Houseplants forum: Sad "Money Tree"

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Rosabelle334
May 11, 2018 10:03 AM CST
Hi! I have a Pachira Aquatica that I bought a few years ago that's starting to look a little sad.

Its leaves have yellow splotches and seem to be limp, instead of standing straight out. I'm wondering if it might need to be transplanted to a bigger pot? Does it have an infection?

The back veins of the leaves are dripping sap. I read that it could be a sign of a bug infestation, but I have not seen any bug clusters.

(Ignore the very dead plant in the small container behind it!)



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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 12, 2018 8:04 AM CST
I think your Pachira is fine, but you may be letting the soil get a bit too dry between waterings. It is normal for some older, lower leaves to gradually die back under the best of circumstances.

The sap on the undersides of leaves happens normally when this plant gets good light. It is not a sign of a pest or any other problem.

It does not need a larger pot. However, it is now quite tall and you might consider pinching out new leaf shoots as they start to emerge. This will keep it from growing ever taller and may promote some branching or lower stem growth. Be persistent with the pinching.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
May 12, 2018 8:07 AM CST
Hi Rosabelle334, Welcome!


The sap-like drops you are seeing appear to be Guttation which may be due to an issue with overwatering; you can read about Guttation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Does the container your Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) is planted in have drainage holes? To me, the yellowing foliage looks to be a watering issue (too much water being retained around the roots). Money Tree doesn't mind water but like many other plants, the roots require good air circulation and drainage.
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


[Last edited by plantladylin - May 12, 2018 8:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 12, 2018 10:40 AM CST
LIn - I have not been able to find an authoritative source about the sap droplets on Pachira. In my experience, guttation is the release of water droplets usually at the tips of leaves. With Pachira, they are sticky droplets of sap all along the undersides of leaves, not water droplets.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
May 12, 2018 1:00 PM CST
I remember reading something once stating that leaf guttation can be water but it can also be a combination of organic and inorganic sap-like substances. Confused

Doing a google search now, I found this information about Guttation: http://plantcellbiology.master...
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 13, 2018 9:51 AM CST
Thanks, Lin. That is the most comprehensive description of guttation that I have seen and is most informative. That said, I am still not sure if it describes what I see on Pachira and some Aroids such as Aglaonemas and Dieffenbachias.

(For those less technically minded, this discussion is not very important. Whether the globules found on Money Trees are a result of guttation or something else, it is not a problem in any case.)

The droplets I have seen that are definitely a result of guttation have always been mostly all water with a slight salty mineral tasted to them (Yes, I have sampled it). However, the clear globules found on Pachiras and some other species are firm and sticky with a slightly sweet taste to them. They seem to be much more like sap secretions than water secretions. That is why I remain unsure if guttation os appropriately applied to these secretions. I will try to reach out to someone I know who may have an answer for me.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Rosabelle334
May 18, 2018 11:47 AM CST
Thanks everyone! I actually did end up repotting it because I felt the original pot did not have good drainage. I gave it some new soil as well. I think it looks a little happier and is growing well.

WillC, is there any detriment to letting the plant get a little tall? I like that it's growing more and more.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 18, 2018 1:25 PM CST
As your Pachira gets taller, it will probably drop more of its lower leaves and the plant will look leggier. In addition, at a certain height, gravity will start to pull some of the taller stems downward.

Ultimately, it is a personal aesthetic choice as to how you want it to look. Personally, I prefer a smaller more compact look and don't feel that bigger is always better.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

dsomers19
Oct 8, 2018 11:36 AM CST
Hello there. I have inherited a very leggy money tree (approx 45 yrs old) from my mother. It is so large and wide that I do not have space for it. Is there any way for me to save this plant and reduce it's current size? What would you recommend?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Oct 8, 2018 12:39 PM CST
@dsomers19 - Your plant is a Schefflera actinophylla, not a Money Tree. The stems can be pruned back to any length so that it better suits the space. Usually, new growth will then emerge starting on the stem just below the pruning cut. However, with really old plants, the new growth doesn't always emerge. But pruning the stems is your only option for reducing its size.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Oct 8, 2018 1:36 PM CST
Welcome @dsomers19! Do you have room to keep just the one stem? Maybe the one on the right?

dsomers19
Oct 9, 2018 8:52 AM CST
Thank you for your input. It was always described as a money tree to me, but I see the difference. Also I think I will start with keeping the one stem on the right, and if I need to, prune that back and see what happens there.
Thank you so much for the information!
Ontario, Canada
tilderjones
Oct 9, 2018 10:37 AM CST
@Rosabelle334:

