The money tree or Pachira Aquatica is a famous and legendary houseplant that brings good luck to the household. It is easy to care for a money tree as it doesn’t require too much attention.
If you don’t know the right ways of caring for the money tree, you can still go wrong in many ways that can cause various problems for the money tree.
This guide will give you all the details about the money tree you need to know to take proper plant care. We’ll discuss the basic requirements, common problems, and the way of treating those.
The money tree requires six to eight hours of indirect light, infrequent and deep watering, and light fertilizing during the growing season. Try to maintain medium to a high temperature between 65-80°F and don’t let the humidity drop below 50%.
However, there’s much more that you need to understand about the money tree. If you plan to get a money tree or have brought a new one home, this article has everything you need.
Table Of Contents
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Money Tree Overview
Pachira Aquatica or Guiana chestnut, commonly known as the money tree, is a popular houseplant that can be braided to give an exotic touch that makes your office or living space look aesthetically pleasing.
The money tree originates in the tropical regions of Central and Southern America. It generally grows on the swamps where it is exposed to a lot of humidity. These plants can grow up to a height of 60 feet in these areas.
Its leaves are green and long and usually come in a cluster of five, so this plant is considered lucky in the Chinese culture and stands as a sign of the five elements – water, wind, fire, earth, and space.
A story suggests that a poor farmer became wealthy after finding a money tree in his fields. He started selling these plants, and that made him rich. The braiding of the money tree is considered to lock the luck that the plant brings.
As a houseplant, the money tree generally grows to a height between 3-6 feet.
Is money tree easy to grow?
The money trees are easy to grow as they are considered low-maintenance plants with few demands.
The money tree requires infrequent watering and can survive low light conditions for a while. If you take care of the basic requirements of this plant, you will not need to worry much about the plant.
Is money tree indoor or outdoor plant?
The money trees are indoor plants that thrive in a controlled environment.
The money trees are sensitive to direct sunlight and can get sunburnt easily if you grow them outdoors.
These plants can get shocked if they are exposed to cold drafts and low temperatures during the winter, so they will not survive outside.
The money tree should grow as a houseplant as you can protect it from the direct sunlight and cold drafts when it is indoors.
Money tree care
Once you understand how all the factors affect the money tree and the ideal conditions for the money tree to thrive, you will ace money tree care.
It is not unusual to make mistakes when you are a beginner with the money tree. Still, this article will be able to help you to avoid common errors such as overwatering or overfertilization.
We have discussed everything, starting from light, water, soil, fertilizer, and everything else that you must know.
If you want an in-depth knowledge of the money tree, read this article till the end.
Money tree light requirements
The money tree requires a bright spot in the house to get exposure to indirect sunlight for six to eight long hours every day.
A room with windows on all sides that get a lot of indirect sunlight or a window that receives long hours of indirect light is the ideal place for your money tree.
However, it would be best if you did not let your money tree get exposed to direct sunlight as that can lead to scorched leaves.
Turn the money tree about 45 degrees every day to get light on all sides and avoid leaning to one side.
You can use artificial lights if you don’t have a good natural light source in your house.
Money tree water requirements
Money trees require infrequent and thorough watering.
The money tree receives heavy rainfall for days, followed by long periods of droughts. It needs a similar watering pattern, even as a houseplant.
It would be best if you watered your money tree once in one or two weeks. But before you water it, you should check the soil and water only if it is 75-80% dry.
While you should not allow the soil to get bone dry, you should let it dry between the watering sessions, or else the money tree will get overwatered.
You can follow a watering regime but don’t water without checking the soil. Having a watering regime will remind you to check if your plant needs water and not neglect watering it.
However, you should not follow any watering routine blindly and you must come up with one after understanding your plant’s needs.
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Money tree soil mix
Money tree requires soil that will hold some moisture and let the excess water drain out.
You should choose a peat-based or succulent blend of soil for your money tree. If you use regular potting soil, consider adding perlite, sand, coconut coir, or barks to it so that it becomes well-draining.
The soil’s pH level should remain between 6.0 and 7.5.
You can create a soil mix by adding:
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part peat
- 1 part coarse sand
- A handful of compost
This soil mix will be ideal for your money tree.
Money tree fertilizer ratio
Choose a well-balanced fertilizer for the money tree that has a ratio of 10:10:10 or 20:20:20.
The money tree can burn if you fertilize it with the prescribed dose mentioned at the back of the bottle of the fertilizer. So, it would be best if you diluted the dose to make it half-strength before giving it to your money tree.
