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Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Posted by composertp SoCal (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 11:35

Background

I've had a pachira (braided) since 2007. It's been staying green ever since then, sitting on my office desk. I've watered it once very two weeks and it stays healthy.


My Replanting Efforts

I had been wanting to replant the plant for a long time, and finally got around to it about a week and a half ago.

Lacking proper knowledge, I used some standard organic potting soil that I still had in a bag. During the process, I also realized that there isn't much coming out of these trunks in terms of roots.

After replanting in the new soil, I watered it, figuring it might want something to drink, having been dry at the time of replanting.

Already, by the next day, some leaves were turning yellow. Over the next few days more and more turned yellow, and a couple started turning dry brown.

That's when I started researching on these forums and found great recommendations from Josh and others who seem experienced with pachiras.

So I hurried over to Lowe's, and with the help of an old green-thumbed lady there, found the best components I could. They didn't have pumice or any sort of soft lava rock. It was all hard stuff. So the mix I ended up using was a blend of orchid mix (this gave me some large-sized perlite, some untreated bark, and some charcoal), standard perlite, and Sta-Green soil mix. When I blended it, I used most of the bag of perlite, a little of the Sta-Green, and all of the orchid mix.

Using this new mix, I replanted the pachira again. I also plucked off some of the "hands" that weren't looking so good. I dipped 4 of them in root hormone and put them in some small pots using the same soil blend. I was hoping to root those little guys as Josh had explained in another thread. So far they aren't doing so good. Two are really yellowed.


The Current State of Things

What I still have left of the pachira seems to be doing okay back in my office with the new soil. I've only watered it once since the second replanting, with 20-10-10 Miracle-Gro.


What I Need Help With

This plant is looking sparse and gangly now. I'd really like to get some new pachira rooted from cuttings as well. I don't know if the leaves I'm trying to root will survive.

I'm wondering if I should do some serious trimming on this main tree. I need help knowing exactly how to proceed with this, and if you think it would be a good idea. If I can get new growth from the stumps, and create new trees from the clippings, then I'd like to do something like that.


Pictures

Here are some pictures for reference.

When I first bought the tree in 2007:


How the tree looked at the time of the first replanting:


How it looks now, with yellow and brown leaves removed:


Close-up of the trunks:


Cut Recommendations

In the picture below, I've labeled some cut points. I'm not sure what is best to accomplish my goals. Please let me know which of these cut points you think would be best for getting new growth out of the old trunks, and root-able trees out of the cuttings.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Composer, I hope someone weighs in, because I have a single-trunk Pachira about the same girth as one of yours that I want to start branching too.

It isn't as tall as your group and I plan to prune (read: remove apical growth tip) in August. I'm not sure how far back to take it or what will happen, but I am hoping for some back-budding = branches. Rooting out the tip would be a bonus too.

When I did a repot last year, I too was struck by how few roots there were - the plant had to be propped up in the pot with a rock! It's still a little wobbly, but I won't find out for a few more months what's been going on down there...


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

I appreciate the response, gravyboots!

Good to know that my experience isn't unique. Hopefully one of the masters can guide us. =)


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 16:24

If temps allow, I would get the tree outdoors into open shade & let it gain some energy before I pruned it - unless it's been outside for a while. The top would probably look best pruned in one of two different ways. Cutting all the stems off at the same ht would allow you to grow the tree in something like a mushroom shape. Cutting each of the stems at different heights, the stem currently the fattest being left as the tallest, will give you a plant with foliage masses grouped at different heights; or maybe I should say that pruning in these different ways would facilitate your being able to grow the planting as described.

As you mentioned, Josh tends this particular plant, so if he sees your post I'm sure he will have good insight to offer.

Best luck.

Al


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Thanks, Al! I appreciate the input.

In regard to trimming it, I just don't know where is "safe" to cut the stalks without killing them. I want to make sure something grows out of the cuts.

Here's hoping I can get some detailed feedback from Josh...


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Here I am! ;-)

First of all, let me say Thank You for composing a great post with helpful pics.

Secondly, I agree with Al on the pruning - Wait to prune until the tree has gained vitality.
If you prune now, you might end up waiting months to see new growth, and all the while you'll
be wondering if the stems are dead.

