Read my guide about Scindapsus Treubii Moonlight care, aka “sterling silver,” a gorgeous tropical vine with silver-hued leaves.
How do you care for a scindapsus treubii?
If you’re looking to add an interesting new plant to your collection, then the scindapsus treubii moonlight might be a good choice for you. They are gorgeous, relatively low-maintenance plants—and their silver-hued leaves will make them stand out among your other green-leaf plants.
There are a couple of different varieties of scindapsus treubii you might find in your local nursery. Scindapsus treubii moonlight, which is the one we’ll focus on today, and the scindapsus dark form, which is harder to find and more expensive.
The moonlight’s leaves are milky green with hints of silver, whereas the dark form’s leaves are greenish black without silver. I love my dark form, but honestly, the moonlight is way prettier. You can’t beat the gorgeous silver sheen on the minty leaves.
- Scindapsus treubii moonlight care overview
- Where does the scindapsus treubii come from?
- Is scindapsus treubii moonlight rare?
- Can you buy scindapsus treubii moonlight online?
- Is treubii moonlight a pothos?
- How much light does it need?
- What is the preferred soil?
- How often should I water a scindapsus treubii?
- Why does my plant have yellowing leaves?
- Temperature & humidity needs
- Repotting a scindapsus treubii moonlight and growth rate
- How do I propagate a treubii moonlight?
- Is this plant safe for pets?
Scindapsus treubii moonlight care overview
- Scindapsus genus is native to Southeast Asia; thrives in rainforests, growing along the ground until finding a tree to climb.
- Thrives in bright, indirect light; direct sunlight can burn the foliage, while low light will lead to leggy growth.
- Plant in a well-draining houseplant potting mix.
- Water when the top half of the soil has dried out; avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
- Ideal temperature range is 65-75°F; tolerant to cooler temperatures but not freezing conditions.
- Tolerates normal household humidity well but appreciates extra humidity.
- Slow grower, requiring repotting only once every few years or when the roots grow out of the pot’s drainage holes.
- Propagate stem cuttings in a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite.
- Toxic; causes swelling in oral tissues and gastrointestinal issues if ingested.
Where does the scindapsus treubii come from?
Scindapsus treubii are part of the Araceae family and the scindapsus genus. Another well-known species in the Scindapsus genus is the scindapsus pictus (see my scindapsus pictus care guide), the most commonly cultivated one.
Scindapsus treubii originated in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, but they are also native to the Pacific Islands and Queensland. They thrive in rainforests and tropical jungles, growing along the ground until they find a steady tree to climb. Then, as treubii scales trees with its aerial roots, its leaves will grow longer and darker.
Is scindapsus treubii moonlight rare?
It depends who you ask! Costa Farms—the big mass producer of plants for big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc.—rolled them out as part of their Trending Tropicals a couple years ago (along with raven zz plants, polka dot begonias, tradescantia nanouk, and a few more!).
That means it is much easier to find than it was back when I got my first plant. Costa Farms is marketing their moonlights as “Sterling Silver” on the tag, so if you see that on the label, there’s a good chance it’s a scindapsus treubii moonlight!
I still remember when they first started showing up in stores. I was off one day just puttering around the house when my friend messaged me and said “WALMART HAS MOONLIGHTS, THIS IS NOT A DRILL, GO GO GO.” Someone had given her a heads up, so I took advantage of being off work and zoomed over to Walmart.
I grabbed four! One for myself and three for local friends who couldn’t get there. That same day they also dropped a shipment at our local Wegmans. I couldn’t resist—I bought one more to split and give away on Instagram.
All of this is to say, they are much easier to find than they were back then! I see them often at my favorite local nursery for reasonable prices, and I often see them pop up at big box stores as well.
Can you buy scindapsus treubii moonlight online?
You can buy it online on Etsy (affiliate link)—lots of sellers are selling smaller pieces. But if you really want the plant, you can go that route. I often go to Etsy when I really want a plant and don’t mind paying a few extra bucks for it. (Check out my tips for buying plants on Etsy before shopping!)
