Capable of growing 60 feet tall in its tropical swamp habitats and 30 feet tall planted outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, the money tree (Pachira aquatica) also grows indoors. As a container plant, it seldom exceeds 8 feet. To perform its best as a houseplant, money tree needs occasional repotting. When roots begin protruding from the base of its pot, its growth slows or it needs more frequent watering, a money tree is ready for a larger container.

Pachira aquatica along Oiapoque River, French Guiana
credit: sophie Dauwe/iStock/Getty Images
Wild money trees have exotic, bushy-stamened blooms.

Preparing for the Move

Repot the money tree in spring or summer, when it's actively growing. Water it well, let it drain for an hour while you prepare its new container, and cover the work area with newspapers.

Choose a pot 1 or 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one, with at least one drainage hole in its base. To prevent potting soil from washing out of the pot when you water, cover the drainage hole with a coffee filter or fine-mesh screen.

Potting Mix

Repot the tree with fresh potting mix formulated for moisture-loving plants. A soilless mix containing peat, pine bark and vermiculite or perlite works well. Homemade potting mix is less expensive than commercial brands. To make your own, mix equal parts peat moss, perlite and coarse (or builder's) sand.

Lifting the Tree

It the money tree is small, place the thumb and forefinger of one hand around the base of its trunk and with your open palm resting on top of the soil. Lift and invert the pot with the other hand so the tree slides out.

Don't pull on the delicate trunk if the tree resists. Instead, bang the base of the pot lightly against the work surface to loosen the rootball until it slides out easily. Get help, if necessary, to lift a large money tree onto the work surface, and place the pot on its side before sliding it free.

Examine the rootball for tangled, encircling roots or mushy, dark roots. Tease the tangled ones apart with your fingers; cut encircling or mushy ones ones with a clean, sharp knife. Wipe the knife blade down with a clean rag dipped in rubbing alcohol between cuts so it doesn't spread disease.

Repotting the Tree

Pour enough potting mix into the new container so the top of the rootball is 1 inch below the rim. Center the tree on top of the mix and gradually fill in around it, tamping lightly with your fingers to eliminate air pockets.

When the mix reaches the rim, water until liquid drains from the drainage holes; a mix containing peat may need watering several times before it's completely moist. If the potting mix settles more than 1/2 inch below the rim, add enough to cover the root ball while leaving 1/2 inch of space for future watering.

Moving the tree to a cool spot out of direct sunlight for two or three weeks and keeping the potting mix consistently moist prevents transplant shock.