gardening-gloves

How to Care for a Money Tree

A money tree is a great gift to give someone. It is also known as Pachira Aquatica, and it symbolises health, wealth, and happiness. They are so easy to take care of that all you need to do is water it once every week or two with a pot of room-temperature water. 

Make sure the soil never gets dry; don’t let the plant sit in a saucer full of water either. When your plant starts growing new leaves, use scissors or hand pruners to trim them back by an inch from their tips, so they grow strong and healthy.

You’ve probably seen a money tree in your social media feed, and you may have been wondering how to care for one. Well, worry no longer! Instead, here are some tips on how to take care of your money tree so it can flourish.     

First step: water the plant often! Next, make sure that there is enough sunlight coming into the room where it is placed. Finally, make sure that the soil never dries out or becomes too wet. If these conditions are met, then your money tree should grow strong and healthy, just like this example below!

If you’re thinking it might be time to start looking into adding a little extra life and greenery to your space, money tree plants are a unique and beautiful option. Plus, despite their statement-making appearance, they’re actually pretty easy to care for. 

Provide a money tree with the right amount of water, light, and humidity, and it’s sure to thrive. Here’s what you need to know about the popular houseplant, from the symbolism behind it to the nitty-gritty of keeping it alive and growing.

First Things First: Are Money Trees Lucky?

Money trees, AKA pachira aquatica, are considered a symbol of luck and prosperity, but they haven’t been for all that long. According to Bloomscape, this doesn’t date back centuries, like you might expect, but rather, to the 1980s. 

The braided money tree as we know it was actually first cultivated then by a truck driver in Taiwan and quickly became popular in Japan and East Asia, also becoming associated with the Chinese practice of Feng Shui.

The braided trunks are thought to “trap fortune within its folds,” Bloomscape explains, while the five leaves seen on each stalk are thought to represent the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and metal. And if you just so happen to find a money tree plant featuring a stalk with seven leaves—a major rarity—it’s considered to be even luckier.

The Pachira aquatica, more commonly referred to as Money Tree, is a compact tree that is known for it’s stunning good looks and easy-care nature. The Money Tree earned this distinctive nickname through legend attributing this indoor plant to bringing luck and wealth. While this legend may or may not hold true, this indoor plant is sure to bring a wealth of plant styling opportunities into your home.

The slender trunk of the Money tree is wide at the base and becomes more narrow towards the lush canopy. These plants often consist of several trees painstakingly braided together as they grow to create a plaited trunk. Shiny, oblong palmate leaves grow in bunches of five and radiate from a centre point. Each leaf features a light green midrib and dark green foliage.

The Pachira aquatica can be found in Central and South America, commonly growing in swamps or wetlands. In nature, these deciduous trees can grow to be 60 feet tall. However, when grown in a pot, they maintain a much more manageable height of no more than 8 feet tall under the right conditions.

Basic Money Tree Plant Care

Sunlight

According to ProFlowers, money tree plants like a mix of direct and indirect sunlight. However, as with most houseplants, too much direct sun can scorch the leaves, so to achieve the right balance with your money tree, you might want to turn or rotate it regularly for more even light distribution, just don’t move it all over the place, so as to disturb it too much. 

Another thing of note? Money trees can handle fluorescent lighting, so you’re safe to keep one in your office so long as you take adequate care of it.

Part of what makes the Pachira aquatica such an easy-care houseplant is that it can handle just about any amount of indirect light. A Money Tree houseplant can do perfectly well near a bright, South-facing window or in a more removed corner or hallway where it receives low indirect light. This indoor plant needs to consistently receive bright indirect light to grow as quickly as it can grow.

Soil

You must maintain nutrient-rich potting soil with good drainage, according to the experts at Miracle-Gro. You’ll want to use a well-draining potting mix or add some sand and gravel for extra porousness to achieve this.

Water

The best way to keep a money tree plant happy? According to The Sill, give it a good watering every one to two weeks, allowing the soil to dry in between. Of course, if your plant is getting more light, you’ll also need to up its water intake, so it doesn’t get too dried out. This is a plant that requires a lot of water, but not all the time.

