How to Care for Your Money Tree - Backyard Boss
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How to Care for Your Money Tree

They may not give you unlimited access to dollar bills, but money trees can be the perfect addition to your home’s décor and atmosphere. Versatile in nature, these attractive trees are often grown both indoors and outdoors. However, you’ll most likely see the money tree creating a rich aesthetic for business offices, financial institutions, and the average home.

Fortunately, money trees are easy to find at local garden centers and are easy to maintain, making them the perfect houseplant for the beginner gardener. If you’re looking to grow a money tree in your outdoor or indoor garden, you don’t actually need much luck!

What is a Money Tree?

money tree plant with tan background
Image credits: Polina Sergeyeva via iStock

Despite its interesting name, money trees don’t grow cash on their branches. Instead, these plants, otherwise known as Pachira aquatica, get their nickname from followers of feng shui, who believe the plant attracts good fortune and prosperity to its owner. Originating from the swampy areas of Central and South America, the braided trunks of money trees can grow up to 60 feet tall in wild conditions, but only 6 to 8 feet tall indoors.

An easy-to-grow, aesthetic houseplant, the use of money trees goes beyond their visual appeal. In fact, also known as the Guiana chestnut, they produce edible leaves and small, brown nuts that taste similar to peanuts. Though they rarely flower as houseplants, indoor gardeners may be attracted to these plants for their general resistance to pests and diseases, meaning that they are likely to last a long time in your home with the proper care.

How to Care for Your Money Tree

Pachira aquatica, Malabar Chestnut, being planted into a pot. Indoor houseplant concept
Image credits: rigsbyphoto via Shutterstock

Money trees are gorgeous tropical plants that can add that extra oomph to your living room or office. Caring for money trees is simple, especially if you follow these basic steps for optimal care.

Planting 

Money trees prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If you make your own, consider adding sand, perlite or peat or cocoa coir to assist with water retention.

During the growing season (spring through fall), fertilize once every two weeks with a half-strength balanced, organic fertilizer. You’ll likely need to repot your plant every two to three years. If your money tree begins to drop its leaves, this could be a sign it’s gone into shock.

Provide Plenty of Sunlight

Although these plants are low-maintenance, money trees can be finicky about the amount of sunlight they receive. Too much sunlight and their leaves can burn and start browning. On the other hand, leaves are likely to turn yellow without enough sunlight.

If growing indoors, ensure that your tree is placed in front of a sunny window where it will have indirect contact with the sun for six to eight hours daily. Each time you water, rotate the tree slightly to bring sunlight to untouched areas. 

Ensure Ideal Temperatures

Optimally, money trees can handle temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When placed indoors, make sure to place your tree away from any vents emitting hot or cold air to maintain consistent climate conditions.

For outdoor plants, consider bringing them inside once temperatures drop below 50 degrees; your money tree won’t take kindly to the rapid change in temperature.

Avoid Overwatering

Money trees prefer moist soil, but this doesn’t mean that you should give it more water than it can handle. Allow your money tree to dry between waterings. When you water your tree, do so thoroughly, then drain the excess. Use a spray bottle to mist the leaves and keep them looking young and vibrant.

Place in Moderate Humidity

Just like in the wild, these tropical trees love their humid environments. However, homes are typically pretty dry in terms of air quality. To ensure your tree is in optimal condition, you can increase the humidity in your home by putting on a small space humidifier and increasing the humidity in the air to 50 percent. Otherwise, you can try placing your plant pot in a tray filled with pebbles and water, so that the liquid can evaporate around the plant.

Pruning

Snip off dead leaves or branches at any time of the year. If you plan to prune to shape the plant, wait until spring. This will give your money tree a better chance to recover. Never cut into the braided area of the plant.

Looking to Grow a Money Tree?

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a first-time homeowner or you’re looking to grow your indoor garden, money trees are an extremely simple-growing plant with supposedly amazing fortune-building abilities. Although it’s not guaranteed that you’ll become wealthy after becoming the owner of a money tree, you can certainly be assured of its extended life and vibrancy with the proper care.

Do you have any tips on growing a money tree? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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