Growing A Money Tree In An Apartment (Complete Guide)

Money Trees, or Pachira Aquatica, are actually GREAT houseplants to grow and take care of inside your apartment.  Because the plant can survive in shady conditions, and needs warm temperatures year-round to survive, growing one of these in your apartment is actually a great idea!!

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Why Do People Like Money Trees?

There are a couple of reasons why people love Money Trees so much, and why they are found in a ton of homes. 

First, they are a part of Feng Shui, which is essentially Chinese for “The Way”.  It is a method of designing and controlling the interior of your living spaces that maximizes positive energy.   The Money Tree is named, not because the leaves grow money, but because it is supposed to be placed in the Wealth “Bagua” area in Feng Shui. 

Thus, instead of calling the awesome tree a Saba Nut, it is instead called a Money Tree, which is the name it most commonly is referred to now. 

People who practice Feng Shui believe that the money tree, placed in the appropriate position in your home, will bring luck and wealth to the owner. 

Next, they have a really neat form in and of themselves.  Their trunk is braided and interweaves itself as it grows.  As anyone who has ever seen a Money Tree in real life can attest, the natural design of the plant itself is not only spectacular but conversation-worthy.

Finally, they are relatively low-maintenance.  For a tropical tree which, in the wild, can grow over 60 feet tall, the ornamental variety that you can buy and have in your home doesn’t require a ton of extra special care.  I will go into the specifics of soil and sunlight below, but this isn’t a plant that is going to need your constant attention to keep it looking nice. 

What Kind Of Soil Does A Money Tree Need?

As with most household plants, the fine balance between too much water and not enough water is always a concern.  The first thing you need to consider as you address this concern is what kind of soil you should get for your Money Tree. 

A peat-moss based soil with some sand mixed in is the ideal environment for your Money Tree.  Especially when you are repotting your plant, you are going to want to have this type of soil that allows for good drainage for your plant.  One of the biggest downfalls to Money Trees can be root rot, which can happen when the soil doesn’t drain good enough, or the plant is watered too frequently.  

A good choice for soil would be this Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss.  Just this one pack is enough to do even a medium-sized Money Tree, and this peat moss is about as good as you are going to get.  You will need to mix it with sand though to get the appropriate amount of drainage.   

If you are looking at getting the peat moss I recommend, pick up a bag of builder’s sand to go with it.  This Desert Sand from Hoffman will work excellent too. Then, mix the sand with equal parts peat moss, and you have your soil all ready to go.  

Many Money Trees come already planted or in a pot from your local nursery or online store, so you may not have to worry about what soil to get until the plant grows big enough to merit changing it.  When you DO end up re-potting however, make sure you get the right soil mixture appropriate for the tree. 

How Much Sunlight Does My Money Tree Need?

Money Trees are inherently tropical plants.  Their natural habitat is the tropics, but they can do very well indoors almost anywhere. 

The USDA has them listed as being able to survive outside in zones 10-12, but anything colder than that and you will want to either bring it inside once it gets cold or just have it inside all the time.  

Money Trees can survive under a variety of sunlight conditions, but they do the best with bright indirect sunlight.  Too much sun and their leaves can burn, but as long as you are not drying your plant out at the same time it is getting good sun, you should be fine. 

The nice thing is that Money Trees do well in the shade, which is going to dominate your apartment environment. 

As long as your tree is getting some light, it should be fine.  And a bit of sun during the day is only going to help it grow and thrive.  

How Much Should I Water My Money Tree?

Money Trees are, by nature, tropical plants, so they like humidity, but if they are watered too much, they will get root rot.  

Plan on watering your money tree once or twice a week with a good dousing depending on how humid your general environment is.  The more humid it is, the more moisture the plant can take in through the air and the slower it is going to dry out.  

Make SURE though that you have your pot well-drained.  This means making sure you have some holes poked in the bottom of your pot so the extra water can drain away from the roots.   

