Whether looking after your indoor house plants works as free at-home therapy, or you need house plants to fill out and decorate your house, you cannot deny the cozy and calming aura house plants can create.
Whether you have a couple of small succulents or cactuses lined on your kitchen counter or window sill or you have a monstrous elephant ear tree sitting in the middle of your living room, the kind of optimism and tranquility potted house plants can bring to a home is almost impossible to experience with anything else you can get for your home.
This is one of the main reasons modern offices and workplaces are equally invested and enthusiastic about decorating their space with various house plants.
As a matter of fact, studies show that apart from instilling calmness and happiness in the people around them, house plants can also help enhance employee productivity and reduce average employee absenteeism.
However, although all house plants share the remarkable ability to emotionally heal and calm their owners and companions, it is essential to choose the right house plant.
The house plant you choose should be able to thrive in your living conditions and complement its surroundings, improving the aesthetics of the entire place.
For instance, if you have a huge hotel with a wide-open lobby that seems empty, putting in a massive and large Fiddle Fig Leaf tree will create the statement that space needs.
Similarly, if you have tall ceilings, pillars, or other vertical structures in your home, restaurant, or office, the best indoor house plant would be a Shingle Vine plant.
Shingling plants trail up and around your tall walls and pillars.
Moreover, the plant’s dense and deep green foliage, which entirely conceals the surface it climbs on, will also create a wild but exquisite setting that is hard to replicate.
If you’re looking for a way to bring your indoor house or office setting to life in the easiest and most budget-friendly way possible, investing in a couple of shingling plants is an excellent idea.
The Indoor Potted Shingle Vine Plant
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The History of the Shingle Plant
Also known as the Rhaphidophora cryptantha plant, the Shingle plant is a bright green herbaceous climbing plant of the flowering Araceae, Arum family.
Although this plant has only recently become popular among the modern plant-lover community, it has existed and been used for multiple reasons for many years by local growers.
Native to the lowland rainforests of Papua New Guinea and North-east Queensland, this stunning epiphytic evergreen tropical vine has made quite a comeback over the recent years, ever since it went viral online and became a vital part of the Costa Farms Trending Tropical’s Collection.
Although still relatively rarer than other trailing or climbing indoor tropical plants, the Shingle plant can be purchased online or from a well-stocked nursery across the USA.
The Growth Characteristics and Appearance of the Shingle Plants
The Growth Characteristics
Like other members of the Araceae Arum family, Shingle plants are bright green creepers that tend to climb around on pillars, straight walls, or any other vertical structure.
However, unlike an English Ivy or most other climbing plants, the Shingle plant’s lush green leaves exhibit a unique ‘shingling’ behavior that helped it earn its name.
As a Shingle plant grows over a flat surface or spirals around a pillar, its leaf nodes sprout out aerial roots that quite literally dig into any surface they can find.
Hence, as the aerial roots dig in and cling onto the surface they are climbing onto, the bright green foliage of the Shingle plant remains dense and faces outward instead of being focused on clinging around the surface.
This unique growth behavior keeps the Shingle plant’s healthy foliage quite dense, which helps fully conceal the surface they are climbing onto.
Moreover, apart from the unique climbing behavior, the heart-shaped leaf of a Shingle plant has its own appeal.
Besides having a beautiful deep green color, young Shingle plant leaves tend to change their shape, size, and behavior as the plant grows.
With age, the Shingle plant leaves become significantly larger and no longer resemble Shingle like they once did.
In general, a fully matured Shingle plant will have leaves that are a darker shade of green, quite broad, and can be as large as 75 cm wide and 130 cm long.
Moreover, matured Shingle plant leaves have holes in the blades. Although its aerial roots help support its way around the structure, it also has sunken roots that help absorb water and nutrients from the soil while also supporting the overall vine structure.
Furthermore, like most other relative tropical climbing plants, the Shingle plant has the potential to reach a whopping 20 meters in height, as long as you see that its requirements are met.