As far as where it is "safe" to cut...I really don't know.
I haven't pruned mine down yet, although I plan on it eventually. I definitely want to see some branching,
and it seems that the stalks need to be fairly thick to get more than a single leader per cut.

When I re-potted my Pachira last Spring, I found one of the densest root-masses I'd ever seen.
So it gives me pause to hear that the roots were sparse in the soil - that makes me think that the
potting medium was not conducive to healthy root-growth. My bet would be too much water retention.
One question would be, What can you do know to keep this plant alive: first, put a dowel or skewer
into the potting mix to guage moisture. When the skewer is dry, then water thoroughly; secondly,
you might consider adding a "wick" to the bottom drainage hole to allow excess water to escape from
the pot after you water thoroughly.

Lastly, you need to use healthy green leaves to get the best rooting. Using yellowing leaves is simply
not going to yield results, as far as I know.

That should get us started! ;-)


Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Thanks, Josh!

I don't think I should have any drainage issues now. This soil blend dries out pretty quickly.

I like the skewer idea. That would be a good way to gauge it. I know that this tree likes to have dry soil before watering. With the previous soil, watering every 2 weeks seemed to do the trick. It was green for all those years.

I really want to do something about new growth. The tree is ugly right now. I'd prefer a shorter tree. Right now, the long, bare trunks look unattractive. If I could turn this into a bunch of shorter trees, that would be ideal. I just don't know the ways of producing new growth.

It sounds like you're saying I should just let it sit for now until it becomes comfortable with its new life in the new soil.

I'm not sure how I'll be able to tell when it's safe to start cutting. And then I'm not sure how I'll do it.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

My pleasure!

Yes, let is sit for now and let the roots colonize the new potting soil.
Continue fertilizing every two weeks or so, but fertilize at a 1/4 or 1/2 strength dosage.

In my zone, new growth usually appears in late April or May (more likely). That would be the time
to start planning your pruning design. From what I've heard, you can cut these down fairly low.
In nurseries, I've seen trunks 2 inches in diameter cut flat and sprout from opposite sides of the cut.

As Al mentioned, bright shade outdoors is best (once the weather allows).
Too much May sun will burn the leaves off immediately...which I've done before.


Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 20:54

Once you're sure the tree has lots of energy reserves, you can cut it back as far as you want and it will back-bud quickly. If you cut it back now, it may not die, but it will struggle.

It might help to scroll down to/toward the end of the thread I'll link you to and read my longish post (start reading a few posts up the thread so you can see the reason for the post) dated Feb 8 @ 15:06. It will help you with a better understanding of how to work WITH the plants energy ebb/flow. You could probably gain a lot if you read the initial posting too, as it addresses growing trees in containers and goes into some details that might be of aid to you.

Best luck.

Al


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

I believe this is the link. ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: plants energy ebb/flow


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 8, 11 at 21:15

Heh heh. Doh!

Thanks, JJ.

Al


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RE:: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

LOL!
No problem Al. ;-)

composertp~
Looking forward to seeing the progress with your tree.

JJ


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Thanks, everyone!

As much as I want to take action now, I know I'll just have to be patient while the plant makes itself comfy in the new soil. *sigh*

I appreciate the tips and links you've offered.

Al, I'll take a look at your post and see what knowledge I can gain from it.

Josh, I'll need more details about what you mean in your explanations of the cuts. Maybe a picture would help me visualize it. When you say "down fairly low" what does that mean? Also, "cut flat" and "sprout from opposite sides of the cut" don't make immediate sense to me. More details would certainly help. Forgive me for being slow with some of this.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

I've cut mine back many times over the years. It depends on how 'bushy' you want it and how tall. As Al mentioned, you can cut it back in a mushroom shape by making cuts all the same height.

I have cut back to old wood, or just cut the green wood back to the height you want. After you cut, you will see multiple back buds and you can decide how far back you want to cut and cut it further.

I like mine to stay tall. But years ago, I cut it down to the braids and got multiple back buds. It became very bushy, which is pretty. Depends on what you like. This plant is very forgiving and tough.

Mine is in a sunny window and started making growth last month. I cut one branch back 3 weeks ago and it has started back-budding already. Before letting it leaf, I cut it further to a bud I wanted to let grow. I only did one branch as its too early to prune the entire tree. I like to do one branch at a time to avoid stressing the plant. I don't want to remove all the leaves this early.

