Money Tree Plant - Pachira Glabra

One of the most common indoor potted tree plants is the "Money tree" (also known as the "Lucky money tree" or the "Bonsai money tree" or even "French Peanut"). There is considerable confusion it seems as to the species of tree that these "money trees" belong to. They are almost always listed as being "Pachira aquatica" in nurseries and plant shops. The truth however is that there are several species in the pachira genus that are used to make the braided money trees and in my opinion the most commonly used is not pachira aquatica but rather parchira glabra (sometimes called Bombax glabra or Bombacopsis glabra).

The differnce between the p. aquatica and the p. glabra can be easily seen in the fruit and the flower. p. aquatica has a flower with redish stamens while the p. glabra has a flower with creamy white stamens. The fruit of the p. aquatica is woody brown with a rough texture while that of the p. glabra is green and has a smooth surface.

These two distinctives are of little use however if what you are trying to do is identify a potted money tree plant that in all likelyhood will never have neither flower nor fruit pod. This leaves just the leaves as the source of differences to determine the true species.

One of the reader comments on my previous post about the p. aquatica tiped me off to the difference. The venation of the p. glabra is more horizontal with respect to the petiole while the p. aquatica is slightly more angled. From my observations the leaflet shape is also slighly different with the p. glabra being a bit more long and pointy and the p. aquatica a bit more round and less pointed.

The images above and below are from a braided money tree plant that was planted in the Torrremolinos botanical garden "molino de inca". I happend to come across it when it had fruit that was mature enough to check the color and texture.

Links to pachira glabra sites...
http://www.montosogardens.com/pachira_glabra.htm
http://www.kartuz.com/p/80057/Pachira+glabra.html
http://www.esalq.usp.br/trilhas/fruti/fr04.htm

45 comments:

  1. MY MONEY TREES HAVE DEVELOPED A CLEAR, STICKY, SUBSTANCE ALONG THE STEMS AND LEAVES. IS THIS SOMETHING I SHOULD TREAT? OR IS IT NORMAL. PLEASE EMAIL ME @ eveozer@mdgglobal.com
    THANK YOU

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does it have any insects? Like small brown scale? Several species of insects secrete a sticky substance. Depending on the insect they can be treated with a soapy spray or alcohol on a cotton swap on the scale or mealybug.

    ReplyDelete
  3. when is it best to re-pot? mine is a foot tall in a container about 3 inches across- help- i don't want to impede its' growth

    ReplyDelete
  4. My money tree is over 8 foot tall and no longer fits in my home. Can these be kept or planted outside? I live in South Carolina. Can it be pruned at the top to shorten it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a big tree. I can't wait till mine grows 15 feet.

      Delete
  5. I have one planted outside in Florida. However, the cold ruins it - but it does grow back by summer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The sticky substance is normal... and please don't EVER use alcohol on these beautiful creatures!

    A foot tall and in a THREE INCH container? Please replant immediately. It's always better to reduce the number of times one has to replant/re-pot by planting in a larger pot for the tree to grow into.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. my money tree seems to be rotting from the inside out. It had 5 stems last year and 3 of them did this. Now I am loosing a fourth this year. I am not watering it excessively by any means and can't figure out what is going on. The leaves turn yellow and fall off and the large stems that form the trunk get mushy and completely die. Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My money tree started to do this because the place I bought it from used a rubber band on the roots to start the braid. The rubber band choked my roots, and I didnt figure it out until 4 were dead : ( . I removed the rubber band in time to save the Last, which was in through middle of the braid and protected. If Anyone Buys a Braided Money Tree Check Your Roots For Rubber Bands or Ties!!

      Delete
  8. My money tree has a drinking problem. Every other day, I find a whole host of empty vodka bottles laying around it and the other day, I even found some still smoldering roaches near the base of its truck! Does my money tree need to go to rehab?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol the best post on here. That was insanly funny. Mine did rails. I had to put flour around it so it thought it was doing lines for real.