You can also check out the Costa Farms shop online. My first plant actually came from their website directly, but they are much cheaper if you can find them in a store. The plants they sell online are higher quality than the ones they ship to stores—and they are packaged very well.
Is treubii moonlight a pothos?
Scindapsus treubii moonlight is not a pothos. Note, the treubii moonlight is marketed by Costa as the “Sterling Silver.” This isn’t the same as “silver satin pothos,” which is actually not a pothos and is a type of scindapsus called scindapsus pictus exotica.
Neither treubii moonlight nor pictus exotica are pothos plants. They are scindapsus plants. Scindapsus is its own genus in the Araceae (aka aroid) family. Pothos is a member of the epipremnum genus, which is also part of the Araceae family.
So they are related, but Araceae is a big family. They are often confused with one another because they both climb/trail and have similarly shaped leaves.
Their key superficial differences are that the leaves on scindapsus plants tend to be thicker and often have a silver sheen of some sort. I’ve also found that their stems are thicker and they are slower growers. On the other hand, pothos plants have thinner leaves and sometimes stems. And they grow like weeds!
You will find people who swear up and down that scindapsus plants are also pothos plants like epipremnum plants are. But I do think it’s important to distinguish between scindapsus and epipremnum due to their slightly different care routines. Ultimately, I don’t like to bicker over naming conventions…plants are supposed to relax you, not make you fight 🙂
How much light does it need?
Like most other tropical plants, the scindapsus treubii moonlight prefers bright, indirect light. It’ll thrive in a room with lots of filtered light, or in an east-facing window. Although it will survive some direct light, extended periods of time in direct sun or in darkness will cause the leaves to fade and stunt its growth.
If you notice that the leaves on your plant are emerging father apart from one another on the stem and are smaller, you likely need to increase light levels. This is called “leggy” growth, and it occurs when the plant’s lighting conditions are too low.
For the past year, I have kept my scindapsus plant in my sunroom on the bottom of some plant shelving. This is a southwest facing window and gets a ton of light—probably the sunniest spot in my house (see below, first photo).
If you choose to grow your plant outdoors, make sure you provide some sort of top cover like a gazebo, deck, patio, or tree. Direct sun will scorch the leaves, which you cannot reverse. I successfully grew mine on my covered patio at my old house—it got only dappled direct sunlight through the deck slats above (see below, second photo).
What is the preferred soil?
Any well-draining houseplant potting mix will work. If you’d like, you can add perlite for better drainage since its roots do not like to sit in soggy soil. Also, scindapsus treubii are climbers in nature, which means they take their nutrients from other living plants. So adding compost or organic matter will help the plant flourish.
If you’re going to add perlite, compost, or orchid bark to supplement its soil, make sure they’re in equal parts. I used an indoor potting soil with compost already mixed in and added some orchid bark and perlite to further lighten the soil and encourage drainage.
How often should I water a scindapsus treubii?
I generally water my scindapsus plants once the top half of soil has dried out. Depending on the time of year, this is generally once a week in the summer and once every 10-14 days in the winter. In the spring and fall as temperatures are changing, it can be somewhere in between.
The number one thing to keep in mind for scindapsus treubii moonlight care is to avoid overwatering. Make sure its pot has a drainage hole and the soil allows for water to flow freely. Otherwise it will sit in soggy soil and develop root rot, or its leaves will drop.
A tell-tale sign of underwatering is when its leaves start curling. If you notice this, give your plant a deep drink in the sink, letting all of the excess water flow from the drainage holes. It should perk back up in a day or two.
Why does my plant have yellowing leaves?
Yellowing leaves be a sign of many issues, but the most common issues relate to watering. If the soil is consistently wet and some of your plant’s leaves are beginning to fade, wilt, and yellow, it is likely due to overwatering and rot.
To fix this, trim the unsightly leaves off and let the soil dry out before watering the plant again. It shold rebound. If the roots have severe rot on them, you may need to take the plant out of the pot, trim the mushy roots off, and repot it in fresh dry soil.
If the soil is consistently dry and the leaves are also curling a bit, the yellowing leaves are likely a result of underwatering. Another sign is that the leaves closest to the soil line will begin yellowing and falling off. The plant is going into survival mode and killing off its foliage.