Since you just repotted, I would wait and prune when you see some new growth. That will let you know the tree has settled in.

This is not a good shot, but the only one I could find quickly. You might be able to see some cuts I made in the old braided wood.
Photobucket

Good luck,
Jane


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Jane, your picture is a great reminder that Pachira is a tree... now I'm considering letting mine grow somewhat taller before whacking. Although, a shorter stature would complement the trunk size best... Hm.

Have you seen the trunk(s) thicken significantly with pruning? Do you ever try to propagate the cut tips?

Good to know that it will heartily back-bud; that's exactly what I was hoping to hear! About how long does it take to produce them, if the plant is in good health?

I've had 3 new leaves in the last month or 6 weeks :) My tree is still quite small, only 14" or so from the dirt to the growth tip... a rescue from the Grocery Outlet, it came in a pot about the size of a golf ball.

Josh, 2 summers ago when I moved away to work, all the houseplants went outdoors in the hopes they would catch some sprinkler when Honey watered the veggie garden... wouldn't you know it was our hottest summer in ages! The Pachira got totally crisped & the Monstera received bad sunburns too. The F benji looked happiest ever! (I'm still fighting dribs & drabs of the scale it brought back in though.)


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Composer, I'll make a sketch when I get home from work and I'll email it to you.

Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Jane, thanks for the great write-up and picture. I'm still having a hard time visualizing exactly how to cut.

First of all, I don't know what back-budding is, but I've seen it talked about a lot on these forums. Can someone explain this concept to me?

It also might help if someone would use the letter references in the picture that I posted and let me know what those cuts would get me, and which cuts would get me rootable cuttings.

Jane, your tree looks awesome! I'd sure love to get more out of that beauty out of mine. The downside is, I can't get it into regular sun. It lives in my office and gives an otherwise stale computer tech work area a little bit of green life.

Josh, I'll look forward to your sketch! Thanks!

You've all been great.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

For those of you who care to see, here are some images I snapped this morning, documenting the current state of the tree. (You can click on any of them to see the big version.)

This is a shot of the strongest tree (out of 4). It has 3 big hands that have stayed healthy throughout the replantings.If you look in the middle of those 3 healthy hands, this is what you see. We'll see how long these take to grow up.This is some other new growth from one of the weaker trees. I had to remove all but one hand from this one. Hopefully these little guys will grow quickly!


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Composertp. You can cut anywhere along your diagram. If you want a shorter, bushier plant, cut all the way back to A or B.

Your other issue is your plant is growing in an office with little light. Your plant needs more light or it will continue to be leggy. If you cut the tree back to a shorter height, can you put a CFL light over it? Like a floor lamp?

These trees grow best in bright conditions. When a plant does not get enough light, it will elongate to move its leaves closer to the light source. It looks like your plant is doing that.

I took a few quick shots. Look closely and you can see two buds which I want to develop
Back buds
You can see multiple old cuts and the newest. Notice I cut back to 2 buds which are where I want the plant to start new branches.
Back Buds

This shot shows the width of the trunk. It has gotten thicker over time, but I like the plant tall and don't cut as often. You will notice a piece of branch I stuck in the dirt in hopes of rooting. It has multiple buds.
Pachira trunk

Jane


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Excellent! Thank you very much, Jane!

Here's what it looks like to me. Let me know if this is accurate:

You did a flat cut across one of the main stalks. Then, new buds find a way to pop out of the side near the cut? (Although, in this case, I see a little bud sticking out even farther down.)

So, even without leaves on the tree, it can bud new branches out of the sides?

So, theoretically, if I wanted my tree to be short, I could cut it way down (even through the bark), and it would manage new growth? And I would just need to give it water?

Also, will someone please define "back-budding" for me? I'm still not certain what that means.

Thanks for your help, Jane! And thanks for the pics!


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Howdy, Composer!

In this case, "back budding" means that new buds emerge from below the cut - back down the trunk.

Yes, even without leaves Pachira can bud new branches (back budding) further down the trunk.
The energy to push those new buds comes from energy stored in the roots, which is why you want to wait
until the plant has regenerated some healthy roots.

If you want the tree to be short, yes you can cut it way down, even through the brown bark.
You need to keep it *moist* but not wet...because it won't be using as much water if it doesn't
have any leaves.

