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

The money tree or Pachira Aquatica is an easy to care houseplant that can thrive under favorable conditions. However, it can develop some problems, one of which is is white leaves.

You should not ignore white leaves as it means that the plant is facing some issues. But why is your money tree leaves turning white?

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.

Since the first step to identify the problem, we have discussed all the issues in detail. Let’s find out what is causing white leaves on your money tree.


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What causes white leaves in money tree?

Some common causes of white leaves on money trees include: 

  • Pest infestation
  • Fungal infections
  • Poor quality water
  • Improper fertilization
  • Sunburn
  • Odema

There might be other reasons that can lead to white leaves on your plant, but these are the common ones.

Let’s understand the problems and their solutions so that you can fix the white leaves on your money tree.

How do I get rid of white spots on my money tree?

To eliminate the white spots on the money tree, you need to use organic miticides to keep the pests at bay and not use water that contains harmful minerals. You should also keep your money tree away from direct sunlight. Now let’s get into the details.

Pest infestation on the money tree

Some common pests that infest the money tree are:

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are tiny white pests that feed on the sap of your money tree and absorb all the nutrition, making the plant weak.

Mealybugs expel a powdery sticky substance, and if you notice white cotton-like substances on the leaves of your money tree, it is infested by mealybugs.

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

Mealybugs grow fast in number, and you will notice them 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.

If you want to bid goodbye to the mealybugs, you will need to isolate the money tree to avoid spreading to your other plants.

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

Use neem oil spray on your money tree for two weeks to get rid of the mealybugs.

You can use other natural and organic pesticides that won’t be harmful to your money tree. However, if you want to opt for a chemical pesticide, check the label to ensure that it does not contain any toxic chemicals.

Leaf miners

Leaf miners are the larvae of moths and flies. Although moths and flies are harmless, the larvae can be harmful to the money tree.

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, but they keep making tunnels bigger until that time. You will notice the lines of these tunnels on the leaves along with white patches.

First, you need to 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 them.

Spider mites

Spider mites are very tiny and therefore extremely hard to notice with naked eyes. 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.

To get rid of spider mites, the first thing you need to do is give your money tree a good shower. Then, make sure to wash all the leaves to eliminate the spider mites.

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

Repeat this process after 4 to 5 days and for the third time again after 45 days. That should help you to get rid of 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 they come in different colors, such as brown or yellow.

Thrips are microscopic pests, and you might see them as silver dots on the leaves of your plant.

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

You can use dishwashing soap to terminate the thrips from your money tree. Neem Oil solution is also a good option that will help you get rid of these pests. Don’t forget to isolate the infested plant from the other ones.

Fungal infections

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 fungi infestation.

The fungi attack the root system, due to which they start to rot. The roots fail to function correctly, and the plant doesn’t get enough water or nutrients, due to which white spots appear on the plant.

The only way to treat this problem is by repotting the money tree in a new pot and fresh soil mix. But before that, you must 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 make your money tree week and create an ideal environment for pests to thrive. It can also bring other diseases that can even kill the plant.

If your money tree is affected by powdery mildew, you should act immediately. Firstly, ensure that the fungus doesn’t spread. Second, keep misting the plant as it can help to spread the fungus from one leaf to the other.

It is best to quarantine your money tree so that the other plans don’t get affected. Also, keeping your plant in an area where it gets good airflow is a must, as a damp environment can encourage the growth of the fungus.

Use a pair of sterilized scissors to get rid of 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 that the white spots are seen on both the top and undersides of the leaves of your money tree.

You must 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 and green 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.

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, you’ll need to propagate the plant.



Poor water quality

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

If you are using tap water on your money tree, the minerals in the water, such as chlorine, fluorine, calcium, etc., build upon the leaves and cause white spots on the leaves.

The continuous build-up of these minerals will not allow your money tree to absorb water or nutrients and make it weak.

First of all, it is best to stop using tap water to water your money tree. Instead, you can use rainwater or filtered water.

