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A popular houseplant in the houseplant community, the money tree or Pachira Aquatica is a low maintenance plant provided you know the basic requirements of the plant. If you are looking for tips to care for the money tree, this article can help you.
The money tree comes from the tropical lands of central and southern America, and the best way to care for the plant is by mimicking the conditions of its native land as much as possible. It requires deep and infrequent watering, bright and indirect sunlight, and proper fertilization during the growing season.
If you are new to the money tree and trying to develop a care routine for the plant, you are at the right place, as we have compiled a list of tips and tricks for a healthy money tree.
Let’s understand the fundamental requirements of your money tree and some ways of caring for it.
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1. Provide the money tree with bright and indirect sunlight
The ideal lighting condition for the money tree is a bright spot in the house that gets daily indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours.
If you have a room with many windows in your house, you can place the money tree in that room as it will get enough light.
A south-facing window with ample sunlight throughout the day is also an excellent option for the money tree. However, you need to place the money tree carefully as it should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
If the money tree is placed in direct sunlight, its leaves will get scorched and discolored.
On the other hand, money trees can survive low light conditions but not for very long. When placed in a low light area, the soil remains damp for an extended period, ideal for pest infestation and root rot.
Therefore, it is best to keep the money tree in a bright area of your house. And in case you don’t get enough natural light inside the house, consider getting some artificial lights for the plant.
2. Give the money tree infrequent but deep watering
In the native tropical land, the money tree is exposed to heavy rainfall for days, followed by a long period of drought. The water requirement of the money tree as a houseplant is similar to this.
Money tree requires thorough watering so that the water reaches all parts of the soil and roots. So you should give the money tree a good soak until the excess water comes out of the drainage holes whenever you water it.
You should let the soil go dry between the watering sessions. But do not let the soil get bone dry as the money tree likes the soil to hold some moisture.
Once the soil is 50-75% dry, you should consider watering the money tree again.
However, refrain from overwatering as that can cause various problems to the plant. And don’t neglect the water requirements of your money tree either.
Instead of following any watering schedule blindly, experiment with your plant and start by watering it once in one or two weeks. Adjust the routine as per your plant’s response and never water without first checking the soil’s moisture.
3. Right mix of soil to ensure adequate drainage and moisture retention
Although some money tree owners suggest that using a regular potting mix for the money tree should work fine but using well-draining soil will save it from getting overwatered.
It is easy for the money tree to get overwatered as it requires thorough watering, and using the wrong soil mix will encourage overwatering on top of that.
Therefore, you should use soil that can hold the required moisture and drain the excess. You can use cactus blend soil mix or peat-based soil.
The ideal pH level of the soil for the money tree should be between 6.0 and 7.5.
Choose a soil mix that contains proper nutrients to keep your money tree healthy and support its growth.
4. Fertilize properly during the growing season
Fertilizing is essential for the money tree as its nutrition requirement cannot be met by the soil alone.
If you want healthy growth in your money tree, you need to fertilize it wisely during the growing season.
The money tree grows the most during the summer and spring season, so that is when you should give it more fertilizer. But as fall approaches, the plant’s growth slows down, so you should start reducing the fertilizing.
By the time it’s winter, you should stop fertilizing altogether as the plant enters the state of dormancy.
Using a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 is best for the money tree; however, if you want to see more growth, you can opt for a fertilizer with a higher amount of Nitrogen in it.
The money tree is a light feeder, and the dose prescribed on the bottle of the fertilizer can be too intense for it, so you should dilute it to half-strength and then give it to the money tree.
Fertilize the money tree once or twice a month during the growing season.
5. Repot the money tree every 2-3 years
If you want to make sure that the roots of the money tree remain healthy and the plant doesn’t run low on nutrition, you should repot in every 2-3 years.
Repotting is not done just to save the money tree from diseases and infections, but repotting keeps the roots from getting suffocated.
When the plant outgrows the current pot, it is already in, and the roots become suffocated due to lack of space and fail to perform at their optimum level that can cause stunted growth.
Another reason for repotting the money tree is that the soil gets acidic over time and loses all the nutrition that it once had. Repotting the plant in a fresh soil mix can rejuvenate your plant as the soil will provide more nutrition than before and will not be too acidic for the plant.
