Braided Money Tree Problem

ahteeniebosehApril 29, 2009

I have a 6 foot tall money tree that has recently started having problems. It has 4 intertwining stalks. Since receiving the plant 6 months ago, I have not repotted it or added any fertilizer. I normally try to water the plant when the soil feels very dry (at most once per week, sometimes every other week). I water until fluid emerges from the drainage holes, and then I remove the drained fluid. The plant is in a pot which has about a 15 inch diameter. The plant is located next to a Northwest facing window. It doesnt get strong, direct sunlight. I also mist the plant once in awhile.

About a month ago, I noticed one of the stalks lightening in color (it is normally brown at the bottom and a darker green at the top of the stalk). The stalk is now light green with a few patches that are very dark brown, almost black. The bottom of the stalk also has a veiny appearance and the stalk is alittle softer than the other stalks. I noticed today that another one of the stalks is begining to get this vein like appearance. The leaves of the affected stalk are lighter green and are crumpled. It also has less leaves than the rest of the plant.

A few weeks ago, I dug around the roots of the affected stalk to try and determine if root rot was the cause. I did not find any black or foul smelling roots and the soil was slightly damp toward the bottom of the pot. The tree is so big that I am worried about pulling it completely out of the pot to check the roots.

I would appreciate any advice as to what could be causing this problem. Also, how should I proceed in taking care of the plant? If it is root rot, how should I treat it? It is a beautiful plant and I would like to save it if possible. Additionally, I do have a cat. I am not sure if the cat has urinated in the plant, but I did flush the soil last time I watered just in case.


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Hi. A 15" diameter container is large. Watering once a week might be too much.
My braided and non-braided Pachiras are in 4" pots, (underpotted) watered every 1-2 weeks. Soil dries completely before more water is added.
Although we care for plants in different fashions, our goal is to find which way works best. When I treated Pachiras as tropicals, they'd die, but since they're now cared for semi-succulent, they're doing well. Growing succulent-like happened by accident.

Pachiras need sun. Is your Pachira facing more north or west? West is fine, north is low light.
Although, like I said, mine are grown succulent-like, leaves are misted. (Most sux are not.)

You said one stalk is getting a vein-like appearance..Are you referring to the stalk or its leaves?
Is the softer stalk the same as the one with vein-like appearance?
If the stalk is soft, it could rot. For some reason, it sometimes happens with braided Pachiras. One braid rots, the others do well. Stay firm.

Soil (from rot) doesn't always have a sour odor. On the other hand, cat urine is strong.

Do you see any little, white fuzz growing nearest the trunk? Like mold?

The only advice I have to offer is, before watering, make sure soil is completely dry. Since your plant is in a 15" pot, it's too deep to do the finger test. Instead, insert a thin stick far into the bottom. If the stick comes out dry, your plant needs a drink, if it comes out wet/moist, wait a few days and recheck.

Don't fear repotting. Even if it means, tossing old soil, and adding fresh, without setting in a larger container. You'd be surprised the number of nurseries that repot plants in big pots so they can sell for more $$. Including plants w/o roots. There have been times I had to underpot after getting a new plant.
Do you have a pic of your plant? Toni

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Thank you for the response!

I will take a picture of the plant next time I am home. I do not see any mold on the trunk. The viens-looking areas are on the lower part of the trunk, not the leaves.

I am considering repotting the plant in the same pot but with soil specific for succulents. I can also repot in something smaller if you think it might be helpful. I was worried about doing this since the plant is about 6 feet tall.

The window the plant is near is more north facing than west facing. I will get pictures and post them.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 1:30PM
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When it comes to choosing the proper pot, you can't judge by a plants height.
What does matter is rootball size. Remove your Pachira from its current container, shake then discard old soil.
Replace the rootball in its pot or a new container if you plan on switching. If the rootball is 1-2" smaller than the inner pot, the fit is fine. Anything larger is too big.
Fast-growing plants potted in spring, will fill a pot in no time, but IMO, Pachira is slow-growing, therefore needs time. I believe a plant will stop growing when over-potted.
Large pots mean more soil, excess soil, if over-watered, stays wet for longer periods..Constantly wet soil can cause root rot.
The chance of overwatering an underpotted plant, especially in light, well-draining soil, is rare.

But like I mentioned above, my Pachiras are grown as succulents, not tropicals, which is the reason they're underpotted and dry soil.

Sorry, I didn't mean to ask if mold is growing on the trunk. I meant, is there mold, little white fuzz on the soil.

I still don't know what you mean veins are growing on the trunk. Never heard of this.
Send pics when you get a chance, Toni

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it! I uploaded three images in the "image" gallery forum. All of the postings have Braided Money Tree in the title. I took a photo of the lower part of the trunk, the middle of the trunk, and the whole plant. I did not see any mold in the soil.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 4:36PM
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Ahteen, where in the world is the Image Gallery? lol
I looked everywhere..found 2 other galleries, just not Image. Toni

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:43PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Toni,

It's not called 'Image', just Gallery. If you back out of here once & then where you end up (at the upper portion of the page) it says Discussion, Gallery, Conversation.

You want Gallery, that's where those pix are.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 12:05AM
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Hi Toni,

Sorry for the confusion. It actually took me a long time to figure out how and where to post the pictures.

First, go back to the house plants forum page, there is a link on the top left of this page that says "Return to the House Plants Forum". Then you will see something that says "On Top Discussions" just above the list of postings. Next to "On Top Discussions", you will see something that says "switch to" and it will have choices like "gallery", "conversation". Click on Gallery. The page will have the title "Image Gallery" once you get to the page. You should then be able to see my postings there.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:58PM
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I too have a large money tree about 4 feet tall, that came in quite a large pot. The past 5 months or so, the leaves started growing in small and crumply, green with brown edges that were very dry. I was looking at it the other day, and one of the stalks is soft and squishy near the soil, and rotted at the very top. The bark could just be peeled right off easily, and is very wet. We don't water it that much, maybe once every couple of weeks, maybe even once a week sometimes. I mist it too, quite often.

I read somewhere to try and cut out the rotted stem, would you recommend that? I haven't taken it out of the pot yet to check how the roots are, should I try that first do you think?

Any help/advice would be awesome! Thank you. :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 4:19PM
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I bought a money tree little over a month ago and I am slowly killing it..from what I just read above, I should be treating it like a this correct? all the leaves are dying and falling off...its getting squishing feeling in the is not in soil...its in little rocks..whats your advise? its only 6 inches tall..

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 7:11PM
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I've had a Pachira (Money tree) for many years now. Mine has a single trunk, that is about 3" in diameter now. It grows 6 to 7 feet per year, and obviously I have to cut it back every year. It is in a 10" pot, which is plenty big. You would be amazed at how small a rootball can support a big money tree. Mine sits in front of a southwest window, getting a lot of sun. Last year I moved it into a corner with little direct sun to try & curb the growth, but it still took off, but had slightly smaller leaves. As for watering, I treat mine as a tropical, NOT a semi-succulent. These trees grow in marshes and wetlands, so they like moisture. Just like any other plant though, they do NOT like to be wet, so a well drained mix is essential. If you let it dry up too much, you'll end up with browning leaves, which eventually drop. Basically I'll let mine dry up an inch or two on the top, then water. If you're using bagged peat based soil, you are prone to rotting issues, because odds are, the bottom and middle of the rootball will still be wet, while the top is dry. I have gotten a great response by using the 5-1-1 mix with my pachira, and a maintenance dose of foliage pro 9-3-6 every time I water.

Sarina, can you describe your plant a bit more? Is it one of those cute little bonsai ones, in a pot with no drain holes?? Also, are you sure about the potting mix? Usually they fill the pot with peat mix, then top it off with gravel for looks. It can't be growing in all gravel, because it would either get NO water, or it is sitting in water filled gravel, which will rot it for sure.

Garden Girl, I would advise against any misting. It actually does more harm than good by promoting fungus on the leaves, and if you are using tap water, the water evaporates, leaving behind all the minerals that are in the water. If you use softened water, there is salt that will stay on the leaves. If you have rot issues, and want to save the plant, now is the perfect time to act. Take the thing out of it's pot, and wash all the soil off of the roots. Cut any roots out that are brown and rotted. Look at the size of the rootball. Like Toni said, put it in a pot that is 2" bigger in diameter. The goal is to have an inch of free soil around the rootball. I would advise you to search up "5-1-1 mix", as this is ideal for money trees. Gritty mix would work too, but the watering is tricky, so I'd go with 5-1-1 to start. You'll also need to have a fertilizer program, if you don't already, because they'll fade away due to lack of nutrients. Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Let me second what Joe said.

And if the rocks are glued on top of the soil, remove those first thing.
Unfortunately, a soft trunk almost always means rot/death.

Here's a Thread on re-potting: Pachira (Money Tree) - Spring re-potting


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Hi I am hoping someone can provide me with a bit of guidance. I have a 4ft braided Pachira that until recently has been doing quite well. I have had it for approx 1 yr and re- potted it approx 3 months ago (same size pot 12��) as the water seemed to be running right through the soil and not giving the roots an opportunity to ��drink��. Since I re-potted I have picked 2 tiny mushrooms out, and it doesn��t seem to be doing well!!! I think I just used regular top soil. It is still quite green and showing new growth however, a lot of leaves are falling off! I mean lots! I am wondering if I need to do something else�K perhaps it is lacking food/fertilizer however I mixed slow release miracle grow granules for potted plants right into the soil (not many, but enough I think). It also appears to be getting enough light, as it seemed was happy where it was prior to transplant. Can anyone offer some advice? Maybe I need to pull it out again and look at the ��rootball��? When I initially transplanted it I was careful not to disturb any of the roots but apparently that is not necessary and I should have trimmed them back and just been careful with the ��rootball��. I don��t even remember how big the rootball was, as this is the first time I have even heard the term �� Would you suggest pulling it out again to look at the roots? Maybe trim them back? Should I also change soil to 5-1-1-1 or the mix of bark, pumice, perlite and wood ash? Would I find that at a nursery? I really would like to save this plant as it has sentimental value (from brother). Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 3:36PM
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