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Money Tree Sunburn (Signs, Causes+How to fix)

The money trees (Pachira Aquatica) are tropical plants found in many households and are considered significant in Feng Shui, believing that these plants bring good luck. But having a sunburnt money tree will neither make it look good nor be suitable for its health. But why is my money tree sunburnt and how to fix the same?

Exposure to direct sunlight is the primary cause of sunburn in the money tree. To save your money trees from sunburn, prune the damaged leaves, and move the plant under indirect bright light. In addition, increasing the humidity and watering your money tree can help it recover fast.

If you want to protect your money tree from sunburn, you need to keep it away from direct sunlight.

It is unfortunate to see sunburnt leaves on the money tree as there is hardly any chance for them to recover. However, you must focus on bringing the plant back to health and preventing further damage.

We will discuss the signs and causes of sunburn along with how to fix them, and the ways with which you can prevent sunburn on your money tree.


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Can my money tree get too much sun?

Money tree prefers indirect sunlight, so exposure to direct sunlight can be too much for your money tree, which leads to sunburn. Money trees are tropical plants that belong to the lands of Central and South America. These plants grow in swamps and require a lot of indirect light to thrive.

Most houseplants prefer indirect sunlight, and the money tree is no different. But, unfortunately, direct sunlight becomes too harsh for these houseplants.

Therefore, if your money tree is placed in an area with direct sunlight for a long duration, it will get sunburnt.

Direct sunlight will not only damage the leaves of your money tree but also cause stress to the plant.

The money tree appreciates long hours of indirect sunlight. So if you keep it in a spot where it gets enough indirect light throughout the day, you will see it thrive.

If you want to expose your money tree to direct sunlight, you can do so only during the morning and late afternoon. This is because the intensity of the sunlight remains lowest during these periods of the day.

Your money tree will do well if you can provide a balance of direct and indirect sunlight. However, you should not relocate your plant suddenly from low light to bright light as it might shock the plant.

Signs of sunburn on the money tree

The leaves of your money tree will tell you if you have a sunburnt plant.

The signs of sunburn usually start with yellow or white spots on the money tree leaves that eventually turn brown. The discoloration depends upon the intensity of the sunburn.

There can be other reasons that can cause Yellow or brown foliage on your money tree, but if the spots become dry and crisp, these are signs of sunburn that don’t have much chance of recovery.

Another way of identifying sunburn on the plant is checking which leaves have been affected. In a sunburned plant, the upper leaves exposed to the sun usually get burnt, whereas the lower leaves that remain shaded by the other ones don’t get affected.

If the soil is dry along with the yellow or brown leaves, you can eliminate the plant’s chances of being overwatered and consider sunburn to be the reason.

All the parts of the leaves that get exposed to direct sun become sunburnt, lose their color, become crisp, and eventually fall off.



Causes of sunburn on the money tree

Now that you know the signs of sunburn on your money tree let’s understand the causes. If you know the signs and the causes, you will be able to figure out how you need to fix them.

Direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can be a problem as the house plants are not accustomed to it. However, the money tree can adjust to direct sunlight during sunrise and sunset but not during the rest of the day.

If your money tree gets direct sunlight for long durations, it will get sunburnt as it cannot tolerate the harsh and direct rays of the sun. This might happen if your money tree is placed outside or on a window.

Sudden exposure to direct sunlight

As a houseplant, the money tree enjoys indirect sunlight inside a controlled environment of your home. If you place it outside all of a sudden and let it remain under the direct sun for a long time, it will get shocked.

The money tree, like all the other houseplants, requires time to adjust to changes. If you don’t give it the chance or time to adapt to the lighting conditions and bring it from indirect light to direct sunlight all of a sudden, the abrupt change will shock or stress the plant that will contribute to sunburn.

Change in the temperature

Inside the house, the money tree receives indirect sunlight and a controlled condition where the temperature remains suitable for the plant.

