Silver-leaved plants have gained a lot of support lately, although many of the most popular cultivars out there are pretty rare.
A prime example of this is Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’, a rare and beautiful perennial climber that promises to become one of the most popular members of the Araceae family once it becomes more common.
Its parent plant, Scindapsus treubii (skin-DAP-sus TRAY-oob-ee-eye), is a native of southeastern Asia and is also commonly found in Australia.
It should be noted that this plant is often confused with similar plants, leading to several misnomers.
For example, it’s frequently confused with Pothos ‘Moonlight’ because of the similar names.
It’s also frequently confused with Scindapsus officinalis, which has darker green leaves and silver variegation.
A third plant it’s confused with is Scindapsus treubii ‘Silver Sword’, which has a shorter, bushier growth habit.
Finally (and perhaps most notoriously), ‘Moonlight’ has been mislabelled by Costa Farms as Scindapsus ‘Sterling Silver’, which is actually a separate plant with the full name of Scindapsus pictus ‘Sterling Silver.’
These can make it very hard to find an actual Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’.
Scindapsus Treubii ‘Moonlight’ Care
Size And Growth
How can you tell an actual Scindapsus’ Moonlight’ with all of these misnomers?
One trademark aspect is the growth habit of ‘Moonlight.’
It’s a climber that requires support to reach its full height of 6′ to 8′ feet.
However, this growth is pretty slow, especially when compared to the many plants’ Moonlight’ is confused with.
Of course, the foliage is the true winner here, and ‘Moonlight’ doesn’t need variegation to make a splash.
These leaves begin as ovate, often evolving as they mature into a heart shape or gain lobes.
The surface is smooth, almost satiny, and has equally smooth petioles.
They also often start in a vertical, shingle-like habit, alternating up the central vine, and can grow to be 4″ to 20″ inches long.
There’s no variegation here, and the foliage is a light, milky green with its satiny finish giving it an silver sheen as you get closer to the center of the leaves.
Flowering And Fragrance
As with most tropical plants raised for their foliage, there’s a good chance you’ll never see your ‘Moonlight’ bloom.
Even if you get it to bloom indoors, the inflorescence is unremarkable.
Light And Temperature
‘Moonlight’ is a tropical climber, meaning its parent plant is adapted to growing up trees and being sheltered from direct sunlight by the jungle canopy.
The ideal is to keep your plant in bright, indirect sunlight.
This can mean keeping it in a bright room but in a corner where the sun’s rays won’t hit it.
Alternatively, you can put it in an east or west window where it will get full sun in the morning or evening (respectively) but is shaded from the afternoon sun.
A third option is to put it by a sunny window with a sheer curtain to diffuse the light.
Finally, this plant can grow with artificial lighting, as long as you don’t keep it too close and it gets at least 10 hours of exposure.
Normal household humidity levels of 40% to 60% percent are perfect for this plant, although you may need to augment the humidity during winter.
You can use a pebble tray or humidifier to augment these levels.
However, if you choose to mist, be warned that this doesn’t really affect the plant (but it can give you an excuse to spend time with your plant).
If you live in USDA hardiness zone 10b or warmer, you can grow your ‘Moonlight’ outdoors, although this isn’t ideal.
In fact, normal household temperatures are perfect for this plant, just like humidity.
These plants thrive best when kept between 65° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit.
Anything above 83° degrees Fahrenheit can result in scorched leaves, while anything below 55° degrees Fahrenheit may result in cold damage to the plant.
Watering And Feeding
It’s important to use the soak-and-dry method when tending to Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’.
Here’s how to do it properly:
- Stick your finger in the soil to check the dryness and water when the soil feels dry 2” inches down.
- Use natural rainwater or distilled water and pour slowly and evenly, work your way around the pot.
- Don’t get the foliage wet, and stop when you see water seeping from the drainage holes or when the soil surface can no longer absorb water at the same rate you’re pouring.
- You don’t need a lot of fertilizer for ‘Moonlight’ due to its slow growth.
- Choose a liquid houseplant fertilizer with a 2-1-1 NPK ration (ex: 10-5-5- or 20-10-10).
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and feed the plant monthly in spring and summer, stopping for its dormant period in fall and winter.
Soil And Transplanting
‘Moonlight’ does best in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic material.
You can use standard potting soil with added perlite and orchid bark or grow it in pure peat or sphagnum moss.
Succulent potting mixes can be another great alternative.
Finally, you can make your own mix by combining one part each of potting soil, orchid bark, perlite, and ½ part of activated charcoal.
Even though Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’ is a slow grower, it will still need repotting every 2 to 3 years.
This is a perfect chance to give it a fresh potting medium, as the old medium will be mostly spent on nutrients and likely has a buildup of toxic mineral salts.
Also, if you see roots beginning to peek out of the medium surface or out of the
drainage holes, it’s time to switch to a container one size larger.
Spring is the best time for repotting, when the plant is just waking up from its two-season nap.
Grooming And Maintenance
Very little maintenance is required for this plant, although you may wish to prune away any dead or diseased leaves as needed.
How To Propagate Scindapsus ‘Moonlight’?
It’s very rare to have a ‘Moonlight’ produce flowers, let alone seeds.
Instead, you can use stem clippings to create more plants, rooting them in either soil or water.
‘Moonlight’ Pests Or Diseases
‘Moonlight’ has a high resistance to pests and disease, with the most common pests being:
- Mealy bugs
- Spider mites
Fungal infections may occur in conjunction with an infestation or due to excessive humidity.
However, the biggest threat is root rot, almost always because of overwatering or contaminated soil.
Note that this plant contains high oxalate crystals, which can be toxic if ingested and are dangerously calcium the smaller the person or pet.
Scindapsus Treubii ‘Moonlight’ Uses
‘Moonlight doesn’t do as well in hanging baskets as many other climbers.
However, it’s considered a clean air plant and looks excellent when climbing in a corner or beside a bookshelf.