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Money Tree Leaves Turning White? 9 Causes & Easy Fix!

Money tree leaves turning white? Let’s uncover why and how to fix it.

Some common causes of white leaves in your Money tree are pest infestation, fungal infections, poor water quality, and sunburn. Give your money tree good quality water, spray neem oil to keep the pests away, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight to prevent white leaves.

To address the problem effectively, it’s crucial to pinpoint the cause of white leaves in the money tree. We’ve discussed all potential issues to help you identify why your money tree’s leaves are turning white, and you can fix the same.

Money Tree 28

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


Please note: Simplify Plants is reader-supported. Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.

Introduction to Money Trees

Pachira Aquatica, or Money Tree, is an excellent choice for beginners who want indoor gardening. 

Their lance-tipped palmate leaves and braided trunks are the main center of attraction. 

Adding one to your room gives a tropical aura. 

According to several legends, the Money tree is a powerful sign of infinite wealth and prosperity. 

The plant is mainly essential for people who practice Feng Shui. 

I have one in my living room, and every person entering my living room stops momentarily to stare at the plant and appreciate its beauty. 

Since the plant loves indirect sunlight, warm weather, and average humidity, it is suitable as a houseplant because these features are prevalent indoors. 

Natural leaf coloration 

The natural color of the Money tree leaves is green and glossy. 

Their large green leaves are compound and have a lance tip. 

Each stem will grow 5 palmate-shaped leaves. 

If you are fortunate, you can sometimes see 6-7 leaves. 

These lush green leaves are also attractive, besides the braided trunks.

But if these beautiful green leaves turn white, yellow, or brown, there is some serious issue with the plant. 

You must investigate and fix it to bring back those lush green leaves. 

Understanding leaf color changes 

According to several myths, Money tree leaves becoming white is considered bad luck. 

Some people even believe that the Money tree leaves turning white can lead to a financial crisis for the family. 

That is why taking good care and paying more attention to the plant’s behaviors regularly is needed. 

The leading cause is the damage or interruption of the chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment that absorbs solar energy for photosynthesis. 

When the chlorophyll is interrupted, photosynthesis gets compromised, and the leaves lose their colors and turn white or yellow. 

Several reasons can prevent photosynthesis, destroy the plant cells and tissues, and interrupt and damage the chlorophyll. 

Let’s get to the reasons causing white leaves on the Money tree. 

9 Reasons the Money Tree leaves are turning white

Some common reasons behind white leaves on Money trees include: 

  • Pest infestation
  • Fungal infections
  • Overwatering and root rot
  • Poor quality water
  • Improper fertilization
  • Sunburn
  • Inadequate light
  • Odema
  • Environmental stressors 

Use organic miticides to keep the pests at bay and avoid water containing harmful minerals. 

Keep your money tree away from direct sunlight. 

Now, let’s get into the details to understand the problems and their solutions so that you can fix the white leaves on your money tree. 

1. Pest Infestation On The Money Tree

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) bugs and pests

Some common pests that infest the money tree are:

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are tiny white pests with powdery wax that feed on the sap of your Money tree and absorb all the nutrition, making it weak.

Mealybugs expel a sticky substance. 

You will notice white cotton-like substances on the leaves of your Money tree.

Mealybugs often target tropical plants and attract other pests that can cause more harm to the plant.

Mealybugs grow fast in number. 

They’re often seen on the roots, soil, or the underside of leaves.

If you have a mealybug infestation on your money tree, its leaves will lose color and turn yellow or white.

Solution: 

To bid goodbye to the mealybugs, isolate the money tree to avoid spreading to your other plants.

Next, use sterilized pruners to prune the affected leaves or stems.

Use neem oil spray on your money tree for two weeks until the pests are gone.

You can use other natural and organic pesticides that won’t harm your money tree. 

However, if you want to opt for a chemical pesticide, check the label to ensure it does not contain toxic chemicals.

Aphids 

Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped bugs that also suck the plant sap. 

The bugs cluster under the Money tree leaves. 

Aphids can be of several colors, like green, black, brown, and even pink. 

Their infestation is identified when you find sticky leaves. 

