Saturday, February 2, 2008

Who Can Resist Luck, Money, Fortune?

This pretty houseplant, Pachira aquatica, is found in the rainforests of Mexico, Central, and South America, where and it can grow to 75 feet high. It produces large, fragrant white flowers and large fruit pods. The tree is cultivated for the edible nuts, which are said to taste like peanuts

It has several appealing common names that attracted me as much as the beautiful foliage and braided trunk. Called the Money Tree, Money Luck Tree, Fortune Tree, Provision Tree, and Water Chestnut, I decided taking it home would be a good idea. Although I am not superstitious nor a devotee of Fung Shui, I did follow the placement instructions for maximum monetary benefit. I think if truth be told, those instructions were for the health of the plant more than for harmonious environmental balance or attracting luck and money.

My Money Tree is now nine years old. As a houseplant, it is a breeze to care for, needing only high or moderate light, and warm temperatures. I water it weekly. I made a couple of mistakes in its care over the years. The first was placing it on the patio one spring and the intense light damaged the leaves, which eventually fell off, leaving it scruffy looking for a few months. The second was not regularly pinching back new growth to keep it full. It got quite leggy and wasn’t very attractive for a period. I’ve since corrected that and now it looks great

I’ve learned that my plant is not one, but three. Any time this plant comes with a braided trunk then three plants are in the pot and the stems braided together. That is the best way to know it is a houseplant. In regions where it can grow outside, it is sold as a single plant for landscape use.

15 comments:

kate said...

I like the way the plant has so many names. It is an attractive plant - I imagine the flowers are beautiful.

Barbara said...

We also call a plant "money tree" but it looks quite different than yours on the photo. Unfortunately I do not know the botanical name of this houseplant. I have to ask someone who has got it.

Ginni Dee said...

Well, it's almost Chinese New Year (It's the year 4706 on the Chinese Calendar..LOL) It's actually Feb 7th this year, the year of the Rat!

It's a very auspicious time to put out a money tree! Even if you're not into Feng Shui, it will bring you prosperity. :)

I will Feng Shui my house again in a few days. I try to do it every year.

Curtis said...

I love that plant. I felt like I was in a rain forest just looking at the photo.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

The leaves look a bit like my avocado plant leaves. Maybe it's a long-lost relative. When it reaches 75', will you buy a new house?

No Rain said...

Kate,
This plant has never bloomed. I'm thinking it may not if grown indoors, which is a shame, photos show a gorgeous flower.
Barbara,
Seems like so many plants have the same common names, which is why I like to know the botanical names of all my plants. It sure helps at the nursery!
Ginni,
You made me realize I misspelled Feng Shui, but I'm not going to change it now! Good luck with your Feng Shui-ing. I know that is not a word, but it was fun to write.
Curtis,
I've seen photos of these trees growing in their native wetlands and they are beautiful shade trees with huge canopies. I wish I could put them outdoors here, but it's too hot and dry.
Jim,
The Pachira is in the Bombacaceae family along with about 250 other tropical trees. The Avocado is not related, but you're right, the leaves do look similar.
No, I won't move to accomodate the tree because at the rate it's growing I won't have to worry too much about it crowding my ceiling--not at my age!

nikkipolani said...

Aiyana, thank you so much for posting great information about a plant I've seen here and there, but have never considered. Will the plant flower when grown strictly indoors? I wonder if it will do well on my protected porch (north facing).

No Rain said...

Nikkipolani,
This plant, according to the label, makes a good patio plant and will tolerate some sun, wind and temperatures to 30 degrees. If you live in a moderate climate, it will probably do fine. Our AZ desert climate is just too hot, dry and the sun too intense for it to thrive here, even on the patio.
I don't think the plant is inclined to flower if grown indoors. At least mine hasn't in all the years I've owned it.

Julie said...

Well, my first thought was how much it reminded me of my old shefflera (sp?) trees I used to have outside. I had to cut them down because they were so nasty...dropping leaves everywhere...so...my first thought was a negative one, but after reading your info on this plant...I may consider getting one! Yours is very pretty!

Dan said...

Great post of the Pachira aquatica. I´ve had one for a while and love it! In a botanical garden near my home there is a large one that flowers and then grows a pod like fruit.

Jenny said...

I have one of these plants (or 3 as I've just learnt) However, it doesn't seem very happy because even though it is producing new shoots, the larger leaves are all turning yellow and brown and dropping off. I water it regularly, have repotted it and its kept inside by the window so has quite a lot of light (maybe too much?)
I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Jenny (UK)

No Rain said...

Jenny,
This plant should not get too much water, especially in winter. You say you water regularly, so if the soil is wet all the time that could be a problem. Don't water until the soil is almost dry. The soil should have good drainage. Did you include some sand or pumice in the potting soil? Also, indirect light is the best, and the plant should be turned regularly to keep the growth even. It also should be kept on the warm side, as long as the air isn't too dry.
Hope this helps,
Aiyana

No Rain said...

Jenny,
This plant should not get too much water, especially in winter. You say you water regularly, so if the soil is wet all the time that could be a problem. Don't water until the soil is almost dry. The soil should have good drainage. Did you include some sand or pumice in the potting soil? Also, indirect light is the best, and the plant should be turned regularly to keep the growth even. It also should be kept on the warm side, as long as the air isn't too dry.
Hope this helps,
Aiyana

Jenny said...

Aiyana,

Thanks for the advice - I will follow it and hopefully have a happier plant.

Jenny

Matt Forde said...

Great article! Just bought one of these plants myself.