I have experienced this, especially as the seasons are changing and I am adjusting my watering frequency. I tend to err on the side of underwatering instead of overwatering because it does less damage.
Fixing this is easier—simply pick off the affected leaves and give your plant a deep drink. Thoroughly soak the soil and let all of the excess water drain out. Your plant should rebound, and the leaves should stop yellowing.
Temperature & humidity needs
You might think because the scindapsus treubii comes from the tropical rainforests of Asia that it would only prefer warm weather, but that isn’t the case. Its ideal temperature range is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too hot for long periods of time, it’ll start to wilt.
And it actually tolerates cooler temperatures very well! During winter it’ll do just fine by a window. I keep my large moonlight on plant shelving right up against a large window, and it is happy as can be. The only temperatures it can’t handle is below freezing. My first big moonlight I ordered online was shipped without a heat pack during extreme cold and ended up suffering a lot of cold damage (see below).
This tropical plant is very hardy, and can grow in humidity levels as low as 40%, which should be just fine in most homes. Its ideal humidity is around 60%, but if you can’t get your home that humid, don’t worry.
My home gets very dry in the winter, with humidity levels in my sunroom dropping down to about 20-30%. The moonlight still handles this like a champ, showing only minor brown crispy areas—a tell-tale sign of low moisture in the air.
Repotting a scindapsus treubii moonlight and growth rate
Scindapsus treubii moonlight grows pretty slowly. I propagated a little stem cutting before I ever got a full plant. It had two leaves, it took it about 6 months before it completely unfurled a third leaf. It took some serious patience!
Since sterling silver scindapsus grows pretty slowly, it doesn’t need repotted that often. Maybe once every few years depending on how optimal the growing conditions are. Check the drainage holes to see if the roots are growing out of them. If they are—it’s time.
I had a few different smaller moonlights back in 2021, and when it was time to pot them up, I decided to streamline things and just pot them up together into a large hanging basket. That is the plant I still have today—in the same planter. It remains happy—see the pic below!
How do I propagate a treubii moonlight?
Scindapsus treubii can be easily propagated using stem cuttings. I have a detailed guide about how to root scindapsus treubii moonlight and dark form, but here’s an overview.
- Choose a stem that has at least one node and cut it right below the node. Remove the bottom leaves if there are any, but leave one or two at the top.
- Fill a cup with a mixture of moist sphagnum moss and perlite. Place the cutting nodes-side down a few inches deep. (Read more about rooting plants in sphagnum moss.)
- Cover the cutting and moss with a plastic bag to increase the humidity. Put it in a bright, warm area. Make sure the moss remains damp but not wet, and take the baggie off every few days to allow for some air circulation.
- After a few weeks, check to see if roots have begun emerging. Once the roots are several inches long, you can transfer the cutting to fresh well-draining soil.
When I transplanted my cutting to soil, I watered it and put it in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet. The leaves curled a bit from the repotting shock, but it rebounded after a few weeks.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when rooting scindapsus treubii moonlight based on my experience propagating many, many cuttings:
- Spring is the best time to propagate most plants, and it’s definitely the best time to propagate treubii. But you can do it all year long—just make sure the cutting gets plenty of warmth, light, and humidity.
- I don’t recommend water propagation for this plant because the roots won’t grow as strong, and it will suffer shock when you transplant it to soil—but it is possible.
- When propagating many cuttings, I like to use a DIY plastic propagation box method to create a warm, humid environment. It’s like a mini greenhouse.
Is this plant safe for pets?
No, sterling silver scindapsus is toxic to pets. If your pets chew on the plants or eat them, they can cause swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Luckily these look lovely hanging from the ceiling or up high on shelves, so it’s easy to keep it out of pets’ reach. A glass-enclosed greenhouse cabinet is also a great option.
You don’t regret adding a moonlight to your collection—I love silver houseplants, and this one has remained one of my favorites over the years. By fine-tuning its light, soil, watering, and temperature conditions, you’ll see this stunning plant flourish in your space. Happy planting!