In this guide, we’re going to cover some soil basics and information that will help you choose the best soil mix for Money Tree Plants. Also known as Pachira aquatica, these plants are relatively easy to grow indoors. They are popular thanks to their often braided trunks, attractive palm-shaped leaves, fun umbrella-shaped silhouettes, and intrinsic value in feng shui. While they’re easy to grow, they do require the proper environment – including the right kind of potting soil – to thrive.

The Best Soil for Money Tree Plants (Essential Tips)

The Best Soil for Money Tree Plants – The Essentials

Money trees prefer a loamy, well-draining potting mix. They can survive in acidic to alkaline soil but fare best with a substrate in a neutral pH range of 6 to 7.5. They grow well in soil containing a mixture of perlite or vermiculite with peat moss and coarse sand or coco coir and compost.

Why Soil Choice Matters

Why Soil Choice Matters

Soil is directly connected to plant health and vitality because the right soil will contain everything your plant needs to survive. This includes nutrients, moisture, and pest/disease control, while also creating a suitable environment for supporting its root system, aeration, gas exchange, and other structures.

Even the potting mixture’s pH level (acid, neutral, or alkaline) affects health and soil quality. The soil’s pH level can change its structure, toxicity, nutrient availability, and bacterial growth.

What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?

Natural soil and commercial or homemade potting mixes all contain various ingredients, including soil bases and additives. As you might expect, soils can vary quite a bit. This is true for both naturally-occurring soils as well as manufactured potting mixes.

When you look at natural soil, you’ll see it’s broken down into three primary particles: sand, silt, and clay. Sand is the largest, followed by silt and then clay.

The combination of these particles impacts soil texture. Scientists use this texture to classify soils. 

Common Soil Bases:

  • Clay – Clay has very fine mineral particles. It contains little organic matter, making for poor nutrient content. Additionally, it holds moisture, does not drain well, and becomes easily compacted.
  • Sand – Sand features the largest particles of all soil bases. They’re irregularly shaped and drain quickly, providing excellent aeration to plant roots.
  • Silt – Medium-sized mineral and rock particles make up silt.
  • Loam – This topsoil contains a combination of silt, clay, and sand.
  • Peat – Peat, also called turf, comprises partially decomposed organic matter like peat moss.
  • Chalk – Made from calcium carbonate, chalky soils are usually alkaline, well-draining, and gravelly.

Common Potting Mix Additives

Many potting mixes are made from various combinations of the same components. Here are some common potting soil ingredients.

  • Organic Matter/Compost – This combines dead, decomposing things and living things like bacteria and fungi. Organic matter is responsible for most of the nutrient content in soil.
  • Sphagnum Moss – Dried sphagnum moss improves moisture retention. It’s usually used in sandy soils.
  • Coco Coir – These shredded coconut husks also improve moisture retention in naturally dry substrates.
  • Vermiculite – Containing a variety of minerals, vermiculite provides nutrients while also lightening and aerating mixes.
  • Pine Bark Fines – These slivers of pine bark improve moisture retention and provide nutrients as they decompose.
  • Pumice – This volcanic rock improves aeration and loosens the soil. It’s often used to enhance clay substrates.
  • Perlite – A volcanic glass, perlite lightens soil and keeps it loose while preventing compacting.
  • Sand – Although sand is also a soil base, it’s also used as an additive for aeration, drainage, and the prevention of compacting.
  • Soil Activator – A synthetic product, soil activator helps release nutrients in the soil, making them more available to plants.
  • Rocks/Pebbles – Gravel in soil drains rapidly. In arid regions, gravel also makes it easier for plant roots to reach deeper levels of the soil where more water can be found.

Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Money Tree Plants

Common Signs You're Using the Wrong Soil Mix for Money Tree Plants

If a money tree develops a soft, discolored, or mushy trunk or its younger leaves are turning yellow or brown, this could indicate root rot and soil that is holding too much moisture.

If your money tree is growing slowly or not producing as many lush leaves as you would expect, this could indicate that your soil’s pH is off. Money trees can tolerate acidic and alkaline soils, but they do not grow as well in these conditions as they do in a neutral potting mix.

The Importance of Well-Draining Potting Soil for Money Tree Plants

Although money trees grow natively in swampy areas in Central and South America, they cannot survive with too much moisture and are particularly susceptible to root rot.

For this reason, money trees must be grown in containers with ample holes for drainage and a potting medium that allows water to pass through quickly.

What pH Levels in the Soil Are Best Suited to Money Tree Plants?

Money trees fare best in neutral soil with a pH ranging from 6 to 7.5.

The Ultimate Money Tree Plant Soil Mix Home Recipe

The Ultimate Money Tree Plant Soil Mix Home Recipe

If you like getting your hands in the dirt, you can create your own perfectly neutral, well-draining, loamy potting mix for a money tree at home by mixing up the following recipes:

  • Equal parts peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and coarse sand
  • Equal parts coco coir, compost, and perlite or vermiculite

While mixing, you can add a bit of moisture to help your mix stick and blend well. Just be careful not to add so much water that the mixture becomes soggy.

The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Money Tree Plants

If you prefer a less-messy method to the houseplant madness, then you can purchase a pre-mixed potting medium designed to keep your money tree healthy.

(Editors Note: Petal Republic participates in partnership programs with Amazon and other merchants to help connect readers with relevant products and services we may recommend).

Soil Mix for Money Tree Plants FAQs:

How often should I switch soil for my money tree plant?

Money trees only need to be repotted every two to three years. You can refresh their soil by applying a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength once a month in the spring and summer.

Can I use cactus soil for money tree plants?

Yes, money trees can be planted in cactus soil. Since it’s well-draining, it’s a great alternative to mixing your own money tree plant potting mix. Look for a formula that includes dried peat moss.

Do money tree plants like wet or dry soil?

Money trees generally prefer a humid environment. However, their soil should be allowed to drain well and dry completely between waterings, as they cannot tolerate overly wet or soggy soil or standing water.

What are the primary considerations for soil when repotting money tree plants?

When repotting a money tree plant, the primary consideration regarding its soil is to keep it as consistent as possible. When repotting, mix or select a fresh potting mix similar to the plant’s original potting substrate.

Does the size of the plant affect the soil mix for money tree plants?

While all money trees should have some sand in their potting mix, sand is especially important for large money trees. These plants can be top-heavy and need the weight of the sand to support them.

Does the potting container influence the type of soil mix for money tree plants?

Money trees need a well-draining container as well as a well-draining potting mix. If your container does not drain, choose one that’s a bit deeper than it needs to be and add an inch or two of pebbles to the bottom to better protect the roots from excess water.

Do money tree plants need deep potting containers?

Grown indoors, money trees produce relatively shallow roots systems and do not need exceptionally deep containers. Choose one that’s about two inches larger in width and depth than your plant’s root ball.

Bring Good Luck and Prosperity But Start With the Soil

Money trees are thought to attract good luck and prosperity when you grow them in your home. To make sure your money tree plants stay healthy and keep you prosperous, start by providing them with the right soil mix.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Money Tree Plants in the home or office for optimal care and feng shui benefits, whether money tree plants are pet friendly, and the ideal light requirements for money tree plants.

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author Andrew Gaumond

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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