The money tree plant, otherwise known as Guiana Chestnut or Pachira Aquatica, is believed to bring luck and prosperity to its owners.
Whether you want a money tree plant for these reasons or simply because you want a tree-like plant for your indoors, there are many arguments why this plant is a good choice for a houseplant.
Below you can read about the plant’s keeping requirements and I will also go over the reasons why it’s a good idea to get this houseplant regardless of your belief in the legends and stories that surround it.
Money Tree Plant Care Tips
One of the most interesting features of this plant is its braided trunk. However, the money tree plant’s trunk does not naturally grow braided. Instead, multiple stems are braided together while they’re still soft.
Another great feature of this plant is that it’s very easy to cultivate. It can withstand infrequent watering and it will also accept less than ideal light conditions.
The money tree plant can get as tall as 3 to 6 feet. In its natural habitat, however, it can grow to ten times its indoor size.
The Pachira Aquatica is known as the easiest to grow indoor tree. It can grow as tall or as small as you want it.
If your money tree plant starts to grow too tall or its branches grow unevenly, you can reshape it to encourage a more compact or even growth.
Use sharp gardening shears and make it a point to prune your money tree plant in spring.
Start by pruning off branches with dry or brown leaves, then prune off branches that appear overgrown on top and the sides of the plant.
When pruning, take care not to trim the plant more than half of its size.
The money tree plant requires bright, indirect light, although it does well even in moderate or low light conditions.
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. The leaves will scorch if they’re exposed to direct sunlight.
While it can do okay even in low light conditions, it develops much better in indirect light.
The money tree plant is forgiving when it comes to a few missed waterings.
It can even be more forgiving with overwatering than most houseplants. Yet, it’s not immune to either extremes, so it’s best if you understand how to water it correctly.
The best way to water this plant is to allow the top layer of the soil to dry out between waterings. The top 1-4 inches of soil can dry out before you water your plant again.
Never let the plant sit in water or soggy soil, because you create a favorable environment for fungal diseases to thrive, which will cause rotting at the roots and at the base of the plant.
Moderately moist soil is tolerated well, so thrive to achieve that balance without falling into extremes too often.
Temperature & Humidity
The money tree plant does best in consistently warm environments. After all, it’s a tropical plant.
Its ideal range is somewhere between 70 F to 80 F, but it can tolerate higher and slightly lower temperatures as well.
Temperatures below 50 F will start to damage the plant, however, brief exposure to lower temperatures may not kill the plant, only cause it to lose a few leaves.
I once left my money tree outside when temperatures dropped below 40 F, and except for a few damaged leaves, my money tree bounced back once I rushed it back inside.
The plant prefers a good amount of moisture in the air around it, so if your house is particularly dry, you’re going to need to create some humidity around the plant.
A pebble tray with water to sit the plant on top of it, or a straight-up humidifier can enhance humidity levels around the plant, creating a favorable environment.
Don’t mist the plant, especially when it comes to its leaves. The leaves should be kept dry to avoid fungal diseases.
The most important feature of the potting soil that works best for the money tree plant is good drainage. A soil that’s also nutritious works even better.
Peat moss-based, sandy soil fits this description, but cactus soil is also a good option.
Fertilize your money tree plant with half-strength houseplant fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Other than this, once a season it’s good to enrich its soil with compost.
Potting & Repotting
Repotting is usually needed every 2-3 years. Schedule the transplant of your money tree to spring or summer, when the plant is actively growing.
Pick a pot that is one or two sizes bigger than the original pot.
Money Tree Plant Propagation
Although you can’t harvest money from this tree, you can propagate it rather easily by rooting healthy cuttings.
Go with a rooting medium instead of rooting in water. Water rooting will not produce the strongest and healthiest roots systems.
Take the cutting in spring when new growths emerge. Choose a 6 inch section that has 2-3 leaf nodes. Plant in a 4 inch pot with drainage holes.
Money Tree Plant Diseases and Pests
The money tree plant is resistant to pests and resilient when it comes to diseases.
The pests that are attracted to this plant include mealybugs and aphids, both of which can be managed with insecticidal soap and regular neem oil use.
Diseases that can affect the money tree plant include blight and leaf spot. These mostly appear as brown, patchy spots, if the leaves are not kept dry enough.
Moist leaves are a breeding ground for fungal diseases. They can quickly weaken the plant, so keep the leaves dry and don’t water from above.
If the diseases it’s already full-blown, you need to treat the plant with fungicidal spray.
White powdery mildew is another fungal issue that can cause problems, but it’s easily treatable by spraying the plant with neem oil.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can happen because of overwatering, but it’s untreatable once it’s in advanced stages. The only way to prevent it from plaguing your money tree plant is to avoid overwatering.
Money Tree Plant FAQs
Here are some more tips on how to ensure the best care for your money tree plant and possible issues you may encounter.
When to Braid the Trunk of my Money Tree?
You should start braiding the trunk when stalks are still flexible and slim. As the plant grows, you can continue braiding the branches as needed.
Once the stalks harden and turn woody, braiding is no longer possible.
Can I Move my Pachira Aquatica Plant Outdoors?
Once the winter frost is long gone and spring has settled in with warm weather, you can move your money tree plant outdoors and keep it outdoors throughout the summer.
When outside temperatures begin to dip close to 50 °F, move your money tree plant back inside.
Make sure you position your plant somewhere out of direct sunlight.
Keeping the plant outside throughout summer will encourage new growth and, in some cases, it may even encourage blooming.
Why are the Leaves of my Money Tree Plant Falling Off?
Several reasons exist as to why the leaves of your Guiana Chestnut plant keep falling off.
Luckily, most of these reasons have to do with how you care for the plant; hence they can be easily corrected by following the plant care tips I discuss in this article.
One reason why the leaves can fall off is sudden changes in temperature. If it gets too hot or too cold for the plant, or if the plant is exposed to cold drafts or heating vents.
Similarly, extremes in the plant’s watering regimen will also cause the leaves to fall off.
If the plant is overwatered, the root system can rot, cutting off the nutrient supply to other parts of the plant. This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Too little water can dry out the plant, leading to similar symptoms as if the plant would be overwatered.
A pest infestation with scale, mealybugs and aphids can also lead to leaf drop.
Why are the new Leaves on my Money Tree Plant are Smaller?
If the leaves of your money tree plant are getting smaller, it could be because of a lack of sunlight or a lack of nutrients.
Move your plant to a location where it can get more light. Also, use a fertilizer to stimulate the plant and provide it with essential nutrients.
A resilient plant with little maintenance requirements, the money tree plant can be a good choice for an indoor plant if you want a tree-like plant with an exotic vibe in your home.
While the plant enjoys plenty of bright, indirect light, it can do ok in lower light conditions as well.
Make sure you understand its watering regimen and you provide it with good draining soil.
If it grows too tall or loses its shape, don’t be afraid to trim it and get it back to a more attractive shape.