Money Tree Plant: Growing Healthy Pachira Aquatica

Ed Wike
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Quick Care

Although a domestic variety is being marketed as the money tree plant, it really couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually a native South American evergreen that has become popular with house owners because it’s symbolic of good luck as well as being a relatively easy house plant to maintain.

Money tree plant care routine is adapted from the tropical plant profile which has evolved with optimum climate conditions.

Want to know how to grow and maintain your money tree plant? Then read on to find out why this money tree plant is not a money tree plant and the factors to take in consideration when growing your own money tree.

History of the Money Tree Plant

The Money Tree Plant will bring luck and good fortune. If you add coins or small bills to the trunk of the tree, you will be sure to receive prosperity! The Pachira Aquatica Money Tree Plant is a houseplant that is native to the tropical rainforests of South America. It is commonly referred as the “money tree plant” or the “fiber tree,” among gardeners, due to its apparent properties of growing money!

The Money Tree Plant is also known as the Chinese Lacebark Tree, the Malabar chestnut, and the Malabar Chestnut. However, the Malabar Chestnut is in an entirely different family in the Meliaceae family. The most common name for the Money Tree Plant is the Pachira Aquatica, which is derived from the scientific name, Pachira Aquatica.

Planting the Money Tree Plant

The first step to growing your own money tree plant is to pick out a healthy plant from your local nursery. It is important that you do this because your plant may have a problem that not only affects the life of the plant, but also the amount of money you make growing it.

The money tree plant is usually sold in a container that is small and plastic. The roots of these plants are usually bound in a mesh bag to prevent them from escaping the planter before you buy it.

Some people mistakenly believe that the money tree plant needs to be pruned if you want it to grow outward instead of upward. This is wrong. The plant is real perennial tree that was brought to China centuries ago. This plant isn't likely to grow a big trunk like a pine tree, so you don't need to prune it. It will grow new branches that hold the coins, and as it grows, it will also send out side branches.

You need to plant it in a planter that has drain holes. You should place it in an area that gets partial shade.

Use a compound fertilizer once every month and water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist.

When to Plant

The money tree plant, more formally called Pachira Aquatica, is a great choice if you want a houseplant that is easy to care for. With a little help on planting the correct pot and regulating the water and drainage, you can have a healthy money tree that will flourish in your home or office. It's a good idea to plant your money tree in very fast draining soil. A very good pot choice for this plant is a porous clay pot that can hold a lot of water.

Most people like to keep their money tree in a semi-shade area in their home or office. The lighting should be indirect but should not have all of the sunlight blocked out. You will need to provide your money tree with a rich soil. It needs to be loose, have a good amount of water and enough drainage.

When you are handling your money tree plant, be sure to water the plant by using some water from the top of the pot. Do not pour water from the bottom of the pot. You can fertilize your plant with a liquid fertilizer that is designed for aquatic plants. Water the plant regularly with warm water so that the soil remains moist and do not let the plant dry out.

Where to Plant

Pachira Aquatica grows best in partial shade and warm weather. You can place the plant in an area that receives light that is filtered by a tarp or shade cloth. Make sure you look for Pachira Aquatica trees that are grown in a warm climate, such as Florida or Hawaii.

If you live in the northern climates, consider an indoor location such as a green house, patio, or even a living room. Placing the plant in a container or in an indoor location will allow you to control the water and the amount of light the plant is exposed to.

How to Plant

Care, and Cut A Money Tree.

If you have a well-lit room with decent temperature, then you're all set to plant your Money tree.

After you've bought your Money Tree, remove it from the packing and place it into a nice sized container (only if needed).

Depending on how large your plant will grow into, a 10-inch pot should do the job. You can use a large fish bowl or even a bucket.

Fill it up with a good quality rich potting mixture. Once you've done that, use a chopstick or something similar to make a few holes into this mixture.

Place your plant's root ball along with the base of the trunk into this mixture. Do not pile up too much earth on the root balls because your plant will not be able to breathe properly.

Add more potting soil to fill the container around the root ball.

Water it until the water flows out from the holes at the bottom of the pot. Drying is not good for these plants. So water it regularly until you see that the potting mixture has been thoroughly wetted.

