Money Tree Plant: How To Grow and Care For Pachira Aquatica

From the name itself, you would already understand why the money tree plant is a famous one.

It is widely used in feng shui as it is associated with abundance, wealth, and prosperity. But there are many things to love about this plant.

Aside from its unique braided trunk, it is also a cheery indoor plant that comes with many uses and symbolisms. If you are in for everything money tree plant, we will cover everything about this plant; from planting and care requirements to fun facts. 

How to grow and care for money tree plant

What is a money tree plant?

What is money tree plant?

The money tree goes by the botanical name Pachira Aquatica. It is this exotic looking indoor plant with a slender, braided trunk, and deep green foliage.

Its natural habitat is moist swamplands and it is native to central and south America. As a tree, it could grow to up to 60ft but nowadays, it is a popular indoor plant because of its symbolic associations to wealth and prosperity.

Money tree seedlings have their trunks braided before it could turn hard and woody. Through this, their growth rate is limited and you can keep it indoors for a very long time. 

Money Tree Plant facts

Aside from its wealth and prosperity attributes, there are a whole lot of reasons why you should choose this tree for the indoors. Here are some money tree plant facts that you should know about. 

  • There are three major species of money trees: the jade plant, the feng shui plant, and the Aquatica plant. 
  • It got its name from the Asian lore of a man praying for money and became rich when he grew money trees. 
  • In feng shui, money trees are believed to activate the chi. Hence, this plant attracts positive energy inside the home. 
  • Usually, money trees have five to six leaves in each stem. But if you find one with seven, that is the ultimate sign of good luck. 
  • This plant is a common New Year’s gift in Asia. 

Money tree plant meaning & symbolism

Aside from its cheery foliage that brightens up the room, the money tree is also laden with meaning and symbolism.

It is common as a symbolic plant in East Asia since. It is said to have come from the prayers of a poor man who wanted to get rich. When he grew money trees around his house, fortune found him. 

It is also a common indoor plant placed in bedrooms and living rooms to attract positive energy and in business offices or used as a gift to business partners and friends to attract wealth and prosperity.

Since it usually has five leaves per stem, it is said to represent the five elements of balance and nature (fire, earth, wind, water, and metal). Having a seven-leaf money tree is very rare and finding one is the ultimate symbol of wealth

Planting money tree plant

Planting money tree plant

When to plant

The best time to plant money trees would be six to eight weeks before spring or summer as these two are its growing seasons.

If you are in zones 10-12, planting time can happen anytime as soon as temperature drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are in zones 9-11, pot the money tree, and keep them indoors. 

Where to plant

Whether indoor or outdoor, money trees need to be planted in high humidity spots and where it could get bright, indirect light for 4-6 hours a day.

It can also thrive in moderate to low light. Too much light will have an effect on the leaves as they could get leaf burns and spots. When indoors, it must be placed far from vents and locations where the air is dry.

Putting it in a window where cool, drafty air comes in is also not recommended. If you live in a place where humidity is low, you can use humidity enhancers such as pebbles directly in the pot. 

How to plant

There are two types of how here. You can either plant through seed or through stem cuttings. If you are planting through seed, the first thing to do is to make amendments to your soil.

It loves sandy soil with high organic matter or peat-moss-based soil. As soon as you get this done, you are ready to plant your money tree seed at 1.5 inches deep in the ground or in the pot.

If you are planting using stem cuttings, you have to dip the stem in rooting powder and wait until roots sprout and are ready for planting. 

Money tree plant care

Money tree plant care
Source

Soil

Well-draining soils with high organic matter are the preferred soil types of this plant. The best soil choice would be peat-moss-based soil. Adding sand or gravel to the potting mix will also aid in draining. 

Fertilizer

In general, money trees do not require that much fertilizer. The only time it will need one is during the growing season. During this period, this plant will require monthly fertilizing using diluted plant food at half strength. Never fertilize during the winter. 

Sun & Light

At best, a money tree plant requires bright, indirect sunlight or indoor fluorescent light. You can still try to gradually introduce it to direct sunlight during the summer but not for a long time. Extended exposure to direct, bright light will cause leaf burns or foliage turning yellow. 

Water requirements

The only watering requirement it needs is for it to be watered if the soil looks dry. If it is indeed dry at 2-4 inches deep, watering is needed. During dry months, watering should be done once a week. On colder days, once a month will do. 

Humidity and temperature

Money tree plants thrive well in temperatures between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees below and above the said ranges.

In terms of humidity, this plant should be kept in high humidity rooms for it to retain moisture. It is suggested that pebbles be added in the plant’s pots during winter to keep optimal humidity. 

Repotting

The best time to repot this plant is during summer. Your pot choice should be commensurate to how tall you would want your tree to grow.

Small pots will surely be airtight so it is not good for plant growth.

Large pots may not be that good as they retain more water. Repotting is also done when the roots begin to outgrow their old pots. 

Pruning

A not so well-known fact is that money trees require regular pruning. Give a special lookout for dead leaves or yellow ones and slowly snip them using pruning shears.

You can also prune the money plant to add shape to it. Normally, a pyramid shape is given to money trees. 

Propagation

Money trees can be propagated through stem cutting. To do this, you have to cut the stem in a length of two leaf nodes high.

You will then dip the cut stem in a rooting powder and then plant it with peat moss base, sandy potting mix. Misting the cut stem regularly is recommended for four weeks or until roots sprout. 

How to Care for Money Tree Plant In winter

As soon as days enter the 40 degrees Fahrenheit mark, it is time to keep the money trees indoors.

The best indoor location during winter for this plant would be at window sills facing south or any location where it could get bright but indirect light. During this period, the light should be at four hours a day.

