The beautiful braided money tree has made it from the swamps of Southern American, to so many house holds across the world! The money tree is meant to bring luck and fortune to those who have it displayed in their house. Even if you don’t believe in luck, this tree is still a lovely house plant and should still be enjoyed! In this article I explain the history of this beautiful tree and exactly how to care for a money tree.
Where To Grow A Money Tree
The money tree makes a great house plant because it thrives in sunny, humid and warm conditions. As per any tree, it’s going to need to be placed somewhere with a lot of natural sunlight, although not too intense as this can burn the leaves. Avoid placing the tree near any cold drafts such as near a letterbox as well as dry air such as radiators. Bathrooms make a great place to grow a money tree as they will receive the light, humidity and warmth they need!
Once you have found the perfect spot for keeping the tree, just leave it there and rotate the pot every few days to ensure all the leaves get equal light. Moving any tree too often is stressful and usually results in leaves dropping. According to HouseBeautiful, these trees can actually survive through temperatures of 10 degrees, so don’t worry too much if your house isn’t the warmest all year round.
How To Care For Your Money Tree Plant
The money tree is very easy to care for, one of the reasons it’s so popular as a house plant. Here are the basics you need to know to keep yours alive and thriving!
These trees really struggle with over-watering, so you don’t want to overdo it at all. A good routine would be checking the soil moisture level. If the first inch or two of soil is completely dry, then it can be watered. This changes in frequency throughout the year but you should be watering a money tree about every week or two. When watering, you need to keep watering the money tree until water is running freely from the drainage holes. At this point let the pot drain, empty the excess tray and let the tree sit!
Personally I have never fed my money tree but Apartmenttherapy advises using a balanced liquid feed, diluted to about 1/2, roughly once per month growing the spring and summer. Fertilizing in winter is not needed.
Much like other bonsai trees, you will need to be constantly doing maintenance pruning on the money tree to ensure it stays healthy, pretty and disease free. Prune off any dry, dead or brown foliage, as this is going to help rejuvenate the tree with growth. If you notice that you are constantly having the prune off brown foliage, this can be a sign of either under-watering or over-watering so it’s worth having a look at your watering routine.
The History Of This Tree
The interesting thing about money trees is that out in nature, they don’t even look remotely similar to the potted house plants we know and love. The Pachira Aquatica is commonly seen towering at over 60ft in height according to ApartmentTherapy, which definitely wouldn’t fit in your house. These trees originate from South America, mainly living in the hot, humid swamps.
When out in nature, the money tree doesn’t symbolize luck at all and doesn’t even have the heavily braided trunk that we have grown to love. Much like in the art of bonsai, when the trees are saplings they are gradually grown together by wrapping string around the trunks of multiple trees. This technique is used in bonsai to create the appearance of a thicker trunk and works perfectly for creating a braided appearance on the money tree.
It’s thought that the first person to actually attempt braided the beautiful Pachira Aquatica was a Taiwanese truck driver. This managed to spread the tree throughout Japan before it then become popular in China, as it was used heavily in the art of Feng Shui. There is a bit of mystery surrounding this tree and the ‘seventh leaf’. Although extremely rare, if you manage to find a money tree with seven leaves on, this is supposed to be a lot luckier than just the common 5 leaved tree.
Through my research into the history of money trees I have learned that the process of braiding the trunks together is to try and encase fortune inside, which plays into the thought of the tree being lucky. Commonly seen with 5 leaves, the leaves symbolize each element of the earth.
Are Money Trees Lucky?
Money trees are commonly known to bring luck and fortune to those that own one. You may think that the history of this tree being lucky stretches back far. It doesn’t. The money tree only started being related to luck in 1980, when it was braided for the first time.
There are known to be a huge amount of benefits to owning a money tree, these include reducing anxiety, lowering stress levels and it’s thought that they even help cure minor sleeping issues. I’ll let you decide if the money tree is lucky or not! For more information on this, have a read of my recently updated article: Are Bonsai Trees Lucky?
Health Problems You May Run Into
As common with many trees grown as bonsai, the money tree can run into a lot of health problems. These problems will mainly stem from the tree being over-watered. When a tree is frequently over-watered, meaning there is too much water in the soil, the roots will be starved of oxygen. This causes the roots to die and start rotting away, causing that to spread throughout the whole root system, eventually killing the tree.
Although very serious, over-watering is also very preventable! Make sure you are not watering the money tree when the top soil is still clearly very wet. You can dip your finger into the first inch to feel for moisture. Ensuring that you are not letting the saucer under your money tree fill up with water too is crucial as this could also lead to causing root rot. If you feel like the tree has been over-watered or the soil is retaining too much water, have a read of my guide here: How To Repot A Bonsai Tree, as this could be very helpful for you.
Another common health issue your money tree may run into is being infested with pests. Aphids tend to love bonsai trees so it’s very likely that at some point your tree will either have aphids or scale pests infesting it. These pests can be very dangerous to the health of the tree, so ensure that you treat as soon as you’re aware of them. If you notice the leaves getting very sticky, this can be a common sign of aphids. These pests secrete ‘honeydew’ on the foliage, making them feel sticky. For more information about removing these pests, have a read over my article: Why Are The Leaves On My Bonsai Tree Sticky?