How And When To Prune A Money Tree?

Money trees require pruning once the leaves and branches start to grow too wide or too tall for their pot. Your first time pruning a money tree may initially seem intimidating. It's normal to be worried about accidentally cutting too much off the plant or damaging the branches. But you don't need to be, as we will show you how and when to trim your tree safely and quickly. 

The best time to prune your money tree is in the springtime or early summer. These are the times where your tree's growth is at its peak, as it will enter a more dormant stage during the colder months of the year. Pruning at this time will ensure that your plant has enough time to rest and build up its strength before the next growing season. Here are the steps to properly prune your money tree:

1. Gather & prepare the pruning tools 2. Trim the large branches 3. Trim the next branches on top 4. Trim the trunk 5. Cut the top branches 6. Take off any dying leaves 7. Trim down the rest of the tree 8. Give the branches a pinch 9. Place the tree in a stable environment

In this post, we'll provide you with more details on how to properly prune your money tree. We'll also cover other commonly asked questions when it comes to pruning a money tree. So be sure to keep reading.

A small braided Money tree planted on a gray ceramic pot placed on a light gray colored wall, How And When To Prune A Money Tree?

How To Prune A Money Tree

An up close photo of a braided money tree

Pruning your money tree will be easier than you thought, as it doesn't require a lot of materials or any specialized garden tools. Let's look at some of the materials and tools that you'll need to get started.

Things you'll need:

  • Pruning shears
  • Plant pot
  • Plastic bags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pruning scissors
  • Soil mix

1. Gather & prepare the pruning tools

Be sure to gather all of your pruning equipment in the room that you will be cutting your plant in. It's best to cut the plant in a room that is well-lit and on a surface that is high enough to where you won't have to bend over too far.

Before pruning your plant, sterilize your shears or pruners with the rubbing alcohol and let them air-dry for a few minutes (or wipe them dry with a paper towel or cloth). Believe it or not, you can actually transfer plant diseases from the shears to the money tree--so disinfecting them is essential.

Quick note: Before trimming the plant, make sure that your pruners or shears are sharp. Test them on a small piece of the tree's branches (one that you plan to cut off). If they aren't, take a few minutes to sharpen them with a diamond file, sharpening block, or whetstone.

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2. Trim the large branches

It's best to start at the bottom of the tree and work your way up, trimming the largest branches first. You'll want to make sure that your cuts are clean and about half an inch above the node (the area of the stem where a new branch is emerging). Be sure that you cut the branches at a 45-degree angle, as it helps to promote branch growth.

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3. Trim the next branches on top

Select the next two branches above the ones that you just cut (they should form a v-shape) and place your finger above where you want to cut and snip it with your pruners. It's important to maintain the V-shape when cutting the tree, as it will help to promote an even shape as a tree grows.

4. Trim the trunk

Next, take your pruners and cut the trunk of the plant a 1/2-inch above the V-shaped branches. Then, holding your pruners at a 45-degree angle, take a snip at the trunk. Again, be sure to make a smooth and clean cut--the edges should be smooth and not jagged.

5. Cut the top branches

Work your way to the top of the tree and trim the branches on all sides. If any branch is overgrown (meaning it's growing longer than the opposite side), it should be trimmed down to the length of the opposite side. Remember to cut a 1/2-inch above the V-shaped branches on the tree's trunk.

6. Take off any dying leaves

Next, use your pruners to cut off any branches that contain yellow, brown, or wilted leaves (these leaves will soon fall off and are only absorbing nutrients that can be used by healthier leaves). Be sure to cut the dying leaves at the stem and cut at a 45-degree angle. When the leaves grow back they will be healthier and fuller.

7. Trim down the rest of the tree

Take a step back from the tree and look at the shape of it. Next, go back and trim any areas that seem uneven or overgrown. It's best to trim a little at a time to avoid over-pruning, which can damage the tree and stunt its growth. The key is to make the tree look as uniform as possible.

