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Why Are My Money Tree Leaves Curling? (Causes+How To Fix)

The money tree (Pachira Aquatica) is a popular tropical plant that is found in many houses. They are primarily easy to care for, but you must understand their signs in case of any problem. One of such signs is the curling of leaves. But why are money tree leaves curling? Let’s find out!

Underwatering, low humidity, and exposure to direct sunlight can lead to the curling of leaves in the money tree. To fix the issue, give enough water to your plant and place it in a brightly lit spot. Other reasons that cause the curling of leaves are temperature fluctuations and pest infestation.

The first step to take is: identify the problem. Only if you can identify the issue can you find out a way to fix it.

The money tree requires sufficient light, water, and nourishment to remain happy and healthy. If there is a lack of these, the plant will start developing problems and showing signs. So if you want to avoid curling leaves, you need to keep an eye on your money tree’s requirements.


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What causes money tree leaves to curl?

There can be several reasons behind the curling of leaves on your money tree. We have listed the possible causes below. 

  • Underwatering
  • Low humidity
  • Pest infestation
  • Too much sun
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Wrong soil mix
  • Poor water quality
  • Improper fertilization
  • Root rot
  • Wrong pot size

Let’s discuss these issues in detail and figure out the ways of fixing them.

Underwatering

Without enough water, the money tree will fail to perform daily activities or absorb nutrients from the soil. The money tree requires enough nutrition from the water and soil to keep itself healthy and for more growth.

When your money tree gets insufficient water, it becomes dehydrated, and the leaves start curling and becoming dry.

Although money trees can handle infrequent watering, you should not neglect it altogether. You can come up with a watering regime but never water without checking the soil.

It will help if you water your money tree when the top layers of the soil have become dry. Ensure to water your plant thoroughly so that the excess water starts draining out of the drainage holes.

Low humidity

The money trees are tropical plants that enjoy a lot of humidity. In their native land, they are exposed to high humidity levels, so the humidity level should at least be 50% for them to thrive.

If the money tree is exposed to low humidity levels, the plant will lose moisture and become dry in no time. In addition, the leaves of the plant will start curling due to a lack of humidity.

Therefore, you need to ensure that the humidity is not too low for your money tree. There are multiple ways with which you can increase the moisture for your money tree. You can choose the one that suits you the best.

Humidifiers are the easiest way of increasing humidity levels in households. For example, if you place a humidifier near your money tree, it will increase the humidity of that area that will help the plant. Humidifiers are a convenient and easy way of maintaining the correct humidity level inside your house.

If you don’t have a humidifier available, consider using a Pebble tray by putting some pebbles on a tray and fill it with water. Then, place your money tree on the tree and let the water evaporate to give about moisture and increase the humidity around the plant.

You can place your money tree in other rooms of your house with a higher humidity level, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or basement. Check that the plant gets enough light wherever you keep it.



Pest infestation

Pests tend to attack the tropical plants, so the money tree is not an exception and can get attacked by best such as mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and thrips.

Most pests feed on the sap of the plant and absorb all the nutrients out of the plant. Therefore, it causes a nutrition deficiency in the plant, due to which the leaves start curling.

If you have a pest-infested money tree, you need to take it away from the other plants and treat it.

You can place your money tree under running water or wipe the plant’s leaves with soapy water. You can also apply rubbing alcohol on the affected areas or use an organic miticide and neem oil to remove the pests.

If you plan on using a chemical pesticide, make sure it doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your money tree.

Too much sun

The money tree requires a lot of light, but we are not talking about direct sunlight here.

If you expose your money tree to direct sunlight, its leaves will get scorched and start curling. Therefore, it is best to keep the money tree away from direct sunlight if you want to see it healthy.

Find a bright spot in the house that gets indirect sunlight and place your money tree there.

If you let your money tree remain under the direct sun during the morning and late afternoon, the plant will enjoy it. But make sure you bring it under the indirect sunlight during the rest of the day when the sunlight is harsh.

You can place the money tree near a window that gets enough indirect light. If your house doesn’t get enough natural light, consider using artificial light, also known as grow lights, to provide sufficient light to your money tree.

However, do not deprive your money tree of light as it can cause different problems in the plant.

Temperature fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations can bring stress to your money tree. The money tree enjoys temperature levels between 65-80°F.

During winter, the temperature levels suddenly drop. If your money tree is exposed to low temperatures, its leaves will curl.

The temperature must remain constant for the money tree to stay healthy. Therefore, you should avoid exposing the plant to cold drafts during winter and keep it away from heating sources such as a fireplace or furnace.

If you want to check the temperature inside your house, you can use a thermometer to do so. Avoid placing it in an area where the plant gets exposed to temperature fluctuations or low temperatures.

