About a Pachira Aquatica
The Pachira aquatica was initially found growing in the wetlands and swamps in Central and South America. As an outdoor tree, it can be as tall as 50ft and produce both nuts and flowers; indoors it is much smaller and rarely produces either flowers or nut. A Pachira Aquatica first became popular as a houseplant in Taiwan during the 1980’s. The plant is often referred to as a Money Tree plant or Money Plant. The nickname Money Tree plant refers to an old story about a very poor man who prayed that somehow, he might be able get the money he needed very badly. Soon after praying, he found an unusual plant growing nearby and decided to take it home. When the plant produced seeds he planted them, grew more plants, and sold the plants to make the money he needed. So a Pachira Aquatica became known as a Money Tree plant. Other names for a Pachira Aquatica are Malabar Chestnut, French Peanut, and Saba Nut.
Pachira Aquatica Description
Today, a Money Tree plant is available throughout the world especially in bonsai form. A Pachira aquatica usually has a central trunk made up of three, five, or seven stems that are often braided together. Each leaf has 5-7 bright green, shiny, leathery leaflets. When small, a Money Tree can be trained as a bonsai or used as a table plant. As the plant matures, it makes an impressive indoor tree sometimes growing as tall as six feet or more.
Quick Care Tips
Prefers high humidity
Medium to bright indirect light
Warm temperatures above 60°F (15.6°C)
Avoid cold drafts
Do not feed during the winter when the plant is resting
Best propagated in early spring and summer using plant cuttings
Other plants like a pothos and jade plant are sometimes referred to as Money Plants, but it’s the Pachira aquatica that’s used by the followers of Feng Shui. They believe that when placed in the right location in a home or business, a Pachira aquatica brings prosperity and good fortune.
A Money Tree plant grows best in medium to bright indirect light. This plant even does well under fluorescent lights.
Water well and then allow the top 1″- 2″ of soil to dry out before watering again. A Pachira aquatica requires less water during the winter months when resting. Be sure to use a container with bottom drip holes to prevent over- watering and root rot. It’s important to water the soil evenly.
Feed a Pachira aquatica monthly in the spring and summer, when it is producing new leaves. Try to use a plant food high in nitrogen during spring, balanced during the summer, and high in potassium during the fall. I recommend diluting your plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength. It’s not necessary to feed a Pachira aquatica during the winter.
This plant prefers temperatures between 65°-75°F (16°-24° C.)
A Pachira aquatica likes high humidity. If the air in your home or office is dry, place the plant on a wet pebble tray to increase the humidity. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water.
Pests to look out for are: mealy bugs, scale, and aphids. Use the Green Solution (recipe in Glossary) diluted to 1/2 strength.
Be on the look out for Leaf spot, a fungal disease that causes leaf spots and other damage. The disease can be prevented by quickly removing any diseased leaves that fall off, watering well and then not watering again until the soil has dried out somewhat, and keeping the leaves dry. Commercial fungicide sprays usually help control the problem.
Use a quick draining potting soil. If the soil is too heavy, add sand to the mix to help it drain faster.
Keeping a Money Tree in a small pot controls its size and is essential when growing it as a bonsai plant. If you want a taller and larger plant, repot as soon as the roots have filled the existing container.
Cut off a few of the larger leaves from the bottom of a Money Tree plant each month to encourage new growth at the top. Pinch back the growing tips at the ends of branches to keep the plant small.
The easiest ways to propagate a Pachira aquatica are by stem cuttings and air layering.
Reduce the water and feed monthly while the plant is resting during the winter. Even though the plant is resting, you will still have to move it to a brighter location as the winter sun moves to different spots in your home.
A Money Tree plant is a popular house warming and new business gift since they are said to bring good luck and prosperity.
Poisonous Plant Info
Money Tree plants are non-poisonous houseplants.
If the leaves falling off are yellow, too much water. Sadly it will also drop yellow leaves when the soil is very dry. If you are unsure about how wet the soil is at the bottom of the pot, you may want to get a water meter. You can read about water meters in the Glossary of the website. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can cause leaf drop. A Pachira aquatica likes high humidity. Your Money tree can also lose leaves because of pests such as scale, mealybugs, and Aphids. Spray the plant with a mild solution of 8oz of warm water, mixed with a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and a few tablespoons of liquid soap.
If new leaves on your Money Plant are coming in smaller, move your plant to a brighter location and fertilize a little more often.
Putting a Pachira Aquatica outside in warm weather is a great idea as long as you keep it out of the direct sun and remember to bring it indoors before nights get too cold. Putting this plant outside helps encourage new growth and may even help it to bloom.
Your Money Tree plant probably has scale. The sticky stuff excreted by scale is called honeydew. Spray your plant with the green solution recipe in the Glossary) diluted to 1/2 strength every 10 days for a month