Snake plants are widely recognized and highly sought-after houseplants due to their resilience, low-maintenance nature, and aesthetic appeal. While the Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ and the standard Dracaena trifasciata are commonly known varieties, the moonshine snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata ‘Moonshine’) has recently gained popularity. This captivating plant features upright growth with pale silvery green leaves, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts. However, it’s important to note that moonshine snake plants are mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested, so caution should be exercised in households with children or pets.
Moonshine Snake Plant Overview
- Common Name: Moonshine snake plant
- Botanical Name: Dracaena trifasciata ‘Moonshine’ (formerly Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’)
- Family: Asparagaceae
- Plant Type: Perennial, succulent
- Mature Size: 4 ft. tall
- Sun Exposure: Partial
- Soil Type: Sandy, well-draining
- Soil pH: Acidic
- Bloom Time: Spring, summer
- Flower Color: Green, white
- Hardiness Zones: 10-11 (USDA)
- Native Area: Africa
- Toxicity: Toxic to animals, toxic to humans
Care for Moonshine Snake Plant
Snake plants, including the moonshine variety, are known for their forgiving nature and easy care requirements. These tips will help you successfully cultivate and maintain your moonshine snake plant.
Moonshine snake plants thrive in a range of lighting conditions, from low light to direct sun (with proper acclimation). Indoors, they prefer bright to medium indirect light. While they can tolerate low light, growth may be slower, and the plant may develop leggy stems over time.
As succulents, moonshine snake plants require porous, well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging and protect their roots. A suitable choice is a cactus or succulent soil mix. Alternatively, you can create your own mix by combining equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sand.
Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Moonshine snake plants are drought-tolerant and prone to root rot if overwatered. The watering frequency depends on the light exposure, temperature, and humidity. Check the moisture level by inserting your finger or a moisture meter into the soil. It’s better to underwater than overwater a snake plant.
Temperature and Humidity
Moonshine snake plants prefer warm temperatures and average-to-dry humidity levels, making them well-suited for indoor cultivation. Maintain temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 29 degrees Celsius) to prevent shock. In USDA zones 10 and 11, these snake plants can be grown outdoors year-round, while colder regions require indoor placement during fall and winter.
During the spring and summer months, regular fertilization promotes vigorous growth in moonshine snake plants. However, they are not heavy feeders and can tolerate occasional skipped feedings. Dilute a balanced all-purpose houseplant fertilizer to half-strength and apply it during watering. Avoid fertilizing during the fall and winter dormancy period.
Propagating Moonshine Snake Plant
Propagation of moonshine snake plants can be a rewarding process, albeit requiring patience. Follow these steps to propagate your plant:
- Using sterilized pruning shears or scissors, cut a mature and healthy leaf/stalk from the snake plant.
- Divide the leaf into several sections, each measuring three to four inches. Maintain the vertical orientation of each section to match its original growth direction.
- Notch the bottom of each section by cutting a triangular shape. This technique enhances the success rate of snake plant propagation.
- Fill a shallow glass or dish halfway with fresh room-temperature water. Submerge the leaf cuttings, ensuring the notched bottom is facing downwards.
- Place the container in a location with bright indirect light, such as a windowsill. Change the water every one to two weeks to keep it fresh. Monitor the cuttings and trim any rotted parts promptly.
- Wait patiently as the cuttings develop roots and eventually sprout small pups. Once the roots reach about an inch in length, transfer the cuttings to a sandy, well-draining potting mix in a small pot.
- Water the newly potted cuttings thoroughly and place them in a bright location. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. Although growth will be slow, the pups will mature over time.
Potting and Repotting Guidelines
Moonshine snake plants only require repotting when they have outgrown their current containers and become rootbound, typically every two to three years. Preferably, repot during spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Choose a new pot that is only two to three inches larger than the previous one. Refresh as much of the soil as possible during repotting without damaging the roots. After repotting, return the plant to its original location.
Common Pests and Diseases
While moonshine snake plants are generally resilient, they can still be affected by common houseplant pests like mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects, and aphids. Pay attention to nearby infested plants as pests may transfer. Additionally, overwatering can lead to root rot, the main disease to watch out for.
Common Problems with Moonshine Snake Plant
Although moonshine snake plants are low-maintenance, a few issues may arise during indoor cultivation. Here are some common problems and their solutions:
- Mushy Stems: Mushy and rotting stems indicate root rot caused by overwatering or soil contamination. Immediately remove the plant from its pot and trim any rotted leaves, stems, or roots. If the entire root system is affected, propagate healthy leaf cuttings to save the plant.
- Brown Spots: Brown spots can result from leaf burn, pest infestations, or exposure to dry air. Ensure the plant is not exposed to harsh direct sunlight and inspect for pests like spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects. Avoid placing the plant next to heating vents, which can cause dry air and brown spots.
- Leggy Growth: Thin and leggy new growth indicates insufficient light. Although moonshine snake plants tolerate low-light conditions, they thrive in medium to bright indirect light. Address lighting issues to prevent leggy growth in the future.
By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow and care for your moonshine snake plant, enjoying its beauty and benefits in your indoor space.