I'll use the e-mail on your website to contact you ;-)


Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Composer, I just wanted to add that the original cut was made higher up (part of the piece stuck in the dirt). After cutting, a few weeks later, multiple back buds appeared along the trunk below the cut. I cut further back and I left the two lowest buds. The little piece I stuck in the dirt has 3 buds on it.

I cut one trunk at a time to avoid stressing the tree. I don't want to defoliate the tree. If it were July/August I wouldn't worry about cutting all the trunks as the tree would be in full growth mode.

My plan is to cut the tree in a tall triangle shape. Middle trunk will be cut higher than the two side trunks. I will reduce the center trunk half way to the brown skin. The two side trunks will be cut down to the height in the photo.

I want a fuller, bushier tree while keeping it fairly tall.

Jane


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

This information is so great!

Thanks, Jane and Josh!

I love the details you've shared - they're very helpful. This is exactly the kind of input that helps me get a feel for how I should take care of my pachira.

Thanks for answering my questions, too.

I'll post updated pictures as the tree develops, so you can help me along the way. =)


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Here's the image that Josh sketched (very well!) to show how new growth works on a trimmed pachira. I thought this would be beneficial to others who check out this thread. It was really helpful and educational to me. Thanks, Josh!


Click to see the full size image.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Nice diagram, Josh. Much more helpful than trying to explain it.

Good luck, Composer, and keep us updated.

Jane


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Will do! I'm still checking those tiny new buds each day to see if they've grown. No visible change yet.

The good news is, I've had no more yellow or brown leaves since the second re-planting. All of the growth is remaining green.

I think it's happy with the new soil mix so far. This drains much better than my first attempt did.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

I appreciate the compliments...now I just wish I'd taken a little more time on the sketch ;-)

Thanks for posting the pic, Composer.

I wanted to mention again that I've only seen sprouts on both sides of thick Pachira that have been pruned.
If you prune a very skinny trunk, or if you only snip the top off the trunk, you usually end up with just one
new branch forming.

It is my belief that if you cut further down into the brown bark/trunk, you might end up with more
back-budding.


Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Thanks for the tip, Josh!

I snapped some shots this morning and compiled them into one photo for you to view.

Is it okay that this is happening on the leaves? It wouldn't have bothered me before, but now that I've be come sensitive to its health (after the repotting fiasco), I want to make sure these aren't signs of imminent death.

What do you think?


Click if you want to see it bigger.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Good afternoon, Composer!

Nice compilation shots - that's a handy technique.

First, I don't think these marks spell imminent death.
If all the leaf *tips* were browned, I would assume that the tips of the roots were dying/dead.

I don't know the exact cause of the blemishes, so I'm going to just a hazard a guess.
It almost looks like the sunburn that my Pachira received last year. I'm not sure if fertilizer
burn would cause these marks, but hopefully Al (or others) can give us some information.

Hang tight, prime growing season is almost here!


Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Looks like sun burn or some mechanical damage. Your leaves look healthy. I scorched mine last year putting it in full sun too fast. The burned leaves turned white. I'll see if I can find the photo. Looked like yours except the whole leaf turned white. Didn't bother it at all.

Jane


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Well, the mystery continues! The plant hasn't been in the sun at all. (O_o)

I've had it indoors. Hopefully the dead parts don't spread. Even though there's some of this spotting, the leaves are looking pretty perky right now.

Josh, I did put a couple of skewers down into the soil as you recommended. Every time I pull them out to check, they are moist on the bottom. So I haven't watered again yet. Should I wait until the bottom is all dry? Will the short shallow roots still do okay?


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 14, 11 at 21:57

Upper left - Necrotic leaf tips or margins are most often indicators of high levels of salt/solubles in the soil solution, or over-watering. The upper right looks like scarring from oedema, which is often related to over-watering and poor aeration, as well as high humidity and low light levels (when it occurred). The lower right looks like additional symptoms of oedema, but not as advanced as the dead tissue in upper right. The lower left probably is mechanical damage. I don't see any signs of photo-oxidation (sunburn). Overexposure to the sun creates free oxygen radicals, the same free O- radicals that are in H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide). These radicals attack pigments in the plant (like chlorophyll or the pigments in hair) and turn large patches of foliage that are most exposed to the sun a silvery color before they eventually turn brown.

