Pachira aqautica 'money tree' growing tall in the center.
image by Forest & Kim Starr:commons.wikimedia.org
The money tree, known botanically as pachira aqautica and commonly as Malabar or Guiana chestnut, is a flowering and fruiting tree native to Central and South America. It is a water loving evergreen that can survive near the banks of swamps and in flood plains. A tropical perennial, it is outdoor hardy in USDA zones 9b through 11. Young pachira trees are widely sold and grown as indoor plants, which is the way most people become familiar with the genus.
Provide a good quality garden soil or potting mix with average to rich nutrient levels. Money tree can easily adapt and thrive in most soil conditions save very heavy clay or other soils that water cannot easily percolate through. Amendment with compost at planting cannot hurt, but is not required.
Plant your pachira in a location where it will receive all day sun or partial sun and shade. Understory planting with dappled sunshine and plenty of room for the roots is ideal. Choose a planting site that will accommodate your pachira as it matures because it may be difficult to moved without injury once established in ground soil. Allow at least 15 feet of vertical clearance from other trees, roof lines and utility lines and at least 10 of horizontal clearance.
Fertilize your indoor pachira plant every other month at watering time. Add a quarter of the recommended dose of a general purpose fertilizer to a full volume of water. Water as usual evenly around the roots of the plant and allow any excess solution to drain away.
Prune pachira infrequently and only to removed dead, diseased or damaged foliage and branches. Use a pole saw on mature trees and sharp clean scissors or secateurs on young trees to make crisp cuts. Make cuts evenly throughout the canopy of the foliage to maintain an attractive symmetrical look to your money tree.