pachira aquatica

Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide

Below you will find our Money Tree Plant Care Guide. Also known as Pachira aquatica. It is also known as Malabar chestnut, French peanut, Guiana chestnut, Provision tree, Saba nut, Monguba, Pumpo, and best known as The Money Tree or The Money Plant.

Water

Water heavily, then allow the top 2”-3” to dry out before watering again. To prevent root rot, make sure your plant is never standing in water. Your Money Tree requires less water in fall and winter months as temps cool and growth slows.

Light

Outdoors: prefers full sun to partial shade. Indoors: bright, indirect light. Rotate at each watering for even growth and leaf development. Adapts well under fluorescent lights.

Humidity

Loves humidity so be sure to increase the humidity in the winter months with a pebble tray or a humidifier. It will also appreciate regular misting year round.

Temp

60° – 90° F, can tolerate cold to 45° F without damage, not frost-hardy.

Soil

Prefers well draining soil

Fertilizer

Feed monthly in the spring and summer with liquid fertilizer at half strength. No fertilizer during the winter when growth slows. Be sure the soil is damp before applying any fertilizer.

Diseases

Anthracnose, powdery mildew, root rot

Pests

Aphids, mealybugs, scales, spider mites, fungus gnats

Common
Names

Money Tree plant, Money plant, Malabar chestnut, Guiana chestnut, French peanut, saba nut, wild kapok tree, monguba, pumpo, provision tree, pachira

Scientific Name

Pachira aquatica (formerly Bombax glabrum)

Toxicity

According to the ASPCA, your Money Tree Plant is safe for pets.
Feng shui practitioners believe that when placed properly, The Money Tree creates positive “chi,” or positive energy and good luck. The Money trees often produce five leaves per stem and the number five is also important to feng shui practitioners as it represents the elements. It has also been said the Money Tree may reduce anxiety, stress, and may even help relieve sleeping disorders.
Pachira aquatica is the perfect indoor plant to give your home a tropical feel. With its stunning braided stem and bright green palm looking leaves, it looks both like a tree and palm. Native to the swamps of Mexico to northern South America, the Pachira aquatica is also very popular in Taiwan and East Asia. It is a very durable plant that can grow in many different conditions, but it will reach its full potential with proper light and water.
Pachira aquatica loves moisture, but it should not stand in water because it is susceptible to root rot. From spring to fall, water about once a week and be sure to remove any excess water that drips into the saucer. Try to avoid getting the stems wet if possible. Wait to water again when the top 2”-3” of the soil is completely dry. When available use rainwater, although distilled water also works well. The leaves will indicate if a change in your watering schedule is needed. Drooping leaves tend to mean that you are not watering enough and dropping leaves may mean it is getting too much water. 
Riverbanks, swamps, wetlands, and damp mountain forests are where the Pachira aquatica thrives outdoors. Huge yellow flowers bloom which produce oval brown fruit. Inside are nuts which can be used as a substitute for cocoa. 
Occasionally wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust. Reduce watering in winter as temperatures rise and growth slows. As your plant matures and the stem continues to get thicker, the less water it will need. The thick part of the stem at the bottom is where it stores water for drier days.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
Pachira Aquatica Plant

Light for your Money Tree

The Money tree plant prefers bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can result in sunburn on the leaves. It will need to gradually be introduced to direct sun. Turn the plant about ¼ turn at each watering to ensure symmetric growth. Pachira aquatica can also grow well under fluorescent light and is a perfect addition to any office. Avoid frequent relocation of your Money Tree as it prefers to stay in the same spot. Leaf drop may occur because of stress if moved too much, although it will eventually adjust to its new spot.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
Pachira Aquatica
Well draining soil is necessary for The Money Tree to thrive. Be sure the pot it is planted in has drainage holes as well. Peat moss-based soil, cactus soil or regular potting soil works well. I like to add some sand or gravel to ensure proper drainage. Soggy soil is the most common reason this plant dies, so make sure the pot is not oversized. Keeping the plant in a smaller pot will also keep it from overgrowing.
Feed monthly in the spring and summer with a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Higher nitrogen in spring, balanced in summer, and higher potassium/phosphorus in fall. No fertilizer is needed during the winter when temperatures rise and growth slows. Be sure the soil is damp before applying any fertilizer. 
Bonsai tree versions of this plant only need fertilization 2-3 times per year. If you want to grow the full tree, use a half-diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer. Fertilizing sticks placed in the soil also work. Too much fertilizer may be harmful to this plant or make it grow in height without fully developing its tree crown.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
pachira aquatica

Pachira Aquatica Humidity

Although the Pachira Aquatica will grow in lower humidity, it thrives in high humidity. If you live in a dry climate, and especially in the winter, increase the humidity by placing some gravel and water in the saucer. It will also appreciate regular misting year round.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
Pachira aquatica
Stem cuttings are the most common way to propagate Pachira Aquatica. Summer is best as this is when it grows the most. Take cuttings that are about 4”-6” long and immediately place them in water or soil.  An option is to dip the ends of your cutting in a rooting hormone powder before placing it in soil. Water propagation usually gives faster results, but you will need to regularly change the water. Preferably every 1-2 weeks. After your cutting has developed a decent size root system, place in well draining soil.
Seeds can also be propagated, but this method is less common than propagation via cuttings. Soak seeds in water for 24 hours. Prepare a plant-based substrate in a pot and evenly place seeds on the soil. Next, cover seeds with about half an inch of soil, lightly water, then place them in a warm and bright location. Water evenly throughout the entire germination process. Once seedlings grow large enough, place them in individual pots.
Pachira aquatica
Pachira leaf and seed

