The money tree is a traditional houseplant that is considered to bring good luck in the household, and braiding the money tree is deemed to lock that luck so that it won’t escape. Nevertheless, braiding a money tree is an excellent addition as it makes the plant look more aesthetically pleasing. But how can you braid a money tree?
You can start braiding your money tree with three trunks that are at least 7-8 inches in height. Start by crossing one trunk over the other, use two stakes on either side of the tree, and tie the braid to the stakes to keep the braid in place. Continue braiding the tree as it grows.
Before you consider braiding your money tree, you should understand the correct way of doing it. We will answer all your questions regarding braiding the money tree in this article to make the process easy for you.
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Can money trees braid themselves?
It might seem that money trees braid themselves but it is not so. Money trees cannot braid themselves but you can do it with the help of two stakes and a string.
Young money trees have soft and thin stems that can be braided easily for adding support and to make them look aesthetically pleasing.
Braiding can vary as some trees have two stems while some can have up to five or six. You can braid the money tree in any shape you want to see it in.
Is braiding the money tree compulsory?
This question can come to your mind if you are starting out with a money tree for the first time; however, it is not compulsory to braid a money tree. You can have a money tree without braiding it.
If you like to keep your money tree natural and let it grow in its own way, you don’t need to braid it.
But if you are intrigued by the process and want to braid your money tree, we will help you.
Why do you braid a money tree?
You might be wondering why money trees are braided in the first place. There can be different reasons so we’ll discuss some of them here.
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To lock in the luck
There is a legendary story that a poor farmer’s luck changed when he found an unknown plant growing in his field. He started selling this plant to make a living and that brought him a lot of fortune and made him wealthy. The plant we are talking about in this story is none other than the money tree or Pachira Aquatica.
Feng Shui also considers the money tree to be a symbol of luck and prosperity and it is considered to be a very precious gift that conveys good fortune. This is why people are advised to keep money trees in their homes.
As per Chinese culture, the money tree is a symbol of five elements which are Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, and Space. This is because money trees have clusters of five leaves.
While the money tree is considered to bring luck in many cultures, braiding is considered to lock that luck so that it cannot escape.
To get a fuller look
Money trees have beautiful green leaves but most of them tend to grow on the upper parts of the plant. This makes the lower part of the plant look thin and leggy.
Money tree as a houseplant looks very different from the money tree that grows in the wild which has a much fuller look.
So the trunk of the money tree is braided to avoid the slender look of the lower part and to give it a more even and fuller look.
To add support
As we already mentioned that the money tree grows a thin trunk, the weight of the leaves on top of the plant can make it imbalanced. This can also increase the risk of damage to the plant whenever you are relocating or repotting it.
If you want to keep the plant balanced, braiding is a good idea to do it.
If you have a braided money tree, the lower part of the plant remains strong and this decreases the chances of damages or stress for the plant.
To make it look aesthetically pleasing
This is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at a braided money tree.
Braiding makes the money tree look exotic and unique and it definitely adds a spark to space.
A braided money tree can be an excellent gift as well.
When should I braid the money tree?
You should braid a money tree when it is young and healthy. If your money tree is already dealing with problems, it is easy for it to get shocked when you are trying to braid the plant.
If you braid an unhealthy money tree, its leaves can drop or the growth can become stunted if the plant is unable to cope up with the changes.
Even if you braid a healthy money tree, it can develop some stress afterward. You should not get too worried and give the plant time to recover. However, if the problems extend for too long, you need to look for the cause and try to fix it.
Can I braid a mature money tree?
When the money tree becomes a matured plant, it grows firm and a bit hard.
It is hard to braid mature money trees as they have become used to growing in a certain way and trying to change that can make the trunks resistant. This can also increase the chances of damages.
If you tried braiding your mature money tree and it showed resistance, you should leave it there and let it recover without braiding it forcefully.
It is better to take a cutting and propagate the plant and then braid the new plant.
However, if you get yourself a money tree that is already braided, and you notice that the new growth is unbraided, you can braid that part to maintain the same look.
Can I braid a new money tree?
Yes, you can braid a new money tree if the trunks are young and green. Once the trunk is matured, it would be difficult to braid them.
In such a scenario, you can propagate the money tree and braid the new plant that you got out of it.
To propagate a money tree, you need to take a healthy cutting that has some leaves on it. Remove some leaves from the base and put them in a pot with a suitable soil mix.
