Chinese Money Tree

What You Need to Know About the Chinese Money Tree

The Chinese Money Tree makes a great house plant for many reasons.  Many people like this particular tree because it is so easy to care for.  It requires very little sunlight and it will actually suffer if it receives too much sun.  The leaves are even prone to sunburn.  It needs to be watered only about once per week and you should let it dry out completely between watering.  To determine if the plant receives too much water, inspect the leaves as they will begin to curl.  That makes this the perfect plant for busy and forgetful people.  It’s also a quick growing plant and can reach heights of up to six feet if it’s left unpruned.  More often the plant grows to about four feet tall.

The Chinese Money Tree, formally named Pachira Aquatica, is actually a bonsai ornamental miniature tree.  The tree was “invented” in the 1980’s when a Taiwanese truck driver braided the trunks of five trees together to make one plant.  The trunk is usually braided, but sometimes it will be twisted.  Either way, the final result is a tree with a thick trunk.  While other bonsai plants need extensive pruning and training, the Chinese Money Tree does not need that intensive treatment in order to thrive.

The Chinese Money Tree is widely available in stores and you should expect to spend about $35 on it.  If it comes in a nice pot, you may pay more.  It’s important to purchase your tree from a reputable greenhouse to ensure that your plant will not come with bugs and that it has been properly cared for.  If you bought your plant from a local shop or on-line store, you will most likely need to replant it.  Because it does grow tall, it should be in a sturdy planter, preferably a ceramic or clay one.  The planter should be heavy and wide in order to give the plant stability as it grows.  Also be sure that the planter has drain holes so that the roots don’t sit in too moist soil and rot.  Fill the bottom inch or two of the planter with sand to help with good drainage, and then use standard potting soil for the rest.

The Chinese Money Tree is said to bring good luck and great fortunes to those who own and care for it.  In China, it’s often given on the Chinese New Year as a gift.  The tree is usually ornamented with red banners and other symbols of good luck.  While five leaves are the norm, some plants will grow seven leaves.  Seven is a very powerful number in Chinese tradition and if you have a plant with seven leaves, your luck will be even greater.

Practitioners of Feng Shui interior design often incorporate this tree into their room plans in order to attract luck and prosperity.  The plant usually has five lobed leaves.  In Feng Shui there are five elements:  metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.  So the plant is believed to be very powerful since it symbolizes all five elements and can supplement the weak elements in your living space.  It is recommended that the tree be placed in a powerful room, especially in an area where financial business is conducted.  The plant will bring positive energy, or chi, to the home and the people in the room.

The tree also has edible parts.  The leaves, especially when they are young, are tasty.  The flowers are also edible.  The tree also produces nuts which can be eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour for baking.  Since this tree is edible, it’s important to keep any cats away from the tree as they tend to eat the leaves.



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