Looking for a little luck and prosperity in your home? Try growing a Braided Money Tree Plant. This fabulous indoor plant has a braided trunk, glossy leaves and is easy care. This technique of braiding the trunk is thought to symbolize looking for money and luck!
The braided money tree plant has been around for years but I am just starting to see it at lots of local outlets that sell plants. It appears to have caught on with consumers in a big way! I got my plant at BJs wholesale club of all places and then started seeing it at both Lowe’s and Home Depot.
The botanical name for the braided money tree plant is Pachira aquatica. It is also known as the Malabar chestnut. The tree is native to Central and South America and usually has trunks that are braided together.
Tips for growing a Braided Money Tree Plant.
Sunlight – Keep the tree in a room that gets moderate sunlight. A money tree plant is somewhat forgiving and survive in varying degrees of sunlight but it really likes bright moderate light. Keep it out of direct sunlight, or the leaves will begin to dry out and brown.
I have my plant in a south facing window with an eave outside it during the winter and move it to a shady area of my garden in the summer time. Indoors, turn the plant regularly so that it does not lean to the sunlight. Even though they prefer moderate light, they can actually take lower light situations.Trunk. The plant is grown with a series of trunks braided together. This braiding is done when the stalks are young and supple. If your plant outgrows its space, you can actually cut the trunk off close to the soil and it will send new shoots out from this area.
Leaves. The leaves of a braided money tree plant are glossy and deep green. Most money tree plants have 5-6 leaves on each stem, and you can sometimes find one with seven leaves. Just like finding a 4 leaf clover, seven leaves on a stem is thought to bring really good fortune to its owner.
Size. When grown outdoors, money tree plants can reach 60 feet tall. The indoor height is usually confined to about 6-7 feet. The size of the tree when grown as an indoor plant is largely determined by the age of the plant and the container size.
Watering, Potting and Fertilizing Tips
Watering. A money tree plant likes well draining soil. The instructions that I got with my plant said to use three ice cubes a week (Just like Moth Orchids!) I don’t do this but instead reach into the soil. When it is dry to about the first inch of my finger, I give it a drink. They don’t like to sit in soggy soil and will suffer if over watered.
Potting. Don’t over pot a braided money tree plant. Use a container container that appears on the smallish side. A container that is too large will will hold too much water, causing stem and root rot. Since they grow to such a large size outdoors, growing the money tree in a smaller container will also prevent it from getting too big indoors. Many people grow the plant as a bonsai. My plant has a 6 inch pot and the height is about 24 inches. Normally when there is this discrepancy, I would re-pot to a bigger pot, but it is so healthy, I am leaving it until I am sure it is pot bound.
Fertilizing. Pachira aquatica does not need a lot of fertilizing. Doing it once in the Spring and then again once in the Fall with a Time Released Bonsai Fertilizer is sufficient.
Cold Hardiness. Here in the USA, this plant is normally grown as an indoor plant, even though it grows to a tree size outside. But since it is only hardy over the winter in zones 9b to 11, it can’t be grown in most back yards. The chestnut pod of the money plant in nature is very large.
Caring for and propagating the Money Tree Plant
Shaping. Regular pruning helps to control the size of the plant, so if you want to keep it smaller, pinch or prune off some of the growing growing tips.
Propagation. Propagation is generally done by taking cuttings or potting up side shoots. It can also be grown from seeds. If you see new shoots coming out of the trunks, you can place these shoots in moist seed starting soil and they will grow well. (or let them root in water and then pot them.) Once they grow, repot in normal well draining potting soil.
Re-potting. Transfer to the next size up pot every 2-3 years if the plant becomes pot bound. Once the plant gets to its desired size, don’t re-pot, just remove, and replace the soil with fresh potting soil in a container the same size.The braided Money Tree Plant is often given as a gift. Since the plant is thought to bring good luck and prosperity, they make a perfect housewarming gift. Since it is so easy to care for, it should give you years of beauty in the home.