Money Trees (Pachira Aquatica) are native to Central and South American swamplands and can be difficult to water correctly. These plants can be finicky and require attentive care because of their sensitivity to moisture and humidity. Luckily, there are plenty of signs that can tell you when it’s time to water your Money Tree.
How can you tell when it’s time to water your Money Tree? Some of the signs that a Money Tree may need water are: dry soil, yellowing or browning leaves, wavy or curling leaves, and a lack of new growth. If you’re noticing these on your plant, it’s time to give it a drink!
Even though these trees can be tricky when it comes to watering, they are nowhere near the diva level as other plants like Calatheas and Fiddle Leaf Figs. With a little bit of information and a keen eye to look for signs, you’ll know exactly when to water your Money Tree.
How & When to Water a Money Tree
In a perfect world, plant owners would know what their plants need at all times. Unfortunately, you have to rely on your own instincts and the plant’s behaviors to make sure they get the care they need.
Generally, Money Trees should be watered when the top inch or two of soil is dry. The watering should be done thoroughly, meaning that you water from the top and continue watering until the water begins to run out of the drainage hole.
This can either be done over a sink or while the plant is in its saucer. Just be sure to not let it sit in any water afterward. This can result in root rot, which Money Trees are highly susceptible to.
When checking to see if your plant is ready to be watered again, insert your finger into the top two inches of soil and check for moisture. For a more scientific method, consider purchasing a moisture meter and watering when the meter tells you the soil is dry.
5 Signs That Your Money Tree Needs a Drink
People often ask me how I know when to water all of my plants. A lot of that knowledge just comes from me continually sticking my fingers down into pots to check for moisture, but there are other indicators.
When it comes to watering, Money Trees are good at letting us know what they need. A quick look at their soil and leaves can often tell us when it is time to give your favorite plants a drink.
Sign #1: Dry Soil
As I said, the simplest indicator that a Money Tree needs water comes from its soil. While it’s important to let a Money Tree dry between waterings, the soil should never feel parched.
While it shouldn’t be too dry, the plant’s soil mustn’t be sopping wet either. Money Trees get root rot very easily, and over-saturated soil is often the case. Root rot is a common problem with Money Trees, and if not caught early, it can kill a plant. Still, the soil of a Money Tree should never completely dry out.
The easiest way to check to see if your Money Tree needs to be watered is to feel the first inch or so of soil in the pot. If it’s dry, it’s time to water your plant.
Keeping a check on your Money Tree this way is important because it lets you know if it is getting enough water and doesn’t require that your plant show any signs of distress. Plants only show symptoms when they have been stressed by their conditions for too long.
If it has been a long time between waterings and the soil is completely dry, water may almost immediately run out of the drainage hole after watering. If this happens, continue to water it for a few seconds and then set the plant aside after the water has finished running out. The soil will need an opportunity to absorb the water that you’ve given it before it can take any more.
Sign #2: Yellowing Leaves
After the soil, a Money Tree’s leaves will be one of the first indicators that the plant isn’t doing well. If you notice that your Money Tree has yellowing leaves, this may be an indicator that your plant is being underwatered. However, this may require some diagnostics before you can be sure because yellowing leaves are also symptoms of other problems, including overwatering.
If you notice yellowing leaves and suspect your plant needs to be watered, check the soil. If it is still very moist or if the tree has been allowed to sit in water, this may actually be an indicator that you have overwatered the plant.
If the soil is very dry and you know you haven’t watered the plant recently, it’s much more likely that the yellowing leaves are an indication that the Money Tree needs a good drink.
Sign #3: Browning Leaves
Browning leaves are the next step of yellowing leaves as they begin to dry and eventually fall off the plant. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are beginning to look brown, typically on the ends at first, check the moisture of the soil. Feel the top inch— if it’s dry, you should water your Money Tree.
If your Money Tree goes too long without water, the leaves will entirely turn brown and may even begin to start dropping from the plant. Try to avoid this as it is a serious stressor for the plant. Money Tree leaves should be a healthy and vibrant green. Any other colors are a bad sign.
Yellow or brown leaves can both be signs of other problems. If you don’t believe you have a watering issue, check out this article to diagnose your Money Tree.
Sign #4: Wrinkled Leaves
Another common symptom of underwatering a Money Tree that occurs before yellowing or browning is curled or wrinkled leaves.
In the early stages of underwatering, the ends of the Money Tree’s leaves will begin to curl in on themselves before the entire leaf either curls or develops a wrinkly or wavy look.
If you notice this development on your Money Tree, it is probably time to water it. Check the soil for moisture first, and if it feels bone-dry, give it a thorough watering until the water runs out of the drainage hole. But remember, never let your Money Tree sit in standing water, no matter how dry it gets.
Sign #5: No New Growth
Your Money Tree might not have any of the above symptoms, but that still doesn’t mean it’s getting enough water. If you haven’t noticed any new growth on your Money Tree, you may need to reevaluate the care you’re giving.
While there can be plenty of other factors that contribute to a Money Tree not developing any new growth, whether or not it is getting enough water is the easiest one to check.
If you know that you haven’t been watering your tree regularly enough, about once a week, this is probably the reason you aren’t seeing any new growth. If this is the case, try setting a watering schedule. Pick a day of the week and set an alarm that will remind you it’s time to water your Money Tree! This can make plant care a habit.
Make sure that you are also watering thoroughly. The water must run out of the drainage hole as this is an indicator that the plant has received enough water.
But beware! Only water your tree when the top two inches of soil are dry. The time it takes to dry out will vary depending on the time of year and where you live. If you notice your soil is still wet when it’s time for you to water, skip a watering and reevaluate your schedule.
Final Thoughts on Money Tree Watering
Many of the signs that a Money Tree is suffering can be symptoms of other problems. If you suspect the underlying issue is underwatering, make an effort to be diligent about getting your Money Tree the water that it needs.
If you struggle to know when it’s the right time to water your Money Tree, and don’t feel confident about testing the soil with your finger, invest in a moisture meter.
Moisture meters are small devices with prongs that you insert into your plant’s soil. They will quickly give you a reading on how dry or moist the soil is. This will take some of the guesswork out of Money Tree care.
If you’re noticing some of these symptoms and are confident it isn’t the result of over- or underwatering, the Money Tree may be suffering from a lack of humidity.
Because these are tropical plants, they require a lot of humidity. Money Trees will thrive in damp areas, like bathrooms, but there are a few options if you don’t have a damp space with enough light.