Water your Pachira aquatica when the top several inches of the soil are dry. Money Trees thrive with routine and deep watering, making this a great plant for anyone prone to over-watering. With that said, it’s important to make sure your Pachira aquatica is planted in well-draining soil and in a pot with drainage. As much as Money Trees like moisture, they don’t like soggy roots.

These indoor plants can store water in their trunks, allowing them to wait for an extended time between watering. Often, during the colder months, it is normal for the Money Tree to need less frequent watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Money tree plants do best in warmer environments, so you’ll want to keep them in an area that’s between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the good news is, money trees are also pretty flexible and forgiving—they can still handle temperatures that go 10 degrees below or above that ideal range. 

Average room temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees are ideal for Pachira aquatica. However, money Tree houseplants are not cold hardy, so if you move your plant to an outdoor space in the warmer months, make sure to bring it back inside well before the threat of frost.

As far as humidity goes, money trees thrive with extra moisture, so make sure you mist your plant regularly. Bloomscape suggests putting your money tree plant on a pebble tray to increase humidity in the winter.

Pachira aquatica plants like high humidity, which makes sense given that they naturally grow in damp conditions. Place your Money Tree in the corner of a kitchen or use a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to increase the dampness around the plant. Keep in mind that if this indoor plant receives lots of humidity, it may not need to be watered as often.

How Do You Take Care Of A Money Tree?

tree-gardening

While money tree plants don’t have to be braided, most of the modern pachira aquaticas you’ll find on the market are braided when you buy them. Braided money trees are actually multiple plants that have had their trunks woven together during growth while they’re flexible. 

If you’d like to braid your plant: Weave the trunks together gently and loosely tie a string around the top to keep it together. As the tree grows, you can continue this process.

Pro Tips

  • The Money Tree is a plant that tends to thrive when left in one spot. However, moving the plant to new locations too often can be stressful for a Money Tree and may cause the plant to drop leaves.
  • Under ideal conditions, Money Tree houseplants can grow quickly. This can be a nice problem to have, but it can also mean these indoor plants can outgrow an area. Prune a Money Tree by removing the leaves just below the axil or where the leaves emerge from the stem.
  • Pachira aquatica can be propagated through cuttings. When taking a cutting, select a branch that is at least 6 inches long and has several nodes. Cuttings can be propagated in soil or water.

Like most houseplants, money trees also require regular pruning. So first, prune, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any dead, damaged, or dying leaves and snip those. The best way to do this is to use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears (and make sure you wipe them off between cuts!) and clip them just past a node. 

You can also prune them to be a specific shape if you prefer—money tree plants are traditionally round on top, but you can also let your plant do its own thing and just prune problematic parts to keep your plant thriving and encourage new growth. 

You can also prune your plant to keep it small if you’d like, as money tree plants can grow quite tall (according to Garden.org, they can grow up to 60 feet in their natural habitat!).

Common Money Tree Problems

Since money tree plants require a lot of water all at once, they can be prone to root rot. Root rot, if you’re unfamiliar, is when there’s too much water in your plant, causing the roots begin to decay and die. 

Make sure that when you’re watering your plant, you don’t see extra water sitting in the saucer under the drainage holes—if you do, clear it out to avoid root rot. Your best bet is to use a pot that isn’t too big (the bigger the pot, the more room it has to hold water) and has excellent drainage, and place it on a saucer that you can easily remove and dump out when it fills with water.

Money tree plants can also attract pests like aphids and mealy bugs, but worry—arborists.net suggests applying neem oil to the soil to repel any pests and remove aphids with water. All of these pests can cause major damage to your plant, so make sure you deal with them as soon as you see them to avoid loose, drooping, dying leaves.

