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What is a Money Tree Plant?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A money tree plant is a special type of bonsai tree. The design originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, and it was quickly picked up by many other Asian nations. Areas with large Asian populations frequently have these plants for sale, because they are supposed to bring good luck and fortune. It is particularly associated with China, and the plant is often given out at Chinese New Year complete with red banners and other lucky decorations.

The species used for a money tree plant is formally known as Pachira aquatica, which is native to swamp lands in South America. The plant itself is already considered to be fortunate by followers of feng shui, because of its five lobed palmate leaves. A plant with leaves in clusters of seven, another powerful number, is considered to be especially lucky. The leaves are edible, along with the flowers and nuts that it forms. The lucky trees can often be found in powerful places in the home, because plants and living things are supposed to be good for feng shui.

The story goes that in the 1980s, a Taiwanese truck driver tried making bonsai with multiple trees, and braiding the stems together. The money tree plant was the result, and it can be found for sale in almost any Asian market. The trees are heavily handled while they grow, so that the stems can be braided into a central trunk of three, five, or more stems. The top of the plant is allowed to grow outward normally, so that the lucky leaves can flourish.

If well cared for, these plants can grow to well over 6 feet (2 meters) in height. Even if indifferently cared for, they will usually thrive. Low light is preferred, and the plant should be allowed to dry out between waterings. If the leaves start to crinkle or curl, the plant is being over or underwatered. It can also be grown outdoors, in USDA Zones 9-11.

The succulent Crassula ovata, or Jade plant, is also sometimes called the money tree plant. It is also native to South America and extremely tolerant to minimal care. Jade plants can also thrive at much lower temperatures outdoors, although the fleshy leaves are susceptible to frostbite if the plant is not covered on extremely cold nights.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1000059 — On May 17, 2018

I have a question. I bought a Money Tree and kept it indoors. The tag that came with it said to water it with "2 Ice Cubes Once a Week". I did that but eventually all the leaves fell off. Now all I have is the braided trunk. Is there anything I can do at this point to bring it back to life? I hope so because I really enjoyed it! Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

By anon996057 — On Jul 03, 2016

Do I keep on braiding my plant until it's reached its height?

By anon990490 — On Apr 24, 2015

I was given a plant and never knew what it was until now. I was told it was a money tree so I'm asking, does a money tree have like berries on them after they turn into leaves?

By anon937979 — On Mar 07, 2014

Is it true if you eat a leaf you earn more money?

By anon927213 — On Jan 22, 2014

I also have a money tree that has a rock glued on top and my plant almost died. It came back from one leaf to a bunch of small new growth. It not growing very fast and looks weak. Every day it gets worse. How can I get it healthy again?

By anon301392 — On Nov 03, 2012

I am not a plant person but my money tree has died four times. Every time I thought it was toasted I find a baby leaf. So many times this plant has almost ended up in compost it shows signs of life. I love this plant.

By anon264759 — On Apr 29, 2012

Can I plant my money plant in a big pot, put it outside when the weather is not hot but warm, then bring in and not leave it out during winter?

By anon251634 — On Mar 01, 2012

For feng shui purposes and for finances, do you place a jade plant both in the front and back, or is it just in the front?

By anon184672 — On Jun 09, 2011

I have a money tree which has brought me great fortune. I now have a money tree in different parts of the world.

By anon176817 — On May 16, 2011

i heard there was a real money tree where the leaves looked like coins, but i could not find it?

By anon153306 — On Feb 17, 2011

is money tree an indoor plant or an outdoor? and where does it have a better suitability to grow?

By anon149623 — On Feb 05, 2011

I have a money tree and it is growing really well. It grows best in summer in hot weather, and no, they don't bring good luck. That is just fantasy. they are beautiful plants just like any other.

By anon148481 — On Feb 01, 2011

I have a money tree and I transplanted it into the next size container. I used Miracle Gro potting soil. Should I have used something else? It is losing all the bottom leaves. They are turning yellow. OK, too much water, but what about the soil?

