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Dying Money Tree? Crucial Tips to Save Your Pachira Aquatica

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Do you have a dying money tree (Pachira aquatica) and you are at a loss for how to save it? I’ve found that there is a tremendous amount of conflicting advice and misinformation on this plant, and I’m here to help set the record straight so that you can understand how to turn your dying money tree around and help it thrive once again.

Before going into the care of this plant, it is always very helpful to get clues on the care from its botanical name and also from its growing conditions in its native environment.

The botanical name for Money Tree is Pachira aquatica. The specific epithet aquatica means that it grows in or near water.

Money Tree is native to swamps and river banks in Mexico, Central America and South America.




As you can probably gather from the facts above, this is NOT a drought tolerant plant. Allowing your potting mix to go completely dry (especially if you do this repeatedly) will result in a very quick downfall.

Potting mix that is too dry will result in yellowing of the lower leaves on your plant. The entire plant itself may also droop in extreme cases.


Feel your potting mix with your finger (avoid using soil moisture meters since most of the inexpensive ones are junk), and if it is completely dry, give your plant a very thorough soaking.

When you neglect your plant and the potting mix goes really dry, before the lower leaves turn completely yellow, they will look like the photo below.

Take a look at the lower leaves.


This my own money tree that I allowed to get too dry, and you can see the lower leaves are starting to turn yellow. The veins are still green, but this is not considered chlorosis since the newest leaves are healthy and green.

Note that once the lower leaves started to yellow a bit, as a result of very dry potting mix, the foliage will not turn green again even after you “fix” your watering.

If your plant is extremely root bound, it may also make it very difficult to keep your plant hydrated enough, so it will be time for a larger pot at that point.

Also be careful of small pots as they will dry out pretty quickly and will need more frequent attention to watering.

If you want a wonderful potting mix that has been formulated specifically for the needs of plants like your money tree, try the Rainforest Soil Blend from Oh Happy Plants. If you use my link, you will also receive 10% off automatically at checkout.

Oh Happy Plants has amazing potting mixes, and use sustainable ingredients. I’ve been using a lot of their products and my plants definitely are happier!


If I had a dime for every time a site online mentions “overwatering” as the cause for every single plant woe, I could probably retire by now.

If you are supplying your plant with enough light (more on that later), you have drainage holes and a well draining potting mix, it is difficult to “overwater.”

There are many other factors that affect how quickly potting mix dries out. I talk about all of these factors and more in my book, Houseplant Warrior: 7 Keys to Unnlocking the Mysteries of Houseplant Care, published by Countryman Press.


What conditions does your money tree like when it comes to soil moisture? Here are my general rules of thumb:

  • Never allow your potting mix to dry out completely if you can help it.
  • DO allow the top inch or so of your potting mix to dry out. If you have a larger pot, you can even allow the top couple inches to dry out.
  • Always have a drainage hole(s) in your pot.
  • Use a well draining potting mix. A good general mix is 2-3 parts of a good all-purpose potting mix and 1 part perlite.
  • Never allow your plant to sit in water (such as in the saucer under the pot) for extended periods of time.


It’s sad that I need to even say this, but do not use ice to water your money tree.

This plant is sometimes sold with a label that instructs the plant owner to use ice to water the plant. This is a horrible idea for many reasons:

  • These plants do not like cold temperatures and they can be damaged.
  • If you have your plant slipped into a decorative pot with no drainage holes, and you have your plant growing in dim conditions, it can result in water accumulating at the bottom. If you’re not routinely checking and emptying accumulated water, then your plant will start to rot. I’ve worked with many people who have also killed their moth orchids in this exact fashion.
  • Ice may even work for a while, if your plant is growing in a smaller pot, but once you repot into a larger pot, the amount of ice recommended on the label will no longer be sufficient to moisten all of the potting mix.

Moral of the story: Don’t use ice to water.


In order to truly grow a beautiful specimen, it requires very consistent conditions, particularly with watering and light.

And that takes us to another important topic…light.


Many sources will say that this plant doesn’t tolerate direct sun. This is also false. Pachira aquatica often grows in sunny locations outdoors.

Indoors, the light intensity is a lot less, so your plant can very easily take (and benefit from) some direct sun indoors.

You don’t have to place your plant in the sunniest window that you have indoors, but an Eastern or Western exposure will be great for your Pachira aquatica.

Your plant may shed some lower leaves during dark periods of the winter, so if you can move your plant to a brighter location during this time, or supplement with a grow light, it will benefit your plant.


Pests can be another reason why your money plant’s leaves are yellowing. These plants can be prone to spider mites, so look out for fine webbing on the foliage, very small, crawling mites, and a mottled yellowish appearance of the leaves.

Check out my blog post on treating spider mites in houseplants for more information.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and are able to turn that dying money tree around into a full, beautiful specimen. Do you have a money tree? Comment below. I’d love to hear!


Monday 26th of February 2024

Hello My mom gifted me a money tree, and it was thriving for about 8 months. When winter came along I started noticing the spider mites thin webbing. I went ahead and changed pot, soil and sprayed neem oil on it. I have very little leaves sprouting that are green, but within 4 days of the change they have been turning yellow. What more can I do to help my money tree survive?

Raffaele Di Lallo

Monday 26th of February 2024

Winter can be a rough time for plants. The reduced light can cause some plants to have yellowing leaves, but it can also come from keeping your plant's soil too dry. It's not necessary to change the soil out for spider mites though. That may have made the yellowing worse. Make sure you are giving your plant enough light, and I'll refer you to my spider mite blog post for treatment:


Sunday 25th of February 2024

Hi! I think small pashira is dying… I've been following your tips but this winter she’s not looking great… and it looks like she’s not gonna survive :( I managed to make a baby out of the original one (it unfortunately died) so it’s very small with two leaves..

Raffaele Di Lallo

Sunday 25th of February 2024

So sorry to hear that Marta! I would help further, but I would need to know all of your growing conditions in detail and how you cared for it.


Thursday 22nd of February 2024

I'm lucky I found this. I have 3 money trees. The very first plant I bought was not doing well, so I repotted it with some new soil, with a consistent watering schedule. Now it is doing better. The second plant I just bought, so it seems fine. I just found the third money tree, today and it is huge. Someone threw it out, so I decided to swipe it and see if I could nurse it back into good health. The plant seems severely dehydrated and I have to repot it since it is in a starter pot. I bought some grow lights since I live in an apartment and some neem oil to fight against any bugs. Hopefully, it all works out.

Raffaele Di Lallo

Friday 23rd of February 2024

Glad you enjoyed the post, and good luck with all your money trees! :-)


Wednesday 18th of October 2023

I purchased my money tree from Home Depot in August and it was already dying. I accepted the challenge to try and save it but it’s still not doing well 2 months later. The leaves have white spots on them. Any clue why?


Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Hi Cyndi! I'd have to see a photo to help. If you're on Instagram, DM me at @ohiotropics. If not, if you can send me an email through my contact form on my blog (describing how you're currently caring for it). When I respond back, you can attach photos.


Monday 16th of October 2023

Hi, thank you for your article !I have a five year old money tree and it’s gotten very top heavy and is bending over. Do you know what might be causing this and how I can fix it?


Monday 16th of October 2023

You're very welcome Lisa! It maybe just needs more light, but if it looks healthy and you're happy with how it looks, just support it with a stake and tie it up. Where do you have your plant growing now? How far from a window, and what kind of light does it receive?