Provide Warmth

Money trees thrive in warm temperatures, which makes sense, as they typically grow naturally in warmer parts of the world. The ideal temperature for a money tree is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also important to make sure that you keep your tree away from drafty areas or chilly rooms in your home, as this could stunt the tree’s growth.

Use Quality Soil

Nutrition and drainage are important to the health of your money tree plant. Common soils used for money trees include flower, cactus, and moss-based soil. It’s common for owners also to add gravel or sand to help with the tree’s drainage. Be sure to use a container with drainage holes for your plant, as over-watered soil is a prevalent cause of plant issues (such as root rot).

Give It Sunlight

Money trees thrive best when placed and in direct sunlight. They can withstand direct sunlight; however, too much of it can quickly burn their leaves. That being stated, it’s best to keep the plant in indirect or half-shade sunlight on most days. 

If introducing it to direct sunlight, it’s best to do this gradually not to shock the plant. Money trees naturally grow toward sunlight, so it helps to turn the plan to ensure that it grows straight occasionally.

Water It Weekly

Money tree plants are big fans of moisture, and it is vital for their growth. Usually, watering them once a week should be sufficient. However, it’s important to remove any excess water pooling in their drain pans, as it can cause root rot. 

Make sure that the top few inches of the soil are dry before re-watering your plant. You can use distilled water or rainwater for your money tree, and if you notice that the leaves are beginning to droop, the chances are that you may be over-watering. In which case, it’s best to minimise your watering and test the soil before your next watering session.

Keep It In Humid Environments

Though money trees can grow at humidity levels below 50%, it’s best to keep the humidity in your home at 50% or higher–which is similar to their natural habit.

Use Fertilizer

Money trees don’t require a lot of fertiliser. Be careful not to over-fertilize your money tree, as it can cause the planet to die slowly. They generally only require fertilisation two or three times a year–if at all (Bonsai Money trees will need to be fertilised).

Re-Pot It As Needed

As your money tree grows in size, it will need to be re-potted to avoid root damage. It’s important to know that bigger pots will allow your tree to grow taller while keeping them in small pots will stunt their growth. When you re-pot your tree, be sure to clear out any dead or dried-out roots and avoid shaking the plant too much when you transfer it to the new pot.

Trim It Regularly

little-plants

These plants will require pruning to maintain their size; otherwise, they’ll continue to grow it may even lose their shape–growing in odd directions. Money trees re-sprout fairly quickly after pruning, so don’t fret if you happen to trim off too much from the plant. Also, it’s best to prune your plant in the spring.

Yellow Leaves From Overwatering

Proper watering is of the utmost importance when maintaining money trees. If you notice that your tree’s leaves are starting to turn yellow or brown, over-watering may be the culprit. To fix this, re-pot the plant and keep the new saucer free of any excess or pooled water. 

Yellow leaves can also be caused by too much humidity in the plant’s environment. Using a hygrometer can help you determine the current level of humidity in your home and adjust accordingly.

Potassium Deficiency

If you see spots on your tree’s leaves, it may have a potassium deficiency (if not a nitrogen deficiency). This can easily be treated by adding fertiliser to the tree’s soil and removing any dead leaves.

Common Pests

Money trees aren’t known for having many pet issues, but they can definitely get infestations.

  • Spider mites – Spider mites are common pests indoor plants. If you notice white webbings on the bottoms of stems or leaves, this could be a sign of a spider mite infestation. It’s best to catch them early, so examining your plant at least once a week can be vital to ensuring that it’s free of pests. Spider mite infestations can be mitigated by simply washing the plant in warm water or spraying it with insecticide. You can also apply rubbing alcohol to the areas of the infestation.
  • Aphids – Aphids are probably the most common pests you’ll encounter–especially if you set the plant outside in the warmer months. You can get rid of them by rubbing neem oil on the plant’s leaves are rinsing them off with warm water.
  • Wireworms – This pest feeds on the roots of the tree, slowly causing them to wilt and deteriorate. They can also be fairly difficult to control. Common methods to eliminate them include insecticide and using chunks of sweet or white potatoes as decoy traps.
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