Pachira (Money Tree) Problem. Should I Propagate to Save it?

SummersoffApril 5, 2012

It is not growing. At all. I have posted a similar thread a while back, but I want to take appropriate measures if it still continues not to grow into the spring and summer (if it lives that long...)

There were two Pachira trees in one pot that I bought. The other trunk got soft and rotted and the branches went brown too and died. Perhaps by over watering. I've been watering very lightly with the last tree left in the pot.

Now then, would it be ok to propagate the two branches I have to save it? I think the problem may be from the source--the roots or trunk. I'm thinking of cutting the healthy branches off and planting them, or putting them into water until it roots, and tossing the trunk.

I'm a total newbie, so I'm not sure if this would work, but the two branches seem healthy, but if this trunk is like the last one and is in the process of dieing, I want to do all that I can to save the tree.

Here's what I have left:

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Oh and by the way, the leaves on this tree are starting go brown and die, too, one by one. Eventually I may be left with just these two little shoots. So I may need to take action soon.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:11PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Soil, water, light...

Overly water retentive soil, compounded by too much water, and perhaps not enough light...
those are the killers of Pachira.

I think I responded to your questions last time, as well, and the growth in the pic looks good.
Is this an old pic, have things changed? It would be nice to see the plant in its container and
in its location (to determine lighting).

You could do an emergency re-pot, all the while recognizing that it's early in the
season to be doing so. If you can post that picture of the pot/soil, et cetera, we can devise
a plan.

Propagating is a last option, but we can advise for that, too. My own Pachira, after all,
was grown from a single leaf off my brother's long-dead tree.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 12:37PM
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What kind of soil is it in? How big is the pot vs. the tree? In the picture, the plant looks good; a nice, crisp green. But, if you say the leaves are going brown, the obviously you have a problem. The plant is NOT dead though, but obviously there is a problem. If the leaves are browning, I suspect you have a root issue, where the plant isn't taking up water. The funny thing is, overwatering causes it by rotting the roots away, which, as you describe, is what happened to the other ones. It sounds like you may have cut off the watering before the trunk rotted, but the roots are likely rotted. As you know, having defective roots will not allow the plant to take in water, giving symptoms of underwatering. Most people then apply more water, which aids in the rotting process.

So, what to do? I personally think that an emergency repot is in line. Although early to do, it's your last shot I think. You could try the cutting thing, but if you are a newbie, as you say, you'll quickly find that rooting cuttings isn't all THAT easy, especially from a plant that is weak. Rooting cuttings relies on the energy stored in the cutting to pop roots out, and a stressed plant doesn't have much energy to spare. I'd cut off the water, and start looking into getting your pachira into a new pot, if needed, and definately new soil; one with good drainage and aeration for the roots. Miracle Grow doesn't fit this description. Please let us know what you intend to do, so we can help you out. If there's one plant that is special to me, it's my pachira, so I'd like to see yours be saved.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 6:36PM
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This is the same pic as the last one I uploaded here. But signs have gotten worse that the tree is inevitably biting the dust.
The tree is still in the same big decorative pot and soil that it came in from the flower shop. It came with two trees, but just went down hill since I got them 3 months ago, and I have since thrown one of the tress out as everything including the stems went brown and died.

I'm just to the point where I don't know if want to go out and get a new pot and soil and do the whole re-potting thing. I think I just may want to start over new with the healthy stems and try to get two trees out of it.

So does you guys have any advice on how to go about propagating this sucker?

These trees have been nothing but a nuisance since I got them--admittedly may have been my fault for over watering, but I just followed the directions given to me by the flower shop. But for some reason I just wont let it die!
I want to start fresh and propagate and gain one more tree out this whole ordeal.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:15PM
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Getting cuttings from a severely stressed plant to strike roots can be very tough. You can certainly try though. I personally think that you can save your pachira with a repot and new soil, which is probably less effort than trying to grow from cuttings. Worst case, you go buy a new plant if you don't want to save the one you have.

As for taking cuttings, just do a search on it, and you'll get a ton of hits with plenty of instruction. I'm no expert on the subject, because I rarely propagate plants, but rather just keep the ones I have going. The only plants I've ever done cuttings with are jades and pothos, both of which are very easy to root. Also, you have to take with a grain of salt, the advice givin by plant shop employees, especially flower shops who don't specialize in plant care. Heck, I saved a ficus alii from the dumpster at a greenhouse, where the employees told me it couldn't possibly be saved. Guess what, I did an emergency repot, into 5-1-1 mix. The plant dropped all but a few leaves, of what it had to start. But, less than a year later, I now have a beautiful tree, that normally costs upwards of $50, and I got it free. All it took was some TLC, and a repot, followed by patience and proper care.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Ok, Joe. I think I will do a repot and see this plant through for better or for worse. We'll see what happens =)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 2:19AM
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Make sure not to overpot. A pot about an inch or 2 bigger than the diameter of the rootball is what you want. Also, make sure not to overwater afterwards, which may be tough if you use a bagged, peat based soil like miracle grow.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:31PM
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I'm sorry, but I actually had to say this so much that I just joined the forum.

Ironically, my Money Trees have been doing better than ever after about 10 months. I have three of them against the west windows and they get about 4-5 hours of direct sun.

Lately, I have started watering them almost every three days because I've been noticing that they're drinking a lot of water and drinking it quickly.

Since I've started this frequent watering, the plants have taken off. They're such a bright, amazing green and new shoots are popping up everywhere.

I'm not sure why these are so different, but to me, it seems like the reason your plants are going brown is because they're not getting ENOUGH water.

I could be horribly wrong, but I actually arrived at this forum after Googling "Money Trees love water"

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Welcome to the forum Regan; you may want to stick around too, because there's lots to take in around here. Anyways, your money tree sounds healthy and happy. However, the frequency of watering has a lot of factors, including, but not limited to, time of the growing season, type of soil, size of pot, and how full of roots the pot actually is. In the case of our friend Summersoff, he had some rotting issues, then a decline of the last, remaining section of his pachira, which definately doesn't point to underwatering.

As for yours, I'll say that as exciting as it is when they take off, you'll soon find yourself with a 7 foot tall tree. I let mine grow rampant for a few years, but these days, to avoid the yearly chop, I pinch to regulate growth. Doing so adds girth to the trunk, and creates a bushier form. I must say, I do love my pachira, and if you don't love yours yet, give it time, you will.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Hey Joe, thanks for the welcome and thanks for the tips. I've been wondering lately if I should re-pot it to give it more room to grow. I'm okay with it turning into a 3 or 4 foot tree.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:12PM
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Tropicals should ideally be repotted in late spring, just before the peak of the summer growing season, so it's almost time. I usually do mine in May, or early June if I don't get to it in May. You should know though, that Pachira don't require a large pot to grow big, and I basically just do some root pruning, and plop it right back in the same pot. Mine has been in a 8" diameter pot for years, and will probably stay there forever. The trunk is about 3" across, and the height has been up to 7' tall a couple of times, but it was too unruley at that height. I now keep mine at a managable 3-4'. Basically, come repotting time, I trim down branches as needed, and prune out any of the older, less productive roots.

Now, on the other hand, you can pot up to larger pots, and grow a massive tree if you want to. There's a nearby greenhouse that had a HUGE one, probably in the range of 15' tall, and very full and bushy. Although neat, I wouldn't know what to do with something that big.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:42PM
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