How To Grow & Care For the Shingle Plant

The Shingle Plant, known scientifically as Rhaphidophora cryptantha, is a stunning tropical climber that has gained popularity among plant enthusiasts for its unique growth pattern. As it climbs, the plant’s leaves lie flat against the supporting structure, resembling shingles on a house. Originating from Southeast Asia, the Shingle Plant is admired for its lush, vibrant green foliage that can make a stunning addition to any indoor space.

Part of the Araceae family, the Shingle Plant is categorized as an epiphytic vine, meaning that it grows on other trees but doesn’t draw nutrients from them. In its native habitat, the Shingle Plant can be found creeping up tree trunks, its leaves adhering to the surface, and its roots anchoring into the bark.

Though a relatively rare plant, the Shingle Plant’s striking appearance and captivating growth habit have captured the attention of houseplant enthusiasts. It provides an excellent opportunity for those looking to add a unique and conversation-starting piece to their plant collection.

Common NamesShingle Plant
Botanical NameRhaphidophora cryptantha
Plant TypeEpiphytic vine
Mature SizeUp to 20 feet (indoor typically 4-6 feet)
Sun ExposureIndirect, filtered light
Soil TypeWell-draining, peat-based potting soil
Hardiness Zones10-11
Native AreaSoutheast Asia

Shingle Plant Care

Caring for a Shingle Plant may be a bit challenging for beginners, but with the right knowledge, it’s absolutely feasible. This tropical climber appreciates a warm, humid environment and requires a support structure to climb, such as a wooden board or trellis.

Watering should be regular but cautious, as the plant prefers to be kept on the slightly drier side. The soil should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings. It’s also crucial to provide proper humidity, which can be done with a humidifier or by placing the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

Light Requirement for Shingle Plant

The Shingle Plant thrives in bright, indirect or filtered light. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, so placing the plant near an east or north-facing window or behind a sheer curtain would be ideal.

Soil Requirements for Shingle Plant

A well-draining, peat-based potting soil mix is suitable for Shingle Plant. The soil should retain some moisture but not become soggy. Adding perlite or orchid bark can enhance drainage.

Water Requirements for Shingle Plant

Shingle Plants prefer to be kept slightly on the drier side. Water thoroughly and then allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

The Shingle Plant prefers temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C) and high humidity of around 60-80%. Maintaining proper humidity is essential for the plant’s health.


Fertilize the Shingle Plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Reduce or eliminate fertilizing during the winter months.

Pruning Shingle Plant

Pruning is not typically necessary for the Shingle Plant, but you may trim away dead or unhealthy growth to maintain its appearance.

Propagating Shingle Plant

Propagation is best done through stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem with a leaf node and plant it in moist soil or water. Provide warmth and humidity to encourage rooting.

How To Grow Shingle Plant From Seed

Growing Shingle Plant from seed is not commonly practiced and may be challenging for the average gardener.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Spider Mites

These pests can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Root Rot

Caused by overwatering, it can be prevented by ensuring proper drainage.

Common Problems With Shingle Plant

Yellowing Leaves

Often caused by overwatering or exposure to direct sunlight. Check watering habits and lighting conditions.

Stunted Growth

May be due to lack of humidity or nutrients. Consider using a humidifier and regular fertilizing.

Weak Climbing Habit

Ensure the plant has adequate support and proper care to encourage climbing.

Pro Tips

  1. Provide a proper climbing structure to allow the Shingle Plant to showcase its natural growth habit.
  2. Regularly mist the plant to maintain humidity or use a humidifier.
  3. Be mindful of watering, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  4. Place in a location with bright, indirect light, avoiding direct sunlight.
  5. Propagation can be a rewarding way to multiply your Shingle Plant.