How to Grow a Money Tree Bonsai Indoors
The Money Tree bonsai is a tropical-inspired vision with a braided trunk and shiny green leaves. It’s a symbol of prosperity and is believed to bring good fortune.
The Money Tree or Pachira Aquatica, as it is known scientifically, is from the Malvaceae family, and it grows in the tropical forests from Mexico to South America. This tree is cultivated in Hawaii and southern Carolina and has many common names, such as the Malabar chestnut. In the right outdoor climate, the Money Tree can grow up to 60 feet tall and is very lush.
This exotic bonsai is surprisingly easy to care for and well suited to live indoors provided that you meet its basic requirements. Some quick guidelines are provided to assist you in keeping your Money Tree thriving.
Keep the soil of your Money Tree bonsai moist. Add water until the soil is well saturated but not muddy or waterlogged. Once the soil has dried out, saturate again. To increase the humidity, you can mist the leaves and add a humidity tray.
A humidity tray is filled with pebbles and water and allows the plant to benefit from the moisture released as the water evaporates. A humidifier will also work well.
The Money Tree bonsai prefers bright indirect sunlight, such as a sunny room with a south-facing window. They don’t like big movements and changes, and it’s best to leave them in one spot. Rotate the pot occasionally to encourage even growth and leafing.
Plant the Money Tree bonsai in soil that drains well. Gravel should be placed at the bottom of the pot with loose potting soil mixed with perlite, peat moss, or sand to promote water drainage.
The Money Tree bonsai should not be over-fertilized as it’ll result in a growth spurt and a lanky plant that may be weak. Use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season and stop fertilizing during winter.
The roots of the Money Tree bonsai grow relatively slowly, and you only need to repot the tree every three years, depending on conditions. During repotting, the roots will need to be trimmed. No more than 25% of the outer areas of the root ball should be trimmed. Repotting is best done during early spring.
Pruning and Shaping
You can promote new growth and shape your Money Tree bonsai through pruning. Brown and wilted leaves and drooping branches need to be removed as they drain resources. New branches and leaves will replace those removed, and with planning, you can control the shape of your bonsai with wiring and pruning.
Trimming can be done at any time, and planned pruning is best done in late winter before the growing season.
Diseases and Pests
The Money Tree bonsai is resilient and is not known to easily have pest and disease issues. There are a few that do crop up on occasion.
If your Money Tree does not get enough nutrition or the humidity levels are very low, the leaves normally turn yellow. Fertilization and misting will assist in returning your leaves to their shiny green color.
A potassium deficiency is indicated by brown or yellow spots on the leaves. Using a fertilizer that contains this nutrient will help.
Black and mushy roots indicate root rot that is caused by poor draining soil and overwatering. Mold on the soil is another indication of too much moisture. Repot the bonsai, water, and mist less, and the tree should recover soon.
Aphids sometimes infest the Money Tree bonsai. They are easy to spot and can be red, green, yellow, or brown. Mealybugs with their white fuzzy wax layers are also a more common pest. Using dish soap and warm water solution to spray and wipe the leaves will assist in getting rid of these pests.
Spider Mites are tiny little spider-like insects, and you will see their webs covering the leaves. The leaves will die and fall off if left untreated. Hose them off and use insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of them. This is a good time to move the bonsai and find the source of the mites.
Last but not least is the well-camouflaged scale insects that look like growth. A solution of water and insecticidal soap used for a few days normally stops this infestation.
Growing and caring for the Money Tree bonsai indoors is relatively easy compared to others. Following a few basic steps can give you much joy with a tropical and exotic braided trunk. We can all do with extra fortune and prosperity, and at the very least, this species is a real conversation starter.