The Money tree (Pachira aquatica) is a popular house plant with a braided stem, often given as a gift and is a gesture of good luck in regard to the receiver’s finances.
When the leaves on a money tree become brown, yellow, or droopy, it is often due to one of a few common issues in this species.
One likely cause of drooping leaves on a money tree is improper water supply. Both over and underwatering of the plant can cause stress or other issues, like root rot, that may result in drooping leaves.
Some other causes include improper soil, too much or not enough light, changes in temperature, and pests and/or diseases.
Also check: Brown Leaves On A Money Tree
Money Tree Leaves Drooping
Read on to learn more about each of these issues and how to adequately address them in your money plant.
1. Overwatering or Underwatering
Improper watering is a common issue when taking care of money trees. Despite the species name “aquatica” these trees like the opportunity to dry out between watering sessions and only need to be watered once or twice a week.
You can often water even less frequently in the winter months, about once every 21 days, although this can depend on your location and how much sun the tree receives.
Money trees do appreciate humidity, however, and may benefit from being misted or placed near a humidifier.
2. Improper soil
Proper soil is key to avoiding sensitivities to poor watering of money trees. If the soil retains too much moisture, it will be sensitive to being overwatered. However, if it drains too quickly, the roots will dry out between waterings.
The proper soil for a money tree will be sandy and peat-moss-based, to allow proper drainage.
If you suspect improper soil is causing your tree to droop, repot it in a pot with drainage holes and in more suitable soil.
Also, consider adding a suitable fertilizer to provide proper nutrients for your plant.
3. Improper light
Too much, or not enough, sunlight is another common issue with money trees. If placed in direct sunlight for too many hours a day, the leaves of a money tree will become burned and turn brown or yellow, dry, and crispy.
Scorched leaves like this won’t recover and will likely soon fall from the plant.
Alternatively, a money tree in too dark of an area will develop yellow and droopy leaves and likely experience slow or stunted growth.
To avoid issues related to improper light for your plant, place your money tree in a bright, well-lit area away from too much direct sunlight.
1-2 feet from a window that doesn’t have the sun shine directly through it for more than a couple hours a day is a good choice. You should also regularly rotate your tree so it gets sunlight on all sides, to encourage even growth.
4. Temperature changes
Extreme changes in temperature are another issue for money trees. The sudden shock of a sudden increase or decrease in the temperature around your plant may cause leaves to turn yellow, droop, and fall off.
To keep your plant happy and healthy, maintain a temperature of about 18-27 degrees Celcius, and a moderately humid environment.
Be careful keeping your money tree too close to a window in the middle of the summer or in the winter, as the temperature is less easily regulated through the glass and may cause a large drop or increase in temperature.
Avoid draughty or breezy areas as well, such as near a heating/AC vent or door.
Just like any other house plant, money trees are at risk of attracting various different pests or even diseases. Pests that are common for money trees include scale insects, mealy bugs, and aphids.
These pests will feed on various parts of your plant and weaken it, often causing discoloration and drooping of the leaves.
If you suspect your money tree has a pest infestation, you should first separate it from other plants in your house. This will lessen the chance that pests will spread to other plants in your collection.
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If pests, honeydew (excretions), or fine webs are visibly present on your money tree, gently wipe leaves and stems with a damp cloth. Many pests can be treated with general herbicide sprays such as diluted neem oil.
To prevent reinfection of your tree, treat regularly with neem oil spray and provide adequate nutrients, water, and sun to your plant. A healthy tree is less likely to be targeted and weakened by the pests that might be present on other plants!
Although money trees enjoy a moist and humid environment, they are also susceptible to a variety of fungal and bacterial diseases that thrive in the same conditions.
Powdery mildew is one of these issues, which causes brown leaves with white spots that will wilt or droop on the plant.
Wash powdery mildew off your plant with a mixture of mild soap, baking soda, and water. You can also prune off multiple affected leaves to prevent spread to the rest of your plant.
Finally, anthracnose leaf spot is another disease that may impact money trees. This is a fungus that will spread quickly through a plant and cause brown spots and drooping leaves. Prune off affected leaves as soon as they are noticed to try and stop the spread.
What does an overwatered Money Tree look like?
If you suspect that you may be overwatering your money tree, there are a few key symptoms you can look for:
- Yellow and drooping leaves
- Brown tips and edges along leaves
- Root rot or brown and mushy stem bases
- Foul odor coming from the soil (which is often moist or damp)
- Signs of edema (Oedema)
- Soft and swollen stems
- General wilting
- Mold on the top layer of soil due to too much moisture present
To check for root rot, remove your tree from the pot and gently break apart the soil to remove it from the roots.
Rinse off roots if needed to check to see if roots are soft, mushy, and dark brown or black. Healthy money tree roots will be white or off-white in colour and will be firm to the touch.
You may need to cut a few roots to see how far the extent of the damage is, but be careful not to remove more than is necessary from the plant.
Edema, also called oedema, is any sort of abnormal retention of water in plants.
A healthy plant will obviously retain a certain amount of water to keep cells alive, however, an overwatered plant will display strange symptoms related to excessive water retention.
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Signs might include strange leaf patterns like bumps or blisters and yellow spotting.
Will a money tree lose leaves in dormancy?
Although your money tree is, well, a tree, it isn’t like the maple or oak trees that grow outside across much of the northern hemisphere.
Many of these deciduous trees experience true dormancy in the winter, and will fully drop their leaves in the colder months in order to save energy and allow the tree to survive when there is little to no sunlight.
Alternatively, the money tree is native to the warmer regions of Central America. In the “winter” or off-season, this tree will slow its growth to preserve energy, but it does not naturally drop its leaves.