Make sure to use healthy and fresh cuttings or else the plant may die.
You can keep two or three cuttings in the same pot but keep a distance of few inches between each of them. Keep the cuttings in indirect light and water them lightly.
Wait for a few months and for the trunks to grow. The trunks should be at least 7 to 10” long for you to be able to start braiding them.
How to braid a money tree?
It is best to start with a young plant if you want to be successful at braiding without causing stress to your plant.
1. Choose the right soil and pot
If the money trees are potted in different pots, you need to repot them and keep them in the same pot. Make sure to use a peat-based soil mix to allow good drainage. You can also use a cactus mix or add sand or perlite to the potting mix to improve the drainage.
Choose a large pot that can hold all the stems without making them cluttered. However, don’t use an extra-large pot as that can lead to overwatering.
Make sure that the pot has drainage holes as that will save the money tree from sitting in the water for an extended period.
2. Select the right time to braid
Use money trees that have grown to a height of at least 7 to 10”.
Make sure that the stems are flexible so that they can bend easily when you try to form a braid without any breakage.
3. Prune the unwanted stems
You might need to cut off the stems that are on the lower ends of the trunks so that they won’t disturb the braid.
Use sharp and sterilized pruners to prune the extra stems and make sure that the cuts are clean. Disinfect the pruners before and after using them.
You can use these extra stems for propagating them into more money trees.
Don’t prune the stems or leaves that will not cause any disturbance as too much pruning can stress the money tree.
Also Read: How To Prune A Money Tree? (Why To Prune+Steps)
4. Start braiding
You need to be careful and gentle while braiding your money tree otherwise the plant can get damaged.
Start braiding by bending one trunk over another and keep braiding till you reach the area with lots of stems and leaves.
You can use garden tape in the braids don’t stay in place or start unbraiding themselves. Don’t tie them together very tightly as that can damage the skin of the trunks.
You can also use wooden stakes and place them inside the pot on either side of the plant. Tie the braid to the stakes using a string.
Keep the braid tied for four to six weeks and let the plant adjust to the changes. You can cut the string or tape and the braid should stay in place.
You can replace the stakes with bigger ones as the money tree grows taller and if it still requires support.
Once the money tree has grown tall enough, you can remove the stakes and it should be able to hold its braid without any more support.
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How to keep the money tree braided?
Money trees can take a long time to get used to the braided structure so you need to be patient.
You need to support the money tree with stakes or tie them together with a band to hold the brain in place. However, you can remove the support after a few months.
If you notice that the stems have started growing freely as the plant grows taller, you need to braid them again as you did previously and tie them with the garden band again.
Once your plant reaches 12-15 inches in height, you might not need to braid it again as it will remain braided.
What to do if one trunk of the braid dies?
You should always take healthy cuttings while propagating the money tree that you plan to braid. If you don’t use healthy cuttings, any of the trunks can die in the midway of a growing plant.
However, if one trunk dies, you need to get rid of it and not let it be the way it is. A dead trunk will start rotting soon and will encourage fungal and bacterial growth that will affect the other trunks of the braid.
You need to repot the healthy trunks and prune the dead ones as soon as possible.
Take the braided plant out of the current pot. Check the roots and trim the ones that are soft and have a bad smell on them.
Be very careful while trimming the dead and damaged roots as you don’t want to damage the healthy ones.
Once you are done with pruning the damages, pull the dead trunk out of the braid. If it does not come out, you need to cut it with the help of the pruners and take it out.
When you are left with healthy trunks and roots, repot them in a new pot to avoid any infection. If you want to use the old pot, you need to clean it thoroughly with bleach.
If the money tree is stressed, let it recover by giving it regular care. However, don’t go overboard with fertilizing or watering.
If there is a gap due to the missing trunk, the other ones can grow and fill up the gap eventually. Once you start seeing new growth, you can be sure that your money tree is recovering.
Also Read: Should I Remove Dead Trunks From Money Tree? (+How To)
Caring for a braided money tree should not be any different from the care routine of an unbraided one.
You should water adequately, provide enough light and fertilize during the growing season to keep the plant healthy. Use peat-based soil and a pot with drainage holes to avoid overwatering and root rot.
Keep spraying the neem oil solution to keep the pests away and prune the damaged parts of the plant to allow new growth.
Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.
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