Money Tree Plant Care: Avoid This Common Mistake (How To Water Indoors)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 28, 2024

Woman looking outside her window at a money sign while watering her indoor money tree wonders if there’s a guide to money tree care with money tree plant tips, and also wonders how big do money trees get and how often to water money tree so that it stays healthy.

Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced gardener, you will love how effortless Money tree care is. It’s actually a great plant for beginners.

If you can avoid the most common mistake, the tree will grow beautiful, healthy, and sturdy.

Surprisingly, the worst mistake people can make when planting and growing a Money tree is to provide too much sunlight.

This shade-loving tree can become sickly if too much direct sunlight is present.

This complete growing guide outlines Money Tree care best practices, including the best-growing conditions, a Money tree plant’s daily needs, how to plant and water indoors, and several other tips.

What Is a Money Tree?

You must have heard several Money tree quotes and legends about how the tree is a good luck charm, but there is more to the Money tree.

Also known as the Guiana Chestnut, the Money tree is native to South America and Mexico and is one of the most popular houseplants.


Money Tree

(Pachira aquatica)

Money tree in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Malvaceae
  • Genus: Pachira aubl.
  • Leaf: Broadleaf evergreen
  • Bark: Dark brown, gray
  • Seed: Edible brown nuts
  • Blossoms: Cream, white and yellow colored flower with 5 petals
  • Fruit: Brown/yellow with oval shape
  • Native Habitat: Central and South America
  • Height: 65 Feet

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


Image Credit: A9l8e7n14

This attractive indoor plant gives your home or office space a tropical feel. It looks like types of indoor palm trees, and if you believe in Feng Shui, you will appreciate how it brings calmness and positive energy.

Money Tree Identification Chart

You can tell a money tree by its distinctive features.

Money tree leaves are deep green, and stay green all year round. the oval shapes come to a point at the tip.

Money tree identification chart showing money tree bark, money tree seeds, money tree flowers, and money tree leaves in circle images.

Money tree bark is dark brown and smooth, while the blossoms are creamy colored flowers with five petals.

Money trees have fruits in the form of edible nuts.

Money Tree Care and Growing Needs

One of your first questions as a first-time owner is, are Money trees easy to care for?

Once you know how to care for a bonsai tree, you will understand why beginners love the Money tree.

The following are its perfect growing conditions and the common mistakes to avoid.


The Money tree may grow naturally in wetlands but avoid overwatering yours. Your pot needs proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, and you can keep checking that the soil is drying up before providing more water.


Many beginners make the mistake of exposing their plants to direct sun.1 While other trees thrive under direct bright light, the Money tree doesn’t and would instead grow under adjusted indirect light.

The bright sun can cause the leaves to discolor or grow slower, and it is best to plant them indoors in shaded spots, away from the window.


The money plant is a tropical tree that loves high temperatures and humidity. You can use a humidifier near yours to improve the humidity levels and monitor the temperature within the 65-80 degree (F) mark.2


Not many understand the Money tree fertilizer needs and end up overdoing it. You can start applying diluted fertilizer once a month, and when new leaves start showing, you can do it once every two weeks.


Money tree pruning tips are essential to control the plant’s size or grow it as a bonsai. Besides, trimming the lower parts improves the growth of new leaves, especially at the top.

Money Plant Care During Re-Potting

Your money plant will thrive in a sizable container indoors, and you don’t have to re-pot it outside unless you want a giant tree. You can relocate it in summer when the air is warmer, perfect if you live in southern states.

Growing Money tree from a branch with a young branch with leaves grew from it, planted in a small white pot.

(Image: Cool2compute11)

It starts with gradual relocation to avoid shocking it, where you place it outdoors for some hours and bring it back inside.

However, avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight and don’t take it out when it rains; otherwise, the soil will water log.

How To Care for a Money Tree in Winter

Money tree care in winter is crucial because it is originally a tropical plant that enjoys warmth and high humidity. You can add an artificial light in the house since there are fewer sunlight hours and go easy on the watering.

The soil stays wet, unlike during sweltering summers, and the plant grows steadily at the time, hence doesn’t need a lot of water.

Money Tree Care: Indoor Planting

The Money tree can grow to an impressive 60 feet when in the wild, but since they are common houseplants, many know it to reach 6-8 feet high. You can also train it as types of bonsai trees indoor by providing all its needs.

The plant is symbolic of good luck in your home, office, or commercial place, and the best part is that it doesn’t easily overwater, which kills many plants. Also note that the plant doesn’t flower indoors because pollination doesn’t occur, like in the wild.3

The most important thing is to find the right spot near a window but ensure that the sunlight doesn’t directly hit it, a common mistake owners make. It is different with Magnolia tree care which involves hours of direct sunlight daily for better growth.

Related Reading: Magnolia Trees: Guide to Every Type (Colors, Sizes, Locations, Seeds)

How To Propagate Money Tree

You can also propagate your Money tree using its stem cuttings, especially in summer or spring when there is faster growth.4

Take a sterilized knife of pruning shears, cut 4-5-inch-long stems with some nodes, and dip the end to a rooting hormone.

