humidity levels artificially.
Since Rhaphidophora Cryptantha is tolerant to humidity, it can handle higher humidity levels of up to 80 °F, so increasing the humidity at night, albeit artificially, is recommended.
Furthermore, I must mention that both the R. Cryptantha and Monstera Dubia have poor resistance to frost and winter.
If your aroids grow outdoors, take them indoors at the start of autumn when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 °C).
If using a humidifier sounds good, choose a top brand like LEVOID OasisMist Smart Cool and Warm Mist. Just ensure it’s a smart, warm, and cool mist ultrasonic.
If you reside in drier weather conditions, consider using a pebble tray or misting your Monsteras several times a week.
Monstera Dubia Propagation
Propagation by stem-cutting
Stem-cutting is the easiest way to propagate your M. Dubia and works; if you do it in a potting mix or clean water.
Potting mix has always worked for me—it’s quicker and more effective. Nevertheless, propagating by water will still give you the results you expect.
For the best results, propagate this aroid in springtime. During this season, your plant has adequate time to grow before the harsh; season sets in when you can’t grow.
Propagation by Division
This method can work for this shingle plant, but only if your Monstera Dubia got suckers. Otherwise, the technique will likely fail with just a single stem.
Diseases and Conditions
Like other plants, Monsteras are susceptible to various diseases and conditions threatening their well-being.
These vines often suffer from leaf spots, anthracnose, rust, botrytis, southern blight, and powdery mildew. However, the most significant problems, conditions, and diseases are:
1. Yellowing of leaves
Are the leaves of your Monstera Dubia leaves turning yellow? Here are the possible reasons:
- Lacks enough nutrients
- Attack by pests
- Low humidity (mostly in dry regions), and
- Low lighting or direct sunlight.
Closely inspect your plant to determine the real cause. Consider watering and ensuring enough humidity and lighting before checking for pests or diseases.
2. Root rot
Root rot is the most common problem of houseplants, Monstera Dubia included. Generally, this condition is caused by overwatering, a wet potting mix, or poorly-drained pots.
To detect this disease, look for stunted growth, yellowing leaves, a mushy stem base, and brown or black roots. The leaves may also turn black.
When you have to repot your plant, use a sterilized scissor to remove the affected roots and replace the soil or potting mix. Remember to disinfect the pot.
3. Drooping leaves
Sounds familiar? Quite a common problem in Monstera Dubia plants, mostly caused by dry soil or under-watering.
Sometimes the problem of droopy leaves may be caused by overwatering, lighting issues, poor temperatures, and transplanting stress.
Moreover, pests and nutrient deficiencies can also lead to the drooping of leaves.
4. Black spots with yellow halo margin
In most cases, black spots and a yellow halo margin signify fungal infection. This is often caused by soggy plant leaves or poor ventilation where the plant is growing.
You can prevent this condition by improving air circulation, removing damaged leaves, and keeping the plant’s leaves dry.
Are R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia Rare?
Yes, both R. Cryptantha and M. Dubia are rare shingling plants, and it will be some time before you find them in your environment, including your garden center or local nursery. And only a few people know about these two plants.
What is the price of Monstera dubia?
The price of a healthy Monstera Dubia ranges between $40 and $150, based on where you source it from. Some stores sell it for up to $300. Being a rare plant means only a few people sell it, which may justify the higher sticker price.
Where can I buy Monstera Dubia?
Thanks to technology, houseplant lovers can purchase Monstera Dubia from online marketplaces. I recommend eBay, Etsy.com, or Facebook plant groups near you. You can also try your local specialty plant nurseries.
Is Monstera dubia Toxic to Pets?
Monstera Dubia plants are toxic to pets when eaten and cause vomiting and oral irritation. Be sure to seek a vet’s advice immediately if your pet swallows any part of the M. Dubia.
In conclusion, while Rhaphidophora cryptantha and Monstera dubia share some similarities in appearance and care requirements, there are distinct differences between the two plants that should be considered before adding them to your collection.
Rhaphidophora cryptantha is known for its unique leaf shape and preference for higher humidity, while Monstera dubia is highly sought after for its intricate foliage and ability to thrive in lower light conditions.
Ultimately, both plants offer a unique and beautiful addition to any collection and are sure to impress any plant enthusiast.