How To Propagate Money Tree | Pachira Aquatica

The Money Tree originates from the humid rainforests of Central and South America where they can quickly grow up to 60 feet tall in the wild. They were first commercialized as a house plant in the 1980s and have strong links with the art of Feng Shui with the belief they bring positive energy to a building. This has made them one of the most enduringly popular houseplants of the last 3 decades. 

They are tricky to grow from seed, but the great news is their succulent stems and leaves lend themselves to the propagation process. I am going to share with you all my top tips on how to propagate a money tree so you can ensure you keep the positivity flowing in your home for years to come!

Propagating Money Tree Plants

Due to their ongoing popularity, large-money tree plants can be expensive to buy so propagating them from an established plant can be a very cost-effective way of creating a fabulous display of houseplants (which may bring you some luck in the process!). Their links to positivity and feng shui make them an amazing gift for friends and family too.

Propagation is also useful if your beloved money tree is beyond its prime as you can salvage any healthy leaves that remain to utilize as cuttings.  

You can propagate in both water and soil and there are advantages to both methods. But first, let’s talk about how to take a stem cutting from the mother plant.

Taking Healthy Stem Cuttings

  1. Each cutting should be at least 3 inches long and have a minimum of 2 leaf nodes
  2. Remove the bottom 2-3 sets of leaves; keep the upper 1-2 sets of leaves for photosynthesis
  3. Select the healthiest branch of your money tree and ensure it has flourishing green leaves with at least 2 nodes at the base of it.
  4. Thoroughly clean the knife or scissors you plan to use to remove any form of contaminants.
  5. Slice or cut the section off that you have chosen
  6. Remove any leaves from the bottom third of the stem so there is just a clear stem under the soil.
  7. Keep the upper leaves so they are available to complete photosynthesis and help the cutting establish.

Propagating in Water From a Cutting

Cultivating any plant (that can cope with aqueous propagation) is a visual way to watch the roots form and as such, it can make a fun experiment to do with children. I find it is a good option when I don’t have lots of resources to hand and want to quickly recoup what I can from an old plant. 

Two notes of caution: 

  1. It can take many weeks, even months before an established root system is ready so patience is key. 
  2. The roots will have developed without the nutrients available from compost or soil so often a water-propagated plant is a little less resilient than a soil-grown one. 

Rooting The Cutting In Water

  • Take your money tree stem cutting and dab on some rooting powder and place it into a clear jar or bottle. A receptacle with a narrow neck is best so the stem can’t flop over too far. 
  • Remove any separate leaves from the cutting stem that may fall below the water line to ensure they don’t turn to mulch within the water.   
  • Ensure the bottom third of the cutting is below the water and the rest is above the water line. 
  • Place the jar in a warm and bright spot with natural sunlight (a windowsill in your kitchen is ideal) and then it is a case of watch and wait. 
  • It is advisable to change the water occasionally to prevent algae from forming. Just keep watch and if the roots look slimy then carefully empty the jar.
  • Once a root network is established you can repot the plant into the soil.

Propagation in Soil From a Cutting

Soil-based propagation is the most failsafe method for the money tree plant. The plant will receive nutrients from the compost ensuring maximum health and therefore growth is attained. 

The soil will provide a sturdy base and an anchor for the cutting to take root in. Once potted in the soil it can stay growing there for many months without needing to disturb the root network to move it from the water jar to a pot.

 As this is the most reliable method, I will explore the full process in detail from taking the cutting through to caring for your money tree plant.

Potting Your Cutting

These are the key steps to follow once you have your money tree cutting ready.

  1. Select a pot with drainage holes.
  2. Fill it with a sandy loam mix soil or compost with good drainage properties.
  3. Dab the end of the cutting with rooting powder.
  4. Remove any leaves from the lower section of the stem cutting.
  5. Dampen the compost.
  6. Make a hole in the center and then carefully (without removing any rooting powder) place the cutting in the hole.
  7. Press the compost around the hole to keep it in place.
  8. Water adequately and within a few weeks you will start to see growth and progress.

Best Time To Propagate Pachira Plants

The best time to propagate Pachira is in the Spring. This will ensure adequate heat and light in the months ahead to help it to grow.

As they require strong light levels and enjoy the warmth money tree plants can go into dormancy or a period of inactivity over the winter so it may be hard to get any cuttings to take root in the cooler months of Autumn and Winter. 

