Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) Leaves
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) Leaves

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) is dealt with in this article by the untiring editorial team of "Kalliergeia". The latter could of course, with the same writing passion and more or less the same text, refer to the Care of Pachira glabra (syn. Bombacopsis glabra), which is often available to plant lovers as Pachira aquatica.

And in a way it would be invaluable for the untiring editorial team of "Kalliergeia" to consolidate the confusion among the plant’s lovers as to what the Money Tree really is – a name probably more common in identifying the plant Pachira aquatica.

However, in reality there is no reason to confuse between these two species of Pachira, because Pachira glabra is also called the Money Tree, while it shares almost the same manipulations in terms of its care, with those of Pachira aquatica.

In this light, and having first illumine names and concepts, the untiring editorial team of "Kalliergeia" delivers to the reader another in-depth article, with another inspiring introduction – that is, a stroke of good fortune, relatively relevant to the subject.

One of the main ornamental elements of Money Tree is the intricately braided trunks of at least three of its plants.

Care of Money Tree - Pachira aquatica (Money Tree) with Braided Trunk
Pachira aquatica (Money Tree) with Braided Trunk
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Light & Location

This is exactly what happens with many indoor plants, so it is true for Pachira aquatica that it adapts to different states of exposure to light. Its placement in naturally bright environments is extremely beneficial for its development and maintenance, as its placement in half-shade areas is just as beneficial. Moreover, even direct exposure of the Money Tree to sunlight is a favor factor for its cultivation, but to the extent that the midday spring and summer sun does not come in direct contact with its foliage – which in such a case is seriously endangered by burns, while the plant itself from dehydration.

However, apart from the adaptability of Pachira aquatica to its various states of exposure to natural light, it remains a characteristic and particularly useful feature of the plant, its ability to grow without problems and in conditions of artificial lighting (fluorescent lamps) – a fact that makes the Money Tree suitable for office spaces.

If Pachira aquatica does not tolerate something, it is the continuous or frequent relocations. And indeed, when the plant is subjected to such treatment it expresses its dissatisfaction by dropping some or many of its leaves.

On the contrary, the slight rotation of the pot at relatively regular intervals is desirable, because it provides the conditions for balanced growth in Pachira aquatica, as it allows the entire surface of the foliage to be exposed to light – especially in cases where it is not diffused in space.

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)


The Money Tree, as a plant native to the tropics of Central and South America, needs warm spaces for its smooth growth. So cultivated indoors, it thrives where temperatures range between 15 and 32 °C (59-90 °F), while the optimal range for its cultivation is located between 18 and 24 °C (65-75 °F).

In relation to the minimum, it can tolerate temperatures up to 7 °C (45 °F), without showing particularly serious damage except low or high defoliation. Problems with low temperatures increase when the plant is exposed from 4.5 °C (40 °F) to -1 up to -2 °C (30.2-28 °F), which is the lower temperature limit of its tolerance.

However, if it grows in pots on the balcony or in the garden, even under these conditions, if it is exposed for only a few hours it can be saved: it is transferred indoors where temperatures of 10 °C (50 °F) and above prevail, it is sprayed periodically and slightly the foliage, and watered lightly while the plant is in a state of cold shock.

In terms of high temperatures, up to 37 to 38 °C (98.6-100.4 °F) the plant does not present the slightest problem – only its growth is inhibited.

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)


In the spaces where Pachira aquatica is placed, the relative humidity of the air must be relatively high or high, with a minimum of 50%. Below this value, plant growth and / or maintenance will be problematic. Of course, as we have written elsewhere, above this limit indoors, human living will also become problematic, so the golden ratio must be sought, ie the achievement of values close to 50%, or the formation of the appropriate microclimate around the plant.

The exact value of relative humidity in a given space is quite easy to find using a hygrometer. On the other hand, if the microclimate needs to be modified in order to increase the relative humidity, such work is just as easy to do:

  • By systematic spraying of the leaves
  • By periodically washing the plant in the shower
  • Using a humidifier
  • By placing a shallow tray or plate with pebbles and water at the base of the pot

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)


Whether planted in the garden or in a pot, Pachira aquatica is watered throughout the growing season, from Spring to Autumn.

Plenty of good quality water is poured into each watering, after first examining the condition of the soil medium in terms of moisture. If it is dry in the first 5 cm (2 in), then the plant is watered, otherwise not, even if it has been longer than, for example, one week from the last irrigation.

Regardless of the planting area, indoors or outdoor, the soil medium should have excellent drainage, because although in its natural habitats Pachira aquatica grows mainly in wetlands, it does not tolerate standing, stagnant water. This is why it is recommended to empty the saucer almost immediately, if the plant is in a pot.

In the garden environment, a layer of ground cover pine bark mulch or other similar organic materials, about 10 cm thick, helps, among other things, to slow down the evaporation and thus to save valuable water.

The amount of water for the irrigation of the Money Tree decreases in Autumn while the frequency of applications dilutes, and even more so in Winter, where the plant goes through the Dormant phase.

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) in Pot as Indoor Plant
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) in Pot as Indoor Plant


The fertilization of Money Tree starts approximately from the middle to the end of Spring and is completed in the beginning of Autumn. If the use of controlled release fertilizer is chosen, its recommended the 10-10-10, while its application is carried out once, in the middle of Spring. If the use of water-soluble or liquid fertilizer is chosen, then it is applied 2 times a month, combined with watering the plant.

