As the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees. However, you can try to bring a bit of good fortune your way with the exquisite Money Tree Plant. What’s more, this plant, also known as Pachira Aquatica, is one of the easiest trees to grow as a houseplant. Its intricate, braided trunk and vibrant green leaves have become synonymous with good luck, fortune, and prosperity in addition to being an excellent ornamental centerpiece in your home. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Money Tree Plant meaning, symbolism, origins & history, and how to care for Money Tree plants at home.
- About the Money Tree Plant
- Money Tree Plant History & Origins
- Scientific Facts about the Money Tree Plant
- Money Tree Plant Uses
- Money Tree Plant Benefits
- Money Tree Plant Meanings and Symbolism
- How to Grow Money Tree Plants at Home:
- How to Care for Money Tree Plants
- How to Propagate Money Tree Plants
- When and How to Repot Money Tree Plants
- Pest and Disease Considerations
- Essential Tools for Money Tree Plant Maintenance & Care
- Where to Buy Money Tree Plants
- Money Tree Plant FAQ
About the Money Tree Plant
Before we dive into growing and caring for your money tree plant, let’s take some time to discover the many interesting facts about this species. We’ll uncover everything from the plant’s history to its benefits before getting into the care guide.
Money Tree Plant History & Origins
The money tree plant is native to South and Central American swamps and marshlands. It is a tropical wetland tree that got its nickname from a mythical story. As the legend goes, a Taiwanese farmer spent his life working hard and struggling financially. He prayed for wealth and spent his days tending to the fields.
One day, he went out to the field and found a small plant, now known as the Pachira aquatica. He had never seen the plant before and assumed it was an answer to his prayers. He took the plant home, learned about its low-maintenance care needs, and began growing more to sell at the market. As there was so much demand for the plant, he named it the money tree for the good fortune it brought him.
Centuries later, in the 1980s, the money tree soared in popularity once again after people began braiding its stems together. This attractive new quality, along with easy upkeep and the idea of good fortune, ensured the Money Tree soon became one of the most famed houseplants around.
Scientific Facts about the Money Tree Plant
The scientific name of the money tree plant is Pachira aquatica. However, Pachira glabra is also commonly mistaken for and sold as the money tree plant.
The money tree belongs to the mallow family, called Malvaceae, which has 4225 known species. The plant is native to South and Central America, but it is also very popular in Taiwan and throughout Asia.
The money tree plant can be grown at home in varying sizes, depending on your preference. While it can get quite prominent in the wild, it is easy to maintain a bonsai tree size if you’d prefer to keep it as a smaller plant indoors.
Money Tree Plant Uses
These days, the money tree is primarily grown as an ornamental plant. The species also grows leaves, flowers, and nuts, and there is mixed information on whether these items are edible. The plant’s nuts contain cyclopropenoid fatty acids, claimed to be unsafe for human and animal consumption. However, some cultures do consume Pachira aquatica’s nuts or use them for medicinal purposes. Always do your research before consuming elements grown from household plants.
You can also use a money tree plant’s bark to make a red dye for crafts or clothes. People often use the tree’s wood to make rope, and the seeds are sometimes used as stuffing for pillows.
Money Tree Plant Benefits
Many would say the most well-known benefit of the money tree plant is the luck it brings. People often keep them in their homes in hopes that they will bring financial prosperity.
Aside from the legendary good fortune the plant brings, money trees offer several benefits to their owners. The species is known for removing toxins from the air, so placing one in your home has a purifying effect.
Money Tree Plants & Feng Shui:
Feng shui experts say the money tree plant contributes a positive chi, or energy, to the home. They also claim it reduces anxiety, stress, and sleep troubles, and it can prevent household arguments and misunderstandings. Feng shui tradition suggests practitioners should have a plant representing money in their homes. The Pachira aquatica is the perfect candidate to represent financial success.
Money Tree Plant Meanings and Symbolism
As the money tree plant has come to symbolize financial gain, many business owners in Japan and East Asia place them in their buildings for good luck. People often tie a red ribbon or other decorations around the plant to increase the good fortune it brings.
