By Jennifer Poindexter
Have you heard the saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees?” You might feel encouraged after hearing there’s a plant called the money tree plant that people frequently grow in their homes.
This tree naturally grows in the swamps of Central and South America where it can be as tall as 60 feet. As a houseplant, the tree grows to be a fraction of this height.
However, its name tells you why many people grow it. In some cultures, the money tree plant is thought to bring about good luck and financial gain.
Whether you believe this theory or not, you may still want to grow this tree because of its beautifully braided trunk.
If you’re interested in growing a money tree plant as a houseplant, here’s what you must know:
Growing Conditions for the Money Tree Plant
The money tree plant is an indoor houseplant in most circumstances. As an indoor plant, the money tree plant grows to be only three to six feet in height.
The noticeable braided trunk isn’t the plant’s natural form. The money tree plant is usually raised in a nursery setting where saplings are interwoven to form the houseplant variety of the money tree plant.
While the trunks are still pliable, a worker gently braids them together for this distinctive look. It’s truly a unique skill.
Once you’ve purchased your money tree plant, it’s time to decide where it should be placed around your home. This plant needs to be repotted in a container with proper drainage holes.
Use loamy, well-draining soil to fill the pot. When the plant has been placed in its new container, find a bright area of your home which has filtered sunlight.
Direct sunlight will scorch the foliage of the plant. If you have a sunny window which is covered with a curtain or wooden blinds, this might be a good location for your money tree plant.
Most homes are the right temperature to satisfy this plant because it prefers temperatures between 65- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
Be sure to choose a location without drafts. If placed in a drafty area, it will cause the leaves to fall from the plant.
You should also choose a room with high humidity. A bright bathroom could be a perfect location for the money tree plant.
The only way this plant should be grown outdoors, or planted in the ground, is if you’re located in planting zones 10 through 12.
Every other planting zone should plan on growing the money tree plant indoors or in a container, so you can move the plant with ease. By providing the right growing conditions, your money tree plant should be relatively low maintenance.
How to Plant a Money Tree Plant
Your initial money tree plant will most likely come from a nursery. When you bring the plant home, you should repot it.
The plants are normally grown in pots, which are too small for them, to ensure they stay small while being sold.
You may notice the plant is extremely root bound. If so, repot the money tree plant in a slightly bigger planter. Don’t go too big because small pots equate to smaller plants.
Fill the pot partially with loamy soil that’s well-draining. Set the money tree plant into the pot and finish filling the container with soil.
Once your money tree plant is established, you can start more plants by propagation. To propagate a new plant, cut a stem from the established plant that has two nodes on it.
Dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder. Place the cutting in a pot filled with quality, well-draining soil.
Keep the soil damp over the coming weeks but be sure not to drown the cutting. It will take approximately one month for roots to form.
When the cutting has developed a small root system, transplant it into its own small pot and begin the care process.
Pick the right grow method for your level of gardening expertise and begin trying your hand at growing your own money tree plant.
How to Care for a Money Tree Plant
Caring for a money tree plant isn’t overly complicated. By following a few basic steps, your plant should thrive.
Like most plants, the money tree plant needs water. You should use the deep watering method and allow the soil to dry fully between watering sessions.
The deep watering method equates to watering for longer periods fewer days of the week. If you’re feeling uncertain about watering your plant, use the knuckle test.
Stick your finger into the soil next to your plant. If the soil is dry to your second knuckle, the money tree plant needs more water.
If the soil is moist, wait a day or two before trying the knuckle test again. Be sure to rotate the plant every time you water it. This will help with evenly distributing the sunlight.
The money tree plant grows during the summer and goes dormant during the winter. During the summer months, apply fertilizer one time per month.
Ensure the fertilizer has been diluted to 50% potency to avoid harming the plant. When the plant is dormant, don’t fertilize.
Another need the money tree plant has is humidity. It comes from a naturally humid area. Therefore, you must try to recreate this environment in your home.
You can place it in a naturally humid room in your home. The kitchen and bathroom are humid areas in most houses.
If this won’t work for your home, you can place the money tree plant in a pot with rocks in the bottom. The rocks should be covered with water.
However, the water shouldn’t reach the money tree plant’s container as it’s sitting on top of the rocks.
The moisture beneath the plant will help create a humid climate and assist your plant with getting the humidity it desires.
It’s important to avoid moving your plant. Once the money tree plant finds a home within your home, it doesn’t like change. When you move the plant, it may cause it to begin dropping leaves.
This should be brief. To avoid unnecessary stress on the plant, avoid moving it when possible.
The final step in caring for the money tree plant is to repot it every two years. When spring rolls around check to see if your plant is root bound.
When the roots can be seen at soil level, you’ll know the plant is stuck and needs to be repotted. You’ll repot the plant as you did when first bringing it home and making the transition to a larger container.
Again, it’s vital not to go too large when transplanting the money tree plant. Smaller pots do encourage the plant to stay small.
Plus, if you place the plant in a large container with larger quantities of soil, there’s potential that the plant could become overwatered.
Provide the basic needs of this plant on a consistent basis, and your money tree plant should grow happily in your home for years to come.
Garden Pests and Diseases for a Money Tree Plant
There are a variety of pests and diseases to be aware of when growing a money tree plant. The major issues usually boil down to too much water or too much sunlight.
If you overwater or leave the plant where it receives too much sunlight, it may develop brown spots on the leaves or root rot.
However, on rare occasions, the plant could develop brown spots on the leaves due to a potassium deficiency. You can purchase a specialized fertilizer to treat this issue.
These are common pests frequently found on houseplants. Aphids live on the sap of your plant. If your plant begins to lose color, this is a sign of an aphid infestation.
You can rid your plant of aphids by placing it in your sink and spraying all parts of it with soapy water. This will cause the aphids to dislodge. The process may need to be repeated as needed.
Scales look like a growth on the stem of your plant. The pest covers itself in a wax coating. You can hand pick the scales from your plant and coat the stem in oil. This will suffocate any remaining scales on the plant.
Mealybugs can be difficult to see, but they do a lot of damage. This pest will feast on your plant’s sap, root system, and foliage.
Rid your plant of mealybugs by wiping it with a cotton swab coated in rubbing alcohol. You can also spray your plant with soapy water to dislodge the pests.
Spider mites are our final pest to discuss. They’re another pest that’s difficult to spot. You will usually notice their webs before you see them.
As with the other pests, you can spray your plant with soapy water to dislodge them and break up their webs.
Being aware of the things which can harm your plant is your best shot at finding gardening success when raising the money tree plant.
Houseplants are a great way to brighten your home, and the unique trunk of the money tree plant could become a great conversation piece. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy raising this plant for natural home décor.