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What should a money tree look like?

A money tree is a plant that is associated with good luck and prosperity. It is often given as a gift when someone buys a new home, starts a new business, or graduates from school. The money tree is believed to bring good fortune and financial success. But what exactly should a money tree look like in order to live up to its lucky reputation? There are a few key features to look for when picking out or caring for a money tree plant.

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What Type of Plant is a Money Tree?

The most common type of money tree is actually a grafted plant that is created by joining multiple plant stems together. Most money trees consist of a jade plant (Crassula ovata) which is grafted onto a braided trunk base. The braided trunk is often made from multiple stems of plants such as ficus, ficus benjamina, or pachira aquatica. The jade plant has thick, rounded, fleshy green leaves while the braided trunk gives the money tree its unique appearance. Other plants like pachira aquatica (Malaysian money tree) and ficus can also be grown on their own as money trees. So in summary, the classic money tree is a jade plant grafted onto a braided trunk, but other plants can serve as prosperous symbols too.

How Big Should a Money Tree Be?

Money trees can range greatly in size. A smaller money tree may stand just 1-2 feet tall while larger specimens may reach up to 6 feet in height or higher. Most indoor money trees range from about 2-4 feet tall. The jade plant stems will also grow thicker and woodier with age on a mature money tree. Money trees are relatively slow growing plants, so the taller the plant, the older it is. A money tree’s trunk may even grow to 4-6 inches thick on very mature plants. When choosing a money tree, select a size that fits well in the intended space. Just keep in mind that a larger, more established money tree will come with a higher price tag.

How Many Stems Should it Have?

One of the trademarks of a traditional money tree is a braided trunk featuring several stems twisted together. Most money trees will have between 3-7 braided stems in their trunk. Having multiple stems braided together is thought to bring even more good fortune. The more stems, the luckier! If you are growing a money tree from a single specimen (like a pachira aquatica), it may only have one stem. But for grafted jade money trees, aim for at least 3 stems, if not 5-7. The stems should all be similar in thickness for the best braided look.

Should the Foliage Be Dense?

Money trees look their best when they have thick, full foliage. A money tree with sparse leaves and bare stems will not make the most auspicious impression. When caring for a money tree, help it maintain lush growth by providing the right care. Most money trees like bright, indirect light. Water a money tree when the top several inches of soil become dry. Fertilize occasionally during the growing season. Prune back any dead or damaged stems to keep it looking its best. With the right care, a money tree will be densely packed with leaves believed to bring fortune.

How to Create a Money Tree Arrangement

If you want to design your own custom money tree, this can be done by selecting elements meaningful to you. Follow these tips for creating a unique money tree display:

Choose Meaningful Plants

Think about what plants represent prosperity in your culture or region of the world. Select one or more small potted specimens that have symbolic meaning to you. For example:
– Jade, believed to bring prosperity in China.
– Bamboo, representing resilience.
– Citrus, symbolizing abundance.
– Pineapple, representing hospitality and warmth.

Incorporate Other Symbolic Elements

Consider including other objects or decorations that are lucky symbols:
– Coins
– Crystals like jade or citrine
– Elephants, a symbol of wisdom and good fortune
– Colors like red and gold
– Auspicious characters or sayings

Arrange the Money Tree

Once you have your symbolic plants and objects, creatively arrange them into a money tree display. Consider the overall look, balance, and composition. Here are some options:

– Braid together a few small plants into a trunk, top with a “crown” plant.
– Group a few potted plants in a ceramic bowl filled with pebbles or stones.
– Set one tall, statement plant in the center, surrounded by meaningful objects.
– Place on a small shelf or plant stand near a window to be displayed.

Customize it Over Time

The great thing about a DIY money tree is you can reshape it whenever you desire – it’s an ongoing project! Replace plants when needed, add new objects that hold meaning, or completely redesign it. Let your money tree evolve just like your pursuits and dreams.

Where Should I Place My Money Tree?

Feng shui principles provide guidance on where best to locate a money tree for optimal luck. Follow these tips:

Choose a Location With Good Flowing Chi

Avoid placing a money tree in stagnant spaces in rooms where energy does not circulate. Opt for spaces where the chi, or energy can flow freely throughout the room and spread the plant’s lucky properties.

Near a Window or Light Source

Since money trees need bright, filtered light, put them near windows where they receive indirect sun. East facing windows are ideal for allowing nurturing morning light to reach the plant.

In a Corner of the Room

The far corner of a room where two walls meet has the most intensely active energy. Place a money tree in such an “abundance corner” to amplify its luck-attracting powers.

Near the Front Door

Positioning a money tree near the entrance of a home, office, or business draws in luck from all who enter. The money tree’s visibility also spreads some of its prosperity properties to visitors.

Not Behind the Front Door

Avoid putting a money tree directly behind a front door. When the door opens, the money tree can be smashed against the wall and suffer damaged stems and leaves.

In View

Keep your money tree visible where you spend a lot of time like the office, desk area, living room, or bedroom. Its presence and symbolism will motivate you and uplift your energy.

How Do I Care for My Money Tree?

Caring properly for your money tree will keep it healthy and help it grow. Follow these essential money tree care tips:

Provide Bright, Indirect Sunlight

Money trees need several hours of bright, filtered sunlight each day. Direct hot sunlight can scorch their leaves. Keep them near southern or eastern facing windows. Turn the plant periodically so all sides receive light.

Water When Soil is Dry

Check the top several inches of soil with your finger before watering. Water thoroughly only once the top of the soil is dry. Take care not to overwater or leaves may yellow and stems rot.

Mist Foliage

Money trees appreciate warm, humid conditions. Mist the leaves occasionally with water to recreate tropical humidity. Just be careful not to overspray on the braided trunk which could promote rot.

Use Well-Draining Soil

Re-pot in a quality potting mix meant for indoor plants. Soil should contain perlite or bark to allow drainage. Do not use soil meant for outdoor plants.

Fertilize During Growing Season

Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every 2-4 weeks in the spring through summer when actively growing. Discontinue fertilizing over winter.

Prune Damaged Parts

Trim off any dead, diseased, or damaged stems and leaves. This keeps the money tree looking its best and redirects its energy into new growth.

Control Pests

Inspect regularly for insects like mealybugs or scale. Wipe leaves down with a damp cloth to remove pests. Apply neem oil or insecticidal soap for severe infestations.

Repot as Needed

When the money tree is pot-bound with crowded, circling roots, re-pot into a slightly larger container. This encourages healthy growth.

Troubleshooting Money Tree Issues

If your money tree is showing signs of stress or decline, diagnosing the problem quickly can help restore it to health. Here are some common money tree problems and solutions:

Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown

This can indicate either overwatering or underwatering. Check soil moisture and adjust watering frequency accordingly. Also ensure the plant has adequate sunlight and fertilizer.

Leaf Drop

Natural leaf drop of interior leaves is normal as a money tree matures. But significant leaf drop can signal too little light or water stress. Try increasing sunlight exposure and watering regularly.

Weak Growth

If stems are not growing strongly or new leaves seem small, the money tree likely needs more light. Slow growth could also mean time to repot into larger container.

Stems Rotting

Rotting is caused by excess moisture. Allow soil to dry out further between watering. Remove any mushy stems and be sure the pot drains. Increase sunlight to help dry things out.

Pests Like Mealybugs

Isolate plant and manually remove any visible pests. Wipe leaves down with damp cloth. Apply neem oil or insecticidal soap sprays targeting the pests.

Braided Stems Loosening

Gently gather and re-twist any loosened stems. If needed, use twine or coated wire to reinforce the braid. Avoid overturning or handling the trunk roughly.

Trunk Cracking or Scarring

This occurs naturally as a money tree ages. Just carefully remove any cracked pieces. Sand down scars and use putty to fill any gaps if desired.

When and How Should I Prune My Money Tree?

Pruning a money tree properly helps direct its growth and maintains its attractiveness. Follow these tips:

When to Prune

Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Avoid pruning in fall before dormancy which can stress the plant.

Remove Dead Stems and Leaves

Any dead, diseased, or damaged parts should be cleanly pruned off. Also remove crossed stems rubbing against each other.

Maintain Desired Size

If the money tree is getting too large or lopsided, trim back overlong stems to reshape.Aim for evenly spaced stems.

Use Sterilized Pruners

Wipe pruning shears with alcohol between cuts to avoid transmitting disease. Make cuts just above leaf nodes at a 45 degree angle.

Seal Major Limb Cuts

Large pruning wounds can be sealed with cut paste or pruning sealer to prevent infection and speed healing.

Remove Suckers

Nip off any new shoots sprouting directly from the braided trunk, as these will divert energy from the rest of the plant.

Maintain Full Foliage

Avoid over-pruning so the money tree retains an abundance of leaves. Just focus on damaged parts and shaping.

When and How Should I Repot My Money Tree?

Money trees should be repotted every 2-3 years or so in late winter/early spring. Follow these steps:

Select Proper Pot Size

Choose a pot 2-4 inches wider than the current container to allow room for growth. Avoid going too large or soil may stay wet.

Use Well-Draining Soil

Opt for a general indoor plant potting mix with added perlite or bark chunks to improve drainage.

Gently Remove from Old Pot

Carefully tip out of old pot. You may need to loosen the roots by gently massaging the sides.

Prune Congested Roots if Needed

Trim off any circling or snarled roots with clean shears to encourage new growth.

Refill With Fresh Soil

Place some soil in the bottom of the new container. Hold the money tree in place and fill remaining spaces with soil.

Firm Around Base

Gently pack down soil around the base to anchor it. Leave about 1 inch space below rim for watering.

Water Thoroughly

Water well until it drains from the pot’s drainage holes after repotting. This removes air pockets in the soil.

How to Propagate a Money Tree

You can propagate new money tree plants from stem cuttings. Follow these simple steps:

Select a Healthy Stem

Choose a stem around 3-6 inches long. Use clean shears to remove it just below a leaf node.

Trim Remaining Leaves

Cut off remaining leaves, leaving just a few nodes on the stem’s tip. This focuses energy on root growth.

Dip Cutting in Rooting Hormone

Dust the trimmed stem’s end in a rooting hormone powder to spur root growth.

Insert in Potting Mix

Plant cutting about 1 inch deep in a pot filled with a rooting medium or potting soil.

Enclose in Plastic Bag

Place the pot inside a clear plastic bag to create a humid environment.

Place in Bright Location

Keep pot in a warm place with bright, indirect light while roots develop.

Mist if Needed

Occasionally mist the cutting with water to maintain humidity inside the bag.

Transplant Once Rooted

In 2-3 months once rooted, transplant the new money tree plant into its own pot.

Interesting Facts About Money Trees

Here are some intriguing facts about these symbolic plants:

Many Plants Can Symbolize Money Trees

While the jade braided money tree is most common, many plants like citrus, bamboo, and others represent prosperity too.

Origins in Feng Shui

The money tree stems from feng shui principles of using certain objects to shift energies and invite good fortune.

Also Called Good Luck Trees

In addition to monetary wealth, money trees are thought to bring general abundance, success, and blessings.

Popular in Asian Cultures

Money trees are especially prevalent in China and southeast Asia where jade and citrus symbolize prosperity.

Makes a Great Housewarming Gift

Giving a money tree is customary for new businesses, homes, graduations, and weddings.

Can Grow Outdoor in Some Climates

In frost-free areas, money trees can be grown outside where they may reach tree-like heights up to 10 feet tall or more.

Appreciate Humidity

Money trees thrive in humid conditions which is why misting the leaves or grouping plants to create a greenhouse effect helps.

Vulnerable to Root Rot

Overwatering is the most common money tree killer. Well-draining soil and pots with holes are critical.

Slow Growing

Money trees are slow growers, only reaching a few inches in height per year. Large specimens may be decades old.

Can Flower

In ideal conditions, braided money trees may occasionally produce small white jade plant flowers for an extra fortune boost!


The money tree remains one of the most beloved plants for inviting prosperity, luck, and abundance. With its intertwining braided trunk and lush round leaves, the money tree is an iconic symbol of good fortune. By properly selecting, positioning, and caring for a money tree, you can harness its prosperous powers. A healthy, vibrant money tree displays the ideal feng shui elements believed to boost your finances and spread positive energy. Let the money tree infuse your home or workspace with fortune and blessings!