Pachira aquatica (Braided Money Tree) soil type?

kurite(5)August 11, 2009

Hi ive been wanting to get a Pachira aquatica for quite some time but im making sure i know how to take care of it properly and for optimal growth and the only thing that i can not find is the soil type. I read that it should be a well draining soil so should i just use cactus soil or organic potting soil, sand and pearlite?


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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Pachira aquatica will do well in a soil that drains quickly, indeed. Yes, you'll need to water more often during the growth season - but the trade-off is that the roots will be healthy and won't rot during the winter months.

I'd make a 1:1:1 mix of bark, pumice, and perlite.
Instead of pumice, you could also use Turface, or Napa diatomaceous earth, part #8822. These ingredients are similar in that they have a solid structure and great internal porosity (to hold moisture and nutrients).

I use quartz gravel and perlite together - the gravel gives some weight to the mix, while providing excellent stability and air-circulation and while holding very little moisture. I've also read that rough, sharp grit in your mix will promote fine root-growth.

The bark that I use is called Micro Bark: it is pine/fir bark. I screen my particles so that they are between 1/8 and 3/8 of an inch. Ideally, however, all of my ingredients would be just about 1/8 of an inch. This is the critical particle-size at which a container mix will retain moisture (under 1/8 holds water - over 1/8 gives up water). This is a general rule, assuming equally-sized particles.

There are many ways to modify this basic blend to get the mix right for your growing conditions.

Since Pachira aquatica (Malabar Chestnut) comes from wetland areas in South America, I have always assumed that it likes to be flooded...and then allowed to dry. Outside in partial shade, my Pachira is drying out every 2 - 3 days. During the winter in the house, I cut watering back to once a week (sometimes longer).

Oh! Almost forgot a final piece of advice!
Avoid the braided my opinion, they're nothing but trouble (often, one of the trunks is totally rotten from the start). A single trunk, with healthy foliage, will serve you better.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Hello Josh!

So I'm still wondering if I should mix this type of soil which you recommended here years ago or shall I just buy the orchid compost which you mentioned the other day. Sorry to bother you but I really need some advice from an expert like you!
Thanks again!


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Linda - you're addressing a 5 yr old note!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:34AM
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Hi Moochinka,

I'm new here and I'm just trying to find some answers. My question brought me here. I know that the thread is old I saw it, but that doesn't mean I can not get help here, does it?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Of course not, but it's better to start a new thread with a relevant title. I do think the choice of mix is up to you as both types were recommended. Josh certainly knows his stuff though.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Lindu, I'm glad I happened to check in at the Bonsai Forum this morning :-)

This is the same mix that I recommended to you. Bark, perlite, and pumice / lava rock / turface / DE. The gravel / quartzite is not essential in this case.

For those who are unlikely to find the right bark by itself, I always recommend a quality fine-grade Orchid Mix (because it is made with bark as the main ingredient). Then I suggest adding more Perlite, and some Pumice (or other porous grit).

Ingredients may change over the years, but the function and properties of the ingredients stay the same :-)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:01PM
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