8. Give the branches a pinch

After you've completed your pruning session, take a look at the branches of your money tree plant. If new buds are starting to form on their branches, pinch them using your forefinger and thumb. Pinching the branches helps to prevent overgrowth of your money tree, and it can be done with every pruning session.

9. Place the tree in a stable environment

Now that you've pruned your money tree to perfection, it's time to place it back at its original location or an environment where it can repair itself. Remember, pruning your plant momentarily weakens it, as it will immediately begin working to repair the damage done to the branches (to regenerate new ones).

During this time, creating the ideal environment for the plant to thrive is essential. This means no sudden environmental changes, including temperature, humidity, or sunlight.

Should you prune a money tree?

Yes. Pruning a money tree regularly is recommended to help the tree maintain its appearance and overall health. But how do you know when it's time to prune your money tree? Here are a few signs to look for:

It's Losing Its Shape

If you notice that your money tree is beginning to sprout leaves and stems near its trunk, it may be time for a trim (many people prefer not to have stems at the base of their tree's trunk). This is a very simple trim, as you'll only need to take your shears and cut the stems about an inch away from the trunk (as to not cut the trunk itself).

General Maintenance

The purpose of maintenance pruning is to do just that, to help maintain the health and vitality of the plant. You can actually perform maintenance pruning during any time of the year, though it's best to do it minimally as not to cause too much stress on your money tree plant. It's generally less invasive than structural pruning and it's needed to get rid of damaged branches or leaves.

If your money tree plant has yellow, brown, or wilting leaves, it's best to cut them off the plant so that they will not take up any more of the plant's nutrients and energy (which can then be used for healthy branches and leaves).

Growing Too Big

If your money tree is starting to branch out significantly from the pot, you can prune it at the roots to keep it smaller. To do this, you'll need to first remove your plant from the pot. Next, use your fingers to untangle some of the bottom roots and then trim them a few inches with your shears (don't trim more than 1/3 off the edge of the root).

Make sure that your cuts are clean and that you cut the roots at equal lengths. Also, try to shake off as much as the old soil as possible (you may need to break it up with your fingers) and then re-pot your tree in fresh soil.

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It's Growing Too Tall

Sometimes money trees need structural pruning to make them shorter in stature (they can grow pretty tall if you let them). If your tree is beginning to grow too tall for your liking, use your pruning shears to trim off its top stems. Be sure to cut 1/2 inch above the node, as cutting any closer to the branch will result in a piece of stem sticking out (which will never grow a node).

How to shape a money tree?

The best way to prune your money tree is to start at its base and work your way to the top. Work your way from one side of the tree around to the other side, making sure to step back and look at the cuts that you've created to ensure that it maintains an even and balanced shape.

The best way to avoid overcutting is to trim small pieces of the plant at a time and to start with areas that appear to be overgrown--meaning they're sticking out longer are taller than other areas of the plant or the pot.

How to make a money tree bushier?

Pinching the money tree and trimming the tips can help to accelerate new growth (as well as re-potting it when the roots begin to tightly fill up its pot). Generally, a money tree will need to be regularly pruned (especially at the top) to create a bushy or voluminous appearance of its foliage. If not, its leaves will not grow as often or as fast, and the plant will appear slimmer and taller.

Will money tree leaves grow back?

Yes, if you have leaves that have withered, turned yellow, or dropped off the plant, you can rest assured that they will grow back. Trimming the plant will have to accelerate this growth. Once you trim the plant's stems, new stems will grow at the cut line within weeks.

The places where you prune the overgrown stems (and leave nodes behind) will begin to divert nutrients and energy to the nearest node, resulting in new growth--this is how pruning promotes tree growth.

Wrapping Things Up

Trimming a money tree is a pretty straightforward process, and one needed to accelerate growth. It's important to remember to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle and to use clean sharp cutting shears when trimming them. Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

10 Best Fertilizer For Your Money Tree

How Much Sun Does A Money Tree Need?

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