How to Grow and Care for Money Tree Plants (Pachira Aquatica) Indoors and Out

Maybe you’ve heard before that money doesn’t grow on trees, but, when it comes to this tree, you’re in luck! The Money Tree may not literally grow money, but it is a symbol for good fortune and it is, in general, a beautiful plant with lively green leaves and a beautiful braid in the trunk.

Of course, in order to reap the rewards from your Money tree plants, you need to know how to care for money tree to keep it healthy! With these tips and tricks, you’ll have an easy time of making sure your Money Tree thrives!

BUT WHAT IS A Pachira Aquatica (The Money Tree, Money Plant)?

The Money tree plants, also called the “Good Luck Tree” and formally known as Pachira aquatica, has many, many names. Some call it the Malabar chestnut, the provision tree, the saba nut, wild kapok tree, pumpo, French peanut, and so much more.

It is a resilient plant that is commonly found in offices and homes due to the fact that it is low-care. Most Money trees come in either six braided or knotted styles and can display up to five light green leaves.

This Good Luck Tree is a token of good luck and is rumored to bring you wealth, good fortune, and overall success. Its most often used name, Money Tree, refers to a story where a poor man prayed for good fortune, found a money tree, brought it home, and then became enormously wealthy by selling the plants he grew from its seed.

With this care guide, we’re hoping your Money Tree could bring you the same good luck!

How To Take Care Of A Money Tree Plant?

If you’re interested in growing your own Money Tree, you’re in luck. Caring for one of these plants is relatively simple and a great way to grow your green thumb.

There are only a few things you need to remember!

THE RIGHT SOIL + THE RIGHT WATERING TECHNIQUES

First and foremost, you’ll want the right type of soil. Money Trees need sandy, peat-moss-based soil and grow better in pots with good drainage.

You’ll want to water thoroughly when you water your Money tree plants. The best gauge for whether it’s water enough is to stop when water begins to flow out of the holes on your pot. Once that happens, stop watering and drain the tray.

How to Care for Money Tree Plants (Pachira Aquatica) Indoors and Out

While humidity in the air may help it grow (think steamy bathrooms!), you’ll want to let the soil dry in between waterings.

I personally prefer to wait two to three weeks in between watering mine because it allows the top two to four inches of the soil to dry out.

You’ll want to remember to keep the air humid during this time period. An air humidifier can help with this, but you could also place gravel below the pot and on the tray to help catch some of the water that drains through the pot after watering, without worry about it negatively impacting the plant.

HOW MUCH LIGHT IS TOO MUCH?

The Money Tree plant is known for being incredibly durable and, while it can handle direct sunlight, too much will cause its beautiful leaves to burn.

Putting this plant in indirect sunlight promotes healthy leaf growth and, because it grows towards the plant, rotating the plant every now and again will help keep all sections of the plant healthy and keep the overall appearance more symmetrical.

can i plant my money tree outside?

Yes, of course! The Money Tree originates in the swamps of Central and South America and in the wild it can grow up to 60 ft tall.

However, this plant does require a temperature of above 60°F to grow. I wouldn’t recommend growing this plant outdoors in areas where temperatures fall below that range.

How to Grow and Care for Money Tree Plants (Pachira Aquatica) Outdoor

should i fertilize my money tree plants?

Fertilizing helps almost every plant grow healthy and strong, but too much fertilizer can be harmful.

An indoor Money Tree plant only needs to be fertilized two or three times a year. An outdoor Money Tree that you want to grow to full-height should be fertilized far more than that.

How to Repot a Money Tree?

Repotting the Money Tree plant is a necessity!

Typically, sellers sell the tree in too small of pots that leave no room for growth. You should choose an appropriately sized pot that will allow your Money Tree to grow to the size you want.

I rehome my Money Tree about once every two or three years, once the roots have outgrown the containers and prefer to repot in the Spring.

Keep in mind that your plant might lose some leaves during this process, but they’ll grow back and there’s nothing to worry about.

What Kinds Of Problems Do Money Trees Have?

It should be incredibly rare that you have any issues with your Money Tree, but sometimes you and your plant may experience some difficulties.

Most commonly, your Money Tree could develop yellow leaves at some point in its life. This can happen due to low humidity levels or because of over fertilizing.

In order to fix this problem, increase the air humidity and rehome the plant in a more permanent location with indirect sunlight. You can also cut down on whatever fertilizer you’re using.

If you see leaf spots, you probably need to use more fertilizer.

However, those leaf spots, as well as seeing rot or mold on or near the plant, can be a result of overwatering. Remove any damaged or dead roots and then repot the plants in fresh soil.

If you personally see any signs that the Money Tree is causing you irritations, remove the plant from the area immediately and seek medical care.

Additionally, Pachira plants are unhealthy for animals to consume. While you don’t need to panic if your cat (or dog) takes a few nibbles off of one of the leaves, try to discourage them from doing so.

Dealing With Pests

Outdoor plants can be subjected to pests as well as these small-scale problems. Aphids, scale insects, and spider mites can cause damage to a Money Tree plant and must be handled in different ways:

APHIDS

Aphids are a common problem during the summer months. Simply showering the plant should get rid of them. However, if that doesn’t work: try using neem oil.