Wrong soil mix

Using the wrong soil can have a detrimental effect on the health of your money tree. Therefore, you should understand the soil requirements of the money tree and choose a soil that suits its needs.

If you are using soil that does not suit the money tree, it will retain too much water or not hold enough water.

Too much water in the soil will keep the roots wet for a long time and invite pests. Your plant will start suffering from root rot if this condition continues.

On the other hand, soil that does not hold the required water will make the plant dry and weak. These will lead to the curling of leaves.

Choose a soil that is well-draining and allows air to flow between the roots. Make sure that the soil contains all the nutrients that your money tree needs.

Poor water quality

The water quality can affect your plant’s health. For example, if you are using tap water for watering your money tree, it might be a reason for the curling of leaves in the plant. 

Regular tap water can contain minerals such as chlorine and fluorine that will build up in the soil over time and damage the roots. As a result, the roots will not function properly, due to which the plant will become weak, and its leaves will curl.

If you don’t take any action, the minerals in the water can even burn the roots of your money tree. 

Therefore, you can switch to you filtered water that does not contain harmful minerals. If you can collect rainwater, you can use it to water your money tree.

If you use tap water, you can place it outside for some time and get it aerated. After this, you can use it to water your plant as the minerals reduce when you keep it out.

Improper fertilization

If your money tree is not getting enough fertilizer, it will not get enough nutrition for its growth. The plant might also become weak due to lack of nutrition, and its leaves can curl.

The soil loses its nutrition over time, and it is essential to add nutrition with the help of fertilizers. You can opt for a well-balanced fertilizer(I prefer Jack’s classic fertilizer on amazon), dilute it to half strength, and applied on the money tree once every two weeks.

Remember to fertilize the money tree during the growing season and not during the dormant period, which is winter. Fertilizing in winter can burn the roots and curl the leaves as well.

Root rot

One main reason behind root rot is overwatering. This problem can occur in all plants and is a common one as plant owners often fail to understand the water requirements of their plants.

Root rot is when the roots remain wet for an extended period and become brown and mushy. The leaves of the plant can curl due to root rot.

The money tree requires a lot of water as it is a tropical plant, but it does not like to sit in the water for a long time.

If you don’t have a sound drainage system for your money tree, that can also lead to overwatering.

If you doubt that your money tree has root rot, you need to check its roots.

If you want to treat root rot, you will need to repot the plant and eliminate the damaged roots, leaves, or stems.

To prevent root rot, you can follow a watering schedule after assessing the water requirements of the money tree. However, it would be best to not water blindly without checking the soil first.

If you want a sound drainage system for your money tree, you need to use well-draining soil and pot with proper drainage holes.

Also read: Do all indoor plants need drainage?

Wrong pot size

If you are using the wrong sized pot for your money tree, it can lead to many problems for the plant.

If you use a pot that is too small for the plant, it will become rootbound. When a plant is rootbound, its roots fail to function well, and the plant doesn’t get the required nutrition.

So if you notice the leaves of your money tree curling, a wrong-sized pot might be the reason behind it.

In the case of a larger pot, it will retain a lot of water, leading to overwatering and root rot. It will also cause curling leaves.

Therefore, you should use a pot that is neither too big nor too small for your money tree.

If your money tree has outgrown its current pot, you need to repot it in a pot larger than the previous pot.

It would be best to repot your money tree at least once every three to four years to keep it healthy and prevent it from becoming rootbound.

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


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!


How to prevent curling leaves on the money tree?

If you take care of the money tree’s requirements and make sure not to do something that can cause damage to it, you will be able to avoid the curling of leaves. 

Here are few points that might help you. 

  • Place your money tree in a spot that it gets bright and indirect sunlight throughout the day. 
  • You can place the money tree under direct sunlight only in the morning and late afternoon when the sunlight’s intensity is the lowest.
  • Figure out a watering schedule after assessing the water requirements of your money tree. The water requirements might vary depending on the size of your plant and other external factors.
  • When the humidity gets very low for your money tree during the winter, don’t neglect it and use a humidifier or place it on a pebble tray to add moisture to your money tree.
  • Fertilizing is vital for the growth of the money tree, so do not keep it. Instead, use a well-balanced fertilizer to fertilize the money tree during the growing period. Avoid fertilizing in the winter as it can be harmful to the plant.
  • Spray neem oil solution on the money tree every month to keep the pests at bay. If pests have already infested the plant, you can use the same remedy but spray it every day for two weeks.
  • Instead of using regular tap water that might contain harsh minerals, use filtered water or rainwater.
  • While repotting, use the right-sized pot that is 2″ bigger than the size of the plant.
  • Use well-draining soil to keep the money tree healthy.
  • Avoid exposing your money tree to sudden temperature changes.

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