In your home during the winter, your money tree will be happy being watered less and may even do better in a slightly darker room than normal. This will help to mimic the cooler, darker conditions of the off-season and naturally promote dormancy in the plant.
If you are noticing rapid, consistent loss of leaves, do not brush this off as normal behaviour! Even in the winter months, a money tree dropping leaves is a sign that something is wrong with the conditions and care it is being provided.
By assessing things like the frequency of watering, soil, nutrients, sunlight, and possible pests or disease, you should be able to easily determine and fix the issues with your plant.
Money plant leaves drooping after repotting
After repotting, plants often take time to adjust to their new living conditions. If a plant reacts poorly to the process or isn’t given the right care after transplanting to a new area or pot, it might experience transplant shock.
Transplant shock may also occur from the removal of excessive roots due to root rot, as there are now not enough roots to support the larger, above-ground portion of the tree.
Drastic changes in temperature or exposure to the elements, including the sun, can also cause transplant shock in many species. Wilting, drooping, and falling leaves and potentially the death of entire branches are common symptoms of transplant shock.
To avoid transplant shock, be sure to give it adequate care after repotting. This means giving it the right soil in the first place, so moisture and drainage are suitable for the tree.
Be sure to water thoroughly and a little more frequently than usual for the first few weeks after planting.
Be careful about changing too much for your plant at once, if you are planning to change the location of your plant as well, wait until it has adjusted to the new pot before moving it to avoid stressing the plant too much.
How do you revive a droopy money tree?
Once you diagnose the cause of droopy leaves in your money tree, there are a few things you can do to help it recover.
To treat an overwatered plant, first reduce your watering schedule. If your tree suffers from root rot, carefully trim away rotten roots with clean shears and re-pot your plant in new soil.
Money trees are often multi-stemmed with the stems braided in an attractive design. If you find that only one of the stems is mushy and rotten, you can carefully prune that stem away and remove the roots attached to it.
This pruning, combined with repotting the plant in clean soil, will prevent the root rot from spreading to the rest of the plant.
Ensure the pot has proper drainage to avoid roots sitting in water in the future.
In extreme cases, you might consider slowly moving your tree into an area with more sunlight to treat edema symptoms and attempt to avoid overwatering issues in the future by drying out your soil more.
Alternatively, if your tree is underwatered simply increase the frequency of watering to once or twice a week to revive it, or whenever the top few inches of soil are dry.
During the growing season, you can give your money tree a boost by fertilizing it with a liquid plant fertilizer at half-strength. Skip fertilizing in the winter or “off-season” to avoid causing fertilizer shock or burn.
If low light is the cause of your droopy plant and moving it to a brighter location isn’t an option, consider buying a plant light for your money tree.
Plant lights are a great way to add extra light to an area that isn’t getting enough exposure, even for plants that don’t need direct sunlight. Plant lights work by providing a spectrum of light similar to sunlight that the plant can use for photosynthesis.
There are a variety of plant lights available on the market, so you will want to research and find the one that works best for you and the plant you have.
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Money trees prefer bright but indirect light, so you don’t want a plant light that is too strong and may burn the leaves.
Violet-blue light (400-520 nanometer range) will encourage chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth in your plant. This is a good option for plants that are not getting enough light to put on new growth.
To help make a struggling money tree more attractive, you can also prune off any dead or dying leaves. This will also make room for more healthy leaves to grow.
You can do this by hand by gently pressing at the base of a yellow or brown leaf. It should pop off the plant easily without needing much pressure.
To further increase the aesthetics of your money tree, you can use clean shears to shape your tree into a more rounded, attractive shape rather than letting the branches grow however they like.
How often should you water a money tree?
Watering any house plant the “perfect” amount can be tricky. Each species and even every individual plant may need different requirements depending on temperature, humidity, soil, and conditions like how much sunlight they get each day.
Overwatering money plants is a common issue that can result in yellow and drooping leaves. Overwatering will starve the roots of your plant of oxygen, meaning it won’t be able to “breathe” properly and may even result in root rot.
Additionally, the roots of your plant won’t be able to take up the proper nutrients needed for the plant to survive, effectively starving the rest of the plant.
To avoid this, water your plant only when the top few inches of soil are nice and dry. For money trees, watering should be about 1-2 times a week.
When watering your tree, be sure to water thoroughly so all the soil is saturated, not just the soil at the top of the pot. Then, allow the rest of the water to drain out so your tree roots aren’t sitting in water (which may cause them to rot).
What does a dying money tree look like?
A dying money tree will show a variety of symptoms such as yellow or brown drooping leaves, leaves falling from the plant completely, dry and crispy spots on the leaves, and/or dark, mushy, and rotten stems.
Although seeing any of these issues on your tree can be alarming, there are often simple steps you can take to revive your plant.
Exact care for your plant can vary greatly depending on the exact conditions of where you grow it, including light, temperature, humidity, soil, etc.
Pay close attention to your plant when placing it in a new location or if you think it might be suffering. Look for signs of stress such as wilting, brown, or yellowing leaves.
Being able to quickly notice issues and react to them will help keep your plant happy and healthy.
In extreme cases, you might decide that your dying money tree is beyond saving. In this case, you can propagate a brand new tree from your old one!
Just clip off the tip of a healthy stem with at least two leaf nodes, preferably still with healthy leaves attached. Dip the end in a hormone-based rooting powder to promote root growth and plant into a small pot of soil.
Mist the soil regularly to keep it consistently moist, as roots will not grow into dry soil. In about 4 weeks, brush back the soil gently to see if roots have formed. Alternatively, plant your cutting in a clear pot or plastic cup so you can see roots form beneath the soil!