The stickiness is due to the honeydew left behind by these bugs. 

Aphid infestation is also recognized when ants reach your plant for the honeydew. 

Since the bug sucks all the saps, the leaves become yellow or white over time. 

Solution: 

Shower your plant, mainly focusing on the underside of the leaves to dislodge the aphids. 

Isolate your plant and prune away the infected leaves if the infestation is too much. 

Take a cotton swab, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and apply it over the pests. It will remove the bugs. 

For larger infestations, spray organic miticides and pesticides. 

Neem oil is a good option. Mix it with water and spray on the leaves. 

Repeat this every few days until the pests are gone. 

Do it in the evening when the sun sets to avoid burns. 

Leaf miners

Leaf miners are the larvae of moths and flies. 

Although the adults are harmless, the larvae are not.

If the moths or flies lay their eggs on the leaves, their larvae come out and start making tunnels to move inside the leaves and then to the plant.

The larvae can stay on your plant for around two weeks and make tunnels bigger until that time. 

You will notice the lines of these tunnels on the leaves, along with white patches. 

Solution: 

First, prune the affected leaves and dispose of them. 

You can spray neem oil solution on the money tree, but if that doesn’t help, you can wrap plastic around the plant and kill these by suffocating it.

Spider mites

Spider mites are tiny and, therefore, extremely hard to notice with the naked eye. 

However, if you see web-like structures on your money tree, you can check the underside of the leaves, and you might notice these pests or their eggs.

Spider mites can cause a whitish tint on the leaves of your money tree. 

Solution: 

Give your Money Tree a good shower to dislodge the bugs from their places. Concentrate under the leaves to eliminate them.

Prepare a neem oil solution and spray it on all the parts of your money tree. Keep the solution in the plant, and don’t wash it off.

Repeat this process after 4-5 days and for the third time after 45 days. 

That should help you eradicate spider mites on your money tree.

Thrips

Another sap-sucking bug that can attack your Money tree is thrips. 

These pests look like needles and come in different colors, such as brown or yellow.

These microscopic pests are identified when you notice silver dots on the leaves.

Other than absorbing all the nutrition from the sap, these pests invite viruses that can cause severe damage to your plant.

Solution: 

You can use dishwashing soap to terminate the thrips from your money tree. 

Neem Oil solution is also a good option to destroy these pests. 

Don’t forget to isolate the infested plant from the other ones.

Also Read: Does A Money Tree Attract Bugs? (Common Bugs+How To Get Rid Of Them)

2. Diseases And Fungal infections

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) disease

Fungal infections that cause white spots on the leaves of the money tree are:

White root rot

This problem is uncommon but can occur if the roots of the money tree have a fungus infestation.

The fungi attack the root system, due to which they start rotting. 

The roots fail to function correctly, and the plant doesn’t get enough water or nutrients. Over time, white spots appear on the plant.

Solution: 

The only way to treat this problem is by repotting the money tree in a new pot and fresh soil mix

But before that, prune the infected roots and leaves with white spots.

You should also apply fungicide to the healthy roots of the plant.

Powdery mildew

If you notice a fluffy and white powdery substance on the leaves of your money tree, it is most probably due to a fungal disease called powdery mildew.

Initially, powdery mildew resembles tiny white or gray spots that gradually become larger. 

It is very harmful as it can weaken your money tree and create an ideal environment for pests to thrive. 

It can also invite other diseases that can even kill the plant.

Solution: 

If your Money tree is affected by powdery mildew, you should act immediately. 

Ensure that the fungus doesn’t spread by quarantining the plant and spraying Neem oil to stop the spreading.

Maintaining good airflow is a must, as a damp environment can encourage the growth of the fungus.

Use a pair of sterilized scissors to cut the affected areas of the plant. 

If the infection has spread all over the plant, mix 1 tsp baking soda with water. Spray it on the leaves of your money tree.

Septoria leaf spot

If you come across white spots on the leaves of your Money tree, it might be due to Septoria leaf spot disease.

The Septoria leaf spot disease is caused by a fungus called Septoria that enjoys high humidity. 

You will notice white spots on both the top and undersides of the leaves of your money tree.

