Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is a cultivar of Scindapsus treubii, a species of tropical evergreen vine native to Southeast Asia, particularly found in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. In its natural habitat, it typically grows as a climbing or trailing vine, attaching itself to trees and other vegetation.
The species Scindapsus treubii was first described and named in the late 19th century by Dutch botanist M.W. Treub, after whom it is named. It was later introduced to the world of indoor gardening and horticulture as a desirable houseplant due to its attractive foliage.
Over time, plant enthusiasts and horticulturists have worked to develop various cultivars and hybrids of Scindapsus treubii, including “Moonlight.” Cultivars like “Moonlight” are often the result of selective breeding and propagation, aimed at enhancing certain desirable characteristics, such as variegated or uniquely colored leaves.
The “Moonlight” cultivar, in particular, is characterized by its striking variegation, which includes silver or silvery-white marbling on its leaves. This variegation is the result of natural or induced mutations in the plant’s genes.
Once cultivars like “Moonlight” are developed and stabilized through propagation methods like cuttings or tissue culture, they are given unique names to distinguish them in the horticultural trade. These names often reflect the plant’s characteristics or aesthetics, hence the name “Moonlight” for its moonlit appearance.
Scindapsus Treubii Moonlight care, aka “sterling silver,” Image Courtesy of Brittany Goldwyn
How Does Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” Look Like?
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” belongs to the Araceae family. It is often chosen for its attractive leaves, which have earned it the common name “Moonlight” due to their pale silvery-green or almost white appearance.
- Leaves: They are heart-shaped and have a unique coloration. The leaves are a pale silvery-green or pastel green color with marbled patterns of darker green or grayish-green. The overall effect gives the plant a moonlit or ethereal appearance.
- Size: The leaves of Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” can vary in size from 2 to 6 inches in width and 4 to 8 inches in length. Younger leaves tend to be smaller and brighter in color, while mature leaves may grow larger and have a more pronounced marbling pattern.
- Texture: The leaves have a glossy, satin-like texture. They feel smooth to the touch and reflect light, contributing to the “Moonlight” name.
- Growth Habit: Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is a vining or climbing plant. It produces long, slender stems that can trail or climb when provided with support. It can grow quite long.
- Aerial Roots: Like many other members of the Scindapsus genus, “Moonlight” can produce aerial roots along its stems. These roots help the plant anchor itself and can be used for climbing and attaching to support structures.
- Inflorescence: While “Moonlight” is primarily grown for its foliage, it can produce small, inconspicuous flowers in its natural habitat. However, it is rare for this plant to bloom when grown as a houseplant.
The Best ways to use Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight”
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” can be used as an indoor decoration in various ways. Place it on a shelf, a plant stand, or hang it in a decorative pot to add a touch of elegance to your living space. The silvery-green leaves with marbled patterns make it an attractive choice for interior decor.
Hanging Basket or Wall-Mounted Display
One of the most popular ways to showcase Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is by placing it in a hanging basket or wall-mounted planter. Allow its trailing vines to gracefully cascade down, creating a lush and visually appealing display. The pale, marbled leaves will add a touch of elegance to any room.
Trellis or Pole Climber:
If you prefer a vertical element in your interior design, provide a trellis or moss pole for your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” to climb. As it grows, guide its vines around the support structure to create a living piece of art. This not only looks stunning but also helps the plant grow healthier.
Place a potted Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” on a tabletop or a decorative stand as a captivating centerpiece. The variegated leaves will draw attention and add a fresh, natural element to your home decor.
Terrarium or Mini Garden
Incorporate Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” into a terrarium or mini garden arrangement. Combine it with other small, humidity-loving plants and decorative elements to create a charming miniature ecosystem.
Office or Workspace Decor:
Bring a touch of greenery to your office or workspace by placing Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” in a decorative pot on your desk or a nearby shelf. The plant’s calming and soothing appearance can help improve the ambiance and reduce stress in your work environment.
Many Scindapsus varieties, including “Moonlight,” thrive in the high humidity of bathrooms. Place one in a decorative pot on a bathroom shelf or hanging near a window to create a spa-like atmosphere.
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” makes an excellent gift for plant enthusiasts. Pot it in an attractive container and present it to friends or family for birthdays, housewarmings, or other special occasions.