Hence, if you are looking for a way to add a subtle yet impressionable touch of the jungle into your home, there can be no better house plant than the Rhaphidophora Hayi.
Continue reading to learn how to care for a Shingle plant and its specific watering, sunlight, and atmospheric temperature requirements.
Let’s get started!
How to Care for an Indoor Potted Rhaphidophora Hayi or Shingle Plant
A key reason people prefer the Shingle plant over most other climbing plants, as well as other indoor plants, is because of its super easy and extremely manageable care routine.
As long as the Rhaphidophora Hayi plant owner is aware of the plant’s daily needs, shingle plant care is really easy, and keeping the plant alive for a long time should be no problem at all.
How and When to Water a Shingle Plant
No matter what indoor or outdoor planter you own, water will always be a key part of its basic requirements. Along with carbon dioxide, water is the other ingredient a plant depends on for photosynthesis.
When the plant is deprived of basic hydration, photosynthesis stops and the plant is no longer able to produce its food.
Similarly, the Shingle plant is no exception to this need. The plant’s health and appearance greatly depend on the watering schedule.
As a plant owner, you must ensure that the plant is watered frequently and that it is not over or underwatered.
Generally, one should water their indoor potted Shingle plant at least twice a week. The goal is to ensure that the plant has moist soil at all times, as this will help facilitate its growth.
As soon as the top two inches of the Shingle plant’s soil are fully dry, you should water the plant using a controllable water spray to avoid overwatering.
But why is overwatering so dangerous for the Rhaphidophora Hayi?
If a plant owner continues to overwater their Shingle plant frequently, the plant runs the risk of developing an infection of the roots, which is a condition that can kill off the roots, thus killing the plant in the process.
What is Root Rot in an Indoor Potted Shingle Plant?
When an indoor potted Shingle plant is watered more than it needs, the cells present in its roots refuse to allow any more water to pass through as they have reached maximum capacity.
With not a single drop of extra water being absorbed by the Shingle plant’s roots, all the excess water begins to accumulate inside the soil and its pot.
If the plant owner doesn’t make an effort to dry or drain the accumulated water, the excessively damp conditions of the moist soil create an environment that invites and nurtures fungal growth.
Hence as soon as any airborne fungal spores land on the Shingle plant Rhaphidophora Hayi plant’s moist soil, it begins to reproduce and spread around almost instantly.
With no external intervention, the fungus begins to grow into the Shingle plant’s sunken roots, causing them to rot and die.
As a result, a majority of the roots die out this way, which means the plant isn’t able to absorb water, leading to dehydration.
As is the case with humans, plants die very quickly if they don’t have enough water to sustain themselves.
The first thing you’ll start to notice is a change in the color of the plant’s leaves.
When such conditions continue, the dark green leaves of the Rhaphidophora Hayi plant lose their characteristic pigment, turn brown, curl inwards, and fall off the vine as they die.
Furthermore, apart from overwatering, which can lead to fungal infections, underwatering can be equally dangerous for a growing and young Shingle plant.
If you’re looking to avoid issues with the plant’s roots while also maintaining the turgidity of the Shingle plant’s dark green leaves, controlling the amount of water you add to the soil is crucial.
Why Does This Climbing Plant Need Bright Indirect Light?
Although water and carbon dioxide are the two primary ingredients needed for a plant to carry out photosynthesis, they cannot do this without the key catalyst in the reaction; sunlight.
In general, the Shingle plant loves a well-lit room that allows sufficient bright indirect light to fall on its leaves and stems.
With that information in mind, the best tip is to floor your Rhaphidophora Hayi pot next to a sun-facing window or sheer door.
But note the key word here – indirect. Direct light is not good for a shingle plant.
So how much light is too much, and what happens when you expose a Shingle plant’s dark green leaves to direct sunlight?
When direct light from the sun hits the Rhaphidophora Hayi plant’s leaves, it causes their internal temperature to go up.
As a result, the plant reacts by transpiring water from the bottom of its leaves.