Of course the injuries aren't going to heal - plants don't work that way. A long as you have your watering down, you shouldn't have anything to be concerned about except for the fact that they are minor blemishes. Nurse the tree back to good health, and I'll tell you how to 'change foliage' and get rid of the blemishes. ;o)

Al


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Thanks, Al! It amazes me how you understand these things down to the scientific details. I appreciate your knowledge.

The leaves are looking happy to me. They're a pretty deep green right now, and more upright than saggy.

I think I'll keep checking the skewers that I have stuffed in there, and when those are dry, I'll add more water. I just need to get a feel for how long this new soil takes to dry out. As I mentioned before, the old soil took about 2 weeks.

The new buds are poking their heads out more each day. That's encouraging! =)


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 15, 11 at 15:05

I'm sure everyone is pulling for you & hoping to share your enthusiasm when you bring back the good word that all continues to go well, so keep us posted .... and 'thanks' for being kind with your comments. ;o)

Good luck.

Al


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Jane, your Pachira is gorgeous. How many years did it take to get that tall?
Did the piece ever root?

Gravy I'm with you. I considered pruning my two Pachira's, too, but after seeing Janes, decided to let them grow taller..yep, they're trees. Toni


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

I thought I'd send an update so you can see how the tree is coming along. For previous shots of these stems, you can scroll up and look at my post from "Wed, Feb 9, 11 at 12:18." I will be referring to that post. I've highlighted new growth with red outlines.


This is an updated shot of the middle picture.


This is an updated shot of the 3rd picture.


This is new growth on another of the stems.

The fourth stem isn't moving along as quickly, but the leaves are doing okay.

I still haven't watered since the last time I posted because the skewers are still coming up slightly moist at the bottoms, and the leaves are looking healthy.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Good job! Thanks for the update!

If the leaves begin to sag, or if the stems wrinkle, go ahead and water...
otherwise, you're doing just fine waiting on those skewers to come out dry.

Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

what about root rot.. im trying to save a friends plant .. the pachira plant isnt quite braided but there was 4 stalks with a twisty around them to keep them in place.. i had to throw away 2 stalks but the other two seem to be just fine.. is there any chance that the two will make it just fine.. or was 4 the magic number?


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Kate, very often the braids will die, one by one, until only a single trunk remains.
I, personally, grow (and prefer) a single-trunk Pachira - so two trunks is just fine.

Rotten roots, however....that's a big-time issue. Nearly always, rotten roots are the result
of a soil that holds too much moisture after it's been watered.

Tell us more - maybe there's hope yet!

Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

greenman28 - It's very weird to read your post because the exact same thing happened to mine. After getting a small braided money tree years back, very quickly one by one they died until just one remained. That one grew on by itself... It now has a very fat base. It's definitely one of my favorite plants out back. hehe.


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Hey, Dragonstone....
I've seen it happen time and time again ;-)
At least you were left with a healthy trunk!

Josh


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RE: Pachira (money tree) trimming, rooting, and replanting.

Hello,

Since this is a fairly recent (and extremely informative) thread, I figured I'd ask here rather than making another one about a very similar issue.

I have two Pachiras, both located in a North-West facing window. I have the room to move one of them to a South-West window (I'm in an apartment building - those are my two options).

I bought the plants last year and one of them REALLY took off (no fertilizer was used). Initially just over three feet tall, it's now pushing six feet while the other is around four and a half feet tall. However, the one that took off also dropped over half of its leaves over the winter and looks very tall and lanky compared to the bushiness of the other one (pictures at the bottom.)

And what to do with it...
Now, I'm thinking I should probably prune it back a bit but, being a stark beginner at gardening, I'm really not sure where (and when) I should be cutting and if I should make any adjustments to my watering habits afterwards. I don't mind the height as much as how sparse it is. Or will it look fine after all the new growth on the top (oh my) fills out? Is it too late to try to braid it some more? Should I just move it to the other window? Its smaller (a 'standard' sized bedroom window), but WSW exposure might get more light than NNW. I must say though, they've been doing well where they are and since pachiras seem to be notorious for throwing fits if things change I'm a bit leary about moving it.

Any advice that could be offered would be incredible!

Thanks in advance, and here's the pictures:


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