      Delete
  9. hi,
    i live in united kingdom, its pretty cold here, could that be a cause of why my money plant is diying? it used to have lots lovely green leafs n now there are about 8 n they are turning yellow :( the plant has grown it is 1,80cm, the pot is about 15cm wide, is there anything i can do??? please do email back
    daniela

    daniela_vis@hotmail.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  10. ive had my money tree for about 2 years and i put her into a really big pot and she is water properly and i talk to her and even put pretty bows on her for christmas but she has stayed at 18 inchs for like a year now and dosnt seem to get anybigger what am i doing wrong thanks

    ReplyDelete
  11. you have a nice site.thanks for sharing this valuable resources. keep it up. you can also earn money from here

    http://hutmoney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. hey i just bought my money tree and its about 3 feet tall and looks great in the house; i know your only suppose to water it like once a week but how much water is what im wonderin so i dont kill mine from givin it to little or to much. thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. when i bought my tree, the paper that goes with it says to water 1-2 times a MONTH.

      Delete
  13. Hi, I have a money tree and its in perfectly good shape except for the fact that the trunk is bariely braided and the trunk is tiny for a 3 foot plant!!! (from the trunk bottom to the op leaf) I have 2 money tree's (one bigger than the other by 2 feet.) and theyboth have really really small trunks like the leaf and everything is growing nicely but the trunk doesn't seem to be growing. I looked online and they look bigger than my plants

    plz e-mail me @ annster24@rocketmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. @harry - I am not expert on this subject, but I wanted to share this with you which might help/comfort you. I have had my plant for more than 4 years now, and has always been indoors, and it has grown about 8 inches in this time. When I first saw this at a nursery, it was in such a poor shape and I got it home only because I could not bear to leave it there... so one factor is it took time to get healthy. But after that, the growth is steady but the rate is like less than 2"/yr. Not exactly speedy. :) It seems to hibernate in winters, and really likes the spring/summer better than fall/winter to grow. New leaves bud out only when the oldest leaves have fallen, or when the older leaves are yellowed. It does not like to be over-watered. Since you already have a big enough pot (and re-potting is not required), you could try to scoop some of the old soil in the pot, and replace with some new organic soil. Do it carefully/gently without damaging the roots, maybe when the soil has very little water content, but also not absolutely dry. Once when my mom was visiting me, and my plant was still in the process of getting back to health, mom added some residue of gently boiled tea leaves, and my plant seemed to like it. :D So I add it maybe twice a year. Do this only if you are comfortable, I really don't know if experts will agree with this. Although if the stems and leaves are healthy, and looks like the roots can support its weight, just enjoy it. Let your little girl be, as long as she is healthy and happy. All the best. regards, nss.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous, whose money tree has a drinking problem - maybe rehab would do it good, but rehab works if your tree is ready for it. Perhaps it has anger issues as well, smoldering roaches??!!! Try donating it to your local library or the local school, maybe it needs intellectual stimulation.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have 2 cats,I hope they do not decide to dine on the leaves.I bought two healthy trees yesterday and I am about to plant them in a large pot each indoors in a well lit area.
    Do they keep there leaves year round?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Too late.I spotted a couple of nibbled leaves...sigh. But my money tree has 5 leaves not six and yes it is a money tree,lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check to make sure it won't poison the cats- just because it's not poisonous to humans doesn't mean it won't be to cats.

