Money Tree Guide: How to Take Care of a Money Tree Plant

Money Tree Guide: How to Take Care of a Money Tree Plant

There are many plants called “money tree,” but they’re all symbols of prosperity and good fortune and make great gifts. No matter which kind of money tree you have, it is a plant that’s relatively easy to grow, can bring plenty of positive energy inside your home, and has a symbolic meaning that makes it a special addition to your indoor garden. We’ve gathered info about the money tree varieties, including light, water and fertilizer requirements as well as propagation and repotting advice.

Which Plant Is Your Money Tree?

First things first: Let’s figure out which kind of money tree you have or would like to buy. While there are many plants called money trees, good luck trees, good fortune plants, etc., there are two common varieties—not alike!—that are typically sold or marketed as money trees.

Jade Plant

Crassula ovata

AKA jade plant, lucky plant, money plant, money tree
Light: Medium to bright light, indirect or direct
Water: only as often as needed to keep soil moist 1/2-inch below surface
Temperature range: 55-85° F
Height: 6-30 inches indoors
Fertilizer: 20-20-20
Special care: Susceptible to root rot from overwatering, and to mealybugs. Wipe leaves clean at watering and be sure to provide plenty of drainage.

This is a succulent that requires plenty of sunlight, so it’s best saved for apartments, houses, or offices that enjoy plenty of bright light during the day. They are not demanding when it comes to water; like other succulents, the jade plant stores water in the leaves and uses it when needed. A well nurtured jade plant can grow quite large, and will eventually develop a woody stem similar to a tree. In brighter months, with adequate light exposure, the edges of a jade plant’s leaves will turn shades of red, pink and blush. Jade plants are great for bonsai and for low-fuss indoor gardens in offices and homes with plenty of sunshine. If your money tree is a jade plant or if this is the variety you’d like to have, head over to our complete guide to caring for your Crassula ovata.

crassula ovata jade plant money tree closeup

Pachira

Pachira aquatica

AKA money plant, money tree, Malabar chestnut, Bombax glabrum, monguba, saba nut
Light: Medium to bright light, indirect or direct
Water: Regularly, weekly or biweekly
Temperature range: 55-80° F
Height: 12-72 inches indoors
Fertilizer: 20-20-20
Special care: Susceptible to root rot from overwatering. Requires medium to bright indirect light for at least four hours per day.

This is the traditional feng shui variety of money tree. It often has a braided trunk in indoor plantings, and grows up to eight feet in height but can be pruned to stay shorter or even treated as a bonsai. Decorated money trees are often given as housewarming gifts or to mark important life milestones. The Pachira’s wild counterparts are used for erosion control because they grow so readily, which is great because that means it’s simple to care for in your home too. It thrives in bright light and needs consistent weekly or biweekly watering.

Many pachira money trees in pots with braided trunks ready for sale

The information that follows is about the Pachira money tree.

Money Tree Benefits

Indoor plants are always beneficial to your mental health and the air purity inside your home. But in addition to the standard healthy-home effects of houseplants, the money tree invites good luck and fortune into your household, as well. There are concrete benefits to the Pachira money tree, though, and they’re nothing to sneeze at.

money tree closeup of leaves on pachira indoor tree

Pet Friendly

According to the ASPCA, the money tree is nontoxic curious cats and dogs that might find themselves licking or chewing on the leaves. That said, eating too much of

any plant can still cause an upset stomach. If your pet is a notorious chewer, it’s better if you place the money tree out of reach.

Requires Little Direct Sunlight

In order to thrive, a money tree doesn’t have to be placed in direct sunlight. It still needs bright light, but if your house isn’t positioned in such a way as to allow sun inside all the time, you shouldn’t have to worry about your money tree dying. If you find that your money tree isn’t growing or sprouting new leaves, or is yellowing or drooping, it might be a good idea to invest in a grow lamp to ensure its getting the light it needs.

Customizable

You can shape a money tree to your liking with practices similar to those specific to bonsai trees. However, pruning the plant is not required unless we’re talking about trimming to remove dead leaves. Otherwise, the money tree is quite low maintenance in this aspect. If you find your money tree is growing taller than you’d like, trimming no more than a third of its branches at a time will help keep it the right height without lobbing off too many leaves to fuel the rest of the plant’s food needs.

Giftable

One of the most common benefits of a money tree plant is that it makes an excellent gift because it is associated with good fortune. It makes quite a common house welcoming gift but also serves as a gift to people who are in need of a little hope in their lives. It is not unusual to give money trees to people who have started a business either; money trees are commonly found in offices because it is believed they boost financial energy inside a particular area.

How to Care for a Money Tree

Caring for a money tree isn’t complicated, but it does require more attention compared to some of the other plants you may already own or have heard of. With the following tips, you too can have a healthy and thriving money tree.

