unhealthy money tree - HELP!?

karensxiaoFebruary 26, 2014

Hi Tree Expects,

Hope all is well.

I am really frustrated and upset because my money tree is drying in my house. This is my 2nd money tree already, please help.

The tree is placed in the entrance of our house indoor. No direct sunlight, but plenty of indirect light from outside between 10am - 3pm. The tree is about 2.5 - 3 ft tall. Temperature in the house stays around 60-70 degrees in the winter. And 70-80 degrees in the summer. The tree is watered around once a week depending on if the soil is dry or not, the amount is around 1.5 cups of water . Longest duration has been 10 days. The only thing the tree doesn't have is probably outside fresh air, we usually keep all windows and doors closed because we are only home after 7pm so it doesn't make sense for us to have doors/window open at night with either ac/heater on.

Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Karen

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karensxiao

this is a picture of immature leafs that die before getting fully developed. They look big in this picture but they are actually really small compared to fully developed leafs

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:16AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello!
Is there drainage in that container?

Josh

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 3:01AM
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karensxiao

Hi Josh,

Yes, there is a hole on the bottom of the pot, and the pot is on top of a plate.

Thanks,
karen

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:57PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Well, I would suggest that you flush the mix - slowly pouring lots of water through the mix to release excess salts that have built up. You'll also want to move the plant as close to a sunny window as possible. This Summer, when the plant is growing strong, re-potting into a more coarse and porous mix will help the plant thrive during future Winters.

Are any of the trunks soft, or all firm?

Josh

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 2:04AM
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Photo Synthesis

I would most definitely have to agree with Josh on this one. By giving your money tree only a tiny sip of water, minerals dissolved in that water slowly build up in the soil over time, and that's not good for any plant. Take your tree to a sink and thoroughly flush the entire pot with water and let the excess drain away. Then maybe flush it once more after that, just to be sure.

Money trees love lots of bright light. So moving it to a sunnier location will help it tremendously. I bought a huge money tree several years ago, which was almost as tall as I am. It was on clearance for just $10. I've had to prune it back several times already because it gets so big that I can barely fit it through my door when I have to bring it back inside when the outside temps begin to drop.

During the Summer, it grows in direct sunlight, no matter how hot it may get. Just so long as I keep it watered. Once I bring it in for the colder months, I scale back on the number of times I water it. But when I do, I always flush the entire pot really good. I keep it in a South-facing window, and towards the end of Winter, it loses a few of its leaves. But once Spring arrives and I move it back outside, it always bounces back bigger and better than ever.

I took this pic a few years ago, before I finally potted it into a self-watering pot, which was the largest one that Wal-Mart sells. Now, I have to tilt the darn plant when I move it outside. But I'm not complaining, I absolutely love this plant. My only regret is that I didn't buy at least one more of these trees at the time.

This post was edited by ToMMyBoY69 on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 7:55

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:26AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Fantastic specimen, Tommy.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 10:49AM
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tomtom6868

Wow!!! What a tree!!! So big compare to mine!! Lol

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Photo Synthesis

You should've seen it the year before. I had a person who took care of mowing. In order to save themselves some time, they went along the property spraying who knows what, to kill off all the grass that was right up against the walls. Not only did it make the yard look horrible, with dead grass circling my house, but it also wreaked havoc on all of my plants. Many of my orchids were killed off, along with a beautiful Rhipsalis capilliformis "Trailing," which had tremendous sentimental value and received so many compliments on. Not to mention that my Pachira aquatica (money tree) lost about half of its leaves. And this all happened just as Autumn was right around the corner. So it didn't have time to grow any new ones and recover.

By the time Spring got here, it was looking pretty pathetic. I placed it in direct Sun to build up its strength, and once it showed signs of new growth, I drastically cut it back. I carefully chose outward-facing nodes, and cut an inch above them at 45ð angles. After that, it had no leaves whatsoever, and I held my breath and waited. Luckily, none of the canes died. Each branch burst forth with new leaves. The trick was waiting for it to show signs of putting out new growth before pruning it back. That way I knew it had enough energy to overcome it. And before you know it, it looked even better than ever.

So the bottom line is that these beautiful trees can take quite a bit of abuse and still bounce back. You just gotta give them what they need and they'll take care of the rest.

:)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 4:16AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I completely agree :-)
Here's a pic from when I chopped mine down last Summer.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:15AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And then 2 months later....all new canopy, plus a second actual branch!

Josh

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:23AM
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plantomaniac08(8)

Green,
I'll have to ask you to stop showing off your plants, you're making me green with envy. :P I'm just kidding (of course!), I always like seeing pictures of your plants. They always look so happy and healthy. If only I had the space for a 'Money Tree.'

