The money tree plant, which is also known as pachira aquatica, is a tropical wetland tree that’s native to Central and South America. The tree will typically grow between six and eight feet tall when kept indoors (it can grow over 60 feet tall in the wild). Shockingly, that braided trunk you love so much isn’t actually a natural feature of the plant; most money trees on the market are actually multiple plants that have had their trunks braided together during growth.
One of the best Feng Shui plants for good energy, the money plant is believed to bring luck, wealth and prosperity to its owners. Each stem has five shiny green leaves, which are said to symbolize the five elements of balance: earth, fire, water, wind and metal. While some stems will likely have six leaves, seven-leaves stems are said to bring extra luck to your home.
The money tree is one of the best indoor trees and best indoor plants, because it’s relatively easy to keep healthy — plus the braided trunk and large green leaves pair well with most home styles. Keep reading for tips and tricks that will help you keep your money tree looking its best all year round.
Money Tree Care Tips
Bright, indirect sunlight is best for a healthy money tree — which makes it easy to find the perfect spot for your plant. Consider a plant stand in the living room or on the floor of a home office, as long as the areas doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight. Your plant may adjust to lower lights (although too little light will slow growth and cause the leaves to turn yellow), but direct sunlight will quickly scorch the leaves.
Use a liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength once a month during the summer months (the money tree’s growing season).
When it comes to money plant care, overwatering is one of the most common mistakes that plant parents make, according to Just Add Ice. Water your money plant once every one to two weeks, or when the soil volume is 50 to 75% dry. The plant will likely need water more frequently during spring and summer months. Be sure that your planter has drainage holes, so the roots aren’t sitting in any excess water.
EXPERT TIP: Rotate your tree every time you water it to ensure even growth.
Your money tree will grow best in a space that’s between 60- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit, according to West Coast Gardens. Keep your plant away from heat and air conditioning vents, as well as any drafty windows or doors.
If your money tree is growing out of control (it’s becoming too tall or too wide for your space), you can trim the leaves. Cutting brown or wilted leaves will actually promote healthy growth.
The best time to repot your money tree is during the spring, but it’ll only need to be repotted every two to three years. Find a pot with good drainage that’s one or two sizes bigger than the current one. If you want to keep using the same planter, you can trim some root growth (be careful not to trim more than 25% of the roots) and place the plant back with fresh soil. When buying fresh soil, keep in mind that money trees prefer a well-draining potting mix. The best soils might include sand, pebbles or per lite, or you can find a soil that’s made specifically for money trees.
Common Problems With Money Tree Plants to Avoid
- Yellow leaves: You may be overwatering your plant, or it may be getting too sunlight. Try sticking to a consistent watering schedule or moving your planter into more indirect sunlight.
- Leaf drop: You’re watering your plant too much or too little. It’s important to water your plant on schedule and not to wait until the soil has dried out completely. Temperature fluctuations, too much sunlight or insect infestations can also be factors. Note that some leaf loss is normal during growth.
- Root rot: Overwatering can cause root rot. If you notice leaves becoming droopy, the trunk becoming soft and slimy or an unpleasant smell, act quickly before the root rot becomes fatal. Repot your plant quickly!
- Insect infestation: Aphids, spider mites and mealybugs are particularly fond of money trees. If you notice an insect infestation (yellow leaves are a telltale sign), you can use an insecticidal soap with warm water to help eliminate the tiny pests.
How to Braid Your Money Tree
If you bought a mature money tree, chances are the trunk is already braided. If you have young money trees, it’s relatively simple to braid the money trees yourself. You’ll need anywhere from three to six money trees that are young and healthy (a young money tree should have shoots that are about 15 to 16 inches tall). Gently, slowly and loosely braid the trunks together just as you would hair. Use string or tape to keep the ends together. Continue this process as your money tree grows, but note that it may be several months until your tree needs to be braided again.
Alyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish, BobVila.com, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries.
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