How to Grow Money Tree Plants at Home:
Before you grow your money tree plant at home, there are a few key steps you’ll need to take. Below you will find everything you need to know, from light preferences to pest considerations and more.
What to Do Before Planting:
Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind before planting your new money tree.
- Have a pot and saucer on hand for repotting your money tree. A decorative pot can add the fun energy the plant brings to your home.
- Ensure you have the correct soil and tools for taking care of your money tree plant once you bring it home. You can find a detailed list of these items below.
- Find a good spot in your home for your money tree to live. Feng shui tradition would recommend you keep the plant in the southeast area of a room, but anywhere with ample indirect light will do.
- You’ll want to choose a healthy-looking money tree based on your size preferences. Money trees with seven leaves are said to be particularly lucky.
How to Plant a Money Tree:
The most suitable pots and planters for your money tree plant will be plastic or glass, as they retain the moisture this water-loving species needs to thrive. Glazed ceramic or terracotta is also a good option, but it may require more watering. Your money tree can thrive outside, but keeping the plant in a pot allows you to move it indoors when temperatures drop to around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The planter you use to pot your money tree plant should be one or two inches larger than its original container. If you use a larger pot, the tree will begin to grow larger as well.
What is the Best Soil Mix for Money Tree Plants?
Money tree plants prefer a free-draining potting mix. They enjoy moist soil but should be left to dry thoroughly in between watering cycles. A soil mix with sand or peat-moss base works well for this species.
For more, see our comprehensive guide to the best soil mix for Money Tree Plants.
How Big Will a Money Tree Plant Grow?
Money tree plants can get up to 59 feet tall in the wild, but they are easy to maintain at a bonsai size or as an indoor plant that’s around 3 or 4 feet tall. Cut back your plant if it grows too large to maintain your desired size.
Money Tree Plant Light Preferences:
When searching for your money tree plant’s ideal placement, you’ll want to scope out a spot with plenty of bright, indirect light throughout the day. Somewhere near a south-facing window behind Venetian blinds or in a sun-filled room would be careful. Just try to avoid direct, intense sunlight for extended periods.
How to Care for Money Tree Plants
Now that you’ve planted your money tree, it’s time to explore the ins and outs of caring for the plant. A lush and vibrant tree symbolizes good fortune, and it also makes for a nicer decoration. Whether you’re planting the tree for wealth or aesthetics, you’ll want to read on to discover key care tips.
When to Water Money Tree Plants:
The great thing about a money tree plant is that it enjoys living in moist soil. Its tropical roots mean the plant likes high humidity, so it is tolerant of overwatering. However, your money tree plant is still prone to root rot, so ensure the soil dries between watering cycles.
A good indicator it’s time to water is when the top few inches of soil are completely dry to the touch. Then, water your plant thoroughly until you see water flowing through the drainage holes.
Money Tree Plant Feeding Preferences:
Do not fertilize your money tree plant during its first year as a house plant. After a year in your home, you can fertilize the tree. Feed it with a liquid plant fertilizer once a month during the summer only if needed.
How to Prune Money Tree Plants:
When it comes to pruning your money tree plant, you’ll want to have some pruning shears and loppers handy. Take the following steps when pruning your money tree plant.
- Cut out dead twigs to keep your plant healthy. Trim them back to the plant’s base, or three inches past the dead bit of the twig. If the twig is located on the braided trunk, you will want to cut one inch before the base to avoid a scar.
- Trim the tops of stems to keep your money tree at your preferred height. Keep the tree pruned close to the braided portion of the trunk to maintain its size.
- Remove new stems that grow on the lower portion of the trunk to keep the braid visible. Leave one inch intact to avoid scarring.
- Prune in the winter, not during the plant’s growing season.
How to Propagate Money Tree Plants
You can propagate your money tree plant through stem cuttings in the summer months. Cut a ten to fifteen-centimeter stem and place it in water or moist soil. Letting the stem root in water first will help the plant grow faster, but both methods work well.
