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Money Tree Plant Care – How to Grow Money Trees

If you’ve been in a nursery, home center, or even a grocery store recently, you’ve probably spotted a money tree — it’s the little indoor potted tree with an unusual braided trunk and the bright green pointed leaves. In some cultures, the money tree is associated with good luck and financial success, so it’s often more widely available at the start of the year (right when everyone is stocking up on good fortune for the next 12 months!).

But even if you don’t view this plant as a good luck charm, a money tree is a worthy addition to any plant lover’s collection thanks to its unique texture and shape. Want to know more about this striking houseplant? Read on to learn everything about the care and maintenance of money trees.

Quick OverviewHow to Care for Money Trees

Money trees prefer bright, indirect light and moderate to high humidity. It’s best to place them away from both drafty windows and heating vents, which can dry out their leaves. Water when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil are dry.

polka dot cabinets, paper lantern lights, and a money tree in kitchenSavePin ItSee More ImagesCredit: Esteban CortezWhat is a money tree?

The money tree, or Pachira aquatica, is native to swampy areas of Central and South America. If you saw it there, you probably wouldn’t recognize it. While potted money trees can only grow a max of about 3 to 6 feet indoors, wild money trees can grow up to 60 feet tall.

And that trademark braided trunk? That’s not a natural feature of money trees. When money trees are young, they have bendable green trunks that can be slowly braided by cultivators; once the stems harden and turn woody, they’re locked into the intricate pattern.

What kind of light do money trees need?

Money trees prefer bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can lead to leaf scorching, but the plants can do relatively well in low light.

head on shot of two hands placing a potted money tree into a stand filled with white stones.SavePin ItSee More ImagesCredit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom HoerupHow much humidity do money trees need?

Money trees require moderate to high humidity, something they’d find naturally in their native habitats.

If you can’t keep your money tree in a bright, steamy bathroom, make it a humidity-enhancing pebble tray by filling a shallow tray with small rocks, adding water to partially cover the rocks, and setting the plant on top.

Avoid placing money trees near heating vents, which can dry out these humidity-loving plants. Exposure to too many drafts can also be harmful and may cause leaf loss, so keep money trees away from any exterior doors that are frequently opened and shut.

Money trees can survive outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12 but otherwise need to be houseplants.

Costa Farms Money Tree, 16 in at AmazonCosta Farms Money Tree, 16 in$33.56AmazonBuy NowHow to Care for a Money Tree

To avoid root rot, a money tree needs a sandy potting mix with a peat base, which will provide plenty of drainage. You should also use a pot with good drainage, or keep the plant in a grow pot that you can remove for watering.

Although money trees like humidity in general, you should let their soil dry out between watering. A good schedule for most environments is to water when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil are dry. Water thoroughly until water flows out the pot’s drainage holes, and pour out the excess from the tray so that the roots don’t sit in water.

During the growing season, fertilize once a month with a liquid plant food at half strength, but skip fertilizer in the winter.

head on shot of pruners cutting a small stem of the money tree.SavePin ItSee More ImagesCredit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom HoerupHow to Propagate Money Trees

With clean pruning shears, cut off the tip of a stem with at least two leaf nodes. From there, there are a couple methods you can try:

Plant in soil: Dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder, and place in a standard potting mix. Keep the soil moist with regular misting until the cutting roots, in approximately 4 weeks.Propagate in water: Dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder, and place in water until roots grow to 2 inches in length. Then, pot in soil.head on shot of a propagated money tree stem in a small glass beaker.SavePin ItSee More ImagesCredit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom HoerupCommon Problems with Money Tree Houseplants

Overwatering and too much sunlight are the most common causes of problems with money plants, though they can also suffer from scale insects, mealybugs, and aphids. Bugs can be treated with systemic insect control or horticultural oil spray.

Post ImageSavePin ItSee More ImagesCredit: Liz CalkaMoney Tree Bonsai

This tree often comes as a group of five trees braided or twisted together. To maintain the shape or to guide the trunks into a braid yourself, wrap some sturdy string around the tops of the trunks to bind them together tightly as they grow.

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