The braided money tree is a favorite houseplant. It has five leaflets per stem that resemble an open hand. The taller the plant the thicker and more dark green the leaves. The money tree is a native of wetlands and swamps and hence it likes moist soil and environment. The large leaves of the money tree should be pruned if a lot of new leaf growth is desired. However, unless the plant is sickly in appearance, pruning is not really necessary.
Care and Pruning
The money tree is actually a chestnut tree that produces large, edible chestnuts. However, when grown indoors it produces neither nuts nor flowers. It is a very easy to grow plant that need not be pruned unless excessive growth is desired. Pruning the plant at the top helps to give it a more bushy appearance. The soil for the plant needs to be well drained and moist. Though its natural habitat is near water, too much watering is not recommended. When kept moist and well watered the plant grows very rapidly. You can add river sand to the soil as it helps with the drainage. The plant likes medium light, but a little shade is also advised.
Braiding the Money Tree
As the money tree grows it needs to be continually braided. Place it in a well lighted area but not in direct sunlight and it will grow swiftly. Keep removing the leaves on the lower area of the trunk and braid regularly while the trunks are flexible. Keep the leaves concentrated at the top of the tree with pruning. Also use a ¼ strength water soluble plant food or fertilizer once a week. Though the tree grows even more quickly outdoors, it needs to be kept away from direct sunlight as this can easily cause leaf-burn. When repotting the plant use a cactus soil mix.
Legend of the Money Tree
The braided money tree is considered to symbolize the five fundamentals of the Feng Shui elements: water, metal, wood, earth and fire. Most commonly, the money tree consists of five intertwined trees. The plant also symbolizes good wealth and is seen to bring financial luck and fortune to the owner. It is a very popular indoor plant for work or home. It is often sold with another favorite Feng Shui plant called "Lucky Bamboo."