The money tree (Pachira aquatica), also known as Guiana chestnut or Malabar chestnut, is valued for its braided trunk and dense, bright green leaves. When grown indoors, the money tree is a resilient plant that tolerates overwatering, low light and neglect. At maturity, the plant reaches heights of 10 to 12 feet; however, it is also possible to find bonsai versions of this type of tree as well. Although it thrives with very little attention, the plant benefits from repotting approximately every two years. How to repot a money plant ?
Basic Money Tree Care
In its native tropical swamp habitat, a money tree can easily reach heights of 60 feet. When grown outside of its hot and humid wetlands, it won’t get that tall but can still grow to 30 feet, so choose a planting location with plenty of headroom. If potting your plant, expect it to stay a more manageable 8 feet high.
Keep the soil for your money tree moist to wet. If the soil is too dry, your plant will let you know by dropping its leaves. Money trees will tolerate some shade but do best when given copious amounts of sunlight.
Plants grown in a container need repotting when their roots poke out of the bottom of the container. Other signs that it’s time for a new pot are slow growth and unusually rapid water usage.
When to Leave Your Money Plant to Grow
Your plant is growing well. Most succulents such as your money plant grow relatively slowly and don’t have a large root system, so they don’t need to be repotted too frequently. If your Pachira aquatica is healthy and growing well while maintaining a regular shape, it may not be the time for potting up.
Your plant still has plenty of space. There is still a reasonable amount of space between your Pachira aquatica and the edges of your pot.
Your water is still draining at a steady level. If there are no changes in your plant’s water needs, or you find that the water is draining through the pot at a consistent rate, your Pachira aquatica should be fine for a while. When water runs through your container faster, it signifies that your Pachira aquatica might be potbound and unable to absorb sufficient moisture.
It has been less than 18 months since you last repotted it. Generally, your Pachira aquaticas only needs repotting after two years.
It is winter. The best time to repot your money plant is in spring or early summer. If it is not a matter of urgency, such as in the case of a severely pot bound plant, rather wait until spring to repot your Pachira aquatica.
Potting soil for money tree
The most important thing to keep in mind when planting your Pachira aquatica is that this plant does not like wet feet. Very lightly moist soil is good and will be appreciated, wet soil is a recipe for disaster.
Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s move on to our soil recipe.
As long as it’s well-draining, Pachira aquatica is actually not too picky. Most hobbyists prefer to use regular potting soil and mix in a good handful of material to add drainage and keep the mixture light. There are many ways to do this: you can toss in some perlite, pumice, orchid bark or even smashed up pieces of terracotta (so save your pots if they happen to break).
The potting soil will retain enough moisture to keep your Pachira aquatica happy, while the gritty material allows air to reach the roots and ensures excess water easily flows out of the pot.
How to repot a money tree plant
Money trees are easy to grow when they have the right conditions to thrive, meaning a bigger pot, the right potting soil and lots of nutrients.
To repot a money tree, choose a pot that is only slightly bigger than your root ball, and make sure it has proper drainage holes. When your pot is too big, it will allow the plant to hold onto more water than it needs, which leads to root rot. If your pot doesn’t have holes, place some charcoal at the bottom of the pot to allow for drainage.
Choose a potting mix containing peat, pine bark and vermiculite or perlite works. You can also make your own by mixing equal parts peat moss, perlite and coarse (or builder’s) sand. Fertilize once per month in the spring and summer when the tree is growing. There’s no need to fertilize in the winter.
Carefully remove your tree from the pot, gently untangle any roots, and cut away any mushy roots with a sharp knife. Pour enough potting mix into the pot so that your root ball is 1 inch below the rim. Place the tree on top of the mix and fill in any remaining holes.
Lastly, water the tree until it drains from the bottom of the pot.
Pruning Your Money Tree
Keeping the money tree plant in a bonsai form requires pinching back and trimming regularly. Always sterilize your cutting tools by dipping the blades in rubbing alcohol or a household cleaner like Lysol or Pine-Sol and allowing them to air dry.
If you’re letting your plant grow into a tree, remove the lowest branches and continue to braid the soft upper part of the tree as it grows taller. Once it reaches the maximum height for your space, begin pinching the tips back to keep it at the desired height.
Money tree propagation is usually accomplished with cuttings. Take 4- to 6-inch cuttings and immediately place the cut end of the stem in water or swirl with rooting compound and insert into a sterile, moist potting mix. Cover it with a plastic bag and mist regularly until new growth appears. If your tree blooms and produces seeds, soak the mature seeds for 24 hours before planting in a sterile seed-starting mix. Keep the seeds warm and evenly moist until they germinate, then transplant to small flowerpots.
Care Challenges Money Plant Plant and Common Problems
In general, money trees are a very resilient house plant or bonsai. Pests and disease are rarely issues. However, if something does show up, here is a list of potential issues and solutions.
Yellow leaves: If the leaves start to color, this is often caused by low humidity or poor nutrition. Reflect on your environment – does your money tree get consistent mistings and have you provided fertilizer during the growth period? Try increasing the humidity or fertilization, and see if the leaves regain their color.
Leaf spots: A specific type of coloration is leaf spots. Brown or yellow leaf spots usually indicate a potassium deficiency. Potassium helps the plant move water throughout and instigate photosynthesis. If this appears, double-check your fertilizing routine to ensure the nutrition package includes this vital nutrient.
Root rot: If you notice the roots are black and mushy when you repot your money tree, this is an indicator of root rot. Caused by too much moisture or overwatering, repot the plant in more permeable soil, and make sure to add rocks or gravel at the bottom!
Mold on soil: Moldy soil is also an indicator of too much moisture. Try to cut back on watering and mistings or repot with the well-draining substrate.
Money Tree care after repotting
I water thoroughly until it drains out of the mix. The plant was put in my very bright utility room for a few days after I filmed the video. I’ve since moved it into the guest bathroom to join my Peperomias. There’s a skylight which keeps the room bright with natural light all day. If only it was bigger I’d have room for more plants!
So there you have it, transplanting or repotting a Money Tree isn’t difficult at all. Just be mindful of the mix you use and yours will be happy. Good luck here we come!