The money tree is native to Asia, and comes with a legend of auspiciousness. It is said that a poor Taiwanese farmer found a money tree, and the plant turned him into a wealthy entrepreneur. Ever since, this plant has been known across Asia--and the rest of the world--as the "money tree." If given proper care and maintenance, a money tree can live for many years.
Money trees require well drained soil for proper root development and plant growth. Avoid soils with peat moss or any water-retaining additives. Plant your money tree in a mixture of soilless potting mix and garden sand, with a ratio of 1:1. If you don't have gardening sand, you could substitute a couple of handfuls of pea gravel mixed in with the potting mix.
The money tree plant needs alternating sunlight and shade for at least three hours every day. Set the container in a south- or north-facing window to get proper lighting. If the container is in a east- or west-facing window, filter the light through white curtains or fabric shades. Money trees must be positioned near windows at least during the day time. A money tree that is placed in the middle of a dim room grows unevenly, as it strains to lean towards the nearest light source. Kept in dimly lit areas for too long, a money tree will wither and die.
These plants cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. Direct sunlight and extremely high temperatures causes sunburned leaves and leaf drop. They can tolerate a short, mild frost. For best results, keep the plant indoors in a controlled environment, especially during the cold winter months. Move the money tree away from windows during the night, to protect it from getting chilled.
Pruning should be done in the spring. Remove branches that look sickly or thin. Cut back branches that are growing in unappealing directions (downward, odd angles). Pruning strengthens the money tree and stimulates new growth. If you don't prune your money tree, the tree will expend too much energy supporting sickly branches, and will not give out new, strong, healthy growth.
The money tree plant is susceptible to parasite attacks. The most common attackers are mealybugs, aphids, and red spider mites. Left unchecked, these parasites cause deformed growth, and eventual death of the money tree. Keep these pests away by misting with a mix of one part water with one part rubbing alcohol. If they have already invaded your plant, treat the affected leaves and stems with full-strength rubbing alcohol applied with a cotton swab or cotton ball. Repeat treatment every day until the affected areas of the money tree appear healed.