If you prefer to grow the roots in water, make sure you fill the container at least two centimeters deep and keep it in the sun as it grows. Once the roots have formed, dip them in rooting powder or place them directly in moist soil and watch your cutting grow.
Here’s a great video from Easy Peasy Gardening to see the process in action!
When and How to Repot Money Tree Plants
Here are some tips to remember when repotting your money tree plant.
- You can consider repotting this species every one or two years as needed.
- When you repot the tree, you’ll want to use a container about one to two sizes larger, unless you plan to keep it in the same-sized pot. The pot you choose should have at least one drainage hole.
- You can shave the root ball if needed to maintain the tree’s size.
- Place the plant in its new container and water it thoroughly after repotting.
Pest and Disease Considerations
Here are a few common issues you may experience when caring for your money tree plant and the best ways to treat them.
- Scale insects, mealybugs, and aphids: Treat these pests with systemic insect control, insecticidal soap, or a horticultural oil spray.
- Root rot and mold: These can occur due to overwatering. If you notice root rot or mold, cut away the affected areas and repot in well-draining soil.
- Leaf spots: This can occur due to overwatering or a potassium deficiency. Use a special fertilizer to boost potassium and adjust your plant’s watering schedule.
- Yellow leaves: Your money tree’s leaves may change color and fall in the autumn. This is normal. If this occurs outside of autumn, increasing the humidity in its environment may help.
Essential Tools for Money Tree Plant Maintenance & Care
Before you purchase a money tree plant, you’ll want to have some typical plant care tools on hand. Make sure you have the following items for an optimal experience caring for your money tree plant.
- A plastic or glass pot or glazed ceramic container with a drainage hole
- A saucer or tray to catch water beneath the pot
- A free-draining soil mix
- A liquid houseplant fertilizer
- Pruning shears and loppers for cutting back or propagating your plant
- A larger container for repotting if you wish to increase the size of your money tree plant
Money Tree Plant FAQs:
How do you take care of a money tree plant?
Money tree plants prefer a free-draining soil mix. They enjoy moist soil but should be left to dry thoroughly in between watering cycles. Position your plant in a spot that receives bright, indirect light throughout the majority of the day.
Where should you place a money tree?
Somewhere near a south-facing window behind blinds filtering the direct sun rays would be perfect. Ensure the plant is kept free of any cold drafts and in a room with an ambient air temperature above 65F.
How much sun does a money tree need?
Money Tree Plants love bright conditions but keep them out of the way of direct sunlight as this may scorch or burn the plant’s foliage.
Do money trees like small pots?
Like most houseplants, Money Tree Plants should be potted in a vessel or container appropriate to its current size. Ensure there’s sufficient space for the root structure to develop and the base of the plant to be completely covered with soil.
Is it bad luck to buy your own money tree?
It’s fine to buy your own money tree plant. Good fortune and prosperity will follow regardless of whether the plant was gifted to you or if you bought it out of your own pocket!
Do money trees like to be misted?
Money Tree Plants love moderate to high humidity. A gentle, light misting can be beneficial particularly during dry winters and rooms with constant air conditioning running. Be careful not to saturate the foliage with water though as this can lead to fungal infections and pests invading. Often a better option is to invest in a humidity tray to sit underneath the plant or invest in a humidifier to be placed near the plant when needed.
Do I need to braid my money tree?
There’s no obligation to braid your money tree plant. It will grow fine without the decorative interlacing of trunks.
How long do money trees live?
With due care and attention, money tree plants are perfectly capable of thriving for well over 10 years in most homes.
When should I repot my money tree?
Typically you’ll need to consider upsizing to a new potting vessel every 18 months to 2 years depending on the growth rate of your money tree plant. For each upsize, aim for a new potting vessel at least 2 inches larger in diameter compared to the last.
Money Tree Plant Care – Wrapping Up
The money tree is a fantastic choice for both new and experienced indoor plant owners. Its low-maintenance upkeep and attractive aesthetic make the plant an appealing addition to any home. Whether you’re superstitious or not, it can’t hurt to buy a money tree plant to attract good fortune!
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.
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.