The application of water-solubleor liquid fertilizers gives greater flexibility and accuracy in supplying Pachira aquatica with the necessary nutrients, during its development phases.

Thus, the application of a such form fertilizer with increased Nitrogen (N) content may be preferred, the numbers of which indicates that the basic elements are in a ratio of 2-3 (N): 1 (P2O5): 1 (K2O). A fertilizer with a balanced ratio of basic elements 1: 1: 1 can then be used, while at the end of Summer and Autumn, the administered Nitrogen can be significantly reduced, using a fertilizer whose numbers indicates a ratio of basic elements 1: 3: 3.

In relation to the amount of fertilizer administered in each application dose, the manufacturer’s instructions are followed faithfully.

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

Planting & Repotting

The Pahira aquatica can be planted both in the pot and in the garden. Of course, in order to be planted in the garden, the basic requirements of the Money Tree must be met, not in terms of interest rates or the respective monetary policy, but in terms of climate and soil.

Pachira Planting in the Garden

In areas where the winter temperature rarely drops below 0 °C (32 °F) and no frosts are observed, Money Tree can be planted in the garden soil. The soil of the garden should be light or medium textured, slightly acidic to neutral (pH), and have excellent drainage.

For its planting:

  • A hole is opened 1 1/2 times the width of the pot and a depth slightly larger than that, in such a way that the bottom of the planting hole is slightly larger than the corresponding part of the pot – that is, the hole is trapezoidal in cross section.
  • The plant comes out of the pot with great care, taking care not to break the roots
  • A mycorrhiza preparation is poured into the bottom of the hole or at the base of the roots – or where and as advised by the manufacturer of the preparation
  • The plant is placed in the hole, making sure that its "collar" is at the same level as the ground
  • The hole with the excavated soil is filled
  • Abundant watering is provided

Pachira Planting in Pot or Planter

For Pachira aquatica, sometimes even the transplanting or repotting is a troublesome process, so the plant can react by dropping a few or more of its leaves. But it does not cease to be a necessary task for the survival of the plant in pots and planters – even if it stubbornly refuses to understand it.

The repotting of the Money Tree takes place every about two years or whenever the soil substrate is "filled" with roots. For the placement of the plant, a new pot up to 5 cm (2 in), much larger than the existing one, is selected.

The repot process is as follows:

  • Water the plant well in the old pot
  • If the new pot does not have holes in the bottom, then they are opened with the help of a drill
  • A layer of pumice – or other similar aggregate – is thrown about 2 to 3 cm (1-1.2 in) into the bottom, taking care not to close the drainage holes
  • Having selected high quality neutral reaction potting soil, a layer of it is poured – over the pumice
  • At least one hour after watering, the Pahira comes out with great care – so that the roots do not break – from the old pot and is placed in the new one.
  • Care is taken that the upper surface of the pre-existing soil substrate of the plant is 2.5 to 3 cm from the rims of the new pot
  • The pot is filled with soil which is added gradually and pressed lightly
  • Abundant watering follows
  • If necessary, after watering, more potting soil is poured into the pot – in case the existing one sinks in places

Pests & Diseases

Under normal conditions, Pachira will rarely face problems from pests or diseases. But rarely does not mean never, and therefore the plant lover should be vigilant, knowing that sometimes scales and mealybugs can infect it.

If the infestation is mild, it is treated with cotton swabs dipped in pure alcohol. If it is relatively severe, it is treated by spraying a solution of 4 tablespoons of liquid soap in 1 liter of water. But in case the infestation is really serious, then resorting to special preparations is about one way.

When applying the special insecticides, it is reminded here that the manufacturer’s instructions for use and safety are applied in letter.

Of the fungal diseases, the most serious is the root rot (usually due to the fungi Phytophthora palmivora and Pythium splendens) and manifests itself in excessively irrigated soil or waterlogged substrate.

Moderate infestations, mainly in the root zone, are treated with relatively good prospects, first after all the soil has been removed and then by cutting the infected roots using disinfected pruners or scissors. The cleaned plants are then transplanted into new pots and healthy soil substrates, where they are expected to recover.

In severe infestations of Pachira houseplants, it is not possible to manage the pathogens.

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

Potential Issues

The following table lists various potential problems, their possible causes and their treatment within the framework of care of Money Tree plant.

Crown rotPhytophthora spp. and Pythium spp. growth due to excessive watering or poor drainageDifficult to impossible
Green leaves droopingExcess water, overwateringWatering control, pot drainage checking
Older leaves chlorotic, greenish-yellowNitrogen deficiencyNitrogen application
Older leaves yellow spotsPotassium deficiencyPotassium application
Older leaves turn yellowExcess water, overwateringWatering control
Leaf curling and peripheral browningExcessive direct sun exposure, combined with poor wateringNew location with diffused light and watering correction

The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

Care of Money Tree - Pachira aquatica (Money Tree) Planted in a Park
Pachira aquatica (Money Tree) Planted in a Park


The References in the artfully braided article, entitled The Care of Money Tree (Pachira aquatica), are presented by the greatest J.J. Cale and Christine Lakeland, with their song Money Talks.

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