You can use a liquid fertilizer for your money tree, and if you want to boost its growth, you can use a fertilizer with more nitrogen.
Using coffee grounds as liquid fertilizer can also boost the growth of the money tree but don’t do this often.
You should start reducing the fertilizer application in the fall season and stop fertilizing entirely in winter.
Money tree temperature tolerance
Money trees prefer temperature levels between 65-80°F.
Money trees cannot do well in low temperatures, so you should maintain the average room temperature level during the winter when the temperature drops.
Keep the money tree away from cold drafts and frost. So keep the plant away from the window or bring it indoors if you have placed it outdoors.
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Money tree humidity level
Money trees love high humidity levels. In the tropical regions, the money trees are exposed to higher humidity levels that help their growth.
So the money tree will require more humidity than most other houseplants. It would be best if you made sure that the humidity levels are not falling below 50%.
You can use a humidifier, install an aquarium, use a pebble tray, or group the money tree with other plants to increase the humidity around the plant.
It would be best if you were extra careful during the winter season when the humidity levels drop below normal.
You can relocate your money tree to the bathroom or basement if there is enough light in those rooms. Placing your money tree in these rooms will help to increase the humidity around your money tree.
Money tree pruning tips
The money tree will require frequent pruning to keep a check on the overgrowth of the plant.
Pruning helps boost the plant’s growth hormone, so if you don’t prune your money tree, you might notice slow or leggy growth on it. It also removes the cluttered growth and allows the plant to breathe.
It would be best if you pruned the money tree to get rid of the dead, old, or discolored leaves. You can also prune the branches that have damages.
Pruning helps to get rid of leggy growth, and if there is root rot, you will need to prune the damaged roots along with the damaged stem or leaves.
Use sharp scissors or pruners to prune the money tree. Disinfect the pruners before and after pruning the plant.
Wear gloves while pruning the money tree, or wash your hands thoroughly after pruning.
Money tree repotting
The money tree will require repotting every 2-3 years as the soil loses all its nutrition and becomes acidic over time. Repotting is the best way to replenish the lost nutrients by providing the plant with fresh soil mix.
This is why you should repot the money tree every 2-3 years even if the plant is not having any problems.
However, some other reasons for repotting the money tree include root rot or a rootbound plant.
If you have a rootbound money tree, its roots will suffocate due to lack of space, and you will need to use a bigger pot to repot the money tree.
In case of root rot, the roots get brown and mushy, and the soil receives bacteria, or mold and all these cause severe damage to the plant. You must prune the damaged roots and repot the money tree in a new pot with fresh soil mix.
You can repot the money tree using the old pot, but you need to clean it thoroughly with diluted bleach to ensure that the pot gets rid of all bacteria or fungus.
When repotting the money tree, use a well-draining soil mix, as heavy soil will retain excess water and cause root rot.
After repotting the money tree, water it lightly so that the plant doesn’t get shocked or stressed, avoid fertilizing until the plant returns to health.
Money tree propagation
You might need to propagate your money tree if the plant has a dead trunk or has gone through any severe problem such as root rot.
You can propagate the money tree in either soil or water.
Start by taking one or more healthy cuttings from the money tree. Use sharp pruners to make clean cuts.
Place the money tree cuttings in a jar of water or a small pot with soil. Keep changing the water after few days or mist the cuttings that are placed in the pot.
Provide sufficient indirect light to the cuttings.
You can see the roots coming out in the glass jar. However, don’t take the plants out of the pot to check the roots repeatedly as that can damage the delicate roots.
Wait for few weeks for the roots to grow, and then you can repot the cuttings in a new pot with a well-draining soil mix.
Money tree braiding
You can braid a young money tree when the height of the trunks is between 7 and 10”.
The money tree has a long and slim trunk, so braiding helps provide more support to the plant other than making it look exotic.
When the money tree is young, its trunks are soft, and it is easier to braid them as the trunks can adjust to the changes without breaking.
You can braid a money tree with two or more trunks, and you need to place one trunk over the other and continue doing this till you reach the crowded area with a lot of branches and leaves.
Be gentle while braiding to avoid any damage.
You can tie the braid together using garden tape; however, don’t tie the braid too tightly. You can also use a string and stakes to hold the braid in place.
You can replace the old stakes with new taller ones once your money tree grows taller and you need to braid it some more.
Once you are happy with the braid and the length of the money tree, you can remove the string and the stakes.
