Moonlight Sansevieria

The Moonlight or Moonshine Sansevieria is a cultivar of the common snake plant Sansevieria trifasciata. Snake plants are natives of tropical West Africa and very popular with indoor gardeners and plant specialists wanting to improve air quality in homes and office buildings.

Moonlight Sansevieria is a gorgeous, hardy, silvery-leaved houseplant that requires a minimum amount of care and attention. It does well in low, moderate, or bright light and needs a well-drained substrate. It likes bright light but can also adapt to low or moderate lighting and is slow-growing. 

The tall vertical leaves of Moonlight Sansevieria seem to grow directly out of the soil and use a lot of space in a small room or office while adding a welcome splash of pale green. Other common names include Moonlight Snake Plant, Sansevieria Futura Silver Offset, Silver Moonshine, and Moonshine Snake Plant. The plant seems to glow with a silvery light that is very attractive when offset by other darker green plants in its vicinity.

Characteristics of Moonlight Sansevieria

Close up of Moonlight Sansevieria

The common names for this snake plant refer to the pale silvery-green color of its leaves which differs from the variegated dark green and light greenish-grey of the more common Sansevieria cultivar. The leaves have sharp edges, which explains another nickname of snake-plants – mother-in-law’s tongue.

The leaves of Moonlight Sansevieria are broader than those of its more common sibling, with dark green rims that really make their silvery-green color stand out. There are faint, darker green lines running along the length of the leaves, but the overall impression is silveriness. The leaves can turn slightly darker green as the plant matures, but this is normal and nothing to worry about.

Growth Rate and Size

Like all Sansevieria, it is slow-growing but produces multiple, tightly packed leaves which can get up to two or even three feet long – around 1.2 meters. The length of the leaves depends on the age of the plant and its growing conditions. The green of the leaves may darken a bit as it matures, but they will keep their silvery sheen.

Read more: How Often To Water Snake Plant?

How To Care For Moonlight Sansevieria

Moonlight Sansevieria is very easy to care for and is considered virtually indestructible, so even those who lack green thumbs should give it a try. The leaves have a sculpted appearance that makes it a fascinating feature plant for any room. Flowering is unpredictable and infrequent, and the flowers are white, mildly fragrant, but unremarkable.

It is prized mainly for its spectacular foliage and air purification abilities.

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

This lovely snake plant does best in warmer temperatures between fifty-five and eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit or thirteen to twenty-nine degrees Celsius. It is pretty hardy and can survive a minimum winter temperature of zero degrees Celsius or thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can only tolerate temperatures lower than ten degrees Celsius for very short periods.

Its leaves retain water, so high humidity levels are unnecessary, and it can tolerate drought up to a point. It does need to be watered once the substrate dries out to avoid stressing it.

Misting is unnecessary as the leaves should be kept dry at all times. Sansevieria plants are adapted to lose as little water as possible through evaporation by only opening the pores on their leaves at night when they exhale oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.

Moonlight Sansevieria can filter toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ozone generated by various household cleaning agents, carpeting, and office equipment out of the air.

Watering Guide

You must wait for the soil to dry out before watering as these plants do not like wet feet. If you overwater, they can develop root rot which will eventually kill them. First, feel the substrate with your finger to test whether it is dry before watering.

It typically needs watering only once every two weeks in summer, but a lot depends on your local climate.

If the climate is arid, it may need watering a bit more often. The same is true for indoor heating or air conditioning that dries out the air faster than usual. In most regions, the plant only needs watering once a month in winter when it is in its resting phase.

Don’t give Moonlight Sansevieria little sips of water when watering. Drench it thoroughly until you see the water running out of the pot. Empty any excess water that accumulates in the pot tray because Moonlight Sansevieria must not be allowed to stand in water.

Light Guide

The best light for your Moonlight Sansevieria is bright indirect light or morning sun, but it can do very well in moderate and low light too. It can withstand mild, direct sunlight, but the leaves may burn if it gets too hot and harsh.

