How To Save a Dying Money Tree Plant (11 Causes & Solutions)


Money tree plants (Pachira Aquatica) can be a beautiful addition to any home, offering an easy-care houseplant that can grow quite large indoors.

Native to Central and South America, these tropical trees are often believed to bring good luck and are a popular gift.

However, money tree plants are susceptible to several issues which could lead to death. Fortunately, if your money tree is dying, you can take steps to save it!

This article will cover 11 possible causes of death in money trees and what you can do to ensure a successful recovery.

Why Is My Money Tree Plant Dying?

If your money tree plant is slowly dying, it could be due to a few potential factors.

The most common causes are:

1. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the primary causes of death in money tree plants.

These tropical-native plants have difficulty thriving in wet soil and cannot get the oxygen they need for survival when watered too liberally.

Without adequate oxygen, the plant will suffer, leading to its eventual demise.

How To Tell If You’re Overwatering Your Money Tree Plant

Watering too much can have a detrimental effect on your money tree plant and lead to a variety of issues.

To detect if you are overwatering, look out for signs such as:

  • soft, mushy roots
  • yellow or brown leaves
  • brittle stems
  • soil that is always soggy and wet.

If you notice any of these warning signs, you are likely providing your money tree with too much water.

How To Save an Overwatered Money Tree Plant

If you suspect your money tree is being overwatered, it’s important to take action right away.

To start, feel the soil in the pot and determine if it is wet or soggy. If so, stop watering immediately and let the soil dry out completely.

This process can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the type of soil used and the size of the pot. Once it’s dry, water only when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Examine the roots of your plant for any signs of damage. If you find any, prune them away and replant them in a fresh potting mix for improved recovery chances.

Additionally, examine leaves for discoloration or wilting, as these are common indicators of overwatering.

2. Underwatering

When it comes to money tree plants, underwatering is one of the most common causes of death.

To thrive, these plants need to have a consistent supply of moisture; if they don’t get enough of it, their demise is inevitable.

Water is essential in aiding the plant in transporting vital nutrients and minerals from the soil to its leaves.

Without adequate hydration, the Money Tree leaves will begin to droop and turn yellow or brown, eventually leading to wilting of the plant and, ultimately, death.

How To Tell If You’re Underwatering Your Money Tree Plant

Watering your money tree plant is essential to keeping it healthy and flourishing.

If you’re unsure if you’re underwatering your money tree, some tell-tale signs can help alert you to the fact.

  • Wilting leaves
  • Dry or brittle leaves and stems
  • Drooping leaves
  • Slow growth

How To Save an Underwatered Money Tree Plant

When caring for your money tree plant, providing enough water is important.

Give the plant a good watering using enough water to make the soil moist, not soggy.

Make sure to thoroughly water the base of the pot and all around its sides until you can see that water is draining from the drainage holes in the bottom.

After this initial watering, check back on your money tree in a few hours to assess whether it needs further hydration. It’s essential to keep an eye on the soil and make sure it isn’t drying out – if it is, give it another drink!

3. Too Much Sunlight

Money trees need ample amounts of bright indirect sunlight to thrive. Without it, their leaves will start to turn brown and die off.

To keep money tree plants in optimal health, they should be exposed to at least four hours of indirect sunlight daily.

If they are placed in too much direct sun, they can suffer from leaf scorching, and the foliage will begin to wilt and fade away in no time. Money trees don’t do well with more than six hours of direct light daily.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Is Getting Too Much Sunlight

It can be difficult to identify if your money tree plant is receiving too much sun.

However, there are several warning signs that you can watch for that indicate that the plant may be getting an excess of sunlight. These include:

  • Scorched or brown leaves
  • Leaves that are turning yellow
  • Dropping leaves
  • Brown patches on the leaves
  • Slow growth

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Is Getting Too Much Sunlight

Moving your money tree plant to a location with less sunlight is essential for its health and well-being.

The ideal spot for this houseplant is in an east- or west-facing window, where it can receive four to six hours of bright indirect light.

If that’s not possible, you can try to protect it from the sun’s rays by draping a sheer curtain over the window or placing the plant in an area that gets only part-time sun exposure. This will minimize the amount of direct sunlight that reaches your money tree.

4. Not Enough Sunlight

Money tree plants require a minimum of four hours of indirect sunlight each day in order to flourish.

Without this vital energy source, the plant will quickly deteriorate and eventually die.

Photosynthesis is an essential process for plants to survive, requiring sunlight as its fuel. Without enough light, money tree plants will be unable to produce the sustenance they need to sustain their health.

Too much sunlight can also harm the money tree, leading to over-exposure and potentially killing the plant.

