Pachira Aquatica Care
Pachira aquatica, better known as the Money Tree plant, is a gorgeous tree you can grow outdoors or in your home. In order to make your plant thrive, it is important to provide it with appropriate care. It means ensuring proper light, temperature, watering and other conditions.
Pachira aquatica has specific light requirements: to thrive, it needs indirect sunlight or half-shade. While it can endure direct sunlight, this is not the best option because too much sunlight burns its leaves.
It is best to keep your Money Tree in a place that receives only indirect sunshine or partial shade most of the tame. If you wish to keep your plant in the direct sunlight, make sure to introduce it gradually, to prevent leaves from being burned.
A great thing about Pachira aquatica is that it can thrive under fluorescent light. This is why it’s a popular choice for an office plant. However, if you choose to grow it under fluorescent light, make sure not to move it often. Frequent relocation might cause its leaves to drop.
Money Tree plant tends to grow towards the light, so make sure to turn it from time to time if you keep it indoors. This will prevent asymmetric growth.
It is important to keep your plant at appropriate temperature. To survive and thrive, Pachira aquatica needs temperatures above 60 degrees F. You can keep it inside or outside, depending on your climate zone, as long as temperatures don’t go below 60 degrees. However, your plant will need a bit lower temperature in the winter, because it hibernates.
If you wish to keep your Money Tree outside, recommended USDA planting zones are 10 and 11. Other zones don’t have adequate temperature requirements, and in those cases, you will need to grow your Pachira aquatica indoors.
Also, it is important to keep your Pachira aquatica protected from any draft and unexpected cold. Make sure to choose an appropriate spot in your yard or in your home.
This plant needs a temperature above 60 ° F, and you can keep it both inside and outside if the temperature meets this requirement. USDA planting zones 10 and 11 have a suitable climate to grow this tree outside. Otherwise, you should grow it as a houseplant. In both cases, keep your plant out of drafty areas. A lower temperature is needed in the winter because the plant is hibernating.
Soil and Fertilizer
Money Tree plant requires highly nutritious soil to thrive. In addition to this, it is important to provide good drainage. Moss-based soil is ideal, although you may also use regular flower or cactus soil. It is also a good idea to add a bit of sand or gravel to ensure proper drainage. When choosing a commercial potting soil mix, make sure it fulfills all of these requirements. Pachira aquatica can also thrive in hydroculture, so you may use that option if you prefer.
Another important thing to keep in mind are drainage holes. Make sure that your chosen container has them, if you wish to grow your Money Tree plant indoors. Soggy soil can be extremely dangerous for this plant, so make sure not to overpot. You can choose to keep your Pachira aquatica in a smaller pot, to ensure it doesn’t overgrow.
The amount of fertilizer will depend on the type of three that you have. Small, bonsai types of Money Tree plant need to be fertilized only two to three times per year. Full trees need fertilizer more often: make sure to fertilize every two weeks during spring and summer. Using a half-diluted liquid fertilizer works the best. If you prefer fertilizing sticks, you may use that option instead. In the winter, you should lower feeding, because of hibernation.
Keep in mind that too much fertilizing can be very harmful to Pachira aquatica. It may also make it grow in height only, without developing a tree crown.
Pachira aquatica is a moisture-loving plant, but make sure not to overdo it. Your plant should never stand in water – this may cause its roots to rot. When watering, make sure never to wet the stems.
The best watering schedule is once per week from spring to autumn. This regime should be slowed down in winter, when the plant is hibernating. When watering, make sure to remove the excess water that might gather in the saucer. Wait until the top few inches of the soil are completely dry before you water your plant again.
In the winter, pay close attention to your plant. If you see its growth slowing down, make sure to provide less water during watering. Money Tree has a thicker stem at the bottom to store water for drier seasons. You should still water your plant, but don’t go overboard. It will not dry out.
The best way to water your Money Tree is by using rainwater. If you can’t get enough of rainwater, make sure to use distilled water. Tap water is not ideal for this plant, so make sure to avoid it. From time to time, you can give your Pachira aquatica a shower. This will remove dust and dirt from the leaves.
If you notice your plant dropping leaves, it is a common sign of overwatering. Make sure to cut the amount of water you give to your Pachira aquatica.
Money Tree plant loves humidity. While it can grow in lower humidity, the best way to make it thrive is to keep it in a place with 50% and more humidity levels. Air can get dry indoors, especially during the winter.
To help your Pachira aquatica in these conditions, make sure to place some gravel and water in the saucer. Another technique is to mist the plant’s leaves frequently.
If you wish to grow your Money Tree plant indoors, pruning is necessary. It will prevent the tree from overgrowing. When pruning, try to cut just below the leaf axil. Make sure to shorten the shoots. The best time to prune your Pachira aquatica is in the spring.
After pruning, you might notice that your plant has lost its even shape. Don’t be alarmed: Money Tree plant resprouts quickly after pruning and will go back to the even shape quickly. This is why you don’t have to worry about cutting too much during pruning.
Your Pachira aquatica will need repotting if you keep it indoors. You should repot it as soon as you buy it, because these plants are typically sold in pots that are too small. However, make sure not to repot it in a container that is too large. The pot is the only thing preventing it from growing into a full tree. This is important to prevent overgrowing.
After this first repotting, you should do it again only when the plant’s roots have outgrown the container. This happens every few years. Repotting will also keep the soil fresh and will encourage better drainage. The best time to repot your Pachira aquatica is in the spring.
If you wish your Money Tree plant to grow larger, you may use a bigger pot. However, don’t go for containers that are too large. In addition to overgrowing, large pots will retain water, which is not good for your plant.
When repotting, make sure to remove any dead or dry roots. However, be careful not to shake the plant’s roots too much. You might notice that your Money Tree plant drops some leaves after repotting, but this is generally not alarming.
Photo credit: mauro halpern Castanheiro-do-Maranhão. Guiana-chesnut, Munguba, “Pachira aquatica” via photopin (license)