SCALE INSECTS

If you see tiny brown bumps or a sticky film on the leaves, your Money Tree is having an issue with scale insects.

You will need to coat your plant with a mix of water, soap, and alcohol until a few weeks after you stop noticing the issue.

SPIDER MITES

If you see white webbing on the stems or undersides of the leaves of your Money Tree plant, you will want to take care of it immediately. These webbings are associated with spiders mites.

Spider mites are a result of the plant not being in an area with the right level of humidity. Increasing the humidity, and washing the plant clear of any webbing, should fix the problem.

How To Braid Your Money Tree plant?

The most sought after feature a Money Tree offers you is its eclectic braided trunk. This feature is made out of the thick stems of the Money Tree.

In order to braid your Money Tree, you will need a young plant with untampered shoots. DO NOT braid shoots before they reach 14” in height or more. This will scar your plant.

Additionally, an unhealthy Money Tree plant cannot handle this procedure. Following the proper care procedures, including repotting in appropriately sized vessels and watering your plant every two to three weeks, is an important step in braiding your Money Tree.

HOW TO BRAID YOUR MONEY TREE

You will also need at least 3-5 shoots in order to create a successful braid.

You will need to start at the base of the shoot, where the plant stems begin. You will need to keep the central root as it is and take the ones on either side of it in your hand. For example, if you have 5 shoots in your young Money Plant, you will be taking 2 shoots in one hand and 2 shoots in the other.

You will begin by making a French plait with those shoots, twisting the shoots over each other. Be careful to lean over the plant while braiding in order to avoid tangling the leaves in with the shoots.

Also, make sure you keep the braid loose. You do not want your Money Tree to snap.

When I did this, I had to stop and restart several times in order to get a successful French plait. Remember there is no rush to complete this and that taking care of the plant and moving slow but steady could yield the best results.

Once you reach the top of the shoots, where the plant starts to get leafy, you can stop braiding and should secure the plant.

When I did this, I used some duct tape I had on hand, but hemp string and gardening wire could be a good alternative as long as you do not wrap the plant too tightly.

You will also want to place stakes on both sides of the plant to prevent bending.

After a few months, you may want to rebraid the plant to include new growth. You will have to open the duct tape, string, wire, or whatever you used to bind the shoots and then follow the steps above to braid up until you reach the leafy parts again.

Remember to tie the braid again and, if necessary, replace the stakes. Adhering the string or duct tape to those stakes can help prevent bending as well.

Repeating this process a few times will create a beautiful braid for your Money Tree.

Let’s Recap

  • The Money Tree is most commonly found in indoor settings. It is a popular choice in offices and homes due to the fact that is incredibly low maintenance.
  • Use a sandy soil that allows for proper drainage.
  • Keep your Money Tree plant in a pot with holes to allow for drainage.
  • Water once every two to three weeks, but water until excess water drains from the holes in the pot. Then, dump any excess water out of the tray.
  • Fertilizing once or twice a year is all that is necessary.
  • Your Money Tree prefers humid areas with indirect sunlight.
  • Braiding requires a healthy, young plant in order to be successful.
  • Remember to tie off and put stakes around your recently braided Money Tree.

Common Questions About Money Tree Plant Care Answered

Q: Why are the leaves on my Money Tree turning yellow?

A: There could be a couple reasons why the leaves on your plant are turning yellow.

It could be that you’re keeping your Money Tree in an area that is not humid enough for the plant. An air humidifier can help solve this problem.

Over-fertilizing can also cause yellow leaves. Cutting down on the amount of fertilizer you use can allow for green leaf production.

Q: Does the Money Tree grow money?

A: I wish! The Money Tree does not grow money, sadly, but, according to lore, it is a symbol of good luck and positive energy that creates fortune for its owners.

Q: How often should I water my Money Tree?

A: This low-maintenance plant only needs to be offered once every two or three weeks.

Water thoroughly during that watering, until water drips from the holes in the pot. Then, empty the tray below the pot and wait until the top 2-4” inches of the soil is dry before watering again.

Q: How much sun does a Money Tree need?

A: Indirect sunlight is best for the Money Tree. Direct sunlight can result in leaf discolor. If you think your Money Tree is getting too much sun, please move it or rotato out of direct sunlight.

Q: Can Money Trees live outside?

A: Yes! The Money Tree thrives outside, but only in areas that don’t fall below 60°F. This plant cannot handle the cold!

Q: Why is my Money Tree not growing?

A: When you get down to it, most issues related to a Money Tree not growing it have to do with proper watering techniques.

Water the Money Tree once every two to three weeks until the soil is saturated and make sure you clear the tray of any excess water after watering. Clearing the tray is extremely important! Do not allow your Money Tree’s roots to sit in that excess water or you run the risk of them rotting.

Additionally, check the humidity in the air. Your Money Tree plant prefers humid areas and requires that excess water in the air in order to have healthy leaves.

Q: Do Money Trees bloom?

A: Indoor Money Tree plants typically don’t bloom, but, when they do, the bloom is beautiful and distinctive. You’re lucky if your Money Tree has bloomed!

These blooms are typically yellow and white with petals that curl back and long, red-tipped stamens. These blooms are replaced by seed pods filled with edible nuts!

How to Grow and Care for Money Tree Plants (Pachira Aquatica) Indoors and Out

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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.

Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.

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