Money tree toxicity
The best thing about the money tree is that it is neither toxic to humans nor animals. So, you should not worry about keeping a money tree in the house.
However, you should still try to keep it away from the reach of your pets as they might consume some parts of the plant and have minor issues.
The money tree can get stressed if it gets damaged in any way by your children or pets that are naturally curious about everything. So it is best to keep the money tree away from them.
Money tree pests
Money trees are generally resistant to pests, but if they live under unfavorable conditions or are surrounded by pest-infested plants, they can also get attacked by the pests.
Some common pests that attack the money tree are mealybugs, scales, aphids, and spider mites. These pests feed on the sap of the plant and take out all the nutrition.
The pests can multiply very fast, so you need to act as soon as possible before the pests severely damage your money tree.
First, wash the plant thoroughly to get rid of pests. Do this two to three times. Next, spray neem oil solution on the plant and continue this for at least two weeks.
You can also use commercial pesticides to get rid of the pests.
Another way of eliminating the pests is to use rubbing alcohol. You can take rubbing alcohol and dip cotton balls in it and apply that on the affected areas of your money tree.
You can spray neem oil on the money tree as a preventive method to get rid of the pests.
Common money tree problems
Like all other houseplants, money trees can also come across different problems due to various reasons.
It is best to watch the money tree to identify the signs and treat the plant before the condition gets severe.
Some of the reasons that cause most problems in the money tree are overwatering, poor drainage system, overfertilization, temperature fluctuations, etc.
Money tree leaves turning yellow
Money trees have lush green leaves, but yellowing leaves is a sign that you should not ignore them.
One of the common reasons for yellowing leaves is overwatering. If you are watering your money tree without checking the soil, you might be overwatering the plant.
If you water the soil that is already moist, the roots will remain wet for an extended period, and yellow leaves are an early sign of root rot.
Water the money tree once in one or two weeks and check the drainage holes to ensure they are working.
If the excess water doesn’t come out of the pot, it will remain in the pot making the soil moist and the roots vulnerable to root rot.
If the humidity levels drop below 50%, the leaves of the money tree can turn yellow. This can happen in winter when the humidity levels drop below average.
You should ensure that the money tree is getting enough humidity by placing a humidifier near it or relocating it to the kitchen or bathroom.
Money tree leaves turning brown
Overwatering, root rot, and inappropriate lighting are some reasons behind root rot in the money tree.
Don’t water your money tree without checking the moistness of the soil. You can use a moisture meter or dip your finger into the soil and water the money tree only if the top 2-3 layers of the soil are dry.
The leaves of the money tree can turn brown if they are scorched. If the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, its leaves will get scorched and turn brown. These leaves will not become healthy again, so you should place your money tree in an area where it will not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Even low light can cause the leaves of the money tree to turn brown. If the plant doesn’t get enough light, it will not perform photosynthesis properly, and the leaves will start browning due to a lack of chlorophyll.
Find a spot that gets indirect light throughout the day and place your money tree there.
If you don’t have a natural light source in your house, you can purchase artificial lights and place your money tree under the light.
Money tree leaves curling
If you notice that the money tree leaves are curling, you should understand it is not usual. Instead, it is a sign that something is wrong.
The leaves of the money tree curl due to underwatering and too much sun.
First of all, you should prune the leaves that have curled along with the branches that have many curled leaves on them.
If you have an underwatered money tree, you need to give it a good soak of water. But do it gradually to avoid shocking the plant. You’ll see that the plant is becoming healthy soon.
If your money tree has been getting too much sun, you need to relocate it to a different area where it won’t get excess direct sunlight. Remember that money trees prefer indirect sunlight.
Money tree leaves turning white
If your money tree leaves are turning white, the reason can be that it has sunburn or it is infested by mealybugs, or has developed a fungal disease.
We already know that the money tree is sensitive to direct sunlight and a little exposure is enough to cause sunburn. When the leaves of the money tree have sunburn, they get discolored and turn white.
If there is a powdery mildew infection on the money tree, a fungal infection, you’ll notice a powdery white substance on the upper parts of the leaves.
You can spray a mix of diluted baking soda to get rid of the mildew infection. You can also wipe the plant’s leaves with a cloth soaked in fungicidal soap and warm water.
Mealybugs are tiny pests that feed on the sap of your money tree and excrete honeydew on the money tree leaves. These pests cause the leaves to turn white and could also lead to fungal infections.
Use neem oil solution and spray it on the money tree to get rid of the mealybugs.
Money tree leaves falling off
If you notice your money tree losing leaves, it can be due to stress or improper lighting and watering.
