When and How to Prune Money Tree Plants

Money tree plants are wonderful tropical houseplants with plenty of character. However, Pachira aquatica plants can grow quickly, which means they need to be pruned regularly and correctly. In this article, I’ll explain when and how to prune money tree plants.

When and How to Prune Money Tree Plants

When and How to Prune Money Tree Plants – The Essentials

For optimal results, I prune money tree plants in spring or early summer during the active growing season. Remove any damaged, dead, or diseased stems and leaves. Shape Pachira aquatica plants by cutting just above healthy nodes. Cut above outward-facing nodes for bushier growth and above inward-facing nodes for taller growth.

Why Pruning Money Tree Plants is Important

When I first started caring for my money tree plant, I quickly learned that regular pruning was key. I often found myself removing old, damaged, or diseased leaves and stems. By doing this, not only did my money tree thrive, but I also noticed a surge in its new growth.

I had initially bought my money tree because I was drawn to its neatly formed shape (and some even come with braided trunks). Over time, as it grew, I took the initiative to prune and shape it to maintain that attractive appearance.

There was a time when my money tree started outgrowing its spot in my living room. Instead of moving it to a new place or getting a bigger pot, I decided to prune it, which kept its size manageable and even gave it a bushier look. I even tackled some roots that began protruding from the pot, realizing it was a handy alternative to repotting.

When I thought about propagating and expanding my indoor garden, I remembered that the Pachira aquatica could be propagated using stem cuttings. So, with each pruning session, I saw an opportunity to create a brand new money tree plant for free! 

How Fast, Tall, and Wide Do Money Tree Plants Grow Indoors?

How Fast, Tall, and Wide Do Money Tree Plants Grow Indoors?

Pachira aquatica plants are native to swamps and other wetland habitats across Central and South America. Pachira aquatica plants can quickly grow up to 60 feet tall in these habitats. Thankfully, these tropical plants won’t grow that tall indoors.

When cultivated as houseplants, money tree plants will usually grow between 3 and 6 feet tall. Money tree plants can also grow approximately 1 to 2 feet wide. Pachira aquatica plants can also grow outdoors in USDA Zones 10 to 12, where they will reach around 10 feet tall.

Money tree plants grow pretty quickly, which is why pruning is essential. Pruning allows you to keep your money tree plant at the desired size. This also encourages your money tree plant to develop a bushier appearance.

When is the Best Time of Year to Prune a Money Tree Plant?

When I first got my money tree plant, I thought I could prune it whenever I felt like it. However, I soon learned the hard way that timing is everything (spring and early summer were the ideal times to give my Pachira aquatica a heavy trim). During these months, it seemed like my plant was full of life and energy, bouncing back quickly after a pruning session.

Any damaged or diseased stems and leaves can be removed from money tree plants at any time of year. This type of minimal pruning doesn’t do much damage, which means that your plant will recover quickly.

Avoid pruning money tree plants too close to winter. These tropical plants need warm, humid conditions and go dormant during the winter. Pruning your Pachira aquatica plant too close to winter impairs your plant’s recovery.

What Are the Essential Tools for Pruning Money Tree Plants?

When pruning your money tree plant, using the right equipment is important. This minimizes the damage caused by pruning, enabling your plant to recover more quickly. Money tree plants also have fairly thick stems that require specialized tools.

Prune money tree plants using clean, sharp pruning shears. Sharp tools make cleaner cuts, which reduces the risk of diseases infecting your plant. Sterilize your shears using a 5% bleach solution to prevent the spread of diseases from other plants.

How and Where to Prune and Shape Money Tree Plants

How and Where to Prune and Shape Money Tree Plants

Depending on your goal, there are a couple of ways to prune money tree plants. With more mature plants, you’re more likely to want to reduce their height and spread. You’ll want to prune younger plants in a specific way to encourage more growth.

How and Where to Prune and Shape Mature Money Tree Plants

Remove any dead, damaged, or weakened stems when pruning mature money tree plants. Identify these stems and cut them back at the base of the stem. You can also cut at least three inches below the dead or damaged part of the stem.

Step back and look at your plant once you’ve removed any dead or yellowing stems or leaves. This helps you create a plan for shaping it. Cut back the top stems just above a healthy node if the plant is too tall. This allows your money tree plant to keep growing.

After you’ve trimmed your plant to the desired height, it’s time to shape it. Cut back any unwanted young stems at the bottom of the main trunk to maintain an attractive tree-like look. Leave an inch of each branch protruding from the main stem. Removing the entire branch can cause unsightly scarring on the trunk.

How and Where to Prune and Shape Young Money Tree Plants

Young money tree plants shouldn’t need as much pruning as mature specimens. With young plants, you’re mainly trying to create a bushy habit and train the plant into a desired shape. Always cut at a 45-degree angle, as this creates the cleanest cut and encourages new growth.

Start by removing any unwanted new stems at the base of the trunk, as described above. You can then focus on shaping your young money tree plant. When shaping young money tree plant branches, always cut back to just above a node. Choosing which node to cut back to alters how the plant grows.

Cutting above an outward-facing node encourages a wider canopy. Cutting just above an inward-facing node encourages the plant to grow upwards. However, never remove more than a third of each branch in one go, or the plant will struggle to recover.

Post-Pruning Care for Your Money Tree Plant

Providing optimal conditions for your money tree plant helps it recover quickly after pruning. Water money tree plants whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry. It also helps to lightly water them just after pruning.

Position money tree plants somewhere that provide approximately four hours of bright, indirect light daily. These tropical plants need warm, humid conditions with temperatures between 65 and 80ºF and moderate humidity. Fertilize Pachira aquatica plants once a month during spring and summer.

When and How to Prune Money Tree Plants FAQs:

Should I Prune Pachira aquatica plants?

Pachira aquatica plants should be pruned to remove dead or diseased stems or leaves. Pruning also promotes bushy growth and allows you to train your plant into a desired shape.

How Do You Prune Pachira aquatica?

Prune Pachira aquatica plants during spring and early summer using clean, sharp secateurs. When trimming healthy stems, always cut just above a node. Remove any damaged or dead growth.

How Do You Make Pachira aquatica Plants Bushy?

Make Pachira aquatica plants bushier by pruning younger stems just above outward-facing nodes. This encourages your plant to create a bushier, fuller-looking canopy.

Pruning Money Tree Plants – Wrapping Up

Money tree plants respond well when pruned during spring or early summer. Start by removing any damaged or dead growth before shaping the tree. Cutting just above outward or inward-facing nodes influences how your plant grows. Always use clean, sharp pruning shears.

For more, see our in-depth guide on whether money tree plants are pet friendly.

Contributing Editor | edd@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

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