The second most frustrating thing about losing money is watching your Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) drop leaves for no apparent reason! The truth is that your Money Tree is telling you that it is stressed out by suddenly shedding leaves. Learn to read distress signs and prevent sudden leaf loss on your Pachira aquatica!
Water ~ Too Little or Too Much
Although Money Trees are sensitive to being over-watered, when they are under-watered, it can stress the plant and cause leaf loss. You will notice the leaf tips begin to turn brown, or the entire leaf may turn yellow. Once you see any color change in the leaves, you should check the soil's moisture level to ensure it is not overly saturated or bone dry! The best practice for watering your Money Tree is to evenly saturate the soil, drain any excess water from the pot, and then water again once the soil is almost completely dry. They will require more water during the growing season or if the temperatures are high.
Get the Light Right!
Money Trees do best in bright, indirect light for at least 8 hours daily. They will grow faster and develop more robust stems, larger leaves, and a healthy root system when they can absorb the indirect rays of the sun. Too much of a good thing can be harmful to anything, including your Pachira aquatica, and direct sunlight will result in leaf burn and inevitable leaf loss! !
Temperature & Humidity Swings
A Money Tree can get stressed from sudden temperature changes or exposure to cold drafts. And since this plant prefers a humid environment, dry indoor air can make the leaves dry and fall off. Keep it safe by placing it away from heaters, vents, air conditioners, and drafty windows and provide moisturized air with a cool-mist humidifier or place it on a shallow water-filled tray lined with pebbles..
Pests & Diseases
Pests such as spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs are common pests that can wreak havoc on Money Trees. Any fungal or bacterial infections can cause your plant to experience discolored leaves and wilting. Sadly, both these scenarios can lead to leaf damage and loss. Make sure you are inspecting your Money Tree often for any pests and diseases! If you spot any, treat them accordingly and fast! Try to use natural pest prevention and keep the soil free from debris to discourage pests and diseases!
If you aren’t providing your Money Tree with the correct amount of nutrients, this could be why your plant is losing its leaves. If you haven’t fertilized your plant in a while, you should, as they are fast growers and need all of the micro-nutrients that potting soil loses over time. Aim to fertilize them every 2-3 weeks while they are actively growing! Make sure you follow the exact directions provided on the fertilizer package! Learn more about how to fertilize your Pachira aquatica and other indoor plants here!
Sometimes your Money Tree will shed its lower leaves, to grow new ones. In this case, don’t panic! This is normal. Not all leaf loss is a concern, especially when the seasons are changing!
Sometimes the problem is not in the soil or from pests rather it stems from the trunk! Braided Money Trees, even upbraided ones can lose a trunk or two if the plant has been over-watered or under-watered too many times. Squeeze the trunks to make sure that they have not rotted from the inside, and remove any damaged parts. If you are unsure of the trunk is alive, scratch the bark lightly and if you see green under the top layer, then it is still living!
Don't give up hope if your prized Money Tree loses lots of leaves as they can grow them back quickly if you have addressed the underlying issues! The more you get to know your Money Tree the easier it will be to understand its needs and you will be able to read the warning signs they give us!