Money Tree, Guiana Chestnut
Pachira aquatica is one of the easiest indoor trees to look after. It usually comes as a braided collection of 3-5 individual plants.
The big palmate leaves and impressive braided stems of the Money Tree make it perfect as a highly decorative statement plant that delivers impact in pretty much any setting.
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Pachira aquatica is native to the Central and South America. The scientific name “Pachira” means “sweet water nut”, albeit the fruit or seeds are not suitable for human consumption. The species name “aquatica” is a Latin reference to the fact that it naturally grows alongside rivers and in other wet areas like marshes and wet mountain forests.
The natives would toast the seeds and mix the powder in milk to obtain a substitute for coffee, resulting in a drink with an aroma and colour very similar to that of chocolate. A few limited studies have pointed out the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of the seeds and bark that are sometimes used in folk medicine.
Care & Size Guidance
Keep in mind that the Money Tree plant is an actual tree with a fairly fast growth rate. The best way to care for it is to water in cycles: a couple of deep waterings to hydrate the soil really well, followed by a period when the soil is left to dry out completely.
A good way to make sure the whole root ball is hydrated is to put the nursery pot in a deep dish, water slowly from the top until it drains at the bottom, and leave the pot in the dish for about half an hour. This watering method will mimic the natural conditions where the plant grows and will prevent fungus gnats from taking advantage of the constantly moist soil.
Fertilize in spring and summer, either with a liquid organic fertiliser or a slow release fertiliser (you can even use our granular bamboo fertiliser).
Does Money Grow On Trees?
There are many stories around the Pachira aquatica’s name, but the legend has it that one day a poor Taiwanese farmer found a small Pachira plant growing in his field. He was struck by its beauty and, realising that he might be able to use this tree to escape poverty, he decided to grow and sell these mysterious plants that were growing in his field!
Most of the time, young plants of the money tree are braided together to “lock in the luck”.
Training For Success
The plant responds really well to training, and you’ll want to do that while the shoots are still tender and flexible.
Prune by removing some of the leaves and offshoots, which will help define and attain the desired shape. The best time to work on your Pachira aquatica is during its growing period, when the Money Tree plant is still developing.
As it is a fast grower, even in the average UK home, the plant should be rotated once a month to ensure that it doesn’t bend out of shape whilst trying to reach for light.