Once your Money Tree is potted, you will need to repot it if its roots fill the container. That's the only time you will need to repot.

After you've repotted, water it regularly.

Money Tree Plant Care and Cultivation

The general look of the money tree plant is pretty easy to recognize. The treelike structure (sometimes it will be shrub like) with small, long, thick leaves that cascade down. Each leaf is shaped like a hand with thick fingers, and the color varies, but you will usually see leaves in shades of green with light markings. Whether the leaves are still or fluttering depends on the day and the plant, but the general leaves will be lengthy and thin, like a longer, thinner version of a banana leaf.

Money tree plants enjoy fairly bright and indirect light, so finding the right spot in your home’s home is probably the priority when caring for your pachira. If it is a tall plant it can seem to overpower the area it’s in, but they’re really not all that large in terms of actual size. Their leaves can grow quite large, but the actual trunk and main structure of the money tree is short, and they will top out at around 1 meter high.

Light and Temperature

Caring for the Money tree plant is like caring for most other indoor plants. It thrives in bright indirect sunlight and should be placed in a warm spot in your home.

In the summer, Money Tree plants like 68-75 degrees. You will have to keep it on the cooler side if your house is hot.

For successful indoor growth, the plant will need twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness. Money tree plants don’t tolerate direct sunlight, though, and direct sunlight can hurt the plant’s leaves.

So, providing your Money Tree with a north-facing window will enable it to get enough sunlight and have the ability to survive in the right temperature.

Water and Humidity

When keeping a Pachira Aquatica plant, it is important to follow proper watering techniques. Your Money Tree plant will be happiest with moderately moist soil. In fact, a Money Tree plants' leaves will turn from dark green to a vivid reddish brown if they're too dry. Adding too much water to the plant's roots is not ideal either.

Soil for your Money Tree plant should equal about 50% sphagnum and 50% perlite. The overall goal is to have soil that has good water drainage. If the leaves on your Money Tree are wilted, do not conduct drastic watering techniques. Your Money Tree plant should not stay in standing water. Foliage with spots or patches should be monitored. Should a Money Tree plant not recover quickly, it is best to remove the damaged leaf.

How much water you will need to give your Money Tree plant, will depend on the environment you plan to grow your plant in. Money Tree plants that are kept in high heat and humidity will require more water. Medium-high humidity is ideal. Higher humidity will keep the plant that has more leaves. This is irrelevant if you are looking to propagate your Money Tree as cuttings.

Soil

People usually grow pachira aquatica in a container. It's a tropical plant that thrives in moist, but well-drained soil, so potting soil is the best choice.

Step 1: Make your potting soil mix. Best potting soil for money tree plant must have a neutral pH. We recommend combining equal parts of potting soil and sphagnum peat moss. You can add vitamin B1 or any other woody mulch to keep the soil damp.

New houseplants usually suffer from transplant shock, and that's why you need to make the potting soil a bit acidic. You can achieve it by 1. mixing equal parts of potting soil and pine bark, 2. mixing equal parts of potting soil and coarse sand or 3. by adding 50 grams of Dolomite in each 946 milliliters of soil.

Shake your potting soil mix well to eliminate any air pockets and to mix the ingredients. Make sure your container is thoroughly clean. Soak the container and the drain screen at least one hour before planting.

Step 2: Fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of soil, and then set your money tree plant where you would like it to grow in the container.

Fertilizer

Pachira Aquatica is a tropical plant. In the wild, it absorbs nutrients from rainwater that falls into the earth and seeps into the roots. At home, we supply the nutrients with fertilizer and feed the plant with compost teas.

Pachira Aquatica doesn’t require much fertilizer. A weak balanced (10-10-10) on a weekly basis is sufficient. A strong fertilizer like 10-10-10 or a one-half strength houseplant fertilizer once a month will do.

One area of concern is overwatering. This plant doesn’t originate from a jungle and we do not want it to become an aquatic plant. Allow the top of the soil to dry before watering again.

Propagation From Cuttings

Millions of people use this tropical American plant in their homes. These trees are generally not cuttings, but they are from the same species.

Pachira Aquatica is also known as Malabar Chestnut, Mexican Buckeye, and Money Tree. It has a short height and can be up to nine feet in height.