How Long Does Root Cutting Take To Grow

You can expect to see new growth within 6 to 8 weeks of planting your cutting. It may take longer if you use the water propagation method. If within 3 months, you have not noticed any meaningful growth from your original cutting you can assume it has not taken. 

Once the cutting has grown enough to be potted onwards and has become its own new plant, it should grow between 18-24 inches every year.

Caring for Money Tree Cuttings

Potting Soil

Money trees do not like to sit in a soggy pot that is holding lots of water. They thrive in soil with excellent drainage properties, so it is important to select a compost or peat with a sandy loam base.

They also prefer a more neutral soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. It is also important to use a pot that has holes in the base and sit it in a container to let the water run through.

If you have a standard potting mix soil, you may want to add a sprinkling of loose sand or a few clumps of peat moss (also known as sphagnum moss) to increase the drainage and absorption properties.

Watering 

Money plants hold large volumes of moisture in their leaves so although water is crucial, over-watering can cause more damage to the plant than underwatering. 

The young cuttings will need to be watered every 2-3 days once the soil feels dry to the touch, more if the weather is particularly hot.

Once established I find my money plant only needs to be watered on average once per week once the top inch of the soil is dry. 

As they are watered infrequently it is important when you do give them a drink you water them deeply and thoroughly. Ensure the water is running through the drainage holes of the pot to indicate enough has been applied.

Temperature & Humidity

As the natural habitat of the money tree is the tropical rainforests of South America they flourish in warm and humid conditions. They prefer a temperature of between 65-80 Fahrenheit and humidity levels of around 50%. 

They are now nearly always grown to be houseplants as they rarely survive winter outdoors other than in very specific climate zones. A warm, sunny spot on a kitchen windowsill is the perfect location for your money plant cuttings.

Light

The money tree plant requires strong and regular daytime levels of light. In the wild, they will often stretch up to the canopy line to obtain bright filtered sunlight so this needs to be replicated at home so keeping them in a spot with bright indirect light is critical.

A word of caution, periods in direct strong sunlight could cause the leaves to scorch and burn, so favor a North facing window or ensure the light entering the room is filtered.

Fertilizing

It is essential to use a good quality rooting hormone powder on your cutting to give it the boost required to take root.

An occasional dose of a standard tropical houseplant liquid fertilizer will then provide a top-up of the crucial nutrients the cutting may need to grow and thrive. 

As the money tree is a leaf-producing plant, the three key micronutrients it requires are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus which will aid photosynthesis and provide the energy the cuttings need so ensure any fertilizer you choose has an equal mix of them.

Potting On

If you have used the water propagation process, it is best to wait until the new roots are around 1 inch long. But it is also important not to leave it in the jar for too long as the plant will eventually require the nutrients and stability that only soil can provide.

Carefully remove them from the jar and if the roots feel slimy you may want to gently wash them to remove any algae buildup. Fill a pot with drainage holes with sandy loam potting compost. Make a small hole in the soil and place the plant within it. Press the soil around the plant and then give the money plant a thorough drink then resume the usual money tree plant care regime.

If you potted into the soil, you only need to report once your cutting has become an established plant and has outgrown the pot it is in. If you want to check on the root progress, you can gently lift the plant slightly out of the pot to check the root network has been established. 

Once it has roots around 1-2 inches in length this is generally the time to move the plant into its next pot. It is important not to choose a pot that is too large as it will cause the plant to hold on to more water than it needs.

How To Make Your Money Tree Bushy

My top tips to make your money tree bushy are a spray bottle, crushed-up leaves, seaweed and to cook rice for your dinner!

Wild money tree plants enjoy high levels of humidity in their natural habitat, so I try to replicate this at home using a water spray bottle to mist my plant.

If I think my money tree could do with a boost, I like to give it a natural nitrogen fix simply by applying some crushed-up dried leaves to the top layer of soil.

Another feed my money tree plant laps up is a seaweed fertilizer! It is my failsafe way to ensure my money tree plant grows quickly and produces lots of leaves. Just don’t use too much otherwise you run the risk of turning your leaves brown and crispy at the edges with fertilizer burn. Just use a half dose of the manufacturer’s instructions, once per month whilst the plant is in its growing season.

And finally, rice water! If you want the leaves to just grow bigger then use the leftover water after you have cooked rice for dinner. Cool it down and tip it onto your plant for a nutritious drink for your money tree. Do this regularly and you too will soon find you are the proud owner of a money plant with large, luscious leaves. 

FAQ How To Propagate Money Tree Plants

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.