Money Trees don’t need that much fertilizer, but you can fertilize once a month or so when it is sunny and during the growing season.   During the winter months, don’t worry about fertilizing your plant at all. 

Growth slows in the winter months, so you don’t need to fertilize then. 

The last thing you want to do when you are thinking about sunlight for your money tree is to rotate your plant every once and a while to ensure that all the leaves are getting good light.  

How To Propagate Your Money Tree

If you are interested in growing more Money Trees yourself, you can do this the easiest through Propagation of the plant.  This is generally easier to do than by trying to grow the plants from seeds.  You will also want to do this in the summer months so the plant is still in its peak growing time. 

To do this you will need to have a cutting of the stem to start your new plant.  Get a pair of sharp pruning or garden shears to make your cut from the stem of the plant.   

Cut a stem about 6-8 inches long that have a couple of leaves on the stem.  You can put the cutting in soil immediately if you want, or you can put the part of the stem that the new roots are going to grow out of into water for a couple of days to get the roots going. 

It’s up to you whether you want to put something in the water to help with soil growth.  If you want to go this route, a Rooting Hormone Powder is what you are going for. 

This is going to stimulate new root growth off of your cutting.  Just follow the instructions on the container for how much to use when you are making your cutting. 

Once you have the cutting in either water or damp soil, make sure that it is getting plenty of sun.  Some direct sun at this point is a good thing to get the roots going.  Starting them in water for a few days is generally going to provide better results than just soil, but with care, either method will work. 

Once the roots get going, make sure you put the plant in the type of soil I outlined above and you will be good to go. 

How To Re-Pot Your Money Tree

If you are getting your Money Tree from a nursery or online somewhere, more than likely when it arrives at your home, it is going to be in an incredibly small container.  This is done just for transport and sales of the plant and is not meant for long-term growing. 

Know though that the size of the pot you have the plant in is going to dictate the size your Money Tree can end up being.  It is very similar to the concept of goldfish in their tanks. 

They will grow as big as their environment will allow them to get.  In their natural habitat, they can grow to be up to 60 feet tall or more.  Obviously, this is not what you are probably looking for inside your apartment or home.  

Replant your Money Tree when it is outgrowing its pot.  At this point, the roots have no place else to go, and the growth of the tree will slow dramatically.  Putting your Money Tree in a new pot with new soil is good for the plant every couple of years no matter if you are trying to grow it larger, or just change out the soil. 

When you are moving your plant from your old container to a new container be very careful with the roots.  They are sensitive to shock, as many plants are, and can suffer severe stress if not done gently. 

Don’t worry about getting all the old dirt off of the roots when you are putting them in a new pot.  Just gently give the root ball a couple of gentle shakes, then put it in your pot and put the rest of your soil mix around the pot.  Then, make sure it is well watered and in a sunny place. 

You will also want to do this process in the spring or summer months to make sure the roots are primed to grow and settle into their new environment.  

If you see your Money Tree shed leaves in the week or two after you re pot your Money Tree, don’t worry too much.  This is a normal stress reaction the plant has, and if you have the plant in good soil, and have the appropriate amount of water and good soil, your plant will be just fine. 

Are Money Trees Toxic To Cats Or Dogs?

Many people have both plants and animals in their home, and making sure you have appropriate plants for all of your loved ones is always a good idea. 

Money Trees are NOT toxic to dogs or cats.  They are completely safe to have in your home as a houseplant.  

This makes a Money Tree a great choice to have to stylize your apartment with a cool piece of nature. 

A Money Tree is a great small tree to grow in your apartment.  It likes partial sun with a bunch of bright shade and is tolerant of a variety of sunlight conditions. 

The Money Tree is a part of Feng Shui and is believed by the followers of this design style that the money tree will bring the owner luck.

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John Boettcher

Co-Founder of Apartment School and a previous renter turned owner of many multi-family properties across the United States, with many years of experience in all aspects of the apartment, real estate, and investing world.

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