The money tree, also known as Malabar chestnut, is an easy-to-grow plant commonly used in feng shui to produce positive vibrations and attract prosperity to the owner. It is native to the swamps of South America and will not tolerate temperatures below 28 degrees F, making it a common indoor plant. Money trees can grow as high as 15 feet with a leaf spread between 8 and 10 feet. It produces small, brown nuts that have a flavor similar to peanuts. The money tree also has no major susceptibility to pests or diseases, which adds to its appeal.
Plant the money tree in rich soil with good drainage. A potting soil made for cacti with high pearlite content is ideal. Plant the tree in a pot that corresponds with the size plant you desire. Money tree plants will need to be repotted in a larger pot every two years. They prefer to be planted in areas with minimal sunlight. However, they can also grow indoors in full shade. If the tree begins to wilt or appear unhealthy, move it to a location with some indirect sunlight.
Watering and Fertilizing
Water money tree plants once every seven to 10 days. Apply just enough water to dampen the soil, and use a spray bottle filled with water to mist the foliage of the tree. Never dampen the leaves when the plant is in full sunlight to avoid potential leaf burn. Alternatively, you can keep the money tree plant in the bathroom next to a frequently used shower to emulate a humid environment.
Feed the money tree plant using a liquid fertilizer with every other watering. Follow the manufacturer's directions to administer the correct amount. During winter months, the tree does not require any fertilization.
The money tree plant requires no pruning to stay healthy and controlled. The trunk of the tree is made up of five separate braided trunks. At the top of these trunks are branches that extend upward. Braid the bottoms of the branches together once they have grown several inches past the braid. Continue this pattern to keep the money tree growing straight and healthy.
Branches that grow from the top of the tree that disrupt the braid must be removed to continue. The branch can be cut back, or the trunk from which the branches grow can be removed completely and used to start a new money tree.
Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.