By anon147870 — On Jan 30, 2011

I just brought a money tree this week. It looks great with my other plants.--Beaudry

By anon119748 — On Oct 19, 2010

I recently bought my money tree. It is growing and looks healthy. I understand that money trees bring you good luck, so, every time I buy lotto tickets, I always swipe the tickets on my money tree's leaves. Unfortunately, since doing that, I never got more than two numbers. Most of the time, I never got a single number at all! It is not giving me good luck!

But, every time I see my money tree, I smile because it looks beautiful decoration in our living room! It's a beautiful little tree! It may not be giving me lotto-money for now; but it makes me smile every time my friends and relatives exclaim : "You have a fascinatingly beautiful little tree!"

By anon117424 — On Oct 10, 2010

i have owned my money tree for about one or two years. it has been doing very well and growing leaves in clusters of five and seven, but recently some of the leaves have been turning brown and dying. i don't know if it is because i am under or over-watering it, but usually i water it once every three days. I've decided to try to water it less. also, mine hasn't flowered at all. do you think it will? thanks!

By anon99869 — On Jul 27, 2010

i have a chinese money tree. i bought it eight months ago and it has grown so fast since i bought it. the leaves are so large now. it's grown in front of my eyes. I really like the tree. I like it's doing something good. -LL

By anon97927 — On Jul 21, 2010

My wife (Asian-born) and I gave a money tree to some neighbours. Next week, they won $10,000 in Lotto! What a coincidence! And no, it hasn't worked since!

By troxe3 — On Jul 19, 2010

Does anyone have some money tree seeds? I would like to buy some or does anyone know where I can get some? Thank you.

By anon88003 — On Jun 02, 2010

I love my money tree. His name is Benjamin, and I claim 100's for each new leaf. Seems to be working for me.

By anon84320 — On May 14, 2010

I live in Florida and I have a money tree that is eight years old. It is about 10 feet tall, and when it blooms and the fruit looks like a small football. When it ripens, the fruit cracks open and the seeds or nuts fall to the ground. You can eat them raw or toast them; they are very good. Also, with the seeds I start new money trees. They grow very fast. Miki

By anon76830 — On Apr 12, 2010

My money tree is too tall and thin to stand on its own. Does the trunk grow bigger? Should I trim it down so it is more stable. How would I do that?

By anon73418 — On Mar 27, 2010

I bought a new house and a money tree was left there by the first owner who no longer wanted it. So not knowing anything about it, I threw it in the bin as my husband had found a dead mouse and put him in the tree to frighten me.

But my husband took the tree out of the bin and we decided to look after the tree and we've loved it ever since. We even named the tree.

Anyway we would give a snip to all our friends and family and hope it will be them good fortune. Our tree is now with us nearly 10 years and we have taken a snip of it and replanted for our son who is now eight. the trees are huge in size and for the first time last christmas the plant grew one flower, but this year in Jan it grew a good few flowers which were really pretty.

Anyway we feel that our plants bring us good fortune as we have a good relationship and lovely kids and that is a blessing in itself.

The thing is that most people we gave the tree to as a gift have said that the tree brought them good fortune in one way or another. New jobs and things like that. So look after your plant and enjoy it, because we do.

By anon65245 — On Feb 11, 2010

Put a little water around the edge of the pot, not on the root of the plant. maybe a small cup. Plants don't like to be cold.

By anon65243 — On Feb 11, 2010

i have a money tree and i will give everyone the same instructions that were given to me. i was told the plant doesn't like to be cold and when you water it make sure you water the plant close to the pot not close to the roots of the plant. the soil should never be too moist and you should water it once a month with maybe a small cup of water.

