Why Is My Moonshine Snake Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Draceana trifasciata ‘Moonshine’ Plant

The moonshine snake plant is such a fun take on snake plants. With its thin, wide, silvery green leaves that grow to be 4 feet tall and its easy to care for demeanor, of course you want to keep it alive!  

The Dracaena trifasciata “moonshine” is hard to kill, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. So, if you are noticing some telltale signs your moonshine plant is struggling, it is time to get to work reviving it.  

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to breathe life back into this pretty African foliage, so let’s cover all the bases.  

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A Moonshine Snake Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office  

The moonshine snake plant does not take up too much space, does not ask for much, and it will even clean the air for you wherever it sits. It is also great for feng shui, bringing in strong, long-lasting, positive vibes of renewal, regeneration, and fresh energy.  

A Moonshine Snake Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office  

You can keep it pretty much anywhere in your home or office as long as you don’t subject it to too much bright, direct light. Otherwise, a nice corner with some low light or right on your desk with bright, indirect light and a cool breeze will do well for this plant.  

You can decorate around it with more succulents, or simply let it take the spotlight. It is certainly pretty enough to stand on its own.  

Signs of a Dying Moonshine Snake Plant  

You may have bought this plant thinking it was impossible to kill, but there are some signs that it is on its last legs:  

  • Crisping or burning leaves 
  • Lifeless or lack of color on leaves 
  • Yellowing or softening leaves 
  • Mushy stems 
  • Soggy soil 
  • Visible pests 

Common Causes of a Dying Moonshine Snake Plant  

Like most succulents, the most common cause of a dying moonshine snake plant is overwatering. You can also look to the following:  

  • Not enough water 
  • Too much sun 

Watering Needs of a Moonshine Snake Plant  

The moonshine snake plant calls for very little water. It is a plant native to African forest where it receives little rain.  

In general, you can plan to water it once a week, but often it can go longer than that. The common rule is that the more light the plant gets, the more water it will need. If you want to learn more about watering your plants correctly, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.  

It is always helpful to check your soil about once a week to see if it needs watering. Simply stick your finger about 2 inches into the soil. If the soil feels dried out, you can water it thoroughly until water is running out of the bottom of the pot. If the soil feels moist, you can leave the plant for a few more days. 

Am I Underwatering My Moonshine Snake Plant?  

On the off chance you are underwatering your plant, you will notice the leaves starting to wilt, and the soil will feel hard-packed and dry. 

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Moonshine Snake Plant  

If you notice your plant has been underwatered, simply run it under the faucet until the soil is completely drenched and water is pouring from the bottom of the plant. This will soak the root system and replenish it. Then keep an eye on your soil going forward.  

Am I Overwatering My Moonshine Snake Plant?  

The common signs of overwatering your moonshine snake plant include soggy soil, mushy stems, and pests.  

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Moonshine Snake Plant  

If you have overwatered the plant to this point, you will likely need to repot it.  

To do this, remove the root ball from the pot, cut away any mushy stems, and allow the root ball to dry out on a screen in the sun until it is fully dried out. Then repot the root ball in fresh succulent soil, and water it until the water runs from the bottom of the pot. 

Keep an eye on it going forward and reduce your watering to once a week.  

Soil Needs of a Moonshine Snake Plant  

The biggest thing to remember with the moonshine snake plant in terms of soil is that the soil needs to be porous and well-draining.  

Soil Drainage Needs for a Moonshine Snake Plant  

To create the best environment for your moonshine snake plant, select either succulent or cactus soil. You can also ensure the plant sits in a well-draining pot that does not hold water. A terra cotta planter is a great choice.  

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Moonshine Snake Plant  

If you notice you have drainage issues, you can either switch pots, switch soils, add pebbles to the bottom of the pot, or all three. That way, you can make sure the water runs through the soil cleanly and does not cause root rot.  

Lighting Needs of a Moonshine Snake Plant  

This plant is a succulent from Africa, so it can withstand warmth and bright light, but because it is a floor-level plant that typically sits under shade trees, it won’t tolerate direct sunlight for too long. Ensure this plant has low to bright, indirect light.  

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Moonshine Snake Plant  

If you notice the leaves are burning or crisping, you can simply move the plant away from the light. If, instead, the leaves seem to be losing their color, you can move the plant closer to the light.  

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Moonshine Snake Plant  

The moonshine snake plant is not typically prone to pests or disease, but root rot can certainly attract mealy bugs, aphids, whiteflies, and the like.  

If you do notice these pests, simply spray the leaves liberally with neem oil every few days until they go away. Also be sure you have resolved any root rot issues.  

Fake Moonshine Snake Plants May Be an Additional Consideration  

If, after all this trouble, you still find you cannot keep your moonshine snake plant alive, you might consider investing in a fake version.  

Fake Moonshine Snake Plants May Be an Additional Consideration  

Artificial plants have come a long way in recent years, and you can find a high-quality, artificial moonshine snake plant that looks just like the real thing. And if you’re worried that you’ll be off trend, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky here.  

What experience have you had reviving a moonshine snake plant? Let me know what works for you in the comments.  

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