Pachira aquatica is also known as the money tree plant. It can be grown as a small Bonsai tree or as a decorative houseplant that can reach up to 7 feet in height. This intriguing plant is easy to grow, and it has become quite popular due to the legend that surrounds it--a legend that promises good luck and fortune to whoever places a money tree plant in his home.
There are five leaves on each branch of the money tree plant. In feng shui there are five fundamental elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. It is said that the five leaves of the money tree plant symbolize the five fundamental feng shui elements. Many money tree plants have braided trunks (they are made up of five intertwined trees--braided together)--again the number five, which symbolizes the feng shui elements. It is said that these symbolic elements are what give the plant its good-luck characteristics.
The money tree plant needs to be placed in well-drained soil. The soil should not contain any additives such as peat moss as these additives will retain water. Synthetic soil mixes that contain organic topsoil, grit, perlite or small gravel will provide the perfect soil mixture for the money tree plant. You can even mix planting soil with some stone as this will provide the drainage that the plant requires.
Sunlight, filtered sun and shade will provide the plant with its light requirements. It needs a mixture of sun and shade to grow well. Should the leaves become scorched/brown and dry on the edges, the plant is receiving too much sun. Another sign of too much sun is loss of leaves.
Watering and Pruning
The soil should be kept on the dry side. If the leaves are dry and crinkly, then the plant is not receiving enough water. If the leaves are yellow and soft, then the plant is receiving too much water. Note: Too much water will result in root rot. To increase new leaf growth, prune the large leaves of the tree.
The money tree plant is susceptible to mealybugs, aphids and red spider mites. (Generally, plants under stress are susceptible to insect infestations.) Some sources recommend rubbing the affected areas with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol to rid household plants of pests. There are insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and various other insecticides available to control these pests should they infest your money tree plant.