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Why Are The Leaves On My Money Tree Wrinkled? (Causes+How To Fix)

The Pachira Aquatica or money tree is an admired houseplant with 5 to 6 leaves on each stem. If those leaves start wrinkling instead of staying firm, the plant gives you a sign that something is missing or something is wrong with it. 

So in this article, we will learn why the leaves on your money tree are wrinkled and how you can fix the same.

Underwatering, exposure to direct sunlight, and pest infestation are common reasons behind wrinkled leaves in a money tree. Make sure you water your plant adequately and keep them under bright indirect light to fix wrinkled leaves. Increasing the humidity can also help with wrinkled leaves.

Once you identify what is going wrong with your care, you can start making changes to it to make the leaves go back to being healthy again.

Let’s understand the requirements of your money tree so that you can fix the wrinkled leaves and prevent them in the future.


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Why does my money tree look wrinkled?

Lack of water can make the leaves of your money tree dry and dull. The leaves don’t get enough nutrition and become weak, due to which they are not able to remain firm and start to wrinkle.

If you keep neglecting your money tree and its water requirement, the plant will start having various problems along with wrinkled leaves.

There can be many other reasons behind wrinkled leaves in the money tree. Some reasons are: 

  • Watering issues
  • Lack of light
  • Pest infestation
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Size of the pot
  • Shock or stress
  • Season

Watering issues

The main reason that causes wrinkled leaves in a money tree is inappropriate watering.

While overwatering causes root rot, underwatering leads to a weak plant.

Overwatering: When you give your money tree more water than required or water it too frequently, the plant gets overwatered.

An overwatered plant does not get sufficient water or oxygen from the soil as the roots suffocate due to staying in the water for a long time. Due to lack of water, the plant cannot perform photosynthesis properly, and the roots start to rot

Therefore, the leaves don’t get the energy to remain firm and start wrinkling.

Underwatering: It is not unusual to notice wrinkled leaves if your money tree is not getting enough water.

If you don’t understand the water requirements of the money tree and don’t water it for a long time, the plant becomes underwatered.

It uses up all the stored water and loses all energy after continuing with photosynthesis. All these lead to the wrinkling of leaves.

Solution

You can avoid both overwatering and underwatering once you figure out the water requirement of your money tree.

Since the water requirement depends on many other factors, you need to experiment with your money tree and check its response to determine its water requirements. 

  • If you have an overwatered plant, you need to stop watering it immediately and let the soil get dry. You can place the plant under bright indirect light to help it dry quickly.
  • In the case of an underwatered money tree, you need to increase the watering slowly so that the leaves can get back to normal again.
  • Avoid giving the money tree too much water at a time as that can give a shock to your plant.
  • Ensure that your money tree has a sound drainage system that includes well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.
  • Never water without checking the soil, and water your money tree only when the soil feels dry from within. Check the top few inches of the soil by digging your finger inside.


Lack of light

Light is an essential element that helps plants in photosynthesis and other daily activities. Coming from the tropical regions of central and South America, the money tree required a lot of light.

The money tree requires at least 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight regularly. If you are not providing this to your money tree, it will suffer from a lack of light.

Due to lack of light, the money tree cannot prepare its food and becomes low on energy. This causes wrinkled leaves and legginess in your money tree.

Solution

  • Find a sunny spot for your money tree where it gets sufficient light every day.
  • You can expose your money tree to direct sunlight only during the morning and evening. Keep it away from direct sunlight for the rest of the day.
  • If you don’t have any natural source of light in your house, consider purchasing artificial lights available online.
  • Rotate the money tree so that it gets light on all parts.

Pest infestation

Like all other houseplants, even money trees can attract bugs and pests. Pests can cause severe damage to your money tree if you don’t identify them on time.

Some pests that can attack your money tree are spider mites, mealybugs, scales, thrips, etc.

All these pests can multiply in a small amount of time, and if you don’t take any action, they will cause a lot of damage to your money tree.

Most pests feed on the sap of the money tree and absorb all the nutrition out of it. The plant becomes weak, and the leaves become dull and wrinkle.

Solution

You can use the following ways to eliminate pests from your money tree.

  • Mix one teaspoon of neem oil with two liters of water and pour the solution in a spray bottle. Spray it on your money tree to get rid of the pests. 
  • You can wipe the leaves of your money tree with rubbing alcohol to eliminate the pests.
  • You can even get a commercial pesticide available in the market but first, read the instructions to ensure that it is harmless for your plant.

Temperature and humidity

The money trees come from the tropical region, where they get high temperatures and high humidity levels. As houseplants, the money trees prefer temperature levels between 65-80°F and at least 50% humidity levels.