Planto

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 12:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, Planto!
You know, that's why I had to chop this one down....I'd run out of space for it during the Winter. It has fit much better near the windows in its current form ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:57PM
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karensxiao

Please help again, we followed the suggestions and flushed the soil once a week for two weeks and let the plant sat outside to drain excess water. The plant was doing fine for a while, since last week, the plant start dying. Please pictures attached.

So is it the matter of the soil, or pot(the pot I have only has one hole)? If so, what kind of soil or pot should I use? What can I do to save this tree, is it possible to save at all?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:05PM
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karensxiao

picture of soil

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:07PM
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karensxiao

pic of leaf

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:09PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Well, I'm sorry to see that.
Yes, it needs new potting mix, for sure. Are all the trunks firm and solid at the soil-line? Have you fertilized at all? How much sunlight has it been getting?

Josh

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Photo Synthesis

My best guess would have to be that the leaves got sunburned. That has happened to mine before. Pachiras can thrive in full sunlight, but they have to be gradually exposed to it over time. For pachiras that have only been grown indoors, they're not used to the ultraviolet light that is given off by the Sun, along with the visible and infrared light. (When you stand in the Sun and feel its warmth, that's the infrared radiation that you're actually feeling. Though, it's the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburns.)

You can move your money tree outdoors, but they have to be slowly transitioned to the different environmental conditions by placing it first in partial shade for a week or two, to give your tree time to adjust. Then, after a week or two, they can be moved into full sunlight.

I moved my Pachira outdoors already, and a couple leaves on it had a slight sunburn. I haven't concerned myself with it too much. Any new growth will already be used to the outdoor environment and direct sunlight.

Instead of bringing your tree back inside, you can move it to a shaded location where it can still receive lots of indirect light. The sunburned leaves won't fully recover, but they will still function. All new growth will look much better and will be better acclimated to growing outdoors. Bringing it back indoors now may not be the best option. That would only provide it less light, and less light equals less energy. A shaded outdoor location, like a covered porch for example, would be my recommendation. Then just give it time to recover. All new growth grown outdoors will be much more hardier and robust.

EDIT: I went back and reread my first response within this thread. I should've been more clear about the lighting conditions and the transitioning of a money tree from indoors to outdoors. Your money tree isn't dying, its leaves just got sunburned. It can recover. I would still highly recommend moving it back outdoors, to a location with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and partial shade. Before you know it, it will begin putting out plenty of vigorous new growth.

This post was edited by ToMMyBoY69 on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 1:45

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:02AM
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karensxiao

First of all, thank you so much for the prompt responses from you guys and I really appreciate all your help.

RE Josh: The trunks were solid at the soil line when you first responded. However, I just noticed a couple of them have turned soft after I flushed the pot 2 times (once a week). Is it because there's too much water? I made sure to drain it fully outside (no more water dripping from the bottom when I lift the pot) before bringing it back into the house.

The plant has been getting a lot of direct sunlight for the last 3 days when I found out the trunks turned soft and i wanted to bring it out to "dry it up". (I only brought it in for photos and it is staying indoor for now)

I don't think I have fertilized it and would you please suggest a potting mix, fertilizer and a pot for it? Can I still save the plant when the trunk got soft?

RE Tommy: Thank you! It has been getting a lot of direct sunlight indeed for the past 3 days. Unfortunately, I do not have a covered porch and the best spot I got would be a corner in the yard that only get direct sunlight for probably 3 hours a day. Would that work?

As always, all your advises are greatly appreciated. I really hope I can save this plant because I really like it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:01AM
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Photo Synthesis

The trunks going soft is usually a bad sign. The trunks that have become soft might not recover from that and may have begun to rot. When I repot my money tree, I use the Miracle Gro brand soil for Cactus & Succulents, and it works just fine. Both morning and afternoon direct sunlight is not as intense, and would be much easier for it to handle. All new growth will most definitely be able to handle full sun. Keep an eye on those trunks that have become soft. More than likely, they're beyond saving. I've had that happen to me before. I just chalked it up as a learning experience, and went out and bought me a new one. Which I have had for many years now.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:45AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If the trunks are soft, the roots are rotten, and you'll need to remove the trunks as soon as possible so that the rot doesn't spread. I use a mix of screened bark, lava rock, and perlite, in roughly equal parts - bark screened to 1/4 inch. I add Osmocote to the mix when I make it, and I fertilize regularly with Foliage Pro 9-3-6.

Was there a reason that you put the plant in direct outdoor sunlight? A sunny indoor window is what I recommended. Even during the Summer, I don't put my Pachira in full sun....I keep it in filtered sunlight beneath a big maple tree.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:57AM
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