How to Heal a Sick Money Tree

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How to Heal a Sick Money Tree
Image Credit: springtime78/iStock/GettyImages

Things You'll Need

  • Pot with drainage hole

  • Potting soil

  • Peat

  • Perlite

  • All-purpose fertilizer

  • Insecticidal soap

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cotton swabs

  • Pyrethrin insecticide


In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10, Pachira aquatica can be grown outdoors as a landscape plant, where it reaches 10 to 15 feet tall with a spread of 8 to 10 feet.


Plants that are heavily infested with insects should be thrown out. Quarantine new houseplants away from other plants when you first bring them home until you are certain they are not carrying pests.

Commonly called a money tree for its use in the practice of feng shui as a bringer of good fortune, Pachira aquatica is a tropical tree commonly used as a houseplant and bonsai specimen. The plant features clusters of showy oval evergreen leaves and can bear edible nuts. Often seen with braided or twisted trunks, a money tree can have the misfortune to fall prey to insects or mistakes in care that can leave it sick.


Step 1

Examine your sick money tree for signs that it is being either over watered or under watered. Leaves on a money tree that are over watered become yellow and droopy, according to online bonsai nursery Too-dry trees exhibit leaves that are wrinkled and curled. Watering issues are the most likely culprit behind any houseplant problems, according to Purdue University Cooperative Extension, so start here first.

Step 2

Repot your money tree in equal parts potting soil, peat and perlite in a pot with a drainage hole to avoid having its roots sit in water if your plant shows signs of being consistently wet. Allow soil in the new pot to dry completely between waterings.


Step 3

Move your sick money tree plant to a location that receives bright sunlight in either the morning or late afternoon and mid-afternoon shade. Spots and blisters on leaves are signs light is too intense for the plant. Yellowing in older leaves is a sign of insufficient light, according to Ohio State University Extension. A money tree can be damaged when it is left out in the cold -- below 50 degrees Fahrenheit -- or in a spot that is too warm -- above 86 F. The preferred temperature range for a money tree is from 77 to 86 F, according to Hrovatin Exotica, an online exotic plant resource.

Step 4

Add an all-purpose fertilizer once a month to a money tree with all-over yellowed leaves. The exception is a bonsai-sized money tree, which only needs added nutrients once in the spring and once in the fall. Leaves wilting and dropping from the money tree can be a sign of over fertilizing.


Step 5

Examine stems and leaves for specks, webbing, sticky residue, white bumps and branch dieback -- all signs of either spider mite, mealy bug or scale infestation, to which money plants are particularly susceptible.

Step 6

Set the plant in the shower and wash residue and webbing off the leaves and stems with a gentle spray of lukewarm water. Spray both sides of the leaves with insecticidal soap to eliminate mites and mealy bugs.

Step 7

Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab and dab it on the small bumps -- scale insects -- on the stems of your money tree if it is lightly infested. Use a spray with the active ingredient pyrethrin, a plant-derived insecticide, on plants with larger infestations. The spray works on mealy bugs as well.



Patricia H. Reed

Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden.