Money Tree Plant, scientifically known as Pachira aquatica, is a plant native to Central and South America and belongs to the Malvaceae family. In its natural habitat, this tropical evergreen tree can grow as tall as 65 feet (approximately 20 meters). However, when cultivated indoors, it tends to have a more compact size, typically ranging from 3 to 6 feet (around 0.9 to 1.8 meters) in height. It features long, slender leaves with five lobes, forming an umbrella-like shape above the trunk. Money Tree is often styled with braided trunks, which are created by intertwining the flexible stems of multiple plants during their growth.
In Chinese Feng Shui, Money Tree is highly regarded as a symbol of luck and prosperity. It is believed that positive energy and good fortune are contained within the trunk of this plant. Additionally, the presence of five lobes on its leaves aligns with the notion of luck, as the number five holds auspicious significance. Beyond its symbolic value, Money Tree is also known for its air-purifying properties, making it a beneficial addition to indoor environments.
Money Tree has gained popularity worldwide as a houseplant due to its distinct appearance, ease of care, and association with good luck and prosperity. While caring for a Money Tree is not complicated, it does have its specific needs and requirements.
Money Tree is generally considered non-toxic to humans and pets, making it a safe choice for households with children and pets. However, it's always important to keep it out of reach of curious children and animals, as individual sensitivities and allergic reactions can occur. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a significant amount of Money Tree or any other plant, it's advisable to monitor them closely and contact a veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or behaviors.
Ideally, Money Tree thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a window that receives filtered or curtain-filtered light so it can receive at least 4-6 hours of light daily. This plant can tolerate some direct sunlight in the morning or late afternoon, but it should be protected from intense, direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day, as scorching sunlight can burn the leaves. It's worth noting that Money Tree can survive in a range of lighting conditions, but insufficient light can lead to sparse growth and leggy stems, while excessive light can cause leaf discoloration or burns. Regularly monitoring the plant's response to its light environment and adjusting its placement accordingly can help maintain its vitality. If your indoor space has limited natural light, the Money Tree can still survive in lower light conditions, but its growth may be slower. Consider using a grow lamp to ensure your Money Tree has optimal growth.
This plant stores water in its chunky stumps, so it requires less frequent watering than some other houseplants. It is important to avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. Before watering, check the moisture level of the soil. Insert your finger about an inch or two deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it's time to water the plant. If it's still slightly moist, wait a little longer before giving your green friend a drink. How often to water this plant depends on many factors such as your climate, your indoor temperature, humidity, and the size of the pot. Start with watering every 10 days, monitor the soil moisture, and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. When watering, thoroughly soak the soil until water begins to drain out of the bottom of the pot. Allow excess water to fully drain away, and empty the saucer or cache pot to prevent water accumulation. Avoid leaving the plant in standing water.
Soil and Fertilizer
Money Trees require well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Choose a high-quality potting mix that is specifically formulated for indoor plants or a well-draining mix that consists of a combination of peat moss, perlite, and/or coarse sand. This type of soil allows excess water to drain freely, ensuring adequate moisture while preventing water accumulation.
Fertilizing your Money Tree can help provide it with essential nutrients for healthy growth. Choose a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer specifically formulated for indoor plants or a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. During the growing season, which typically spans from spring to early fall, you can fertilize your Money Tree every 4-6 weeks. Stop fertilizing during the plant's dormant period in winter. It's important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not to over-fertilize your Money Tree, as excessive fertilization can lead to salt buildup in the soil and cause damage to the roots.
Temperature and Humidity
Money Tree thrives in average to warm temperatures, similar to the conditions found in its native tropical and subtropical regions. Money Tree prefers temperatures between 65°F and 75°F. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F for short periods, but prolonged exposure to colder temperatures can cause damage to the plant. Providing a warm and consistent environment is beneficial for Money Tree's growth. Avoid placing the plant in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations, such as near heating or cooling vents, as this can stress the plant.
This plant prefers moderate to high humidity levels. While it can tolerate average indoor humidity, providing slightly higher humidity (around 40-50%) can promote optimal growth and prevent issues such as dry leaf tips or edges. If your room is too dry, consider using a humidifier, placing your plant on a pebble tray with water, or moving it to a more humid room, such as your kitchen or bathroom.
Potting and Repotting
Proper drainage is crucial for the health of a Money Tree. When potting, it's essential to use a container with at least one drainage hole, preferably made of porous materials like cement, ceramic, or terracotta. This allows excess water to drain away, preventing the soil from becoming waterlogged. Additionally, incorporating soil aeration into your regular plant care routine is beneficial. Using a small shovel or tool, gently loosen the soil around the plant's roots. This practice increases oxygen levels in the soil, promoting efficient nutrient absorption and root health.
Repotting is necessary for Money Trees every 1-3 years, depending on their growth rate and pot size. Look for signs such as a root-bound appearance, depleted soil, top-heavy growth, or slow growth to determine if repotting is needed. When repotting, choose a pot that is only slightly larger, typically 1-2 inches in diameter, as too big pots can cause overwatering issues.
Pruning and Shaping
Pruning a Money Tree is not typically required for its overall health, but it can be done to maintain a desired shape, promote bushier growth, or manage its size. The best time to prune a Money Tree is during the spring or early summer when it is actively growing. Pruning during this period allows the plant to recover more quickly.
Use clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors to make precise cuts. Sterilizing the tools before pruning helps prevent the spread of diseases or pests. You can trim off dead, damaged, diseased or overgrown leaves or branches.
If you desire a particular shape or form for your Money Tree, you can selectively prune branches to achieve that shape. Make cuts just above a leaf node or branch junction to encourage branching and bushier growth.
For braided Money Tree, inspect the braided trunks regularly to ensure that the braids remain intact and haven't become loose. If you notice any loose sections, gently adjust and retie them to maintain the desired shape.
Braided is a type of multiple Pachira Stump with their trunks woven together.
Photo by castro_luis
Money Tree Plant can be propagated through stem cuttings. Follow these simple steps:
- Select a healthy stem with a few nodes and remove lower leaves.
- Optional: Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone.
- Prepare a well-draining propagation medium.
- Insert the cut end into the medium, burying at least one node.
- Place the cutting in a warm, bright location (avoid direct sunlight).
- Keep the medium slightly moist, using a misting bottle for humidity.
- Roots should develop within weeks to months.
- Once rooted, transfer the cutting to a well-draining pot with soil and care for it like a mature Money Tree.
Common problems with Money Trees include:
- Overwatering: Money Trees are susceptible to root rot if overwatered. It's important to allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings and ensure proper drainage.
- Underwatering: While Money Trees can tolerate some degree of drought, they still require regular watering. Neglecting to water the plant adequately can lead to wilting, yellowing leaves, and overall decline.
- Incorrect lighting: Money Trees prefer bright, indirect light. Insufficient light can cause leggy growth, leaf drop, and reduced vitality. On the other hand, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
- Pest infestations: Common pests that can affect Money Trees include spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests and take appropriate measures to control infestations.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Lack of essential nutrients can lead to stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and overall poor health. Providing balanced fertilization can help prevent nutrient deficiencies.
- Leaf browning or yellowing: This can be caused by various factors such as overwatering, underwatering, low humidity, or exposure to extreme temperatures. Adjusting watering practices, humidity levels, and environmental conditions can help alleviate these issues.