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The money tree plant, also known as pachira aquatica, is a tropical wetland tree native to Central and South America. The tree will typically grow between six and eight feet tall when kept indoors (it can grow over 60 feet tall in the wild). Shockingly, the braided trunk you love so much isn’t actually a natural feature of the plant; most money trees on the market are actually multiple plants that have had their trunks intertwined during growth.
One of the best Feng Shui plants for good energy, the money plant is believed to bring luck, wealth and prosperity to its owners. Each stem has five shiny green leaves which are said to symbolize the five elements of balance: earth, fire, water, wind and metal. While some stems will likely have six leaves, seven-leaf stems are said to bring extra luck to your home.
The money tree is one of the best indoor trees and best indoor plants because it’s relatively easy to keep healthy – plus the braided trunk and large green leaves go well with most home styles. Keep reading for tips and tricks that will help you keep your money tree looking its best all year round.
Tips for caring for money trees
Bright, indirect sunlight is best for a healthy money tree – making it easy to find the perfect spot for your plant. Consider a plant stand in the living room or on the floor of a home office, as long as the areas don’t get too much direct sunlight. Your plant can adapt to lower light (although too little light will slow growth and cause the leaves to turn yellow), but direct sunlight will quickly scorch the leaves.
Your money tree will grow best in a room that is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to West Coast Gardens. Keep your plant away from heating and air conditioning vents, as well as any drafty windows or doors.
When it comes to money plant care, overwatering is one of the most common mistakes plant parents make, according to Just Add Ice. Water your money plant once every one to two weeks or when the soil volume is 50 to 75% dry. The plant will likely need water more often during the spring and summer months. Make sure your planter has drainage holes so the roots don’t sit in excess water.
Do not forget: Turn your tree every time you water it to ensure even growth.
Use a half-strength liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month during the summer months (the money tree’s growing season).
If your money tree grows out of control (it gets too tall or too wide for your space), you can trim the leaves. Cutting brown or wilted leaves will actually promote healthy growth.
The best time to repot your money tree is during the spring, but it should only be repotted every two to three years. Find a pot with good drainage that is one or two sizes larger than the current one. If you want to keep using the same planter, you can trim some root growth (be careful not to trim more than 25% of the roots) and place the plant back with fresh soil. When buying fresh soil, keep in mind that money trees prefer a well-draining potting mix. The best soil can include sand, pebbles or per liter, or you can find a soil made specifically for money trees.
Common money tree plant problems to avoid
- Yellow leaves: You can overwater your plant or it can get too much sunlight. Try to stick to a consistent watering schedule or move your planter into more indirect sunlight.
- Leaf fall: You water your plant too much or too little. It is important to water your plant on time and not to wait until the soil has completely dried out. Temperature fluctuations, too much sunlight or insect infestation can also be factors. Note that some leaf loss is normal during growth.
- Root Advice: Overwatering can cause root rot. If you notice leaves drooping, the trunk becoming soft and slimy, or an unpleasant odor, act quickly before the root rot becomes fatal. Replant your plant quickly!
- Insect attack: Aphids, spider mites and mealybugs are particularly fond of money trees. If you notice an infestation (yellow leaves are a telltale sign), you can use an insecticidal soap with warm water to help remove the little pests.
How to weave your money tree
If you bought a mature money tree, chances are the trunk is already braided. If you have young money trees, it is relatively easy to braid the money trees yourself. You will need anywhere from three to six money trees that are young and healthy (a young money tree should have shoots that are about 15 to 16 inches tall). Carefully, slowly and loosely braid the stems together, just as you would hair. Use string or tape to hold the ends together. Continue this process as your money tree grows, but note that it may take several months before your tree needs to be braided again.
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