Repotting Money Trees

You may need to re-pot your Money Tree after purchase as they are commonly sold in pots that are too small. The smaller the pots, the smaller the tree will remain. After the initial repotting, only repeat this step when its roots have outgrown its container or every few years in spring.  This also keeps the soil fresh and helps with proper drainage. If you prefer a larger tree you can use a larger pot to promote faster growth. Pots that are too large may result in a full grown tree. Keep in mind that if the pot is too large it will retain moisture, making it susceptible to root rot. Leaf drop may occur after repotting, but this is normal and it will be fine.
Pachira aquatica
Planting Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant
Temperatures above 60° F are best for The Money Tree. USDA zones 10 and 11 have climates to grow this beauty outside. Indoors it does well as a houseplant. In either location, be sure to keep the Pachira Aquatica away from drafts. During winter the plant is in hibernation and can tolerate cold to 45° F without damage and it is not frost-hardy.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
Pachira aquatica
Pruning will help keep your Money Tree small if grown indoors and also encourages new leaf growth. If you want new leaves to sprout, or have a wilting plant, prune off any browning leaves. Make your cut at exactly the point you would like new growth to appear. Leaves can be trimmed at any time of the year, although the fastest growth occurs during the warmer months. New growth will appear near where the cut was made and typically has shorter stems with vibrant leaves. 
Bonsai Money Trees are generally braided when the stalks are young and supple. Money trees grow very quickly and leaves may grow long and tall. If a more compact tree is preferred, be sure to prune back the leaves.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
New growth on Pachira aquatica
Pachira aquatica rarely has any issues with diseases or pests, but in some cases the following problems may occur. Be sure to inspect your Money Tree Plant at each watering.
Yellow leaves may develop in low humidity or because of the wrong amount of fertilizer. Place the plant in a permanent location to avoid stress on the plant. Place pot on a tray of wet pebbles to increase humidity if needed.
Spots on the leaves are generally caused by a potassium deficiency or a fungal disease. Check the amount of the mineral in your fertilizer and add a supplemental potassium fertilizer as directed on the package label. If the leaf spots are from a fungal disease try commercial fungicide sprays to help control the problem. A fungal disease can be prevented by quickly removing any diseased leaves that fall off, watering well and then not watering again until the soil has dried out somewhat, and by keeping the leaves dry. Leaf spots may also develop from overwatering. A moisture meter is my favorite fool-proof way of watering. Be sure to adjust your watering schedule and remove any dead leaves to stop the spreading of disease.
Overwatering can eventually lead to root rot. Root rot can appear with wilted leaves, leaf drop or softened stems. Cut back on watering to let the soil breath and always allow the top 3”- 4” to completely dry out before each watering. Fresh well-draining soil can remedy this issue if the root rot has not gone too far. Be sure to cut off any dead roots when repotting with new soil.
Mold on the surface of the soil means the soil is remaining wet, rather than simply moist. Cut back on watering to avoid this.
Aphids are not uncommon problems if your Money Tree is outdoors in summer. If you find the infestation in the early stages, you may be able to shower off the plant to remove them. Neem oil will also help if water is not sufficient enough.
Spider mites on your Money Tree typically means your plant needs more humidity. White webbing will appear on the stems or undersides of the leaves. Immediately spray off your plant and increase the humidity. Grapeseed oil works well for getting rid of spider mites.
Scale insects usually appear on your Money Tree in the winter as tiny brown bumps or by a sticky film on the leaves. A mixture of 1 part water, 1 part isopropyl alcohol, and 2-3 drops of dish soap should remedy this pest.
If you see tiny black flies hovering around the soil, they are most likely fungus gnats. They 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.
Pachira aquatica – Money Tree Plant – Complete Care Guide
Pachira aquatica new growth
Excessive water could be the culprit if your healthy green leaves are falling off. Brown or yellow leaves that may fall off, typically indicate underwatering. Adjust your watering schedule and use a moisture meter to be sure. Soil should be evenly moist, however never soggy.

How do I keep my Money Tree plant small?

Keeping a Money Tree in a small pot controls its size and is essential when growing a Pachira aquatica as a bonsai plant. You will also want to cut off one or two of the oldest and tallest stems in the fall to control the plant’s size.

How do I grow a tall and large Money Tree plant?

To grow a tall and large Money Tree plant indoors, you will want to repot it as soon as the roots have filled the existing pot. The plant can grow as tall as 6-8 feet as an indoor houseplant. Each month, cut off a few of the larger leaves from the bottom of a Money Tree Plant to encourage new growth at the top. An indoor Money Tree plant may need repotting every 3 years or so if it outgrows its pot and it is best to do in spring when the plant will be producing new growth.

Why are the leaves of my Money Tree Plant falling off?

Excessive water could be the culprit if your healthy green leaves are falling off. Brown or yellow leaves that may fall off, typically indicate underwatering. Adjust your watering schedule and use a moisture meter to be sure. Soil should be evenly moist, however never soggy.

Why are the leaves of my Money Tree Plant getting smaller?

Money Tree leaves may shrink when it is not getting sufficient light. Be sure to move to a brighter location and increase the fertilization.

Can I move my Money Tree Plant outdoors?

In warmer months your Money Tree Plant may be placed outdoors, but be sure to bring indoors when temperatures drop. Placing it outside may increase growth as well.

Should I grow my plant as a full tree or in its bonsai form?

Either is great! It really just depends on your preference, skillset, and space available.

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