Money Tree Plant Care: Tips On Growing A Money Tree Houseplant

Money Tree Plant Care: Tips On Growing A Money Tree Houseplant

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Pachira aquatica is a commonly found houseplant called a money tree. The plant is also known as Malabar chestnut or Saba nut. Money tree plants often have their slender trunks braided together, and are a low maintenance option for artificially lit areas. Let’s learn more about how to care for money tree houseplants.

Pachira Money Tree

Money tree plants are native from Mexico to northern South America. The trees can get up to 60 feet (18 m.) in their native habitats but are more commonly small, potted ornamental specimens. The plant has slim green stems topped with palmate leaves.

In their native region, money tree plants produce fruits that are oval green pods divided into five chambers inside. The seeds within the fruit swell until the pod bursts. Roasted nuts taste a bit like chestnuts and can be ground into flour.

The plants get their name because the Feng Shui practice believes it will bring luck to the owner of this fun little plant.

Growing a Money Tree Houseplant

USDA zones 10 and 11 are suitable for growing a money tree houseplant. In colder regions, you should only grow this plant indoors, as it is not considered cold hardy.

The Pachira money tree is a perfect addition to the interior landscape and lends a tropical feel. If you want to have some fun, try starting your own Pachira money tree from seed or from cuttings.

These plants do best when they are in full sun to partial shade. The best temperatures are 60 to 65 F. (16-18 C.). Plant the tree in peat moss with some gritty sand.

How to Care for Money Tree

These plants like a moderately humid room and deep but infrequent watering. Water the plants until the water runs from the drainage holes and then let them dry out between watering.

If your home is on the dry side, you can increase the humidity by placing the pot on a saucer filled with pebbles. Keep the saucer filled with water and the evaporation will enhance the humidity of the area.

Remember to fertilize every two weeks as part of good money tree plant care. Use a liquid plant food diluted by half. Suspend fertilizing in winter.

The Pachira plant rarely needs to be pruned but as part of your annual money tree plant care, take off any damaged or dead plant material.

The plant should be repotted every two years in a clean peat mixture. Try not to move the plant around a lot. Money tree plants dislike being moved and respond by dropping their leaves. Also keep them away from drafty areas. Move your Pachira money tree outside in summer to an area with dappled light, but don’t forget to move it back in before fall.

This article was last updated on

Save the Money (Tree)

After being exposed to cold temperatures, the money tree may drop most of its leaves. Move the plant to a brightly lit location where temperatures remain between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid overwatering the money tree, especially when it's in cold shock. Instead, place a warm steam vaporizer near the flowerpot to increase the humidity around the tree. Water only when the first 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry, then drench the soil until the water drains from the bottom of the flowerpot. Keep the money tree out of drafts, including those from air conditioning vents, and warm until new leaves appear.

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.

Pests and Disease

Outdoors, pachira has no significant problems with either insects or diseases, but houseplants aren't so lucky. Some problems that can occur with an indoor plant include:

  • Yellow leaves might mean the plant has too little humidity or fertilizer. Spray the plant once or twice daily or place its pot on a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity and make sure you're feeding the plant during the growing season.
  • Leaf spots may indicate lack of potassium. Check the amount of the mineral in your fertilizer and add a supplemental potassium fertilizer as directed on the package label.
  • Root rot can appear with wilted leaves, leaf drop or softened stems. Cut back on watering to let the soil breath or repot the plant if your soil doesn't drain well.
  • Mold on the surface of the soil might mean you are letting the soil remain too wet, rather than simply moist. Cut back on watering.
  • Scales, small rounded, brown bugs, aphids, tiny green bugs and spider mites appearing as a thin, white web can be washed off by moving the plant outside and giving it a strong spray from your hose. A neem oil treatment is also effective against aphids, and a rapeseed oil product works for spider mites.
  • Fungus gnats, which look like tiny black flies, lay eggs on the surface of the soil. Cover the soil with sand or pebbles to prevent them from laying eggs or hang sticky traps to catch the flies.

The History and Origin of Money Trees

An exhaustive look at this auspicious tree.

The Pachira Aquatica or the the money tree is a tropical tree that is native to Central and South America, where it naturally grows in swamps.

History and Name

The Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) is a plant that has many legends and beliefs originating from China. Although there are many tales and stories as to its beginnings, the most common story is that at a truck driver in Taiwan had decided to braind the trunks of five small tress in a single pot.

A more legendary tale floats around a poor farmer who was down on his luck and spirit. One day, he found a very curious looking plant with braided trunks. Upon inspecting the plant, he found the plant to be hardy and resilient—and took this as a lesson that he as well should learn to be resilient and strong.