The leaves may turn a darker green in lower lighting conditions, but this is not cause for panic. You do not need expensive grow lights or fancy lighting for this plant as the light levels in most homes and buildings are sufficient.

Soil and Potting Requirements

Repotting snake plant

The Moonlight Sansevieria does not like very rich potting soil. You can use a potting mix that is standard for cacti and succulents as it requires well-draining soil. It hates soggy soil and will eventually die when kept in wet conditions.

A potting mix of potting soil, cacti, and succulent mix combined with a fistful of perlite also work well. The plant needs well-aerated soil where its roots can get enough oxygen and water.

It needs a deep pot that won’t tip over as the plant gets taller.

Fertilizer Requirements

You only need to feed the Moonlight Sansevieria twice a year with a general-purpose, balanced liquid plant food in spring and summer. They do not need much fertilizer, so don’t be heavy-handed.

Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to avoid burning the plant or use a few drops of fertilizer designed for cacti and succulents. Do not feed your plant in winter or fall.

Quick Care Tips For Moonlight Sansevieria

Your Moonlight Sansevieria does not need an attentive, constantly watchful owner. When subjected to some neglect, it thrives, so do not overwater, overfeed, or over-groom your plant. It is an ideal plant for beginners because of its low maintenance needs.

Pruning Guide

Moonlight Sansevieria does not need pruning. The most you should do is remove dead, yellowed, or damaged leaves. A certain amount of scarring of the leaves is normal, and they should not be cut back. The plant’s upright habit means it does not spread out and become unruly and keeps its shape very well.

Potting and Repotting

Terracotta pots help with soil drainage and water evaporation which suits Moonlight Sansevieria perfectly. They don’t like to be in spacious containers that accumulate a lot of water in the substrate. Frequent repotting is unnecessary and may even harm the plant.

Repotting may only be required every two to five years because it will take the plant a long time to outgrow the pot. Adding a bit of fresh substrate to the top of the soil in the plant’s current pot occasionally is an alternative to repotting it too often.

It should be repotted with one or two inches of the pot still showing above the potting soil.

Related: How Much Light Does A Snake Plant Need?

Propagation Facts

Moonlight Sansevieria roots are robust rhizomes that grow rapidly, and the thick leathery leaves of the plant are very hardy. There are two main ways to propagate the plant.

  • Root Division: The best way to propagate the plant is to divide it at the roots. Carefully remove the mother plant from its pot, gently remove as much of the substrate as possible and see how best to divide the root ball.

Ensure that the root divisions have at least one healthy leaf each and use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut the rhizomes. Leave the divisions for a day or two to dry and callous before planting them in new pots containing fresh, slightly moist substrate.

  • Leaf Cuttings: You can also propagate Moonlight Sansevieria from leaf cuttings from a mature, healthy leaf. The cuttings must be at least two inches in length. Wait for a few days to allow the leaf cuttings to dry and callous over before planting them in a well-draining potting mix.

Bury the cut ends of the leaf at least one inch into the substrate. You can also grow leaf cuttings by suspending them in a jar of water with a few inches covering the leaf. Place the jar in bright light and change the water periodically until you see root formation.

Once sufficient roots have formed, you can transfer the leaf-cutting into a pot filled with succulent and cacti mix or another well-draining substrate.

Pests and Diseases

Another upside of Moonlight Sansevieria is that it is largely impervious to pests and diseases. An unhealthy plant may be susceptible to a spider mite or mealybug infestation that sucks the sap from the leaves.

Use neem oil, insecticidal soap, or rubbing alcohol to remove them by wiping down the leaves.

Conclusion

Moonlight Sansevieria is a beautiful cultivar of the snake plant that is easy to care for and a pleasure to keep. If you don’t overwater or overfeed it, you will be richly rewarded by its silvery-green foliage and air purifying properties.

References

https://plantify.co.za/products/mother-in-laws-tongue-moonshine

https://hortology.co.uk/products/sansevieria-trifasciata-moonshine-snake-plant

https://plantcaretoday.com/sansevieria-moonshine.html

https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/19/2/article-p286.xml