Money tree showing its leaves and branches with nodes.

Next, plant it in a container with potting soil and keep misting it when the soil dries for about a month.

The shoots should appear by this time, and you can replant them in a new permanent container.

Money Tree Light Requirements

The plant thrives naturally in the tropical wild under the canopies of trees, away from direct sunlight. When growing it at home, it is essential to provide the same conditions, or you will be killing it slowly.

It needs the sun indirectly; therefore, you don’t want to place it under a well-lit window as you do with other houseplants. Place it near a sunlight source and rotate it for even light reception.

Overexposure to sunlight for hours daily may yellow the leaves and cause further complications.

Money Plant Watering Needs

Money plants grow best in swampy regions with high humidity, explaining why some owners place theirs in the bathroom or near humidifiers. It has high watering needs, but be careful not to overdo it and cause problems.

You should pour water into the planter until you can see it flowing outside the draining holes, alerting you to stop. It means that the soil has already absorbed the amount it needs.

When done, dispose of the excess water on the tray underneath, avoiding using the sitting water that can cause root rot.

How To Braid a Money Tree

Braided Money trees are the trend, and you can make your own at home thanks to their slim, bendy stems.

A small Money tree with braided trunk, placed on a window sill.

(Image: Daan Rink12)

It requires 3-4 plants that you will train to grow intertwined with each other, and the following are the steps to follow.

  1. You need at least three plants, at least a foot tall; uproot them from their containers and trim the excessive leaves.
  2. To simplify the process, start from the base or top, tying the stems together with a ribbon or string.
  3. You want to avoid braiding the stems too tightly. The plants need room between them because they keep growing and getting thicker.
  4. The braid should stay intact upon release, and if not, you will have to tie the other end again to keep it firm.
  5. Re-pot the braided Money tree in its new official home, and while at it, secure it again using a loose stake but don’t dig it in too deep, or it will injure the roots.
  6. Since the process can be stressful for the trees, keeping them in a shady spot and giving them a little more love until they recover vital.
  7. It is safe to remove the fastening after a few months and let the plants naturally grow after tree shaping.10

According to legend, braiding traps luck in the trees, and you can do this simple process alone since it looks like braiding hair. Luckily, most stores selling Money trees usually do the braiding; all you have to do is maintain the pattern.5

How Often To Water Money Tree?

You can water your plant once or twice a week, but the trick is that the soil should never stay too wet or too dry. You can also adjust your watering depending on the prevailing weather.

It helps to increase the amount in summer when it is too hot and reduce it in winter when it is cold. However, ensure that your container has proper drainage and you don’t overwater it and gradually kill it.

How Long It Takes To Grow Money Tree

The money plant can reach 60 feet when growing in the wild, but the container’s size limits Money tree care indoors. Therefore, it can only get about 6 feet tall under the right conditions.

A 7-leaf Money tree plant showing its large leaves in different hues of green.

The tree is known as a fast grower, especially when young because it can attain 24 inches a year, but the rate slows down the older it gets. Your houseplant needs 5-7 years to grow fully and become an independent tree.

Growing Zones for Money Tree: Where To Grow a Money Tree

You can grow the Money tree outdoors if you live in USDA zones 10-12, which offer the perfect conditions.6 The money plant needs high temperatures and humidity to thrive as it does in the wild, where it grows in swampy tropical regions.

Otherwise, if you live in the northern part of the US, where it gets cold, you will have to grow your tree indoors all year round.

Money tree growth chart showing the age and height of a money tree as it grows.

It needs a warm shaded spot with bright indirect light, and even when growing it outdoors, it is crucial to shade it from the extreme sun, which causes discoloration.

What Are the Watering Needs for Money Tree Plants?

Money trees are susceptible to root rot caused by over watering. The safest way to go is to water your plant once or twice a week, but more times in summer and fewer times in winter.

You can wait for a day or two after the soil dries before adding more water.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Money Tree Care?

One of the most common mistakes first-time owners make is placing their indoor money plants under a window, directly in the sun. Your tree should be in a well-shaded bright spot away from the hot sun, which burns the leaves.

Your plant also needs watering at least once a week and should stay in a warm, humid place. Also, check that the soil is fertile and drains well to avoid water logging.

What To Know About Growing Money Tree From a Seed

Propagating it from stem cuttings is the most convenient way to multiply your Money tree. However, if you are patient and have a green thumb, you can always plant it conventionally, starting with the seeds.

You can directly plant the flat, light seeds in fertile soil in a planter, starting the tree indoors.7 The best time is in spring when there is no danger of frost, and ensure that your container is in a shaded spot.

Plant the seeds evenly, covering them with an inch of soil, press down, and water lightly and regularly. Following the right Money tree care tips, you should see your seedlings sprouting in 2-3 weeks.