      Delete
    2. Money trees are only typically supposed to have 5 leaves, they can have 6 or 7 tho in certain cases and apparently if it has 6 leaves it shows a sign of virtue and prosperity and 7 is even better in that same perspective

      Delete
  18. my money tree is about 5 feet tall and it's outside I would like to plant it in the flower bed but I'm scared that I don't know how big it can it get or even how big the roots can get so help me out here. It's a beautiful tree and what have is all tropical plants and it will go with what I'm going for

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi! I just started housesitting for folks who have a money tree that is probably about 6' tall. It is a potted, indoor plant. Each branch sprouts 7 leaves. When I first moved in, I started dusting the leaves and discovered wee brown spots here and there on the leaves. Then noticed even tinier black specks on the backs of the leaves. Upon researching on the internet, discovered this is scale and scale babies. Started rubbing the leaves down with alcohol and this has effectively decimated the population of them. And of course, in my research, read that the scale bug's honeydew can attract ants. Examined the tree and discovered to my horror, the tiniest ants I have ever seen, mayyybe about 1mm in size and nearly the same colour as the trunk. And they were living in the tree. These little fellows had not just wandered in, they were already well moved in!! It looks like there was an entire, well-organized mini eco-system going on in the tree!

    I decimated the population of scale and continue to kill them as I find them. This is eliminated the food source for the ants. I have also found a spray "jelly" to spray on the tree wherever ants travel. This jelly is something that they will supposedly carry back to the nest, eat and die. (Other ant traps or poisons had little pellets or jelly in tiny balls that were actually too big for these ants; they didn't go anywhere near them). Looks as though the ants are now on the road to extinction as well.

    Problem is, now, the tree just looks unhappy. A little on the droopy side. Some leaves have sections that turned black and dry, presumably from the scale (this was before I applied alcohol anywhere and before I even realized what scale was); other leaves are turning yellow and have either fallen off or should probably be trimmed off (by the way, I am terrified of hurting the plant and don't know how or where to cut if I am going to prune). The vast majority of the leaves are still dark green but a few of those have curled a little. I am a little worried that the plant could have suffered from overwatering but neither the trunk nor any of the branches seem to be soft...they are all very firm...even the droopy ones.

    I have made sure not to overwater so I give it water only about once a week. I have added a slow-release liquid fertilizer ampoule in the soil as well to see if that will help to perk things back up. I am actually starting to obsess about the care of this tree and want to make sure it survives and looks healthy when its owners come back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read been written on the internet that people who bought their money trees that a care tag came along with it. the care tags say to water it once or twice a month. I also read the greatest danger to money trees is to over water it. I think you are over watering it. Also you should not feed it fertilizer or plant food so constantly even if its slow release and certainly not anymore fertilizer food in the winter months, hope this helps : )

      Delete
  20. Hi, my money tree looks very heathy but there are 2 stems with only 4 leaves and a stem with only two leaves!! Does anyone know what that could mean? Should I cut them off or let them be? Please e-mail at HHawks14_54@hotmail.com thanks

    ReplyDelete
  21. hey
    bought a money tree from ikea 2 months ago
    it has grown about 14 inches in that time ....
    its now a bout 7 foot tall
    can i prune it?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I bought a money tree last year and it looks just like the pic's on here but the trunk is not braided at all. It's just a trunk. Does anyone know why this is?

    ReplyDelete
  23. hi, i have a money tree indoors about 7 or 8 ft tall, problem is new shoots are coming out but other leaves are dying, i have hardly any leaves left on it,i repotted it thinking it needs more room to grow, put different compost in it, doesnt seem to be working, i water it maybe twice a week, it looks like it is on the way out, can some one help???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well from all I've been reading you are over watering. Experts say 1-2 times a month. good luck

      Delete
  24. The leaves of my money tree have started to curl, and brown at the tips. Have not seen any insects. Also the baby leaves die after a few days. Does anyone have any advice for me?

    ReplyDelete
  25. My pachira aquatica is sprouting leaves all over the place from the below part of the trunk. Should i prune them as all the pachira aquaticas i saw have only leaves on the top? i also noticed that the top leaves of the trunk from which the bottom leaves have grown are falling and i don't know if this is related to the fact that it has grown leaves from the bottom part of the trunk. can anyone help me please?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi I have a money tree that is about one foot high and I take good care of it, but recently some fuzzy white stuff has sprung around the plant can someone please tell me what this is and how to take care of it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello to all. My name is Huntly. I live in Hollywood,Fl. I have two big Money Trees. I have just seen for the first time a few flowers on each tree. I never knew that these trees flowered or fruited. How soon will you see the fruit pod after the flowers drop off. Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have had my money tree since 2004. I bought it at a Target store (when they still sold plants) and it was quite small. Now it's like 6 feet tall! Everytime I put new soil in it's pot(its in a bigger pot now!) it looses many leaves, but then it seems to grow taller and the leaves come back. Is this normal?