It has alternately glossy and matte leaves which ideally are five to fifteen inches in length. These palms are grown in the warm tropical or subtropical climate.

The best growing conditions for the Pachira is a shady location as it needs partial shade.

The best time to plant the Pachira is after the last frost. It can be cultivated in containers or in the garden.

The Pachira Aquatica is a tropical plant and requires an annual water-level change. Temperature changes will also damage the roots.

These plants require well-drained soil and can bear a considerable amount of cold.

The beautiful Pachira Aquatica is used in the garden, in the interior design, and as a wonderful indoor plant. The young Money Trees are used for making wreaths.

The Pachira is propagated from cuttings. Take the cuttings in spring and remove the tip. Then dip the cutting in the hormone rooting powder and stick the cutting into the soil in a good, shady atmosphere.

Propagation From Seed

For both the bonsai tree and the larger forest grove form, you can mimic nature and grow a Money Tree from a seed. This is the nature of bonsai, and in the case of the Money Tree, the seeds work best with the small round leaves that you enjoy on your indoor Money Tree. These seeds are not native to the Pachira Aquatica, but the small seeds are easy to sprout and grow and can give you a head start on your planting plans.

One of the first things that you must do when you have small Pachira Aquatica seeds is to soak them briefly. Do not let the seeds soak for too long, but allow them to absorb the water and swell up. This process helps you to start the growth cycle, but it also means that the seeds will be easier to plant and grow. Before they are planted, your seeds need to go through a process of stratification. This is a process of laying the seeds on soil and allowing them to grow according to the natural cycle of the forest.

Repotting

Once your young Money Tree has grown about 16 inches tall and about 4 feet wide, it's time to consider repotting it. Although you can leave your Money Tree in its first plastic container for another year, the availability of larger ceramic containers makes repotting your tree a fun and creative way to maintain its growing beauty.

When choosing the size of your new ceramic pot, you need to insure that it has an opening just big enough to accommodate a dinner plate, to allow the bright light to penetrate to the root system. Select a deep pot for more room for the roots to grow and take the opportunity to train your Money Tree to grow gracefully and attractively.

Pachira Aquatica plants prefer containers with ample drainage holes and clay pots work best to help the soil to not stay too wet while promoting a healthy ratio for the soil's pH.

Although Pachira Aquatica plants grow well in most water types, the addition of aquarium salt is recommended to help promote growth, keeping the leaves from drying out.

Pruning and Training

Speaking of money, did you know the money tree plant can bring you luck? No? Well, let’s clarify that right away. Having a money tree plant in your home doesn’t meanyour checks will start turning into cash (or your credit card debt will magically disappear. Just like all plants, a money tree has to live, breathe and eat to survive. Proper money tree plant care is the key to help you bring home the green.

All about Money

Let’s just get this out of the way.

There are two types of money trees. The first one, Pachira aquatica, which is the one we are talking about here, is a tropical plant called the money tree, and it is native to southern Mexico.

This type of money tree has a trunk and brightly-colored foliage, which is why it is an indoor plant now.

The other, more common money tree plant is a dwarf variety that is native to the Guangdong region of China. But that one doesn’t have such cool leaves, so it’s not going to be featured in more detail on this site.

Harvesting

The seeds need to be harvested after you notice that the seed pods are fully developed. Most people notice this during winter. This is the time when trees get very little water, and this is why the seeds need to be harvested.

After this, the seeds or nuts start opening when they are touched or moved. You will notice that they become quite soft. They become pale in color and the opening is quite wide. After this you can start collecting the seeds. Pull them out of the tree using a tweezer or your fingers.

You may want to collect the seeds that are on the ground. You may also collect those that are still attached to the tree but have fallen off. You should spread these seeds randomly. This kind of natural regeneration is a process that is commonly adopted in the forest.

Whichever method you use for collecting the seeds you should leave the tree alone for a year to give it time to regenerate its lost seeds and grow new ones.

After the seeds have germinated it should take about 3-4 years for it to completely establish itself. After this, the money tree plant can grow approximately 4-5 meters. As the tree grows it creates branches and foliage, and this is why it is commonly used as an ornamental plant in homes and offices.