How to care for money tree plant indoors

How to care for money tree plant indoors

In general, we have covered all the right tips on how to take care of money trees indoors so here is a summary.

  • First, high humidity locations and a temperature range of 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit should be ensured at all times.
  • Second, ensure that pots and the soil are both well-draining.
  • Third, let the soil dry in between watering.
  • Fourth, misting must be done regularly. And the most important of all, do not transfer the plant indoors every now and then. 

Harvest

Harvest money tree plant

Yes, you can harvest money tree seeds from its seed pods. When the seed pods have gone dry it will pop to release seeds.

Putting fabric in the plant base will make it easier for you to catch all the seeds from the plant. Seeds from money trees can be stored later for planting.

In Asia, it is consumed like peanuts. However, the medical field has discouraged people from eating the seeds until it is proven as edible. 

Money tree plant diseases

Yellow leaves on money tree plant

Leaves turning yellow

This one can be an effect of too much light exposure, low humidity, or due to the use of wrong fertilizer. The best intervention to this is to plant it in a location where the right humidity range can be regulated. 

Why are the leaves falling off my money plant

This problem is again a matter of watering. If the leaves are green and they are falling off, it means that you are overwatering. If the leaves turn yellow or brown and they start falling off, it means that you are underwatering. Make sure that you keep the soil’s moisture. 

Leaf spots

This disease is caused by nutrient deficiency, particularly potassium and overwatering. To fix this, you will have to mist a potassium-enriched liquid fertilizer, prune out the dead leaves to stop the spots from spreading, and change your water schedule. 

Root rot

The common cause of root rot is overwatering or the containment of excess water in the pot’s tray where the roots sit on. To avoid this, make sure that the soil is dry before watering.

You can also alter your soil mixture by adding peat moss and by making the soil more sandy. Also, make sure that the pot is well-draining. 

Holes in leaves

This problem may be caused by fungi, particularly gnats. They niche in the plant’s base and chew on the root first before getting up to the leaves. The intervention for this would be applying neem oil and following water requirements. 

Pests

Gnats

Gnats larvae will definitely chew on the plant’s roots if you have them around. They will also chew on the plant’s leaves leaving holes.

They thrive in moist soils that is why it is important to let the soil dry first in between watering. To keep them off from your plant, you can use neem oil or make a better watering schedule. 

Spider mites

This one reveals a problem in humidity. It is usually indicated by white webs on the stem and the leaves’ undersides. To get rid of this, wash the leaves and place them in a more humid location. 

Aphids

Aphid infestation is a result of being too much exposed to the sun or bright light. If you shower the plant with water and the aphids disappear, it means that the infestation has just begun. If not, you should probably apply neem oil. 

Scale Insects

This one is a winter problem. It is usually signaled by a brown, sticky sap on the leaves. Misting the plant with water, soap, and alcohol solution will do the trick for this one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do money trees clean the air?

Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, it is listed in the top ten air purifying plants. Money trees produce off-gas substances akin to synthetic substances found in paint and carpets.

This is the reason why money trees are positioned in high traffic areas like the living room and bedroom worktables. Its high air-purifying capability comes from producing oxygen at night. 

How long does a money plant live?

There is a reason why this plant is a popular gift for business offices, weddings, and house warming and that is because of its known longevity. At a minimum, it can last for up to 50 years and up to 100 years if care requirements are followed strictly. 

Why are money trees braided?

Why are money trees braided?

There are two reasons as to why money trees are braided.

One, this is done if you intend to keep it indoors as a bonsai plant. Braiding the stem while it is still young will inhibit the stem from growing woody and at a very tall height.

Two, money trees are braided because of its symbolic association. It is said that luck and wealth are trapped in each twist and the more braids, the more wealth is trapped. 

What does an overwatered money tree look like?

There are three things to look out for if you suspect that your money tree is overwatered.

First, water retention is high in the pot or ground if the surrounding area is continually wet.

Second, it is overwatered if new leaves quickly turn pale green or yellow.

Third, if the leaves are green yet they break easily or fall off, that is an overwatering problem. If these three are not the case, look for a possible gnat or aphid infestation. 

How long can money plants survive without water?

The answer to this is, it depends on the situation. In normal conditions, a money plant can survive without water for three to four weeks, if it is in its mature phase. But you cannot do this during its growth phase. In this phase, they can only survive for a week without water.

If you intend to go on a long trip, you can cover the plant with plastic or cling wrap so that enough moisture can be retained. 

How do you know if your money tree is dying and how to stop? 

There are many warning signs to money tree death and you can stop it early on if you want to. Having yellow leaves, leaf spots and burns, curled leaves, and leaves falling off foliage are early signs of wilting and eventual death.

As have been mentioned above, these are signs of overwatering, underwatering, too much light, or having too dry soil. If regular misting and changed water schedules will not do the deal, spraying liquid fertilizer once in a while can also change things for the plant. Transferring the plant in a better location could also save it from plant death. 

Should I mist my money tree?

Since money trees are watered only once a week, misting the leaves every day is necessary for maintaining moisture and humidity around the plant.

During the winter, misting or using a humidifier is required to raise indoor humidity. So yea, you should totally mist your money tree. And every day for that matter. 

Conclusion 

How to grow and care for Pachira Aquatica plant

To conclude, a money tree is easy to care for plant that easily grows as long as proper care requirements are given.

From all this information, we finally understand why it is a popular plant. For one, it is a natural air purifier, making a good living room and bedroom plant.

Second, it really brings a cheery vibe be it outdoors or indoors thanks to its green foliage and braided trunk (for bonsai). Third, it is believed to attract wealth and prosperity, and I think we could all agree that this alone is enough reason to have one.

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