From tiny succulent plants to cactus gardens and plants for your bathroom, plants for your bedroom, or plants for your living room, indoor gardening is hot right now! But if you’re looking for a little good luck too, legend says that the money tree, also known as aquatica pachira, will bring you luck, positive energy and financial success. Whether or not you believe the folklore, it’s an attractive plant with an upright form and glossy green leaves that looks good in almost any room of your house. One study even showed it reduced indoor volatile organic compounds! It’s often sold with a central braided stem and is sometimes presented as a bonsai tree.
Money trees, also called Malabar or Guyana chestnuts, are native to Central and South America from Mexico to Brazil. In the wild, it’s a wetland tree (thus the term "aquatica" in its scientific name). "It’s a good choice for newbie plant parents because it’s not particularly finicky," says Barbara Pleasant, author of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual. "It’s pretty resilient."
Here’s how to care for a money tree, plus everything else you need to know about the plant.
How much light does my money tree need?
Money trees prefer bright light, but will adapt to moderate light, such as in your cubicle at work. But if you try to grow it in light that’s too dim, the plant will stretch toward the light and become unsightly. In order to keep money tree growing in an upright manner, place it in a south or west-facing window. Rotate the pot a little once a week to maintain its symmetrical growth. You also can use a grow light if you don’t have the right light conditions.
How do I care for my money tree?
Your money tree is tropical, so it likes temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees, not extremes or drafty spots. Water until it runs out of the drainage holes, then dump out the saucer (even the money tree doesn’t like wet feet!). Let it dry out a little between waterings. Feed it an all-purpose fertilizer in spring and summer when the plant is actively growing, but not in winter when it’s resting like most other plants.
Are money trees safe around pets?
It’s not currently on the ASPCA’s toxic plant list for pets. Just remember that any plant can cause stomach upset and vomiting if your pet nibbles on it, so keep an eye on your pets with all your indoor plants and indoor trees.
Should I take it outdoors in summer?
If it’s happy indoors, leave it be, says Pleasant. Moving your money tree outdoors doesn’t actually do anything for it if it’s already healthy, and it could introduce pests to the plant (which is a total bummer when you bring it back indoors, because you could infect other plants!). However, if you do decide to take it outside, keep it in dappled sunlight so the leaves don’t become scorched. Bring it back indoors before nights dip into the 50s, and consider treating with neem oil before bringing it inside to prevent any potential hitchhikers from infesting the rest of your indoor plants.
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