  • First and foremost, money trees require a lot of bright light but should never be placed in direct sunlight. Make sure that it stays away from windows and avoid sun exposure as much as possible.
  • Money trees don’t do well in extreme temperatures, so you want to avoid really cold or really hot rooms. These temperatures can cause your money tree to go in shock and die. In other words, keep them away from radiators and air conditioners.
  • A money tree will thrive if it has at least 50 percent air humidity. If the air inside your home is dry, you can mist the plant to give it the humidity it needs but if you have the possibility to place it in a humid environment, that would help a lot. If your money tree doesn’t receive enough humidity, its leaves will dry and fall out. One solution would be to purchase a small humidifier and position it so that it’s facing the plant.
  • How do you know when the money tree needs watering? By simply monitoring the first 2 inches of soil. If the soil is dry, you can proceed to water it but make sure you avoid watering when the soil is still moist. As far as the quantity of water is concerned, you should do so until you notice water coming out of the drainage hole on the bottom. When you’re done, make sure to empty the tray underneath the top to avoid it soaking in excess water which could cause root rot.
  • Since money trees don’t grow much during the winter, they will also require less water. In colder seasons, when you notice the soil is dry, wait for a couple of days still before watering.
  • If you notice any dead leaves on your money tree, you want to trim them off. Dead leaves can easily be recognized because they are brown and wilted.
  • You can also use pruning shears if you want to give your money tree a certain shape. Since this is very similar to a bonsai, you can shape it to your liking.
  • As far as fertilizing is concerned, your money tree should receive fertilizer about 3 or 4 times per year. You want to fertilize the plant during spring and summer, as these are the season when the plant grows the most. Liquid fertilizer should do the trick, and there is no need to apply it during the winter.

Money Tree Propagation & Growth Rate

The easiest way to propagate a money tree plant is through stem cuttings. The ideal season to do so is summer. By making 4 to 6 inches long cuts, you will have the needed material to start the propagation process. Place the cuts in water or soil as soon as you cut them.

If you choose water, you will have to make sure that the water level covers at least an inch of the cut so that the roots are able to develop. Keep the cut in a warm spot for better results. When the roots have grown, you can dip them in rooting hormone powder (optional) and then place them in the soil.

Make sure you handle the cuttings with care. The roots are very sensitive in this growth stage. You can also place the cut directly into the soil but water can actually speed up the root growth process and can yield better results.

Where to Buy a Money Tree

Finding a money tree isn’t a complicated business. You will have to decide whether you want to buy it from a third-party seller or from a specialized shop or a nursery. It is common for people to buy already-potted money trees and there are plenty of stores that will allow you to order one to be delivered at your doorstep.

Some examples of stores that will sell healthy money trees for a good price include Garden Goods, Fast Growing Trees, Lowe’s, and Bloomscape.

    Money Tree Plant (5-inch Recycled Pot)

Buy live potted Pachira Aquatica at TheSill.com
    Pachira is a genus of evergreen tropical trees native to the neotropics. They belong to the family Malvaceae, the cotton and hibiscus family. This plant seems to come to the houseplant world in a fog of mystery. Known by many names — money tree, water chestnut, guinea nut, and so many more — this plant seems to have found its way into every plant shop around. Like any plant that’s bred for commercial or ornamental purposes, one of the key features of a wanted plant is a plant that is prolific, easy to grow, and tolerant of varying conditions. These plants are actually quite weedy in the tropics, often being grown as erosion-control trees.

Money Tree FAQ

Where Should You Place a Money Tree?

braided money tree in arboretum pachira aquatica money plantSince the money tree has a very deep symbolic meaning, feng shui practices also give you a list of places for the plant to provide you with more prosperity. In feng shui, a house is divided into Bagua areas, with each one of them being related to a certain life aspect. Depending on what you’re trying to “improve”, the money plant has different placements:

  • If you are in need of financial help, placing the money tree in the southeast area of your home is recommended. This is the location most suitable for financial-related activities. It is believed that money plants placed in this area can increase the financial energy of your home.
  • The eastern part of the house is the health area. This area is strongly linked to wood, and money trees are believed to give vibrant wood energy.
  • The southern area of the house is the fame area, with its main element being fire. Since the wooden trunk of the money tree can be used as fire fuel, putting a money plant in the south part of the space can enhance its energy.

Does the Money Tree Need Sunlight?

Yes, it does, but not direct sunlight. A money tree will grow just fine in a spot with bright and indirect sunlight. In fact, placing a money tree in direct sunlight can cause the leaves to wither, so if you can find a spot that meets these requirements, you should have a beautiful and healthy money tree for years to come.

How Big Will a Money Tree Get?

The answer to this question depends, of course, on whether the money tree is grown inside or outdoors. In nature, a money tree can be as tall as 60 feet, but the ones that are potted and meant for indoor growth won’t usually be taller than 6 feet.

Conclusion

In East Asian culture, a money tree is a very common gift because of its powerful symbolism. The braided trunk is believed to capture fortune, while the five leaves that are usually present on a stalk symbolize the five natural elements: earth, fire, water, wind, and metal. A money tree is also a household plant that doesn’t require that much attention, and it can be pruned just like a bonsai tree to the shape of your choice.

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