Solution: 

Prune the affected leaves immediately so that the infection doesn’t spread. 

You can also use any copper-based fungicide to treat this fungal disease.

Mosaic virus

Mosaic virus attacks the leaves of your money tree and creates white spots on the leaves.

You can start noticing these spots on the younger leaves initially, but they soon spread to all the plant’s leaves.

Solution: 

There is no way to turn these leaves healthy, so you need to prune them off. 

You must repot the money tree, but if the infection is severe, propagate the plant and grow it again.

3. Overwatering and root issues

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) root rot

Money trees must stay consistently moist. 

Prolonged overwatering and poor drainage lead to stagnant water around the roots. 

It will suffocate the plant roots and reduce their functionality. 

Once the roots reduce functioning, the plant lacks enough moisture and nutrients, leading to white or discolored leaves. 

Over time, this will cause root rot. 

Solution: 

To fix the problem, check the soil and see if it is excessively wet. 

Allow the top few inches of the soil to dry out a bit before the next watering. 

Use well-drained soil that can drain the excess moisture and prevent stagnant water. 

Watering frequency will depend on temperature, weather, humidity, and pot size. Water accordingly. 

If you suspect root rot, remove the plant, cut the damaged roots, and repot it in a new pot with a fresh soil mix. 

Reviving a plant with root rot is only possible if the root damage is below 40%.

4. Poor Water Quality

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) watering

If you notice a white chalk-like texture on the leaves of your money tree, it is due to poor-quality water.

If you use tap water, the hard minerals, such as chlorine, fluorine, calcium, etc., build upon the leaves and cause white spots.

The continuous build-up of these minerals will prevent your Money tree from absorbing water or nutrients and weaken it.

Solution: 

First of all, stop using tap water to water your money tree. 

Instead, you can use rainwater or filtered water.

If you don’t have an option, let the water sit overnight. 

Once the harsh minerals evaporate, the water is safe to use. 

You can even filter it. 

To remove the white buildup, spray clean water on the leaves and let them sit there for a few minutes.

Next, mix 1 tsp natural soap with half a gallon of distilled water and soak a microfiber cloth. 

Wipe the leaves of your Money tree gently with the cloth.

Shower the Money tree to wash the soap away, and don’t let the water get into the soil. 

That should get the white spots out of the leaves.

5. Improper Fertilization or lack of nutrients

NPK fertilizer

The money trees require fertilization for their growth. 

However, if you are not fertilizing it correctly, it will either get excess nutrition or lack it.

Insufficient nutrient supply, especially nitrogen, can lead to white or pale leaves. 

Some micronutrients that the money tree requires are iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper. 

Sometimes, a deficiency of these micronutrients can lead to white leaves on the Money tree. 

For example, lack of iron leads to chlorosis. 

Solution: 

To fix the issue, use a balanced liquid fertilizer containing an NPK of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. 

Besides that, you must also take care of the micronutrients. 

Below are the micronutrients the Money tree needs and what to do during their deficiency or overuse:

  • Iron: If your money tree doesn’t get enough iron, it will fail to produce enough chlorophyll, and the plant’s metabolism will slow down. You will notice the leaves developing white patches. Use an iron-based fertilizer to fix this.
  • Magnesium: Discoloration on the lower parts of your money tree results from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays a vital role in the photosynthesis of plants. Add Epsom salt to increase the magnesium level for your money tree.
  • Manganese: When you notice white spots on the upper parts of the leaves of your money tree, it can be because of manganese deficiency. Since manganese is required for photosynthesis, germination, and progress in the plant’s immunity against pathogens, you need to maintain the correct level. You can fertilize with a manganese sulfate fertilizer to treat this.
  • Copper: Copper is essential for photosynthesis, metabolism, and respiration. Using a copper-based fertilizer will help to increase the level of copper in the soil.
  • Calcium: Overwatering the Money tree or using poor quality water that contains excess calcium will cause build-up on the leaves, leading to white leaves. Stop using poor-quality water and fertilize the money tree with a gypsum-based fertilizer.

6. Sunburn

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) turning white

Sunburn can be a common issue that leads to white spots on the leaves of your money tree.

