Light is a critical factor that all plants require, and the same is true for money trees(Pachira Aquatica) as well. Light helps the plant to perform regular activities such as photosynthesis that allows them to grow.
That makes it a crucial requirement for the plant. So, in this article, we shall discuss how much light a money tree needs and what type of light is good for them.
Let’s understand the light requirements of your money tree.
As a general rule, the money tree requires bright and indirect sunlight for 6-8 hours daily. Direct sunlight can scorch its leaves, so you should keep them away from the intense sun. The money tree can do well in low lighting; however, its growth will slow down significantly.
If you have bought the money tree for the first time and have many questions, worry not, as we are here to answer all that for you.
Let’s understand everything about the light requirements of the money tree in detail.
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Importance of good lighting for money tree
Most of the houseplants require a lot of light, and it can be a challenge to provide as much light to the plants.
If the plants get enough light, they will be able to perform their photosynthesis with ease and that will help them thrive.
Good lighting helps a plant photosynthesize and keeps it healthy, also allowing it to grow fast. It will also help the money tree store energy in the leaves.
If your window gets direct sunlight, you can place the money tree a few feet away so that it gets enough yet indirect light.
What kind of light does a money tree need?
The money tree can handle different light conditions. But what works best for them is bright and indirect sunlight.
The money tree is a tropical plant that can even adjust in low light, but it is not ideal for these plants as the growth slows down if the plants don’t get sufficient sunlight.
The money tree can even tolerate direct sunlight, but too much of it will burn the leaves.
It would help if you place the money tree in the brightest area of the house, but here are some things that you should keep in mind while trying to provide the ideal lighting to the money tree.
|Types of light||Light Intensity||Location/Placement|
|Full Sun(Direct)||32,000–100,000||-Window sill|
-Within 2 feet of East/South window
|Partial Sun(Indirect)||10,000–25,000||-Sun shines for a few hours from the window|
-3 to 4 Feet from East/West/South window
-Behind a sheer curtain
|Medium Light||500-1000||-No direct sun but still brightly lit|
-5 Feet from a window
|Partially Shaded(Low)||100-500||-North facing window with no-direct sunlight|
-East facing window and 5-6 feet from a window
|Completely Shaded(Little)||<100||-Staircase, Bathroom, Hallways|
-Room with no windows
-Window shaded by a tree
Source: University of Missouri
Exposure to Sun
The money tree can tolerate the soft sunlight during the morning, but as the afternoon approaches, the light becomes harsh. You would need to protect the money tree from this harsh afternoon sunlight.
If you keep the money tree in the east or west-facing window, it will not get sufficient light throughout the day. During the winter months, the light will reduce further.
If you don’t have a choice, you can place the money tree near an east or west-facing window. Check how the plant reacts, if it does well, you can keep the plant there.
A south-facing window should be ideal for the placement of the money tree. If you place the money tree near a south-facing window, you will get the required amount of light throughout the day. However, make sure you use a sheer curtain to filter the light.
If your house does not get enough light, you might need to get artificial lights so that the money tree isn’t deprived of light.
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The direction of the Sun
If you are aware of the direction of the sun and your house, it will help with the placement of the plant.
The money tree enjoys the soft morning sunlight, so you might want to place it near an east-facing window. However, the sun shifts from the east as the day proceeds, so the plant will not get enough light.
A north-facing window will get insufficient light during the summer and spring months when the plant needs most, so you cannot place your money tree near a north-facing window.
In a west-facing window, the plant will receive harsh sunlight during the afternoon that can burn the leaves and make the plant dry.
The money tree takes shade under canopy trees in its natural habitat to protect itself from the harsh sunlight. Therefore, you need to find a spot where it is not exposed to the direct sun.
Placing the money tree near a south-facing window would be ideal for it as it will get light that gets evenly distributed throughout the day.
If the south-facing window gets direct sunlight, move the plant a few feet away.