Troubleshooting Money Tree Plant

Trouble growing the Money Tree plant? Don’t fret – it’s not the plant that’s the problem! Some of the most common illnesses in the Money Tree plant, the Pachira Aquatica, are related to the soil, water, and temperature where it grows.

Growing from seed, the Money Tree plant makes an interesting houseplant, in part due to its ability to grow up to 3 feet tall. This tree-like plant can be propagated from seed, or split and rooted. It’s also been said that misting your plant on a regular basis works as a preventive to the occasional yellow leaver.

The young leaves are bright green, thick, and velvety to the touch. As the plant ages, the leaves become thinner and smoother. When grown indoors, the leaves can turn yellow. Giving the plant a good source of light can help prevent this, and giving it a better water source will help prevent yellowing overall.

A common symptom of a Money Tree is yellowing leaves. Other symptoms include leaf dieback, leaf rust, and leaf spots. Like many houseplants, indoor environment can also cause the plant to lose leaves or tips.

Money Tree Plant needs bright indirect light.

They will grow in full sun, but will not grow under conditions that are too dry.

Growing Problems

Pachira is a tropical plant that thrives in either indoor or outdoor environments. It is easy to grow and maintain, and requires very little maintenance. It is a great addition to any home, but if you want to have the best quality of life for the plant, you need to make sure that you know how to grow it properly.

Because it is an exotic plant in the modern world, it has problems growing in places where it is not accustomed. However, with a little bit of care, you can ensure that you have a thriving plant. This is the most important thing to remember if you want to grow a pachira plant.

Start with a healthy young tree. If it has been sitting in water, you need to let it adjust before you plant it. Most of these trees die because the caretaker at the store forgot to let it adjust.

The best places to put your tree are in places where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight and in areas where it gets water and nutrients easily.

Never let the soil dry out and make sure that the drainage is correct in the pot. Make sure the tree gets plenty of oxygen by keeping it in an area that has plenty of space.

The tree can start to get sick or die if you do not water it enough. However, if you over water it, it will also end up getting sick or dying.

Pests

Pests and diseases can be problematic for your money tree plant. Here are a few problems that you need to watch out for and treat if you see them.

Yellow blotches on the leaves are often a sign of Spider Mites. Both the tiny spider and the mite appear in red patches on the leaves. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your tree and address any problems as soon as you see them. Spray with insecticidal soap. Use the right amount of sun, water, and fertilizer.

If you notice parts of the leaves turning yellow, the plant may be over fertilized. Water it less to correct the problem, or switch to a less nitrogen rich fertilizer.

Leaf drop and yellow leaves are a sign of over-watering. Water around the outside perimeter of the pot rather than the top of the soil.

Brown leaves are a sign of too little water.

Branches drying out are another sign of too much water.

If your money tree plant is potted in clay, check the roots. They can grow out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. This can cause plant problems because it will trap water and collect bacteria. If you can see the roots around the pot, trim them about a third of the distance down from the plant.

Diseases

A healthy money tree plant can survive almost any pest infestation. The most common problem is a twisted leaf, or a brown bottom leaf. This is a symptom that you shipped your money tree to you while it was already stressed.

First, make sure your plant has enough water. Not enough water is a common stress that can make a plant more vulnerable to disease. Watering like a money tree is something only the most experienced growers can do. When you do water water, water at the base of the plant. Mist the plant if it is a cool day, and don't water if it's hot.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to get rid of aphids is to identify and deal with the source.

If you have something nearby that is attracting your tree and is leaving it open to aphids then consider getting rid of it or converting it into something that doesn’t need aphid assistance.

This could be anything from moving your plants away from the window so sunlight isn’t casting a shadow that attracts gnats or plant something that attracts gnats away from your plants.

Chances are there is something nearby calling for the aphids even if you are not realizing it. Check for things like cracks in the soil, damage to leaves, or moisture building up in the soil.

If it comes down to it and you can’t find the problem, you could easily try a beneficial bug spray first.

Some folks spray neem oil or another natural insecticide to kill the aphids off and prevent them from coming around again.

Like all natural things, it’s best to research what the best peppermint aphid killer would be for your specific problem.