The money tree enjoys a bright environment, but direct sunlight can scorch its leaves.

Sunburn in the Money tree can permanently damage the leaves by discoloring them and making them white. 

Sunburns can further break down the chlorophyll, reduce their intensity, and lead to white leaves. 

Solution: 

To save your Money tree from sunburn, place it in an area where it gets indirect light and is not exposed to the sun’s harsh rays.

Find a spot where the money tree gets sufficient indirect light throughout the day. 

Relocate it to an east or west-facing window. 

Use sheer curtains to reduce the sun’s intensity. 

If your money tree is placed outdoors, keep it under shade to protect it from the direct sunlight.

The sunburnt leaves are unlikely to return to health, so it is best to prune them off and let the plant focus on new growth.

7. Inadequate light 

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) low light

Another issue that comes to my mind is insufficient sunlight. 

True that the Money tree needs indirect sunlight and can tolerate low light to some extent, but it does not want meager light for prolonged periods. 

Money trees will need bright, indirect sunlight for optimal growth. 

Sunlight helps in photosynthesis and chlorophyll production needed for the leaf pigment. 

Low light conditions will lead to yellowing, followed by white leaves. 

When your plant is under low light conditions, it will show sure signs besides white leaves:

  • Stunted growth
  • Defoliation 
  • Pale leaves
  • Plant leaning towards the light and becoming leggy. 
Solution: 

To fix the issue, you need to relocate your Money tree to a location where they can receive enough light. 

An east or west-facing windowsill might work. Ensure the light is bright and indirect, not direct or intense. That would cause sunburns. 

You can also use Grow lights if you do not have such a location. 

8. Environmental stressors 

Here, we will talk about temperature and humidity. 

Belonging to the tropical regions, Money trees prefer warm temperatures. 

Even room temperatures are acceptable, but low temperatures below 50°F can kill the plant. 

Low temperatures rupture the plant cells, leading to white leaves. 

If the condition persists for too long, the leaves will fall off, the plant will have stunted growth, become susceptible to diseases, and then die. 

Sudden relocation of the plant from a warm room to a colder one can cause this issue. 

Speaking of the humidity, Money Tree needs 40-50% humidity. 

Indoor humidity sometimes gets lower than usual, especially in houses with HVAC systems. 

Heating and cooling systems can dry out the surrounding environment, lower the humidity, and dehydrate the plant, causing white leaves. 

Lack of enough moisture deprives the plant of enough nutrients and causes leaf discoloration.

Solution:  

To fix the temperature, keep your Money tree away from open windows and doors from which cold drafts can enter. 

Avoid keeping the plant in a room containing HVACs. 

Maintain a stable temperature ranging between 65-75°F.

For humidity, install humidifiers to mimic the exact humidity as the Money tree’s native land. 

Keep a tray of water near the plant and mist them occasionally to maintain the moisture levels. 

9. Odema

Odema can occur in your Money tree if you overwater it after keeping it thirsty for an extended period.

When you overwater the Money tree, it gets shocked as it can’t handle that much water, due to which the leaves burst. 

It leads to white spots on the leaves of your money tree that can soon turn brown.

The tissues of these leaves die, due to which they can fall off the plant.

Solution: 

You need to evaluate the watering schedule of the money tree and water it adequately, ensuring that you are neither overdoing it nor giving less water to the plant.

Check the drainage system to ensure it works and improve the air circulation around the plant. 

Place the plant in a spot with enough indirect light.

Preventing white leaves on the money tree

Money Tree 29

If you can adequately care for your money tree, you will not see white leaves.

You must check the following factors to take care of your money tree.

Light

Since the Money tree is a tropical plant that gets a lot of indirect light in its natural habitat, it will require lots of bright indirect sunlight as a houseplant.

As an indoor plant, give your Money tree enough light.

It will require bright and indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours daily.

The Money tree can survive in low light but only shortly.

If the condition persists, the plant will start developing problems.

The Money tree enjoys direct sunlight during the morning and late afternoon when the intensity is low.

But keeping it under direct sunlight throughout the day will burn its leaves.