I absolutely love the Money tree and found it to be a really fast grower and very easy-going for an indoor plant. My idea is also to get it to grow taller over the years as well. I got it this mid-summer in a 6-inch pot, it was about 11" tall only, its now 24" tall and is showing no signs of stopping growth, in fact, it's now growing even faster in fall.
I up-potted it right away to an 8" pot when I got it and changed the soil to a fine cactus mix (I used this one https://www.promixgardening.co...).
I let the soil get quite dry - the top half is very dry and the bottom quarter is just a little moist before I water (check with bamboo skewer). Then I water fully till it drips from the drain holes.
In the water, I mix a 20-20-20 diluted to a quarter strength and add an organic enzyme to the water (GROZYME, from hydroponics store) - I don't actually know if the enzyme makes any difference it's just something I've been using nodding
Anyways I think maybe your Money tree did need a new pot and perhaps it didn't like the soil it was in anymore, from what I've seen with mine if you want it to grow fast it does need a slightly bigger pot than original one, with fast drain soil and watering like a succulent (almost).

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Name: Kristin
Orange County, California (Zone 10a)
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KristinCali
Oct 13, 2018 11:46 AM CST
I hope it's ok to add to this post rather than start a new one. I also have a money tree that has yellowing leaves. So there's about 5 or 6 leaves on a twig right? Well one leaf will start to yellow, then the one next to it, and another, in order. Then they drop and there's an empty twig left. The yellow leaves are not dry, they're still very soft and feel normal. BUT... some twigs also have weird curling leaves and again, they aren't dry or crispy. They just start to curl in, and I feel awful because it seems like the plant is crying out for help! It does still produce new growth so I have hope that it can be saved. I had it in an east facing window then thought maybe it was too much sun so moved it to a north facing window, but its condition is the same. I use a moisture measuring device so I can't imagine I'm over or underwatering it. It did seem to happen maybe after I repotted it. Could it not like the soil I used? Could I be needing fertilizer? I really don't want the whole plant to die but it slowly is withering. I'm hoping anybody can give me advice!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Oct 14, 2018 9:23 AM CST
Kristin - Your Money Tree is fine. It is likely reacting to the disturbance of its roots during repotting. This is a very tolerant plant that will grow in very wet and moderately dry soil; in pretty dim light and in moderately bright light; and in tiny pots and in large pots. It also grows quite rapidly and tends to become tall and leggy unless it is pruned or pinched regularly.

Its also normal for some of the older, lower leaves to yellow, curl and die as new ones are added on top.

For best results, keep it close to or on a north windowsill. Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering. Fertilize sparingly at half strength a couple of times each year.

Personally, I think yours is at a good size as it now is. To keep it that way and to minimize lower leaf loss, simply use your fingers to pinch out new growth tips as they emerge at the ends of each stem.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Kristin
Orange County, California (Zone 10a)
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KristinCali
Oct 16, 2018 9:48 PM CST
Thank you for the input Will! I got some fertilizer, figured it can't hurt to try. I have never purposely pruned or pinched off leaves on any of my plants but it does have tiny new leaves coming out the top. So I pinch those off?? And that will help it stay full instead of grow taller/leggy?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Oct 17, 2018 3:13 PM CST
Yes, persistent pinching out of new leaves will keep the plant at that size and help prevent lower leaf loss. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt the plant!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

StumpedByATree
Nov 8, 2018 7:30 PM CST
Hi! I am so glad I found this forum; I am babysitting a money tree for my roommate and I am not sure if the tree is turning sad or not. Five days ago all the stems were pretty much all green (kind of like the right-most stem/branch), but now most of them have turned brown, kind of dry, and "barky". I poked my finger into the soil yesterday night and it was rather dry so I gave it a cup of water (seemed sufficient since some of it drained out the bottom). I live in Santa Barbara so the weather doesn't get too hot or cold, but I'm wondering if the tree is just adjusting to seasonality? Just wanted to make sure that I'm not slowly killing the plant. Thank you for any advice/wisdom!!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Nov 9, 2018 10:40 AM CST
@StumpedByATree - Money Trees are non-seasonal so that is not the reason for the stems turning brown. Unless there has been substantial recent leaf loss, then I don't think there is a problem.

As stems age, they develop a bark-like covering usually starting at the bottom. This is a gradual process and doesn't happen suddenly. I suspect you hadn't noticed it before.

This plant is pretty hard to over water, so you may want to water it as soon as the surface of the soil feels almost dry. If the water seems to drain right through, it may be because the soil has gotten so dry that it is water repellent like a dry sponge. If that is the case, take it to the sink and let lots of warm water run through to re-wet the soil.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

StumpedByATree
Nov 13, 2018 11:18 AM CST
Thank you for your advice, Will. It seems like most of the water does get retained by the soil, but I gave it two cups of water on Saturday instead of one. The top layer of soil felt a bit dry again this morning so I gave it another cup.
I'm noticing that all the leaves (every single one!) seem to be curling downwards at the tips. I'm not sure what it's trying to tell me. Some of the leaves that curled a few days earlier have started to turn a little yellow.

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