Money Trees (Pachira aquatica) are exotic, curious-looking tropical houseplants with 5-parted leaves growing at the top of braided trunks. They are revered in feng shui as lucky plants that bring prosperity and good luck to those who keep them in their homes or offices.
You need to provide several things for your Money Tree so it will thrive, such as the right light, water, and soil. In addition, part of that care is repotting it.
4 Reasons Why You Should Repot Your Money Tree
There are several reasons why repotting is necessary, but here are the main four:
- The plant is outgrowing the pot
- It is becoming root-bound
- There is a need to replenish the soil for better nutrition
- There is a need to replace the soil that’s been contaminated by pests or diseases
1. Outgrowing the Pot
The most visible reason to repot is that your Money Tree is outgrowing its pot. Money Trees will grow 6 to 8 feet high indoors, and when the trunks are expanding and growing taller, they will need a larger pot for the roots and the upper parts of the plant to grow into.
A larger pot will also give the taller tree more stability.
2. Becoming Root-Bound
When the roots circle the inside of the pot and grow through the drainage hole, your plant is root-bound. Unchecked, root-bound plants occupy an increasing amount of space in the pot and limit water absorption and nutrients.
Water often runs right through root-bound soil because there are more roots than soil, and the plant can become dehydrated.
3. Replenishing the Soil For Better Nutrition
New potting soil has plenty of nutrition for the Money Tree. The mix of soil particles inherently contains elements that the plant needs, and many commercial potting mixes also include fertilizer.
But as time goes on, the plant uses these nutrients, and some are washed away with watering. The soil becomes compressed, depleted of nutrition, and needs to be replaced.
Fertilizer will go a long way to boost the available nutrition for the plant. But after two or three years, your plant will appreciate fresh soil with plenty of nutrients and a good, loose structure.
4. Replacing Soil That’S Been Contaminated by Pests or Diseases
Some pests, like fungus gnats, lay their eggs in the soil, and some diseases, like gray mold and root rot, flourish in the soil under the right conditions. In most cases, it’s more effective to sanitize the pot and replace potting soil that’s been contaminated than treating the soil with fungicide or insecticide.
When & How Often Should You Repot?
The best time to repot your plant is in spring or early summer when the Money Tree wakes up from dormancy. This early time of year will ensure the plant has months of growing season to bounce back and establish from any transplant shock it experiences.
Whether you trim your plant to bonsai size or allow it to grow tall, it will need a soil change every two to three years to refresh the soil’s nutrients and structure.
Bonsai Money Trees may or may not need a larger pot depending on how much you’ve trimmed off the root ball, but trees that are allowed to grow tall will need a new pot one size up to allow their roots to expand.
The Best Soil To Use
Money Tree needs its soil to be rich, nutritious, and moist but never soggy. It’s essential that it is well-draining. A good succulent soil does very nicely for Money Trees, but you can also make your own.
My favorite homemade soil for Pachira is a third good quality indoor potting mix amended with a third peat moss and a third perlite. This combination ensures the plant gets the nutrition it needs and provides it with a loose enough structure for good drainage and air circulation around the roots.
You can also amend an indoor potting mix with coco coir, coarse sand, orchid bark, pumice, or compost. All these materials will loosen the soil for better drainage.
There are so many kinds of pots available that you’ll have your choice of terracotta, ceramic, plastic, or composite in beautiful colors and designs. Terracotta (clay) pots allow moisture to evaporate through their walls, so the soil dries out quicker than plastic, ceramic, or composite pots.
If you tend to be slow to water your plants, you’ll need a new container that retains water, such as ceramic, plastic, or composite. But terracotta will be your best choice if you tend to overwater your plants.
But whichever kind you choose, make sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom so it doesn’t hold water around the roots and cause root rot. It will also need to be one size up from your present pot or twice the diameter of the plant at soil level.
How To Repot
Water your plant a day or two before you repot to rehydrate it and lessen transplant shock. Moist soil will also make removing the plant from the old pot easier.
Tip the plant on its side, or upside-down if it’s small, and gently remove the root ball, careful not to damage any of the roots. If the plant is hard to remove, don’t tug or yank on it. Tap around the sides and on the bottom of the pot and run a dull knife around the inside wall to loosen the soil and any roots adhering to the pot.
Shake off the soil to get a good look at the roots, and trim away any dead ones. If the roots are tangled, circling the inside of the pot, or growing too long, prune them with clean scissors or shears so they will fit comfortably in the new pot.
Scoop an inch of soil into the bottom of the pot. Position the plant in the center of the pot with the bottom of the braids half an inch to an inch below the rim.
Fill the pot with soil to where the roots grow down from the trunks. If your plant is tall, you might need a second person to hold the plant in place while you fill the pot with soil. Press it down slightly and water it so it runs out of the hole in the bottom. Then, empty the remaining water from the dish or tray under the pot.
When you’re finished repotting, set your plant back where it was to give it the same light, temperature, and humidity it was used to. Depending on how much the roots were damaged or cut, it will go through some degree of transplant shock.
Care For Your Newly Repotted Money Tree
With the proper Money Tree care, your newly repotted plant should bounce back within a couple of weeks and grow healthfully throughout the season.
Nancy has been a plant person from an early age. That interest blossomed into a bachelor’s in biology from Elmira College and a master’s degree in horticulture and communications from the University of Kentucky. Nancy worked in plant taxonomy at the University of Florida and the L. H. Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, and wrote and edited gardening books at Rodale Press in Emmaus, PA. Her interests are plant identification, gardening, hiking, and reading.