However, when the money tree is exposed to direct sunlight, the heat from the sun increases the temperature that can lead to stress and other problems for the plant.

Exposure to direct sunlight for an extended period can make your money tree dry, and if you do not give it enough water, it will develop further problems.

How do you save a money tree from sunburn?

The leaves of the money tree that have been scorched due to the direct harsh sunlight have very faint chances of recovery, so it is best to prune them off. This will allow the money tree to focus on new growth instead of wasting its energy to recover permanently damaged leaves.

Whenever you are pruning the money tree, use a pair of sharp and sterilized scissors or pruners and make clean cuts on the plant.

Here are the steps with which you can help your money tree recover. 

  • If your money tree is exposed to direct sunlight, you should move it away from there and find a spot for it that gets bright and indirect light throughout the day. 
  • While changing the lighting conditions for the money tree, make sure to do it gradually and take small steps so that you don’t end up stressing your plant. If you give the plant some time to adjust and make the changes accordingly, it will not get stressed.
  • If you live in a dry place that doesn’t have much humidity, it can contribute to sunburn. So, ensure to increase the humidity levels to keep your money tree healthy.

Tips for placement of the money tree

To save your money tree from getting sunburnt, the correct placement of the plant is crucial.

Let’s take a look at the few factors that you need to consider for the placement of your money tree.

Light: The money tree requires a lot of indirect light to remain healthy. Therefore, you need to select a spot in your house that gets indirect sunlight all through the day.

You can consider replacing the money tree near a south-facing window but make sure the plant is not getting direct sunlight. If you don’t have a bright area in your house, you can opt for artificial lights that make up for the lack of natural light.

Humidity: The next thing you need to consider is the humidity. Being a tropical plant, the money tree appreciates a lot of humidity. Therefore, a humidity level of at least 50-60% should work well for the money tree.

During the winter months, the humidity levels might drop. That is when you need to increase the humidity to keep your money tree alive and healthy. You can either use a humidifier or place the money tree on a pebble tray to increase its moisture.

You should not expose the money she took old drafts for the frost during winter. Therefore, it would be best to place the plant away from the window during winter.

If the place where you live receives low humidity during winter or throughout the year, you can place the money tree in any of the rooms with higher humidity levels than the other rooms of your house.

For example, you can put the money tree in your kitchen, bathroom, or basement. First, however, you need to ensure that the plant is getting enough light over there.

Temperature: Temperature also plays an important role, so you need to consider that while deciding the placement of the money tree. The money tree likes temperatures between 65-80°F. 

If the temperature goes beyond that, which is possible if exposed to direct sunlight, the plant will become dehydrated and lack moisture. However, in winter, the temperature levels drop, and if the plant is exposed to the cold temperature, it will get shocked.

You need to check the temperature and increase it for your money tree during the winter months. It will help if you place the money tree in an area with higher temperature levels than the other parts of the house.

For example, you can set the plant in a room with a fireplace or furnace but don’t keep the plant too close, and that can burn the leaves.

If your money tree is placed in your bedroom, make sure that the cold air from the AirCon doesn’t hit it as this can cause dryness.

Toxicity: Although money tree is considered non-toxic to pets, it can irritate if your pet ingests it. Even non-toxic plants can cause coughing or stomach problems upon ingestion. Therefore, you should place the plant away from your pets so that they can’t reach it.

Children have sensitive skin, so keeping the plant away from their reach is the best thing to do as touching the plant can cause skin irritation, and eating any part of the plant will cause oral irritation and stomach problems.


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

To prevent sunburn on your money tree, you need to keep it inside the house and give it indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours regularly.

If your money tree was exposed to the direct sun and has scorched leaves, you need to prune those and move the plant away from direct sunlight.

Place your money tree in a spot after keeping in mind the cultural conditions such as light, temperature, humidity, etc. If you select the correct location where the plant is not exposed to the sun’s harsh rays, your money tree will not have any sunburn.


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