    ReplyDelete
  29. what should i do if my leaves starts to turn yellow

    ReplyDelete
  30. I was introduced to the "Malabar Chestnut" on a recent trip to Hawaii - but thanks to this article I now know that I had the French Peanut instead (p. glabra) - and not the Malabar chestnut (p. aquatica.) The Frence Peanuts were delicious and a seed I planted is growing well at home.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I just rescued a money tree from the alley. It still had the tag on it, but is a sad looking thing right now... It's in my yard as I write this, enjoying some light rain, overcast sun and fresh air.
    I'll repot it in the next week so it should enjoy its life much better than the apt. hell it just came from.
    But I have a critique... Why would anyone buy (Or sell) a tree that will grow to 50 ft tall as a houseplant... It's like buying a cute little snake, until you find it's grown to ten feet and eyeing the cat...
    I can't plant it outside. Our temperatures in Seattle gets down to 20 deg F occasionally. And I don't have a place for a 50 footer anyway...
    It is just wrong and typical of humans to fawn over something that is cute while young, but then kill it when it is no longer convenient to their life. Finding it tossed out in the alley is my case in point... Let large things grow where they grow best, in nature... Buy plants for your home that is appropriate for a home. And that is NOT a 50 foot tree...

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have 2 money trees in my home, one is my daughter's and was purchased almost a year ago...it has grown at least 7 inches in that time but is not as full as it was (less leaves). My husband bought me one for our front room about 2 months ago and it has exploded with leaves but didn't shoot up like my daughter's did after re-potting it after purchase. I just finished pruning my daughter's in hopes it will branch out and look full again, and I am attempting to root the clippings. After finally reading a bit about them and how to care for them I think I may re-pot in different soil and change their locations. I keep about a half inch of small stones (natural colored fish tank gravel) on top of the soil and just push a bit of the stones aside when watering my other plants...if it feels dry I use a cup about 1/4 of the size of the pot my tree is in and water it...they seem to do well.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I tesently bought a money tree thru mail order. They sent me 2 sticks one with a little root groth on it. some one said to soak it in water for a few days than plant it. It looks like 2 pieces of bark.Should I ask for a refund? can some one tell me what to do? I did put the 2 pieces of bark in water now what? thank you if you can help

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi, evryone my Money Tree has grown a group 5-6-7 in the same money tree trunk.


    Is this a sing of good luck?


    ReplyDelete
  35. I have had my money tree for 4 months and it is doing very well growing several 6 leafed leaves and has grown to 17 inches. I've started to clone it and starting some new money trees as well, which are starting to grow roots in a glass of water as we speak. I water mine twice a week too and it is doing great, its not bad to water that often with low amounts of water; just like what would happen in nature, these plants dont like to be over watered but they do better; I've found, if you water them frequently but with little amounts of water. I give mine about 1/3 a cup of water twice a week and it is doing fantastic. I repotted it 2 weeks ago and its still doing great. It sits on a table just beside a window and gets the morning sun pretty directly and then reseaves indirect day light for the remainder of the day.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lots of good comments here. I especially love the ones where dirty hippys and tree hugging losers talk about the plants like they are people or animals. They are trees, if someone wants to buy one and then not care for it properly who gives a shit. It just money out of their pockets and a little boost to the economy so stop whining about it like it was a puppy or a baby. idiots

    ReplyDelete
  37. My money tree is growing great, but it has a taped band around it, should I cut that off?

    ReplyDelete