As such, it is important to ensure that your plant is getting the right amount of light – not too much or too little – so it can grow and thrive.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Is Not Getting Enough Sunlight

If your money tree plant isn’t getting enough sun, you may begin to notice certain signs that can help you determine it needs a new spot with more sunlight.

These signs can include:

  • Pale green leaves
  • Yellow leaves
  • Small leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Weak stems
  • Plant leaning toward the light

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Is Not Getting Enough Sunlight

Moving your money tree plant to a location with more sun is essential for providing it with an adequate amount of indirect sunlight.

An east- or west-facing window would be ideal, as it can receive around four to six hours of indirect sunlight daily.

If you are unable to move the plant, consider enhancing its environment by installing a grow light or reflective materials near the window in order to amplify the light.

Consequently, this could significantly increase the amount of natural light your money tree receives and help boost its growth and health.

5. Poor Drainage

When it comes to successful money tree cultivation, ensuring that the soil has proper drainage is essential.

If the soil drains insufficiently, this will lead to the roots of the plant becoming saturated with water, resulting in root rot and ultimately threatening the plant’s access to water and vital nutrients.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Has Poor Drainage

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s a strong indication that your money tree plant is not getting adequate drainage from its current soil:

  • Soil that is constantly wet or muddy
  • Water that puddles on the surface of the potting mix
  • Plant wilting even after watering
  • Drooping leaves
  • Mushy or rotten roots

How To Save a Money Tree Plant With Poor Drainage

If you believe the drainage for your money tree plant is insufficient, it is important to take the necessary steps to repot the plant in a pot with soil that will drain properly.

To ensure adequate drainage, consider adding perlite, sand, or grit to the potting mix.

It may also be beneficial to make sure that there are holes at the bottom of the pot so any extra moisture can escape.

Additionally, you may want to fill the bottom of the pot with an inch or two of gravel or other materials like broken pieces of clay pots, which will help create better drainage by preventing soil from clogging up the holes.

6. Root-Bound

Root-bound plants can quickly become stunted in growth and eventually die, as the tightly bound roots cannot access the water and nutrients they need to thrive.

This occurs when the roots have filled the pot, winding around inside and even growing out of drainage holes. When this happens, immediate action is needed to prevent further damage.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Is Root-Bound

If you notice your money tree plant exhibiting any of the following signs, it is likely time for a repotting in a larger pot:

  • Roots growing out of the drainage holes
  • Roots circling the inside of the pot
  • Soil that is dry even after watering
  • Plant wilting
  • Yellow or brown leaves
  • Curling leaves
  • Slow growth

How To Save a Root-Bound Money Tree Plant

To ensure your money tree plant remains healthy and happy, it’s essential to repot it in a larger pot when root-bound. This allows the roots to spread out and encourages more growth.

Carefully loosen up the roots as you transfer the plant into its new home, taking care to trim any overly long roots.

Adding fresh potting mix to the new pot is also beneficial, providing a nutrient-rich environment for your money tree to thrive.

Over time, you may need to repeat this process once more, replacing old soil with a new mixture of potting mix enhanced by fertilizers or other organic amendments designed for indoor plants.

7. Nutrient Deficiency

Money tree plants require a sufficient amount of nutrients in order to flourish and thrive.

When they lack the necessary nutrients, their growth slows down, and their leaves turn yellow, eventually leading to the plant’s death.

Nitrogen is the most common element in which money tree plants are deficient.

However, other elements such as potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium can cause similar issues if insufficient amounts are present in the growing environment.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Has a Nutrient Deficiency

When growing a money tree plant, it is important to monitor for signs of nutrient deficiency. Common indicators that the plant is not receiving enough nutrients include:

  • Yellow leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Small leaves
  • Poor leaf color

How To Save a Money Tree Plant With a Nutrient Deficiency

Fertilizing your money tree plant is an effective way to remedy any nutrient deficiencies it may have.

To do this, you should use a high-nitrogen fertilizer and carefully follow the instructions on the packaging. You can also give the plant a nutrient boost by mixing compost into its potting soil.

Repotting your money tree every one to two years is essential to ensure that it receives all of the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Not only will this provide optimal nutrition, but it can also help prevent overcrowding of the roots in the pot and keep your plant looking vibrant and healthy.

8. Temperature Stress

Money tree plants, native to tropical climates, thrive when temperatures remain warm.

When temperatures dip too low, the plant will struggle to grow and may eventually die; if temperatures rise too high, the plant will not be able to replace lost water quickly enough, leading to wilting of its vibrant leaves.

For optimal growth, it is important to keep money tree plants in a setting where the temperature stays between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Is Stressed From Temperature

It’s important to look out for various signs to tell whether the temperature is causing stress to your money tree plant.