When the intensity increases, use sheer curtains or Venetian Blinds if the plants are near the windowsill.

Therefore, you need to ensure that your money tree gets enough sunlight that is not too harsh.

You can use grow lights if your house lacks natural light.

Also Read: How Much Light Does A Money Tree Need? (Money Tree Light Requirements)

Water

Overwatering can lead to various problems in your money tree, so you should be careful about this.

The Money Tree appreciates thorough watering but doesn’t prefer sitting in the water for a long time.

That will attract pests and cause fungus infections, leading to white leaves.

Stop watering your money tree when the soil is moist enough.

Always check if the excess water is getting drained out of the drainage holes after you water the Money tree.

Water the plant only when the top few inches have dried.

Check it with your fingers.

Avoid tap water if it has minerals such as chlorine or fluorine.

Instead, consider using rainwater or distilled water.

Avoid watering the money tree during winter as the plant becomes dormant.

Also Read: How Often Should I Water My Money Tree? (Money Tree Water Requirements)

Fertilizing

Fertilizers are vital for optimal growth in your Money tree. 

Fertilizers provide nutrition to the plant that the soil alone cannot provide.

At the same time, over-fertilization leads to root burns, and the soil will become acidic. 

Due to all these, the plant will become vulnerable to pest infestation and diseases.

Use a well-balanced fertilizer to fertilize your money tree during the growing season. 

If you are a beginner, remember that less is more. 

Begin with small amounts and gradually increase according to the plant’s needs. 

Avoid fertilizing the plant during winter as it is the dormant period when the plants rest.

Also Read: Does Money Tree Need Fertilizer? (How Much, How Often & Best Pick)

Pruning

Pruning is essential as it keeps the plant in shape, improves airflow, and encourages new growth. 

If you don’t prune your plant, it can bring various problems.

Lack of pruning causes yellow leaves and leggy growth. 

All these attract pests.

Use a sharp and sterilized pair of scissors to occasionally prune the damaged leaves or stems and the leggy growths. 

Ensure that the cuts you make are clean to avoid stressing the plant.

Keep the surroundings clean. 

Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove the dust. 

Clean surroundings reduce the chances of infestation. 

Also Read: How To Prune A Money Tree? (Why To Prune+Steps)

Repotting

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) repotting

The Money tree requires repotting every 2-3 years when it outgrows the current pot or becomes rootbound

A rootbound plant cannot absorb water or nutrition from the roots, which makes repotting essential.

Repotting allows the plant to get more nutrition from the new soil as the old soil loses nutrition and becomes acidic over time.

Repotting is essential if your Money tree has root rot, any major pest infestation, or fungal infection. 

Always get a larger pot to repot the plant, and ensure the pot has drainage holes.

Tips for a healthy money tree

  • Avoid watering when the soil is wet.
  • Provide 6 to 8 hours of indirect light.
  • Repot the plant every 3 to 4 years.
  • Prune the plant to get rid of leg growth and any damage.
  • Use neem oil spray to keep the pests away.
  • Fertilize with a well-balanced fertilizer during the growing period.

Final thoughts

White leaves in a Money tree are a common issue yet concerning. You must find out the problem and troubleshoot it quickly. Seeing white leaves is discomfiting, but you can efficiently address the issue with the proper care tips. Provide adequate sunlight, watering, temperature, humidity, and fertilization. 

Check for pests and diseases and take immediate action to get rid of them. Regular monitoring, environmental and growing conditions adjustments, and proper maintenance through pruning and feeding can reduce the chances of white leaves, contributing to the plant’s overall health and development. 

Remember that a stressful Money tree may take time to recover. So be patient, continue caring, and you will be rewarded with good results one day. 

What kind of soil should be suitable for a Money tree?

Well-drained soil accommodating thorough watering is perfect for the Money tree. At the same time, the soil should have good retention qualities to retain the required moisture and nutrients. 

What type of pot should I use while repotting my Money tree?

While repotting, ensure that the pot is 1-2 inches bigger than the previous one and should have drainage holes. For the material, you can go for unglazed ceramics or terracotta.


Reference: WIKIPEDIA.


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