If the money tree is not getting enough temperature or humidity, its leaves could wrinkle as the plant cannot tolerate low temperature and humidity levels for an extended period.

If the temperature and humidity are extremely high, which can happen if you place the money tree under direct sun, the plant can get dehydrated. Due to this, the leaves will become dry and start to wrinkle.

Solution

When you keep the money tree as a houseplant, you should provide it with a controlled environment with the right temperature and humidity.

Consider getting a thermometer for checking the temperature and a hygrometer to check the humidity levels inside your house.

You can place your money tree in the bathroom or kitchen, with higher humidity levels than the other rooms. You can also use the humidifier or a pebble tray to increase the humidity for your plant.

If your money tree is not getting enough temperature, you can place it near the fireplace or furnace but make sure that it is placed few feet away so that the leaves don’t get burned due to the heat.

If your money tree is placed outside, you need to keep it under shade to protect it from the direct sun and the excess heat that can cause sunburn.

Size of the pot

If you use a pot that is way too big or small for your money tree, you are making a mistake that can cause wrinkling of leaves and bring other problems with it.

If the pot is big, you will end up giving the plant more water than required, and the plant will sit in the water for an extended period. This will cause overwatering that will affect the roots and cause root rot.

In the case of a smaller pot, the plant will become root-bound, and the roots will be unable to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, leading to a weak money tree with wrinkling leaves.

Solution

When selecting a pot for your money tree, choose one that is 2” bigger than the size of the plant.

Don’t mistake selecting a big pot, thinking that you won’t need to repot your plant when it grows big. This will have adverse effects on the money tree.

If you are repotting your money tree, you can get a pot that is one size bigger than the previous one.

It is best to use pots made of clay or terracotta to allow oxygen to flow between the soil and pot. However, using plastic pots is not ideal as it can suffocate the roots or retain more water.

Also read: What Happens If You Put A Plant in A Pot Too Big?

Shock or stress

Several reasons can cause shock to houseplants, and the money tree is no different.

If you have recently brought a money tree home and notice that its leaves have started to wrinkle, the plant might be shocked due to transportation.

If you don’t provide a consistent temperature and humidity level to the money tree, it will get stressed or shocked due to the sudden fluctuations.

Exposure to extremely low temperatures, cold drafts, and frost can cause stress in the money tree. The direct harsh sunlight can also shock the plant.

If you have pets that play with the plant or bite the plant, it can be harmful to both the pets and the plant. While the pets may suffer from stomach upset if they ingest a large amount of the plant, the plant will get stressed.

Solution

If you have brought your money tree home recently, take care of it and let it recover from the stress. Make sure to provide the ideal environment to it, so it doesn’t get more stressed.

Keep your money tree in a controlled environment where it gets the required temperature and humidity that helps it thrive.

Keep the money tree away from direct sunlight and cold drafts, frost, and extremely low temperatures during winter.

If you have pets in your house, place the money tree in an area that is not accessible for the pets.

Season

Seasons can play a significant role in determining the health of the plant. The care routine of the money tree will differ during the winter season.

During the growing season, summer and spring, the money tree will require a lot of water, 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight, and sufficient fertilizing. However, winter is the dormant period for the money tree when its requirements change.

If you don’t change the care routine of your money tree during winter, it will suffer, and you might see wrinkled leaves because of that.

Solution

While the money tree requires frequent and thorough watering in the growing period, its water requirements will reduce in the winter season.

If you have placed your money tree near the window, you might have to relocate it or close the window during winter as the low temperatures, and cold drafts can harm the plant.

If the humidity and temperature are too low, you will need to use a humidifier or put the money tree a few feet away from a heating machine to increase its temperature.

You should avoid fertilizing the plant in the winter season as it is not required and can damage the plant.

If you don’t make these changes with the change of season, it can affect the plant’s health and bring different problems, one of which is the wrinkling of leaves.


If you are looking to buy a lot of houseplants to brighten up your space and that too on a budget, try out Cellardoorplants. They offer a wide variety of plants, delivered right to your doorstep, and that too for every budget. If you haven't checked them yet, Try them now!


Final Words

The money tree is an easy-to-care-for plant that doesn’t demand a lot of attention. However, neglecting its requirements can give rise to various problems.

If you notice wrinkled leaves, you should check your plant thoroughly and evaluate your care routine to understand what is wrong. If you can identify the issue, take steps as soon as possible to get rid of the problem.

If you take care of the basic requirements of the money tree, you can even prevent wrinkling of the leaves.

Give your money tree the right amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer, and avoid causing any stress to your money tree. 


Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.