The money tree can get stressed due to sudden temperature fluctuations, repotting, pruning, transportation, etc.
If the money tree is going through a shock, it will lose some leaves. You should let the plant recover from the shock and just take proper care of the plant.
Don’t make any sudden environmental changes for the money tree as that can lead to stress, Make the changes gradually so that the plant can adjust to the changes.
The money tree can also lose leaves due to overwatering and underwatering. You should not overdo nor neglect the water requirement of the money tree. Find a balance, give the money tree infrequent and thorough watering, and let the soil dry between the watering sessions.
The ideal lighting condition for the money tree lies in a bright environment that regularly gets long hours of indirect light. Too much sunlight or low light can lead to many problems, including falling leaves.
Money tree getting leggy
The money tree can get leggy in case it is not getting enough light. Some other reasons may include improper fertilization, lack of pruning, etc.
If the branches of the money tree grow long and have very few leaves on them, it means that the money tree has grown leggy.
If the money tree doesn’t get enough light, it will not synthesize food and will lack energy. Due to lack of energy, the plant will have unhealthy and leggy growth.
You need to prune the plant whenever you see leggy growth and provide adequate light to the plant.
Fertilize the money tree during the growing season and fertilize with the half-strength as money trees are light feeders. Avoid fertilizing in the winter season altogether.
Money tree leaning over
Lack of light, insufficient fertilizer, root rot, etc., can lead to a leaning money tree.
When the money tree doesn’t get sufficient light, it starts leaning towards the light source, so you need to place it in an area where it gets enough sunlight and rotate the plant every few days to get light on all sides.
Root rot makes the plant weak, and the plant can lean due to weakness. You must stop overwatering the money tree and check the pot to ensure that the drainage system works well.
Fertilize the money tree during the growing season as the soil alone cannot provide all the required nutrients to the plant.
Don’t neglect to prune the plant as that can make the plant heavy on the top, due to which it can lean and fall on one side.
Root rot in the money tree
Overwatering causes root rot in the money tree. But some other reasons can contribute to this, such as a poor drainage system, wrong soil mix, etc.
If you want to save your money tree from root rot, you will need to repot it after pruning the damaged roots and the damaged leaves and branches.
Eliminate the roots that are brown and mushy and keep the ones that are white and firm. Use a well-draining soil mix and a new pot with drainage holes to repot your money tree.
9 Money tree care tips
To keep your money tree healthy, you need to maintain the right living conditions to make the plant thrive.
Here is a sum-up of the basics.
Light: The money tree requires bright and indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours every day. Keep the money tree away from direct sunlight. You can use artificial lights if the plant is not getting enough light.
Water: The money tree requires infrequent but deep watering. Whenever you water the money tree, water thoroughly till the water runs out of the drainage holes. Don’t water without checking the soil.
Soil: Use well-draining soil that will let the excess water drain away. Use peat-based soil or cactus blend, which allows proper drainage of water.
Fertilizer: The money trees are light feeders, so you can use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer and dilute the dose to half-strength and give it to the money tree during the growing season. Don’t fertilize your money tree in winter.
Temperature: Money trees prefer temperature levels between 65 and 80°F.
Humidity: Money trees require more humidity than most other houseplants, so use a humidifier or a pebble tray to increase the moisture for the money tree. In winter, you can relocate your money tree to the basement, bathroom, or kitchen when the humidity levels drop below average.
Repotting: Repot the money tree every 2-3 years. Repot the money tree if it outgrows the pot, has root rot, or has gone through a disease that required repotting to save the plant.
Propagation: You can propagate the money tree if one trunk is dying or the whole plant is dying, and there is no way to save it other than propagating it. You can propagate a healthy money tree also if you want to get more plants out of it. You can propagate the money tree either in soil or in water.
Pruning: Prune your money tree to avoid overgrowth, remove the damages, and boost new growth. Lack of pruning can cause many problems, so you should not neglect it and prune the money tree whenever required.
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Where do you put a money tree?
You can place your money tree in a bright spot that gets enough indirect sunlight and is not near any heating vents. You should protect the money tree from cold drafts in winter, so don’t place it near a window or outside.
How big can a money tree get?
In its native land, the money tree can become as big as 60 feet, but it grows anything between 3 and 6 feet as a houseplant.
Do money trees purify the air?
Yes, the money tree purifies air by absorbing synthetic chemicals, and as per Feng Shui, the money tree is believed to reduce anxiety and help improve sleep.
Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.
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