The intensity of light
The intensity of light remains highest during the growing period: the summer and spring months. But the intensity of the light reduces during the winter months.
The money tree goes dormant during winter, and its growth slows down due to light’s intensity and low temperatures. Therefore, the money tree may not show any growth during this time, but it stores energy that it uses in the growing season.
So, don’t worry if you don’t see much growth in your money tree during winter. It is not due to lack of light but is a natural phenomenon.
Money tree not getting enough light
The money tree can survive low light conditions, but you wouldn’t want to keep it in a low light area if you want a healthy, thriving plant.
If the money tree doesn’t get sufficient light, you will notice stunted growth. Lack of light will not let the plant produce enough energy for growth.
Another issue that indicates that the money tree is not getting enough light is legginess. If you notice that the stems are growing tall and weak with small leaves on them, it means that your money tree is leggy.
If you change the lighting conditions to a brighter one, you will start noticing healthy growth on the plant.
Also read: Do Indoor Plants Need Sunlight? (With 25 Examples)
What to do if the money tree is not getting enough light?
If your money tree is not getting enough light, you can use some methods that will help to add some light to the plant.
These are some ideas that might help.
Use artificial light
Many houses don’t get sufficient light or lack a natural source of light. They use artificial lights to keep their houseplants healthy and happy.
Artificial lights run on electricity, so you can turn them on and place it over the money tree.
These can be a great help during winter when the intensity and duration of light go down.
If you want to avoid overwatering, water the money tree less than usual if placed in low light.
Reduce watering in the winter months as the light’s intensity decreases, and so does the plant’s water requirements.
Adding the right amount of fertilizer is one way of boosting the plant’s growth.
If you want your money tree to remain healthy even in low light conditions, you need to give it a proper dose of fertilizer.
Use a well-balanced fertilizer that will provide all the nutrition to the money tree.
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How do I know if my money tree is getting too much light?
The money tree is sensitive to direct sunlight like most houseplants, and if it gets too much direct sunlight, you will notice problems in the plant.
Common signs that your money tree is getting too much light:
- Scorched leaves
- White spots
- Yellow leaves
- Discolored leaves
- Dry plant
Check the soil. If it feels too dry, your money tree is getting too much light or less water.
What to do if the money tree is getting too much light?
If your money tree is exposed to too much light, the first step that you should take is to move the plant to an area where it gets indirect sunlight.
After relocating the plant, prune the damaged leaves as those will not recover. It will allow the plant to focus on new growth.
You can use curtains or blinds to filter the direct sunlight if the money tree is placed near the window. You can put the money tree a few feet away from the window to keep it away.
Also read: Can Indoor Plants Get Too Much Light?
Can a money tree live in low light?
The money tree can survive in a low light area, but you can’t expect it to grow in the same way as it would if given sufficient light.
Placing the money tree in low light for a prolonged period can cause legginess or stunted growth in the plant.
Therefore, choose a bright spot instead of a low light spot for your money tree.
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Can money tree get sunburned?
Direct afternoon sunlight can easily cause sunburn to your money tree.
If you have placed the money tree in a spot where direct sunlight hits it, the leaves will get sunburned. As a result, the leaves might become yellow or brown.
You might also notice white spots and discoloration on the leaves if they are sunburned.
If you want to get rid of sunburned leaves, you will need to prune the leaves with a pair of sharp and sterilized pruners.
After getting rid of the sunburned leaves, you will need to find a spot to protect your money tree from the harsh sunlight. You can use curtains or sheer blinds to filter the harsh sunlight.
The money tree can be picky about light, and it might not be easy to understand the ideal lighting.
Money tree neither likes low light nor prefers direct sunlight. It needs a balance of bright and indirect light.
A south-facing window is an ideal spot for the money tree. However, don’t place it on the window but a few feet away so that it gets indirect light.
You can use artificial light if your money tree is not getting enough light or during the winter when the light’s intensity reduces.
Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.
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