Handy Planting Tips for Money Tree

  1. A well-lit bathroom may be the perfect place to place your Money tree because it has the ideal temperature, lighting, and humidity.
  2. You don’t have to fertilize your tree in winter because it is the period with the slowest growth rate.
  3. If you notice the leaves yellowing, it is a sign that there is extreme sunlight at that spot, and the best remedy is to relocate it to a shadier area and pluck off the affected parts.
  4. Avoid placing the pot in a drafty spot because temperature fluctuations can affect the tree.
  5. Pruning in spring when the growth rate is higher will help you maintain your money plant’s size.
  6. The tree’s full size usually depends on the container’s size; the bigger it is, the more massive it will grow.

Common Pests of the Money Tree

The Money tree is also vulnerable to the following insects

  1. Aphids: Common in green leaves, where they suck the plant’s juices and drain them
  2. Whiteflies: Feed on the plant’s phloem sap, leaving the leaves yellow
  3. Spider Mite: Eat the plant’s leaves, curling and discoloring them
  4. Mealybugs: Common in money plants, given that they live indoors
  5. Gnat: The babies eat the roots while the adults eat the fungus,8 causing the leaves to yellow and wilt


How To Stop Money Tree Disease

Money trees are susceptible to root rot, and the best way to cure them is to re-pot in disease-free soil. Remove the affected tree from its pot, clean it, and replant it afresh in a new well-drained pot.

Also, remember to avoid overwatering, or the disease will recur. Anthracnose and powdery mildew also attack the tree, manifesting as white spots and spores.9

You can use fungicidal sprays to deal with anthracnose and keep the leaves dry. On the other hand, you can use fungicidal soap mixed with water to wipe the leaves and cut off and burn the infected areas.

Money Tree Care: Natural Pest Control for Money Tree

The first step in pest control is isolating your tree from others to prevent the insects from spreading. Next, thoroughly wash the plant to remove the tiny pests off the leaves, and if the infestation has just started, you won’t need a pesticide.

Spider Mite with red body and legs hanging on a leaf.

(Image: Егор Камелев13)

If there is massive damage, you can remove the affected leaves using gloves and pruning shears. Dispose of the leaves and burn them because some fungi travel through the air.

Neem and rosemary oils are effective organic pesticides that you can use to repel insects if you don’t want to apply chemicals to your plant.

Types of Bonsai Trees That Can Grow Indoors

Here us the list of some types of bonsai trees that can be grown indoors.

  • Ficus Bonsai
  • Dwarf Jade
  • Fukien Tea (Carmona)
  • Sweet Plum (Sageretia)
  • Hawaiian Umbrella (Schefflera)

However, Fiscus Bonsai is the most common type of bonsai indoor tree due to its tolerance to low humidity and resilience. Thus, it is easy to care for, making it a perfect choice for beginners.


Types of Palm Trees That Can Grow Indoors

Here is a list of some of the types of Palm trees that can be grown indoors.

  • Parlor Palm
  • Chinese Fan Palm
  • Areca Palm
  • Majesty Palm
  • Cascade Palm
  • Ponytail Palm
  • Sago Palm
  • Yucca Palm

The Parlour Palm is the best indoor palm tree because it grows slowly, requires less light, and is easy to care for. The Money plant is a stunning must-have houseplant famous for its luck symbolism.

Why Is the Money Tree Plant Considered Lucky?

The Money tree represents good luck, wealth, prosperity, and positive energy for years. Legend has it that a man discovered fortune after planting one at home, and it is now a popular gift in Asia, highly acclaimed in Feng Shui.

The tree’s braided trunks and leaves are also symbolic; the braids trap fortune, while the number of leaves has a deeper meaning.

The 5 leaves Money tree meaning is that it represents the five elements, earth, wind, metal, fire, and water, while the Money tree 6 leaves signify good luck. On the other hand, the 7 leaves Money tree meaning is that tree will bring unimaginable luck, while the 8 leaves Money tree is the rarest, hence luckiest to own.

You can grow it in your house, office, and business, appreciating its easy maintenance. You cannot go wrong with the money plant, even as a first-time plant parent.

The only mistake to avoid is planting under direct sunlight because the sun’s rays quickly wilt the leaves. Your best bet is to place it near a window, under a shade in a well-lit room.

Another common problem is when owners over-love their tree by excessively watering it, creating a breeding ground for root rot. If you follow the above Money tree care tips and avoid the common mistakes, your beautiful bonsai will grow green, healthy, and tall, hopefully bringing you the luck you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Money Tree Care


What Is the Best Soil for Money Tree?

The best soil to plant your Money tree should be sandy, well-draining, nutrient-rich, well-aerated, and peat-moss-based. Other soil types retain a lot of water, which leaves the roots vulnerable to fungal infections.


How Big Do Money Trees Get?

Money trees can reach a whopping 60 feet when in the wild, but their growth is restricted when they grow as indoor houseplants. The money plant can only get about 6 feet tall in planters under ideal conditions.


How Much Sunlight Does Money Tree Need Each Day?

Money plants can live outdoors under tree canopies and shaded spots or indoors under medium or bright indirect sunlight for at least six hours daily.



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