Ask a Question forum: HELP! Money tree is having issues

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Santa Cruz, CA
Blessliebee
Aug 12, 2017 6:21 PM CST
I have a money tree that I've grown from a 12 inch IKEA runt to a 4 foot tall beauty!...

Trouble started this winter- it was especially humid (I live on the coast in northern Cali) and I had her in less light than she's used to, and I think I was overwatering. Since then I've re-potted (her roots were lookin pretty sad), and I've been watering more conservatively. I also moved her to a spot with more indirect light, and used fertilizer spikes about 2 months ago.

She's still unhappy. She's sprouting lots of new leaves, but almost all of them end up looking blighted, malformed, or start to shrivel and become tissuey and weird at the tips and fall off. I just walked by her and brushed into her and two completely green pretty normal looking leaves fell off! It looks like there are some spider webs around her, and I've noticed more spider have been wanting to make homes in the pot near the base of the trunk... is that maybe because it's mites and the spiders are eating them? I found 1 tiny little bug but I couldn't tell if it was a baby spider or some kind of mite... (I'll include a picture of the tiny bug as it landed on my arm)

Please help!! This plant has been my friend for over 5 years, I want to save her...

Thank you in advance for all advice
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Aug 12, 2017 10:40 PM CST
Welcome!

Does that pot have holes? Your plant is drowning.

The little black bugs might be gnats - they love water logged soil. The webs could mean that you have spider mites. They love dusty plants. Look for tiny red bugs in the webs and on the back of leaves.

BTW, never fertilize a plant in distress - that just makes things worse.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 13, 2017 9:46 AM CST
The leaf symptoms in the photos reflect a problem with the roots. It may be nothing more than some damage that was done when you repotted. If so, there should be a decline in the number of leaves affected and new leaves should be healthy as the roots slowly recover.

However, the root problem could be more serious. As Daisy stated, it may be that the roots are drowning from too much water.

The light appears to be appropriate and there is no evidence of spider mites in the photos. Concentrate on proper watering and avoid doing anything extreme to fix it instantly. Remove the fertilizer sticks as they will aggravate the problem.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Santa Cruz, CA
Blessliebee
Aug 14, 2017 2:42 PM CST
THANK YOU for your replies!!

Yes, the pot has a drainage hole, but it is a very tall pot (like 18 inches) and I just used regular potting soil- should I have mixed in perlite or something else to help with drainage?

It was struggling before repotting, and I have scaled waaaaaay back on the watering. But I just read elsewhere that once a plant is overwatered, if root rot develops its very hard for the plant to spring back.

The questions is now... Do I take it out of the pot to look at the roots and see what the heck is going on down there?... another post said to wash the roots, cut off any dead/rotting bits, and dip in fungicide just in case it's fungal, wash/sanitize the pot well and give it new soil.... Gosh, that sound like a big ordeal, will that just stress it out even more?

What would you do?

Thank you again for the advice. super appreciated. Thank You!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 14, 2017 7:08 PM CST
If there is a drain hole, then water is not accumulating in the bottom. As long as you are letting the top inch or so of soil dry out, then root rot is unlikely. I suspect it was some damage done inadvertently when you repotted. It should recover.

Root rot is not caused by a fungus, so a fungicide would not be appropriate even if you did suspect root rot. Washing the roots is a drastic solution that usually does far more damage than good. It is not something I would ever do.

Monitor your watering carefully and I think you will see gradual improvement.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Aug 14, 2017 9:27 PM CST
I agree with WillC. That sounds like a doomsday recipe for sure.

Plant problems take a long time to develop (we just don't notice) so the healing will also take a long time. Be patient and kind to your plant: Water when it needs watering, never on a schedule and don't fertilize until its a happy, healthy plant.

BTW, the 'official' name of your Money Tree is Pachira aquatica. Do some research and learn what is best for it.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Susan B
East Tennessee (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member
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lakesidecallas
Aug 16, 2017 6:58 AM CST
If you can put your plant outside for the summer, that would be great. I have the same plant and it's in a spot where it gets morning sun until about 12:30 and then dappled shade. I hardly ever water it and rely on rainwater, which we haven't had much of! I find them to be pretty tough plants so as everyone says, be patient. Mine was in a fire and most of it burned, but it grew back from the base.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 18, 2017 12:17 PM CST
Repotting your Pachira and/or moving it outside will shock the plant even more. I advise against either.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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