If you notice any of the following, it’s likely that your plant is not content with the temperature:

  • Leaves wilting
  • Yellow leaves
  • Brown leaves edges
  • Slow growth
  • Lower leaves dropping off

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Is Stressed From Temperature

To create a comfortable environment for your money tree plant, you must adjust the temperature to between 65°F and 85°F (18°C – 29°C).

If the temperature is too cold, you can use a space heater to raise it. Position the heater near, but not too close, to the plant so that it receives warm air yet remains safe from burns. Additionally, try relocating the pot near a radiator or another heat source.

If it is too hot, move the plant to a shaded area or use a fan to circulate cooler air around the foliage. Doing this can help reduce stress on your money tree and ensure its continued growth.

9. Overfertilizing

Fertilizing your money tree plant is absolutely necessary for its growth and development, but too much fertilizer can harm the plant.

Excessive fertilizer usage can cause the burning of the roots, thus leading to a decline in the plant’s health.

When there is too much fertilizer, the money tree cannot absorb the essential nutrients it needs for its well-being, resulting in the yellowing and browning of the leaves.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Has Been Overfertilized

If you notice that your money tree plant is exhibiting any of the following signs, the plant has likely been overfertilized:

  • Yellow and wilting lower leaves
  • Leaves falling off
  • Brown leaf tips
  • Poor growth
  • Stunted growth

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Has Been Overfertilized

Watering your money tree plant thoroughly and letting the water drain out completely a few times can help to flush out any overfertilization.

This will give the plant time to recover, so it is best to avoid fertilizing for at least a couple of months.

When you start fertilizing again, use only half the recommended amount of fertilizer and spread it out by only applying it every other month during its growing season.

Doing this ensures that your money tree isn’t overwhelmed with too much fertilizer, allowing it to thrive and flourish without being exposed to excessive nutrients.

10. Pests

Money trees can suffer from common pests, including aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects.

Aphids are tiny green bugs that feed on the plant’s sap, damaging its leaves and stems. Their presence can weaken the tree’s vitality and hamper its growth over time.

Mealybugs are white and fuzzy, resembling small cotton puffs. These pests also consume the sap of the money tree, draining it of vital nutrients and compromising its health.

Scale insects are small brown bugs that latch onto the leaves or stem of a money tree and siphon off its sap for sustenance.

They leave behind a sticky film known as honeydew which may attract other harmful pests like ants or wasps.

All these intruders can cause irreversible damage to a money tree if left unchecked for too long, potentially leading to its death.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Has Pests

If your money tree plant is exhibiting any of the following signs, it may be an indication that there are pests present:

  • Yellow or wilting leaves
  • Leaves covered in a sticky substance
  • Leaves falling off
  • Brown leaf tips
  • Leaves with holes
  • Stunted growth

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Has Pests

Isolating the money tree plant from other plants is the first step in controlling a pest infestation.

To eliminate any current pests, one should treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil, which effectively kill common garden pests.

Horticultural oil can also be used as an alternative method to manage pests. This will protect the money tree plant from further infestations.

11. Diseases

Money tree plants can be susceptible to various diseases, including root rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew.

Root rot is the most dangerous of these diseases, as it can quickly spread to the roots of the plant and cause significant damage or even death.

Leaf spot manifests itself in brown or yellow spots on the plant leaves, while powdery mildew results in a white, powdery growth on the leaves.

All three of these ailments can leave lasting damage to money trees if not treated promptly.

How To Tell If Your Money Tree Plant Has a Disease

Look for any of the following signs to determine if your money tree plant has a disease:

How To Save a Money Tree Plant That Has a Disease

Isolating your money tree plant from other plants is essential in preventing the spread of disease.

Carefully remove any leaves, stems, or roots that appear to be affected, and treat the plant with a fungicidal or horticultural oil solution. Doing so will work to eliminate the disease and keep it from affecting any other plants.

Additionally, you may wish to add a layer of mulch around your money tree plant. This will help increase soil moisture and block out weeds that could carry diseases into your garden space.

It’s also important to regularly prune your money tree plant to keep it healthy and free of fungal diseases.

Final Thoughts

You can keep your money tree plant healthy and beautiful for many years if you follow the right steps.

Start by identifying the problem – is it overwatering, underwatering, poor drainage, insufficient lighting, too much fertilizer, pests, or diseases?

Once you have determined the cause of the issue, take action to correct it.

This may include changing how often and how much you water or fertilize the plant, moving it to a brighter location with better air circulation, and even treating it with safe pesticides or fungicides.

Doing these things will ensure that your money tree plant gets enough light and water to stay alive and healthy.

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