6. Maintain high humidity levels
The money trees can grow as tall as 60 feet in tropical lands, and humidity is vital. The money tree requires a lot of moisture for its growth.
The money tree will require at least 50% humidity and more humidity as a houseplant than most other houseplants.
You should ensure that the plant is getting sufficient humidity by using a humidifier, a pebble tray, or grouping it with other houseplants.
You can consider relocating the money tree in the basement or bathroom as those rooms have higher humidity levels. However, you should never deprive the money tree of light, so only relocate the plant if it gets enough light in those rooms.
You should be even more careful during the winter season as the humidity levels get low in winter.
7. Keep the money tree away from cold drafts
During the winter, the temperatures drop low, which is not ideal for the money trees. It might get exposed to cold temperatures and frost if it is placed outside or near a window.
You should move the money tree away from the window or close the window to protect it from the cold drafts. If the money tree is placed outside, bring it indoors in winter.
The cold drafts, frost, and low temperatures can shock your money tree.
Try to increase the temperature of the money tree in winter by placing it in a room with a fireplace or furnace. However, don’t keep the plant too close as that can burn the leaves of the money tree.
8. Spray neem oil solution once a month on the money tree
Pests can attack your money tree if it is overwatered or around a plant with pest infestation. Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites can attack the money tree.
The pests feed on the sap of your money tree and drain out the moisture and nutrients from the plant. This can be extremely dangerous for the plant if the pests are not removed on time.
You can spray neem oil solution every day on your money tree to eliminate the pests, but you can also use this as a preventive method. You need to spray neem oil once a month to ensure that pests don’t attack the money tree.
9. Prune the money tree frequently
Money tree requires pruning for maintaining an even shape and for encouraging growth.
If you want to make your money tree look aesthetically pleasing, you should prune it whenever you see overgrowth. Prune the extended branches so that it looks even on all sides.
Pruning also helps to get rid of the damaged leaves or stems. Prune the discolored leaves or soft and weak branches that do no help to your plant.
Pruning the damaged parts provides space for new growth and also boosts the growth hormone of the plant.
You should prune the money tree during the early spring so that it can grow throughout the year.
10. Braid a money tree to make it aesthetically pleasing
Though it is not compulsory many money tree owners like braided trunks and prefer to braid their money trees. However, this process should be handled carefully.
It is best to start when your money tree is still small. Braid when you have at least three trunks that are less than half-inch diameter.
Stick two stakes beside two different sides of the money tree. Start braiding from the base of the plant by crossing one branch over another. Keep doing this till you reach the crowded part of the plant where there are too many leaves for you to continue.
Keep a string tied from the end of the braid to the stakes on both sides. This will hold the braid in place.
You need to replace the stakes with taller ones as the money tree grows. Once the plant has reached the desired height, you can remove the stakes.
This can be stressful for the money tree, so you should be gentle and avoid causing any damage to the plant.
11. Keep your money tree in the right-sized pot
Whenever you plan to repot your money tree, you need to consider getting a new pot for it.
The pot you place the plant in can make a lot of difference to its health. Always choose a pot that is 2 or 3” bigger in diameter than the size of the plant.
Keeping your money tree in a small pot will restrict the growth of the roots, while a bigger pot might cause overwatering.
Also, make sure that the pot contains drainage holes so that the plant will not have to sit in the excess water.
12. Propagate the money tree to get more trees out of it
If your money tree is dying, or you want to get new money trees for yourself or your loved ones, you can propagate it.
To propagate a money tree, you need to choose one or more healthy cuttings. Once you have made your choice, take sharp and sterilized pruners and make clear cuts on the plant to get the cutting.
Place the cuttings in a little pot with soil or a jar of water. Wait for few weeks for the roots to come out. Change the water after every few days if you have used a jar or mist the cutting placed in the soil.
Make sure to provide indirect light to the cuttings. Once the roots have started coming out, allow them to grow a little more and then repot the new plants.
The money tree is considered a low-maintenance plant as it doesn’t require too much attention from you. However, you need to understand its requirements and take care of it correctly to keep it healthy.
Give the money tree the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer. Prune it whenever required and repot it every 2-3 years. Maintain the ideal temperature and humidity levels and protect the plant from cold drafts in winter.
With little care from your end, the money tree can go a long way.