Is Scindapsus Treubii Moonlight rare?
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is indeed considered a rare and highly sought-after plant among plant enthusiasts and collectors.
The rarity of this plant is attributed to its limited natural distribution. In its natural habitat, it grows as an epiphyte, clinging to trees or other structures. Due to its specific habitat requirements and limited range, it is not commonly found in the wild, further contributing to its rarity in cultivation.
Propagation of Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” can be challenging and slow, which adds to its scarcity in the market. Many collectors and growers prefer to propagate this plant through stem cuttings, but it can be slow to root and establish.
Another factor contributing to its rarity is its popularity in the world of interior and urban gardening. As more people discover the appeal of indoor plants, unique and visually striking varieties like Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” have gained a cult following. Increased demand, combined with limited availability, has driven up prices for this plant in the market.
How to Grow And Care For Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight”
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is considered a low to moderate light plant. It can thrive in relatively low light conditions, but it will grow best and display its most vibrant colors when given medium to bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
When growing indoors, Place your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” in a location where it receives filtered or indirect sunlight. This can be achieved by positioning it a few feet away from a north or east-facing window. South or west-facing windows should have sheer curtains or blinds to filter the intense sunlight.
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” thrives in soil that allows excess water to drain quickly, preventing waterlogged roots. A mix that incorporates components like potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark works exceptionally well. Start with a high-quality, all-purpose potting soil as the base.
This provides essential nutrients and structure. Perlite, a lightweight volcanic rock, improves aeration and drainage by creating air pockets within the soil. Orchid bark adds further drainage capacity and prevents soil compaction, which can be detrimental to root health.
Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral pH level in the soil, typically ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. This pH range is suitable for Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” and allows for proper nutrient uptake. You can check the pH of your soil using a pH testing kit and adjust it as needed with pH-adjusting products if it falls outside the desired range.
Choose a container with drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape freely. This is essential to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. As your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” grows, consider repotting it every 1-2 years or when it becomes root-bound.
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” prefers a warm and stable environment. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Keeping the temperature within this range ensures optimal growth and overall health.
It’s important to protect your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” from extreme temperature fluctuations. Avoid placing the plant near drafty windows, doors, or heating/cooling vents, as sudden temperature changes can stress the plant.
During the winter months, be mindful of the temperature in your home. Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, but it should not be exposed to prolonged cold drafts or temperatures below 50°F (10°C). If your home becomes cooler in the winter, consider moving the plant away from windows at night or using a space heater to maintain a suitable temperature.
In the summer, ensure that the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can damage the leaves. Provide shade or filter the sunlight with curtains or blinds to protect the plant from both high temperatures and intense sunlight.
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” prefers a humidity level that mimics its native tropical habitat. Ideally, the relative humidity should be between 50% to 60% or even higher. Maintaining adequate humidity levels is particularly important in indoor environments where humidity tends to be lower, especially during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air.
Higher humidity helps keep the leaves of Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” lush, glossy, and healthy. Inadequate humidity can lead to issues such as brown leaf edges, leaf browning, or leaf tip dieback. These symptoms are often signs of the plant not receiving enough moisture from the air.
There are several methods to increase humidity around your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” Using a humidifier in the room is one of the most effective approaches, as it can maintain consistent humidity levels.
Misting the plant’s leaves with water can provide a temporary boost in humidity, but it may not be enough on its own. Placing a tray filled with water and pebbles near the plant, grouping multiple plants together, or growing it in a terrarium or enclosed container can also create a more humid microclimate.
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” prefers to be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. It’s essential to allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Overwatering can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues. To determine when to water, you can insert your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage to prevent water from pooling at the bottom, which can lead to root problems.
Use room-temperature water for your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” Avoid using water that is too cold, as extreme temperature fluctuations can shock the plant. If your tap water contains high levels of minerals or chlorine, consider using distilled or filtered water. Using a water filtration system can help remove harmful chemicals and minerals that may harm the plant over time.
In general, during the growing season (spring and summer), you may need to water more frequently as the plant is actively growing. In the dormant period (fall and winter), reduce the frequency of watering since the plant’s growth slows down. Always adjust your watering schedule based on the plant’s needs and the moisture level of the soil, rather than following a strict calendar.
Firstly, Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” benefits from regular but moderate fertilization during the growing season, which typically spans from spring through early fall. Using a balanced liquid fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of around 10-10-10 or a similar ratio is a good choice.
Dilute the fertilizer to half or a quarter of the recommended strength to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to salt buildup in the soil. Apply the diluted fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to provide a steady supply of nutrients without overwhelming the plant.
Secondly, it’s essential to reduce or stop fertilizing during the dormant period in the winter. Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” naturally slows down its growth during this time, so additional nutrients are not as necessary.
Over-fertilizing during the dormant season can potentially harm the plant. Resume regular fertilization in early spring as the plant starts to show signs of new growth, but still maintain a cautious approach to avoid overfeeding.
Lastly, always remember to water the plant thoroughly before applying fertilizer to prevent root burn and distribute the nutrients evenly in the soil. Additionally, consider using a well-draining potting mix to prevent waterlogging, which can affect nutrient uptake.
When repotting your Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight,” it’s crucial to choose a slightly larger pot than the current one to allow for future growth. The pot should have good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, as these plants are susceptible to root rot. Use a well-draining potting mix that includes components like perlite or orchid bark to ensure proper aeration and moisture retention.
During the repotting process, gently remove the plant from its old pot, carefully shake off excess soil, and inspect the roots. Trim any damaged or rotting roots before placing the plant in its new pot and filling in the gaps with fresh potting mix. After repotting, water the plant thoroughly and place it in a location with indirect light to help it recover from the stress of transplantation.
There are several methods you can use to propagate this plant, including stem cuttings and division. Propagation is best done during the growing season (spring or summer) when the plant is actively growing, as this increases the chances of successful root development. Whether you choose stem cuttings or division, patience is key. It may take some time for the new plants to establish themselves and grow
This is one of the most common methods for propagating Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” Here’s how to do it:
- Choose a healthy stem with at least a few leaves. Ideally, the stem should be around 4-6 inches long.
- Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a leaf node (the point where a leaf is attached to the stem).
- Remove any leaves that are too close to the cut end, leaving a few leaves at the top.
- Allow the cut end to callus over for a day or two to prevent rotting.
- Plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix, burying the cut end about an inch deep.
- Keep the soil consistently moist, and place the cutting in a spot with bright, indirect light. You can cover it with a plastic bag or use a propagation box to create a humid environment.
- Roots should develop in a few weeks to a couple of months. Once the cutting has established roots and shows new growth, you can transplant it into a larger pot.
Another propagation method for Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” is division, which involves separating an established plant into multiple smaller plants:
- Gently remove the plant from its pot, and carefully shake off excess soil to expose the root system.
- Look for natural divisions or sections with their own roots and leaves.
- Use a clean, sharp tool to separate these sections, making sure each division has enough roots and leaves to thrive on its own.
- Plant each division in its own pot with fresh potting mix.
- Water the newly potted divisions and place them in a location with bright, indirect light.
Diseases And Pests
Root rot is a fungal disease that can affect Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” if the soil remains consistently soggy or if the plant is overwatered. It can cause the roots to decay, leading to wilting, yellowing leaves, and overall poor growth. To prevent root rot, ensure the plant is in well-draining soil and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
Leaf spot is another fungal disease that can manifest as dark, irregular spots or patches on the leaves of Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” It can be caused by overwatering, poor air circulation, or high humidity. To manage leaf spot, remove affected leaves, improve ventilation, and avoid getting water on the leaves during watering.
Mealybugs are common pests that can infest Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” These small, white, cottony insects feed on the plant’s sap and excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty mold on the leaves. To combat mealybugs, use insecticidal soap or neem oil, and regularly inspect your plant for signs of infestation.
Spider mites are tiny arachnids that can cause stippling or speckling on the leaves of Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight.” They thrive in dry conditions and can quickly multiply. To control spider mites, increase humidity around the plant, regularly wash the leaves, and use neem oil or insecticidal soap as a treatment.
Fungal and Bacterial Leaf Diseases
Scindapsus treubii “Moonlight” can also be susceptible to various fungal and bacterial leaf diseases, which may cause leaf discoloration, browning, or spotting. Proper watering practices, good air circulation, and avoiding overhead watering can help prevent these diseases. If a plant does become infected, remove affected leaves and consider using a fungicide or bactericide as directed.