Money tree plants (Pachira aquatica) are gorgeous houseplants from Central and South America known for their palm-like leaves. However, these plants can be susceptible to some problems. In this article, I’ll look at some common money tree plant pests and diseases and how to deal with them.

9 Common Money Tree Plant Pests and Diseases (and How to Deal With Them)

Common Money Tree Plant Pests and Diseases:

1) Anthracnose

Anthracnose refers to several similar fungal diseases that can attack money tree plants. Common symptoms of Anthracnose include the appearance of dark lesions and brown or yellow spots all over infected plants. These fungal problems thrive in warm, moist environments.

Treat Anthracnose using organic copper fungicides. If that doesn’t work, then you may have to use synthetic fungicides or dispose of the plant.

2) Aphids

Aphids are common insects with black or green bodies. They feed on plant sap and typically appear in large numbers on leaves and stems. Aphids often produce deposits of sugary honeydew, which can develop into sooty, black mold.

Eliminate aphids using horticultural oils or insecticidal soap. Alternatively, you can usually dislodge aphids using gentle bursts from a hose.

3) Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are annoying but common houseplant pests. These tiny black or brown flies lay their eggs underneath the soil. Once the larvae hatch, they will feed on the roots and rhizomes of plants.

I usually get rid of adult fungus gnats using sticky traps or small saucers of almond oil. Remove the larvae by replacing the top inch or so of soil.

4) Mealybugs

Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on plant sap and thrive in warm, humid conditions. Symptoms of mealybug infestations include stunted growth and the appearance of white, fluffy wax on affected plants.

Like aphids, mealybugs excrete honeydew, a sticky substance that can develop into black, sooty mold. Eliminate mealybugs using horticultural oils and insecticidal soap to dehydrate and suffocate these insects.

5) Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that can affect money tree plants. As its name suggests, powdery mildew creates powdery, white patches on infected leaves. Other symptoms include curling or yellowing leaves that drop off.

Treat powdery mildew using horticultural oils like neem oil or organic copper fungicides. However, stubborn infections may warrant the use of synthetic fungicides.

6) Root Rot

Root rot is another fungal disease that can be a problem for money tree plants. Root rot is caused by overwatering, which results in waterlogged soil. Symptoms of root rot include yellowing leaves and brown, mushy, or smelly roots.

Trim off any rotten roots and repot the plant into some well-draining soil. Try to avoid overwatering your money tree plant.

7) Scale Insects

Scale insects are another sap-sucking pest that can infest money tree plants. Scale insects have armored, scaly bodies. You can usually spot groups of scale insects or their eggs on the leaves. Other symptoms include black, sooty mold caused by honeydew deposits.

The easiest way to get rid of scale insects is to apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oils. These methods suffocate scale insects in large numbers.

8) Spider Mites

Spider mites are common houseplant pests that feed on sap. These tiny arachnids leave behind deposits of white webbing around the leaves and stems. Spider mites use this webbing to cover their eggs.

Other symptoms of spider mite infestations include stunted growth and brown or yellow spots on the leaves. Eliminate spider mites by applying insecticidal soap or horticultural oils.

9) Whiteflies

If you’re growing money tree plants outside in USDA Zones 10 to 12, whiteflies could be a problem. These soft-bodied flies congregate in large numbers to feed on the undersides of leaves. These insects thrive in warm, humid environments.

Like aphids and mealybugs, whiteflies produce honeydew, which can lead to sooty black mold. Other symptoms include yellowing leaves or stunted growth. Use insecticidal soap and horticultural oils to get rid of whiteflies.

Pesticide and Insecticide Options & Solutions

Pesticide and Insecticide Options & Solutions

Horticultural Oils

Horticultural oils such as neem oil (via Amazon) can eliminate pests quickly. These oils work by dehydrating and suffocating the offending pests. Horticultural oils can be sprayed on or applied via droppers.

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap kills pests by suffocating them and drying them out. Use insecticidal soap sprays like this one (via Amazon) to get rid of mealybugs and scale insects. Alternatively, you can try some dish soap mixed in warm water, but sprays are usually more effective.

Organic Copper Fungicides

Organic copper fungicides can treat many fungal diseases that commonly affect money tree plants. Apply these products once every one to two weeks. This organic copper spray from Bonide (via Amazon) is a good choice. Always follow the instructions on the packet when using fungicides.

Synthetic Fungicides

Synthetic fungicides are powerful products that can get rid of fungal diseases. However, these products are less environmentally friendly than organic fungicides.

Managing Pests and Diseases

Managing Pests and Diseases

Although you can use insecticidal soap and organic fungicides to treat pests and diseases, prevention is always the best cure. Taking good care of your money tree plant keeps it strong and healthy, making it less susceptible to problems.

Money tree plants need lots of bright, indirect light every day. Position your money tree approximately 3 feet from an east or south-facing window to achieve optimal light levels. Money tree plants also need neutral, well-draining soils.

Pachira aquatica plants need warm temperatures and moderate to high humidity levels. Protect money tree plants from cold or dry drafts from air vents, open windows, and heaters. These drafts can lower the temperature and humidity around your money tree, making it more vulnerable to diseases and pests.

Overwatering your money tree makes it more susceptible to fungus gnats and root rot. To avoid this, water your money tree plant whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry.

Wrapping Up

Money tree plants are vulnerable to several diseases and pests that thrive in warm, humid environments. Common money tree pests include aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. These plants are also vulnerable to diseases like Anthracnose and powdery mildew. Most problems can be treated using insecticidal soap, horticultural oils, or organic copper fungicides.

For more, see our in-depth guides to Money Tree plant care at home, how to fertilize money tree plants, whether money tree plants are pet friendly and the amazing uses and benefits of Money Tree plants.

Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

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.

Author Edward Hodsdon

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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