How to Propagate a Money Tree Bonsai
The Pachira Aquatica is commonly known as the Malabar Chestnut, Water Chestnut, or Money Tree and is believed to attract prosperity and good fortune. This tree is native to the swamps of Central and South America and requires warm tropical climates if grown outdoors. It can grow up to 60 feet tall to form a tall and lush tree.
This tropical fruit tree also thrives as an indoor plant and is often used for Bonsai. Five to eight single plants are grown in one pot, and the flexible young trunks are braided together to form one plant. The five-lobed leaves are believed to resemble the fingers of a hand that gathers the money to place into the cage formed by the intertwined branches.
To increase your good fortune, you might wish to grow more of these trees and spread prosperity. Learning how to propagate a Money Tree bonsai is relatively straightforward and can be done from seeds or cuttings. A few tips and tricks are provided to guide you in the process.
Read our guide
Propagate a Money Tree Bonsai from Seeds
In the wild, the money tree has flowers that need to be fertilized to produce fruit with seeds to propagate. The flowers are 14 inches long with cream-colored petals and 4-inch red-tipped stamen. These flowers deliver a sweet fragrance at night and last for only a few days.
The flowers turn into huge coconut-like oval pods containing tightly packed nuts. The nuts taste like peanuts and are edible. These nuts are eaten raw, ground as flour, roasted, or fried. The flowers and young foliage can also be cooked as a vegetable substitute. The indoor Money Tree rarely blooms.
To propagate a Money Tree bonsai from seed is not the easiest way to grow another plant from indoor plants that rarely produce fruits. If you have access to Money Tree seeds, however, it’s an easy process.
- Gather the Money Tree dried out coconut-like seed pods and crack them open. Remove the seeds and discard any with holes or other defects. Fill a six-to-eight-inch pot for each seed with a mixture of soil consisting of five parts potting soil, two parts coarse salt, and one part perlite.
- Ensure proper drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Add enough water to saturate the soil and allow water to drain well.
- Plant one seed in each pot at a quarter of an inch deep with the pale spot on the endpoints sideways. Water to settle the soil and add more soil to ensure the seed is covered. The seeds must be very kept warm and moist.
- Place the pot in a warm and bright location and warm the pot to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit using a propagation mat and cover with plastic wrap if outdoors. Regularly monitor the moisture content of the soil as the propagation mat may dry the soil quicker.
- When the soil feels dry at a depth of one inch, add enough water to cover two inches of the pot.After about one week, monitor for emerging seedlings and remove the propagation mat once they sprout. Water as per normal and take care to keep the seedlings dry to prevent fungal or bacterial infections.
- Seedlings must be kept under bright, indirect sunlight for a year before repotting them into a Bonsai pot.
- Decrease water during Winter as the tree enters a dormancy period.
Propagate a Money Tree Bonsai from Cuttings
The easiest way to propagate a Money Tree bonsai is using cuttings. Softwood cutting is best taken in late spring during the growing season as fresh growth is available. Hard cuttings are best taken in Winter.
- Fill a small pot with a mixture of soil consisting of five parts potting soil, two parts coarse salt, and one part perlite.
- Cut a branch with several leaf nodes of about 15 inches long with a sterilized blade.
- Cut off the leaves on the lower part of the cutting and dip the cleared end about an inch into rooting hormones. The new roots will form from the area immersed in the root-stimulating hormone.
- Place enough rooting hormones into a separate container and do not dip the cuttings straight into the rooting hormone container. Do not put leftover rooting hormone back into the container either, as this ensures that unused rooting hormone from becoming contaminated.
- Plant the lower third of the cutting into the prepared pot and firm the soil around it with your fingers.
- Water the soil well and ensure proper drainage. Cover the pot and cuttings with a plastic bag to hold in humidity and keep the soil moist.
- After around six to eight weeks, the cutting should create a root system, and a few months later, the small tree can be transplanted, and the braiding can start.
To test if your cutting has rooted, you can gently tug on it, and if there is resistance, roots have formed. Once the cutting has formed roots, the plastic bag needs to be removed to allow the cutting to harden by slowly introducing it to stronger light.
Cuttings can be placed in water to take root, but they generally do not thrive due to the lack of oxygen in the water. This leads to a weakened root system.
A braided Money Tree Bonsai is a stunning and rare plant that will compliment any area and serve as a conversation starter. It is the perfect choice for a Bonsai and requires little maintenance. Growing your Bonsai from a seed or cutting can be a gratifying experience to see the birth of your lifelong companion.