As the water evaporates off the surface of the climbing plant’s leaves, it produces a natural cooling effect which helps bring down the entire vine’s body temperature.
If this all sounds familiar, you’re on the right track. This is very similar to how humans sweat to cool their bodies down. It’s a natural reaction to hot temperatures.
While this coping mechanism is a great way for the plant to reduce its internal temperature, it can become dangerous when it happens too frequently.
As a plant owner, if you continue to place your Rhaphidophora Hayi plant under direct sunlight, the Shingle plant vine will lose more water than it can afford to lose.
When this happens, its leaves will turn brown and fall off, and photosynthesis will stop. The good news is that this starts with a few leaves, so you can do something about it if you spot the signs in time.
Hence, the goal is to only allow the sun’s bright indirect light to reach the Shingle plant’s surface.
However, if you live in a region where winters are long or cloud cover is frequent, it is best to invest in an infrared or solar lamp.
With this technology on-hand, you can use the lamp’s artificial light to ensure that it stays warm and is able to continue photosynthesis to create the food it needs to survive.
The Ideal Atmospheric Humidity Levels for an Indoor Potted Shingle Plant
Although most plant enthusiasts are aware of their plant’s water or sunlight requirements, they usually ignore the impact atmospheric humidity can have on their plant’s health and survival.
Although the Rhaphidophora Hayi is a tropical vine that thrives in relatively humid and warmer temperatures, too much atmospheric humidity can be quite dangerous.
If your Shingle plant is kept in an excessively humid environment, its soil will not have the chance to dry up.
Since the moisture from the air will keep the soil sufficiently damp, any extra watering can result in root rot.
On the other hand, when the atmosphere is too dry and lacks humidity, water will begin diffusing out of the Shingle plant’s leaves, down a concentration gradient.
As discussed above, if too much water leaves the Shingle plant leaves, the entire Rhaphidophora Hayi leaves, and the plant will suffer from the consequences of severe dehydration.
A Shingle Plant’s Fertilizer Requirements
It is best advised to feed your Shingle plant a high-quality fertilizer at least once during the spring and summer seasons, as this is the growing season for this species.
In general, a liquid fertilizer proves great for this tropical vine.
Moreover, any good quality liquid fertilizer produced for house plants should be fine for a Rhaphidophora Hayi.
However, refrain from adding too much fertilizer to your plant’s soil, as that could be dangerous too and can possibly kill your plant.
In order to avoid root rot, planting your Shingle plant in a vessel with great pot drainage is crucial.
For this, choose a breathable container, like a Tera Cota pot, for your Shingle plant, and ensure that the pot has sufficient drainage holes.
Moreover, apart from the pot, choosing well-draining soil can also help the vine stay healthy.
Since Shingle plants grow at a relatively normal pace, one does not have to worry about repotting their tropical vine too frequently.
Instead, it is advised to repot the Rhaphidophora Hayi plant once every one to two years. Moreover, whenever you repot your Shingling plant, ensure that the new pot is a size bigger than the last one and that the new batch of potting mix is well-nourished with sufficient micro-nutrients.
Finally, if you’re looking to keep your Rhaphidophora Hayi plant healthy and growing, remember to prune your Shingle plant’s stems frequently.
Moreover, you can use healthy stem cuttings to propagate shingle plant varieties and produce newly potted versions.
If you have high ceilings, an empty corner, or barely decorated walls, the best way to add character and a sense of calmness to your living space is by adding indoor potted Shingle plants to your home.
Not only is this tropical planter extremely easy to maintain and look after, but you can also propagate the Shingle plant from its stem cuttings.
This terrestrial plant is easy to maintain as long as you remember its watering and sunlight requirements. Prune the plant when necessary and repot it when it gets too big for the old pot.
Make sure the new post has the right kind of drainage holes. If you keep all these Rhaphidophora Hayi care tips, you’ll have a tall, healthy, and vibrant shingle plant growing in no time.