Money Tree

OFFICIAL NAME

Pachira aquatica

ALSO KNOWN AS

Braided Money Tree, Guiana Chestnut, Saba Nut

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Central & South America | Tropical Wetland

ABOUT THE
PLANT

Often sold with a decoratively braided trunk, this pretty indoor tree is thought to bring good fortune, but we'd like the Money Tree even if that wasn't the case. The bright green palm shaped leaves bring a perky, cheerful vibe to your home.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

easy going, bright indirect, goldilocks, mid-size, upright, tabletop, floor, tree or tree-like, wetland, palmate, low light tolerant

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Money Tree

The basics

Water Needs

When you water the Money Tree, they prefer a good thorough drink, but don't want their roots sitting in water—so make sure to dump out any excess water that collects in the drainage tray and wait to water again until the top inch or so of soil has dried.

Water

Preferred Light

To thrive, Money Trees prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Known to lean toward the sun—leading to lopsided growth, so do try to provide even, consistent light year-round and give your plant a little turn every few waterings to promote well-balanced growth.

Light

Humidity Needs

Your Money Tree will thrive with a humidity boost. Try to provide additional moisture by grouping with other humidity lovers or placing in a humid spot, like the kitchen or bathroom. Of course, a humidifier will be your best bet for guaranteed humidity.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 6 ft tall with a 2 ft spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

Generally in an upright tree-like formation. Usually found with several bulbous stems braided together to form a sturdier trunk. Each skinny stem is topped with bursts of leaflets that form a light, airy canopy. Works best on a tabletop for smaller specimens and on the floor or a plant stand for a larger one.

Format

Leaf Look

Elongated and a bit floppy, bright green leaflets emerge in sets of five from a central point, giving them a hand-like appearance (a trait known as palmate).

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

The green stems are particularly pliable, so if your Money Tree is growing out of its braid, you can gently re-braid the new growth and use a tie to keep it in place until the stems have begun to toughen up and turn brown.

Pro Tip

Did You Know?

The Money Tree gained popularity as a houseplant in Taiwan in the 1980s, where it first earned its moniker of "Money Tree" as it became a symbol of good luck and positive energy.

Fun Fact

Water

|

Allow top inches of soil to dry between waterings.

Water Needs

When you water the Money Tree, they prefer a good thorough drink, but don't want their roots sitting in water—so make sure to dump out any excess water that collects in the drainage tray and wait to water again until the top inch or so of soil has dried.

Light

|

Medium to bright, indirect light.

Preferred Light

To thrive, Money Trees prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Known to lean toward the sun—leading to lopsided growth, so do try to provide even, consistent light year-round and give your plant a little turn every few waterings to promote well-balanced growth.

Humidity

|

Sensitive to low humidity—keep in a humid spot.

Humidity Needs

Your Money Tree will thrive with a humidity boost. Try to provide additional moisture by grouping with other humidity lovers or placing in a humid spot, like the kitchen or bathroom. Of course, a humidifier will be your best bet for guaranteed humidity.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Non-toxic. Completely pet safe!

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Size

|

Pretty big, but manageable.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 6 ft tall with a 2 ft spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Upright tree-like formation.

Overall Look

Generally in an upright tree-like formation. Usually found with several bulbous stems braided together to form a sturdier trunk. Each skinny stem is topped with bursts of leaflets that form a light, airy canopy. Works best on a tabletop for smaller specimens and on the floor or a plant stand for a larger one.

Leaf Shape

|

Bright green palmate leaf bundles.

Leaf Look

Elongated and a bit floppy, bright green leaflets emerge in sets of five from a central point, giving them a hand-like appearance (a trait known as palmate).

Pro Tip

|

If needed, keep braiding the new growth.

Pro Tip

The green stems are particularly pliable, so if your Money Tree is growing out of its braid, you can gently re-braid the new growth and use a tie to keep it in place until the stems have begun to toughen up and turn brown.

Fun Fact

|

A symbol of good luck and positive energy.

Did You Know?

The Money Tree gained popularity as a houseplant in Taiwan in the 1980s, where it first earned its moniker of "Money Tree" as it became a symbol of good luck and positive energy.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in a rich, very well-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for indoor plants or make your own mix. You can try a 1:1:1:0.5 mix of potting mix, orchid bark, perlite, and activated charcoal. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 2-3 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, you can snip off the new growth to keep your Money Tree small. And regular pruning of the lower leaves can help encourage new growth at the top of the plant. In addition, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests.

Propagation

You can propagate Money Trees with an apical stem cutting (the top of the stem where there is new growth). Try to cut a decent section with 3-4 leaf bundles and cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting in water or another medium. Money Trees are a bit more stubborn to root that other plants, so it can be helpful to dip the cut stem in rooting hormone first. Once the roots are a few inches long you can pot up your new Money Tree! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

Money Trees can also be grown as Bonsai, which gives them quite a whimsical look with a bulbous braided trunk and a charmingly perky canopy.

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why are the leaf tips on my Money Tree browning?

Symptom

Leaves turning brown just on the edges or tips. These edges may gradually change from yellow to brown, crispy, and possibly a bit curled.

Cause

Browning just on the edges of tips is usually a reaction to low humidity. Since many of our houseplants have tropical origins, they also thrive in humid conditions. Our average indoor humidity is usually adequate, but some plants are simply more sensitive to changes in humidity than others. You may notice this more acutely when conditions are particularly dry—like when you turn on the heater in winter.

Solution

Try to accommodate your plant's needs by locating them in more naturally humid places, like the bathroom or kitchen, or grouping a bunch of humidity-loving plants together. But the only way to truly guarantee increased humidity is to get a humidifier!

Once you've addressed the problem: If the brown tips bother you, you can trim them back. Do your best to follow the shape of the leaf to help them look natural. Also, try to cut just short of the discolored edge so it doesn’t expand.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Money Tree wilting and yellowing?

Symptom

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow—particularly the older, lower leaves. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot (turning brown and mushy).

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why is my Money Tree dropping leaves?

Symptom

Leaves dropping in droves! Many leaves have suddenly died off.

Cause

Money Trees can be particularly sensitive to environmental changes. The most common culprits are sudden temperature changes (when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents) and big moves (from the nursery to your home or simply from one part of your house to another).

Solution

Try to avoid any shocks to the system by introducing change gradually (when possible). For example, if you want to move a plant from their preferred bright light to a lower light location, do so for just a few hours at a time, slowly increasing the duration over time. Otherwise, you may have to accept some leaf drop and simply continue following the best possible care routine for your plant until new growth emerges.

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