By anon46257 — On Sep 23, 2009

my grandmother gave my mom a money tree which she planted in a pot. the said plant looks OK and it has a nice leaves. unfortunately, kids from our neighborhood took all the leaves from it, and it now looks like branches or stem. will the leaves still grow? do you guys think it's still good luck? they said that the money tree is good luck once if it is given by someone as a gift. Bratinella_chix

By anon44138 — On Sep 04, 2009

I bought a money tree from Wal-mart about two or three months ago. At first, I had it in the house, maybe in medium light or so, and some of the leaves started to turn yellow and fall off. I checked the stem or root and it's still firm and good. I put it outside in the shade by my front door, which gets some hot evening sun and that problem doesn't happen anymore. Maybe it doesn't like the cooler temperature in the house or doesn't get enough sunlight. It grows very well and a lot of new leaves more than 5 leaves. I think I even have like eight leaves or so. But a couple of weeks ago, I checked and the leaves are curly. I read here that it might be because of under watering or over watering? My container has a drainage hole at the bottle. And I do water every two or three days when I watered my other houseplants that I left outside for the summer. I went to the store and saw some curly leaves too so I don't know if it's because of the weather or is it if the watering.

By anon42753 — On Aug 23, 2009

I have my money tree in a large pot out doors. Do I bring it in during the winter?

By anon42192 — On Aug 19, 2009

Does a money tree need to be given as a gift or can you buy it for yourself in order to bring good fortune?

By anon37311 — On Jul 18, 2009

Comment on #11

I have one with the rocks glued together on top. I transplanted it into a bigger pot. All I did was take a knife and slide around the side and it came right out into my hand.The rocks will come lose from the dirt!

By anon35253 — On Jul 03, 2009

So when does it bloom with twenty dollar bills?

By anon30026 — On Apr 12, 2009

olittlewood, the article states that the leaves are edible, so you should be good.

By anon26400 — On Feb 12, 2009

My Money Tree has small clear sticky beads on the leaves and some of the leaves seem to be turning yellow and falling off. I've had the plant for two years and it's been great. Is something wrong?

By anon26287 — On Feb 11, 2009

hello im prety. i'm interested with fengshui products, but can't find any money tree in my townshops. please let me know how to buy one sooner thx

By pamieg — On Jan 25, 2009

I have a money tree that looks horrible and I cannot tell how much moisture it has since the top is all concreted in white rocks. The leaves are falling off and the stalks are shrinking. I bought it at Costco.

By anon23373 — On Dec 22, 2008

Yes These Plants Do Bloom. mine is at this very moment. it is a very race thing so I've heard

no-one i know has ever seen one flower.

By anon18086 — On Sep 14, 2008

My money tree doesn't have roots...yet it's still alive..is this normal? Also...I'm having issues with gnats in the soil of my tree...can money trees grow in just water? Thank you! Laura

By leneofmarch — On Jun 25, 2008

I just bought a money tree. It is in a ceramic container with rocks and water. Should I transplant in soil?

By anon13419 — On May 27, 2008

We have had a money tree for 15 years and yes it does flower small pinky white star like flowers March-April each year sometimes lots some years just a few hope this helps anon 11296.

By sweetsueohio — On May 04, 2008

How do I propagate a Money Tree Plant?

By somerset — On Apr 17, 2008

I do not know if money trees bloom, but I have never seen a flower on the money tree. I have had a few money tree plants for several years. They have never bloomed, nor did I ever see it bloom in any other place.

By anon11296 — On Apr 12, 2008

Do money tree plants have flowers?

By somerset — On Jan 29, 2008

I have several money tree plants, and i love them since they are rather sturdy, and the plant itself is pretty. They are easy to care for, and are such a lovely addition to any house decor. As whether they are safe around children, I am not sure, but they come in different sizes, so the smaller plant would be easy to keep at a higher level, out of reach of little hands.

By olittlewood — On Jan 18, 2008

i was thinking about getting one of these plants for my home. is it safe for children and animals should one of them get ahold of a leaf? it's always a possibility!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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