From the seed of this miraculous plant, he grew more of them and sold them. He soon became one of the most wealthiest people in Taiwan and, attributing his wealth to the Pachira plant, he dubbed it the Money Tree.

Myth and Beliefs

The braided money tree is considered to symbolize the five fundamentals of Feng Shui elements: water, metal, wood, earth, and fire. Most commonly, the money tree consists of five intertwined trees. The plant also symbolizes great wealth and is seen to bring financial luck and fortune to its owner. It is a very popular indoor plant for work or home.

Distribution Around the World

Nowadays, you can see money trees all around Asia, Europe, and the United States. They have developed great cultural significance in Asia and are often adorned with red ribbon and other ornaments.

Today, the plants are symbols of luck and good fortune and it is believed that having one in your home can bring you wealth. The branches each have five leaves, representing the five Feng Shui elements. It is possible to find a branch with six or seven leaves on it, though this is quite rare. A branch with extra leaves is considered to be a sign of great fortune.

Presence in the Home

The money tree is not a guaranteed method of solving financial problems in your life(unless you’re reading the book!) but mostly a way to make you feel calm and bountiful in spirit. This income-earning plant can live prosperously in your home for decades with care and attention, which pays back in dividends. In addition to the money tree creating harmony in your life, it is possible to pass your wealth along to family or friends by giving the cuttings to them as gifts.

Care and Pruning

The money tree is a chestnut tree that produces large, edible chestnuts. However, some bad news: when grown indoors it produces neither nuts nor flowers. Pruning the plant at the top helps to give it a bushier bushy appearance. The soil for the plant needs to be well-drained and moist. Thought its natural habitat is near water, beware! Too much watering is not recommended. When kept moist and well-watered, the plant grows rapidly. You can add river sand to the soil as it helps with drainage. The plant likes medium light, but a little shade is also advised.

Although the money tree plant is good luck and calming, it will only do those things for you if it is alive—so there are a few tips for caring for the plant. First of all, when you are planting the money tree you should use rich soil and place it in a pot with good drainage. Second, they should be planted in areas with limited or minimal amounts of sunlight. Third, Money tree plants should be watered every 7 to 10 days, to ensure that the deeper soil remains moist. Finally, fertilizer should be administered once every three months (specifically, timed-release fertilizer) so that your plant will continue to get the food it needs.

Here are some fascinating facts about the money tree --

Rumored to bring luck and prosperity to the owner, there's a good reason money trees are popular gifts for executives and frequently used as office décor.

The Money Tree Was an Answered Prayer

According to legend, a man prayed for money and then became rich by growing multiple trees from one. He credited the tree for his new-found wealth, giving the tree its name.

Money Trees Create Positive Energy

Practioners of Feng Shui often turn to money trees as a means of creating positive energy in living spaces.

Money Trees are Taller Than You Think

Even though they're most often kept in homes and offices, money trees can grow to be quite tall—up to seven feet!

More Leaves Mean More Good Luck (especially seven)

Most money trees have five or six leaves on each stem, but you'll occasionally find one with seven leaves on each stem. If you do, you might want to consider buying a lottery ticket—seven leaf stems are rumored to bring extra luck.

You Need a Money Tree

Pachira plants are becoming especially popular in America. Because this bonsai plant is easier to care of than other bonsais, its popularity has taken off. Many believe that the Pachira plant gives off good energy and leads to wealth and happiness.

Whether you believe that the money tree will make you rich or you just like the aesthetic qualities of this plant, you can't go wrong when you're getting yourself a Money Tree.

So whether it is in your home or business, a Money tree plant is a great way to keep both your employees as well as your customers relaxed. Feeling great in your indoor environment leads to an increase of productivity in an office (or home). Additionally, beautifying your retail space with plants can encourage shoppers to spend more time shopping in your store— the next best thing to a tree that grows money!

I hope you enjoyed this incredible article on the history of the money tree. Now go read the book.

Common Growing Problems

Droopy, yellow, or brown-tinged leaves could indicate a few problems with your money tree. The most common issue tends to be improper watering. Be sure to water thoroughly, yet infrequently (once or twice per week), and ensure your pot has a drainage system.

Low humidity may also cause droopy or discolored leaves. Boost humidity by misting your money tree regularly, and keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid burning the leaves.

Pests like spider mites, scale, and mealybugs can impede the growth and health of your money tree. Remove them by blasting leaves with water (cover the pot and soil before you do this), dab leaves with rubbing alcohol or use an insecticidal solution.   You could also prune and dispose of heavily infested parts of the plant in a tightly sealed bag. Be sure to sterilize your pruning tool, too.

Watch the video: Money Tree Care Tips