The Meaning of the Money Tree Bonsai

The Pachira Aquatica is commonly called the Malaber Chestnut or the Money Tree, is an indoor plant that is very popular with its braided trunk. This tropical plant belongs to the Malvaceae family and is native to Central America.

These trees grow very tall in the outdoors and grow slowly, and this makes it suitable to be kept miniature by growing it in pots and as bonsai. This tree species has been a token of good fortune for a long time and is a central part of this aspect in Feng Shui.

The meaning of the Money Tree bonsai is wrapped among many mysterious beliefs, and it has an interesting legend as to its origins.

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Money Tree Legend

The ancient legend involves a Chinese story about a struggling Taiwanese farmer who prayed for salvation, good fortune, and wealth. He later found a peculiar but intriguing plant growing in his barren field. He was mesmerized by the plant and carefully dug it up and planted it in a pot to take to his home.

He harvested the seeds and began to grow more of the plant to share its beauty with others. The trees’ popularity increased very quickly, and the farmer became a wealthy man from the sale of the Money Tree.

However, this story is also believed to be just a legend, and the true origin is a bit different.

Money Tree Origins

A Taiwanese truck driver cultivated five small trees and braided the trunks into a single tree in a pot. He created the Money Tree in 1986, and it became popular across Japan and East Asia.

The meaning of the Money Tree bonsai  soon became a symbolic tree in homes and businesses, with it being a slow-growing plant that retains the braided look with very little maintenance.

meaning of the Money Tree bonsai

Braided Money Tree Plants

The most popular way of growing a Pachira Aquatica is to create a Bonsai using five to eight plants to merge into one plant or Money Tree. The stems are woven or braided together to look like one very interesting trunk.

To create the much sought-after golden cage that symbolizes one that collects money, you need to braid eight trunks together. The five-lobed leaves resemble the fingers of a hand that gathers the money to place the money into the cage formed by the braided branches to secure it. 

The number eight is an auspicious number in Feng Shui, and the leaves of the tree symbolize money.

Unbraided Money Tree

An unbraided money tree can also be used to attract good fortune, but this is not a popular option due to the tree losing its attractiveness as it matures. The single Money Tree tends to be spindly, and it does not branch out as one would expect. A single money tree is not ideal Bonsai material.

Throughout the ages, the Money Tree has been associated with many meanings and symbols across multiple cultures.

meaning of the Money Tree bonsai

Money Tree Symbolic Meaning

There are many symbols entwined with the meaning of the Money Tree. As with all symbolic associations, there would be more meanings that are lesser-known as it’s often what the tree means to the beholder than it’s associated through folklore. Some of the more well-known associations are discussed here.

Wealth, Prosperity and Luck

The Money Tree is often seen as a sign of wealth, and it’s believed that it brings wealth to those that own the tree. Prosperity is thought to follow the plant as it brings a full and happy life.

The Money Tree makes a perfect gift as it’s easy to care for and is seen as a message of good fortune, luck, and prosperity. It’s often given at occasions where prosperity and luck are desired, such as a housewarming or for a new business.

Money Tree Meaning in Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient Asian art of arranging objects to generate a positive outcome. The five elements of balance in Feng Shui are represented by the Money Tree. These five natural elements are wood, water, fire, metal, and earth or soil. It makes the meaning of the Money Tree bonsai an ideal living symbol of harmony and balance.

In Feng Shui, the number five represents change. The Money Tree is seen as the perfect plant to attract positive change to the owner, such as attracting money, wealth, and abundance. This is due to the plant often having five trunks per plant and five lobes upon each leaf. It makes a powerful positive addition to Feng Shui arrangements.

The southeast corner of the house is seen as important to wealth and prosperity. It’s said to positively affect the flow of money and increase the owner’s self-confidence in their belief that they can make money. This aspect makes it the perfect place for a Money Tree Bonsai.

The Meaning of the Money Tree Bonsai in Business

Due to its association with wealth and prosperity, the Money Tree Bonsai is a favored gift amongst business owners and executives. They are often given at business launches.

The type of business determines the placement of the Money Tree. Restaurants and retailers normally place the Bonsai close to the entrance or cash register to attract money. Corporations often place the tree on both sides of the entrance or on the reception desk.

Executives place the Money Tree Bonsai in the southeast corner of their office. Manufacturers prefer the southeast corner of the accounting department or in the office of the plant manager.

Money Tree Plant Meaning for Homes

In homes, the southeast corner is the best place for a Money Tree Bonsai to balance the chi energies governing finances and to invite prosperity and wealth. They are often given as gifts for weddings, anniversaries, graduation, birthday, and any other special days. Placing the it in your home office is believed to activate your wealth connected with your career.

The Money Tree Bonsai is also used to counter the negative effects of some areas of your home. The tree is introduced into the area as a cure as you are adding the wood element.

meaning of the Money Tree bonsai

Interesting Facts

The Money Tree is an exotic-looking bonsai and often serves as a conversation starter. Some interesting facts to share during the next conversation include:

  • An Answered Prayer – The Money Tree was sent as an answer to a prayer for salvation from destitution.
  • Positive Energy – The tree is believed to create positive energy in living spaces
  • Taller Than People Think – The Money Tree can grow up to seven feet tall in a pot and up to 60 feet in the wild.
  • Seven Leaves Mean More Good Fortune – Occasionally, you get a Money Tree Bonsai with seven leaves on each stem. A seven-leaf stem is believed to bring extra good fortune.

The Pachira plant is the original Money Tree. The plant has large leaves and grows very tall in a tropical outdoor setting. Fortunately, it grows slowly, making it an easy tree to plant indoors as it will not likely outgrow your pot or room.

Final Thoughts on the Meaning of the Money Tree Bonsai

Even though money does not grow on trees, you can cultivate a Money Tree Bonsai to bring you good fortune. This tree has a very interesting legend and origin and is exceptionally beautiful to look at. Even if you do not believe in symbolism or do not practice Feng Shui, this bonsai will look stunning and serve as a conversation starter.

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Linda Blignaut


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