Otherwise, you can keep tap water outside for a while and get it aerated to reduce the harmful minerals in the water.

You can spray clean water on the leaves and let them sit there for a few minutes.

Next, you need to mix 1 tsp natural soap with half a gallon of distilled water and soak a microfiber cloth in it. Wipe the leaves of your money tree gently with the cloth.

Give the money tree or shower 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.

Improper fertilization

The money trees require fertilization for their growth. However, if you are not fertilizing your money tree correctly, it will either get excess nutrition or lack it.

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

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 that the leaves are growing yellow and will develop white patches. You need to use an iron-based fertilizer to fix this.

Calcium: If you overwater your money tree or use poor quality water that contains excess calcium, it will have a build-up on the leaves, leading to white and brown leaves. You need to stop using poor-quality water and fertilize the money tree with a gypsum-based fertilizer.

Magnesium: If you notice discoloration on the lower parts of your money tree, the reason can be magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays a vital role in the photosynthesis of plants, so you can 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 to improve 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 the photosynthesis, metabolism, and respiration of the money tree. Using a copper-based fertilizer will help to increase the level of copper in the soil.

Sunburn

Sunburn can be a common find the white spots on the leaves of your money tree.

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

Sunburn is very harmful to the plants as it can permanently damage the leaves by discoloring them and making them white.

If you want to save your money tree from sunburn, you need to place it in an area where it gets indirect light and is not exposed to the sun’s harsh rays.

You must find a spot where the money tree gets sufficient indirect light throughout the day. If your money tree is placed outdoors, you can keep it under shade to protect it from the direct sunlight.

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

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. This 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.

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

Check the drainage system to ensure its working 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

If you can properly take care of your money tree, you will not see white leaves.

If you plan to take care of your money tree, you need to check the following factors.

Light

Since the money tree is a tropical plant that gets a lot of light in its natural habitat, it will require a lot of light as a house plant.

When you keep the money tree as an indoor plant, you need to give it enough light. It will require bright and indirect sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours every day.

The money tree can survive in low light but only for a short period. 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 not that high. But keeping it under direct sunlight throughout the day will burn its leaves.

Therefore, you need to make sure that your money tree is getting enough sunlight that is not too harsh. You can use grow lights if your house does not get enough natural light.

Water

Overwatering can lead to various problems in your money tree, so you should be careful not to give too much water to the plant.

The money tree appreciates thorough watering but does not like to sit in the water. Letting it remain in the water for a long time will attract pests and cause fungus infections.

Both pest infestation and fungal growth are caused due to overwatering, leading to white spots on your money tree.

It will help if you stop watering your money tree when the soil is moist. Always check if the excess water is getting drained out of the drainage holes after you water the money tree.

Avoid using 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 during that time.

Fertilizing

Fertilizers are vital if you want to see growth in your money tree. Fertilizers provide nutrition to the plant that the soil alone cannot provide.

If you’re over-fertilize the money tree, the roots will get burned, and the soil will become acidic. Due to all these, the plant will become vulnerable to pest infestation and fungal or bacterial growth.

You can use a well-balanced fertilizer to fertilize your money tree during the growing season.

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

Pruning

Pruning is essential as it keeps the plant in shape and encourages new and healthy growth. If You Don’t prove your plant often, it can bring various problems.

Lack of pruning causes yellow leaves and leggy growth. All these attract pests.

It is best to use a sharp and sterilized pair of scissors to prune the damaged leaves or stems and the leggy growths from time to time. Ensure that the cuts you make are clean to avoid stressing the plant.

Repotting

The money tree requires repotting every 3 to 4 years when it outgrows the current pot or becomes rootbound. A rootbound plant cannot absorb water or nutrition from the roots that make repotting essential.

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

If your money tree has root rot or any major pest infestation, or fungal infection, it will need repotting. Always get a larger pot to repot the plant, and make sure that the pot has drainage holes.


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!


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 the well-balanced fertilizer during the growing period.

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