Money trees, aka "Pachira Aquatica," have long been a symbol of good fortune and success. They also make for wonderful additions to your home decor, as well as great conversation starters. However, if you are purchasing a money tree for the first time, you may be wondering how long they last. In this post, we will answer this for you and touch upon some of the plant's maintenance requirements.
If properly maintained, domestic money trees can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Interestingly enough, money trees that grow in the wild (in South and Central America) are known to last over 30 years or more.
Now, let's discuss how to take care of your money tree.
How do you take care of a money tree?
Money trees thrive in warm temperatures, which makes sense, as they typically grow naturally in warmer parts of the world. The ideal temperature for a money tree is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also important to make sure that you keep your tree away from drafty areas or chilly rooms in your home, as this could stunt the tree's growth.
Use Quality Soil
Nutrition and drainage are important to the health of your money tree plant. Common soils used for money trees include flower, cactus, and moss-based soil. It's common for owners to also add gravel or sand to help with the tree's drainage. Be sure to use a container with drainage holes for your plant, as over-watered soil is a prevalent cause of plant issues (such as root rot).
Give it Sunlight
Money trees thrive best when placed and in direct sunlight. They can withstand direct sunlight; however, too much of it can quickly burn their leaves. That being stated, it's best to keep the plant in indirect or half-shade sunlight on most days. If introducing it to direct sunlight, it's best to do this gradually, as not to shock the plant. Money trees naturally grow toward sunlight, so it helps to occasionally turn the plan to ensure that it grows straight.
Water it Weekly
Money tree plants are big fans of moisture, and it is vital for their growth. Usually, watering them once a week should be sufficient. However, it's important to remove any excess water pooling in their drain pans, as it can cause root rot. Make sure that the top few inches of the soil are dry before re-watering your plant. You can use distilled water or rainwater for your money tree, and if you notice that the leaves are beginning to droop, the chances are that you may be over-watering. In which case, it's best to minimize your watering and test the soil before your next watering session.
Keep it in Humid Environments
Though money trees can grow at humidity levels below 50%, it's best to keep the humidity in your home at 50% or higher--which is similar to their natural habit.
Money trees don't require a lot of fertilizer. Be careful not to over-fertilize your money tree, as it can cause the planet to die slowly. They generally only require fertilization two or three times a year--if at all (Bonsai Money trees will need to be fertilized).
Re-pot it As Needed
As your money tree grows in size, it will need to be re-potted to avoid root damage. It's important to know that bigger pots will allow your tree to grow taller, while keeping them in small pots will stunt their growth. When you re-pot your tree, be sure to clear out any dead or dried-out roots and avoid shaking the plant too much when you transfer it to the new pot.
Trim It Regularly
These plants will require pruning to maintain their size; otherwise, they'll continue to grow it may even lose their shape--growing in odd directions. Money trees re-sprout fairly quickly after pruning, so don't fret if you happen to trim off too much from the plant. Also, it's best to prune your plant in the spring.
Common Problems and Pests
Though rare, money trees, similar to other indoor plants, can develop issues caused by pests and diseases. Let's take a look at the most common ones.
Root rot occurs typically from overwatering. If you noticed that your tree's leaves are drooping or that the soil is soggy and/or has a sour odor, the plant might have root rot. This can be mitigated by re-potting it in fresh soil with sufficient drainage in the saucer.
Yellow Leaves from Overwatering
Proper watering is of the utmost importance when maintaining money trees. If you notice that your tree's leaves are starting to turn yellow or brown, over-watering may be the culprit. To fix this, re-pot the plant and keep the new saucer free of any excess or pooled water. Yellow leaves can also be caused by too much humidity in the plant's environment. Using a hygrometer can help you determine the current level of humidity in your home and adjust accordingly.
If you see spots on your tree's leaves, it may have a potassium deficiency (if not a nitrogen deficiency). This can easily be treated by adding fertilizer to the tree's soil and removing any dead leaves.
Money trees aren't known for having many pet issues, but they can definitely get infestations.
Spider mites are common pests indoor plants. If you notice white webbings on the bottoms of stems or leaves, this could be a sign of a spider mite infestation. It's best to catch them early, so examining your plant at least once a week can be vital to ensuring that it's free of pests. Spider mite infestations can be mitigated by simply washing the plant in warm water or spraying it with insecticide. You can also apply rubbing alcohol to the areas of the infestation.
Aphids are probably the most common pests you'll encounter--especially if you set the plant outside in the warmer months. You can get rid of them by rubbing neem oil on the plant's leaves are rinsing them off with warm water.
This pest feeds on the roots of the tree, slowly causing them to wilt and deteriorate. They can also be fairly difficult to control. Common methods to eliminate them include insecticide and using chunks of sweet or white potatoes as decoy traps.
How do you know if a money tree is healthy?
A healthy money tree will have vibrantly green leaves, not wilting or drooping, and that are free of common pests. Examining the leaves of a money tree is actually the best way to determine the money tree's health. Also, if the tree is starting to admit strange odors (such as a mildew-like smell) or seems to have stunted growth, these could be signs of an unhealthy state as well.
How can you tell if a money tree has root rot?
If your tree has root rot, it will not be able to absorb any nutrients from its soil, which will cause it to appear malnourished and sick. This is actually the most common sign of root rot.
Healthy money trees will have leaves that are dark green in color. If you find that your tree's leaves are beginning to turn brown or yellow, the tree could be overwatered and headed toward root rot. It's always best to keep a watchful eye on your tree's leaves--a weekly check can help you catch issues early.
If your tree is not getting the nutrients that it needs from the soil or is being over-watered/under-watered for an exterior extended period of time, its growth will most certainly be hindered. If you noticed over several weeks or months that your tree has remained the same height, you might want to do a bit of investigating to determine if it is malnourished or suffering from other issues.
Money trees suffering from root rot will typically emit a very unpleasant odor. The older is similar to that of mildew and is caused by bacteria growing within the plant's roots. A common cause of root rot in soggy soil, which happens when the plant is continually overwatered
How do you revive a dying money tree?
Step 1. Inspect your tree
Take a close look at your tree's leaves and soil to determine if there are signs of over-watering. If the leaves appear droopy are yellow, this may be the case. Also, take a look at the soil and determine if it is too dry; this can also lead to an unhealthy plant. Lastly, inspect the branches to see if there are any curled or wrinkled leaves or any bugs or larvae.
Step 2. Implement a watering schedule
If there are signs of over-watering, move your plant to an area in your home that receives bright indirect sunlight. Reduce the amount of water into the plant and check the soil first before watering it again each time (if needed, repot the plant in perlite or peat). If the plant is under-watered, begin adding water on a set schedule, but first stick your finger in the soil to ensure that it is due for watering (if it's dry, it needs to be watered).
Step 3. Add fertilizer
Begin using an all-purpose fertilizer on the plant every month. This way, your plant can get the nutrients that it needs while trying to recover. However, if your leaves are dropping and wilting, it could be a sign that you've over-fertilized the plant. In which case, you'll need to re-pot it or flush it.
Step 4. Mitigate any pest issues
If pests are the reason for your dying money tree, run the plant under lukewarm water, and gently wipe the leaves with your fingers. Next, use a cotton swab to apply rubbing alcohol to the infected leaves of your plant. You can also spray the plant with insecticide (pyrethrin-based insecticides work great).
Wrapping Things Up
Money Trees are very easy-to-maintain indoor plants that can last over a decade. We hope that this post has helped you learn a little more about caring for your money tree properly.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: