All About the East Asian Money Tree

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated March 15, 2011

The Latin name for the east Asian money tree is Pachira Aquatica. This tree is native to central and South America. It is also known as the Guiana Chestnut and can be grown as a dwarf tree, bonsai or outdoor tree. The Money Tree is also used extensively in Feng Shui, a form of ancient Chinese philosophy that also governs interior decorating for those who practice it. The Money Tree is easy to care for and grows well indoors where light may be limited. The Money Tree has an interesting history and many possible uses in modern living.

The Money Tree and Feng Shui

A Money Tree that is used in Feng Shui is usually of the bonsai or dwarf variety. These small versions can be placed on a counter, table or desk. If the Money Tree is planted in a larger container it may need to be placed on the floor once it grows to several feet in height. In Feng Shui the number 5 is important as this represents the basic elements of metal, wood, fire, water, and earth. A Money Tree has five leaves on each branch and is often potted so that five trunks twine together to create a single plant. Feng Shui practitioners believe having all five elements present in a single item will help bring balance in a room where other elements may be over represented.

Legend tells that a Money Tree kept in the home will bring luck, wealth and prosperity to the homeowners. This plant adds life to a room and is often given as a gift to a new business. According to Feng Shui this plant should be kept close to money, whether that is a safe, cash register or moneybox. If no money is kept on the premises then the plant should be placed in the wealth and prosperity corner of the room, the northwest corner.

Care for the bonsai variety of the Money Tree with regular watering to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Add a liquid bonsai fertilizer to the water once a month during its growing season, the summer. On the dwarf variety the trunks will need to be braided as they grow to keep the plant straight. Leaves can be pruned as desired to help the tree sprout new growth.

Growing a Money Tree Outside

The Pachira Aquatica can grow to over 60 feet tall when allowed to fully mature outside in an ideal location. This tree grows naturally in marshy wet locations and is great for a homeowner who has soil that does not drain well. This tree seldom needs pruning and can be grown next to rivers, leaving higher drier ground for other landscaping plants.

The Money Tree does require frequent fertilizing during the summer growing season. In the spring it will produce cream flowers that droop to reveal red stamens in a dramatic contrast. The thick foliage may hide these flowers from casual observation. These flowers then produce a nut that is edible. The new leaves of the tree can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The Money Tree provides dense shade in tropical climates. The Money Tree is an excellent choice to grow along the edges of a river, pond or in marshy areas where other landscape plants would not survive in the wet environment.

The Money Tree as a Houseplant

When a Money Tree is potted it can be grown inside as a houseplant and will not reach its full size. The tree can grow large to become a floor plant or stay small enough to be placed on a desk depending on the size of the pot it is planted in. This hardy tree will grow in a variety of circumstances from sun to shade and wet to dry. When potting this plant it is a good idea to add a bit of sand to provide adequate drainage. Water weekly but do not allow the roots to sit in water. The best growth occurs when the tree receives partial sun during the day, but is not in the full sun. To encourage a lot of new leaf growth it is a good idea to prune older leaves off.

This tree has very dark green leaves and when potted in a white or black pot it can create a dramatic contrast that is welcome in a corporate environment. Consider adding a Money Tree to your home or office for an interesting accent. This popular plant is widely available online and at nurseries that specialize in Feng Shui.

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