Ask a Question forum: Money Tree Leaves Curling and Yellowing!

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yamchops
Jan 25, 2017 2:02 PM CST
Hi NGA! New member here.

I've got a Money Tree plant (Pachira) that has been with me for 5 years now. At times it's really flourished, and has come back from the brink of plant death once. For the past few weeks, its leaves have begun to curl at the tips, and some of the leaves have almost completely folded along their spines. Any new "hands" that grow are squiggly and thin. More and more arms are yellowing and falling off. I'll attach pics below to give a better idea of the state this plant is in!

About a month ago, we noticed a lot of fungus gnats hanging out in the soil (some of our other plants came in from outdoors with them), so I gave it a light hydrogen bath as instructed by other gardening tip forums. That seemed to take care of the bugs, and it was living happily for a while. We gave it some new "seed & cutting soil" enriched with worm castings and perlite. Then the curling and folding started. It's been in the same pot since we got it, which - like I said - was 5 years ago now. It was given to us in that pot, so who knows how long it's actually been living in there.

Here's what we're thinking. It looks like it might be root-bound, having been in this pot for so long. Could it be too much nitrogen from the worm castings? We know nitrogen can cause curling and strange leaf shapes. Could it be something we did in the repotting, or maybe the hydrogen peroxide bath wasn't a good idea? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Cheers,
Lil

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 25, 2017 2:26 PM CST
Hello yamchops! Welcome!

My first question would be..does that container have drainage holes?

yamchops
Jan 25, 2017 4:16 PM CST
Hi Tarev! No it doesn't have any drainage holes. We thought over-watering or root-rot might be causing the problem, but we didn't see any signs of root-rot when we took it out of its pot to replace the soil. Thinking it might be root-bound?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Jan 25, 2017 5:36 PM CST
In the interest of making that plant grow better, change the container to one with drainage holes. The roots are slowly drowning now and plant unable to take in moisture so your leaves are going limp. Fungus gnats thrive in very moist media, so that is a primary red flag that media is getting too wet.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 25, 2017 9:45 PM CST
Wow, it's been in the same pot, with no drainage, for 5 years! That's really amazing, although these are plants that don't mind a fair amount of water.

My observation is that what you have there is more than one plant - the "braided" stems are pretty, but the 3 or 4 plants in one pot are stunting each other, down there inside the pot. You've got to compensate by feeding carefully, enough to keep them all alive but not so much that you burn the foliage. If the worm castings you added had been too much, you would have brown, crispy ends on the leaves.

At this stage of the game, there's no use in trying to separate them, but it should help if you were to put them in a slightly bigger pot every year or two, with fresh soil, and of course a pot with a drain hole! When you pot it up, also spread the roots out as much as you can. Then Shrug! I think you could continue what you've been doing and see if it recovers its former glory.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

TrevorRettew
Feb 26, 2017 5:32 PM CST
Hi! I'm on my second round of trying with a money tree, because I killed the first one lol, but loved it so much I had to try again. My mistake with the first money tree actually started with the store I bought it at, because they had improperly potted it with extremely poor drainage. I didn't at all know what I was doing, and when repotting it after it was already in decline, found muddy, smelly soil at the bottom of the first pot, with obviously rotting roots, but didn't trim off the sick roots and hoped the new soil would absorb the excess moisture, and transferred it into a too-large pot etc etc. Anyway, lesson learned. This time, I repotted right away, in a medium sized pot, with a raised plastic grid at the bottom of the pot to allow for excellent drainage. Further, I'm using plant food once a week lightly mixed in water, and it's doing phenomenally! So happy! My question now relates to stimulating shoot growth. On my way home with this plant after purchase, it fell over in the back of my small car and the branches all broke off of one side of the plant. I would like an even growth on both sides. Since owning it about 2 months now, it's growing lots of new shoots, but unfortunately only on one side. Further, one of the 5 trunks on the barren side of the plant has no branches, shoots, or any indication of growth, yet is obviously green and alive. Pictures included. If only this trunk would grow leaves, it would even everything out perfectly. How can I stimulate leave growth on this trunk?

Trevor.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 26, 2017 5:52 PM CST
About the only thing I can think of is to place the plant with that side facing the window, or other light source.

Btw, you forgot to post your picture, that will be helpful going forward.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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