The Money tree, known by its scientific name Pachira aquatica, is a famous indoor plant. With its braided stem, it is often given as a gift and symbolizes good luck and financial prosperity for the recipient.
If you notice that the leaves on your money tree are turning brown, yellow, or drooping, it could be due to a few common issues specific to this species.
Common Causes of Drooping Leaves
One likely cause of drooping leaves is improper water supply. Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to stress and other problems, such as root rot, which can result in drooping leaves.
Wrong Soil Type
Using the wrong soil can also cause issues. If the soil retains too much moisture, it becomes sensitive to overwatering. On the other hand, if it drains too quickly, the roots dry out between waterings. Sandy and peat-moss-based soil with good drainage is ideal for money trees.
Insufficient or excessive sunlight is another common problem. Direct sunlight for extended periods can lead to burned leaves, while a lack of light can cause yellow and droopy leaves. Place your money tree in a well-lit area away from direct sunlight, ideally 1-2 feet from a window.
Extreme temperature fluctuations can shock and stress money trees. Sudden increases or decreases in temperature may cause leaves to turn yellow, droop, and fall off. Maintain a temperature range of 18-27 degrees Celsius and avoid placing the tree near draughty areas.
Pests and Diseases
Money trees, like any house plant, are susceptible to pests and diseases. Common pests include scale insects, mealy bugs, and aphids. These pests can weaken the plant, leading to discoloration and drooping leaves. Separating the affected plant from others and using general herbicide sprays like diluted neem oil can help control infestations.
Fungal and bacterial diseases, such as powdery mildew and anthracnose leaf spot, can also cause drooping leaves. Washing affected leaves, pruning, and providing adequate nutrients, water, and sunlight can help prevent the spread of these diseases.
Signs of Overwatering
If you suspect overwatering, there are several symptoms to look out for:
- Yellow and drooping leaves
- Brown tips and edges
- Root rot or dark, mushy stems
- Foul odor from the soil
- Edema (abnormal water retention)
- Soft and swollen stems
- General wilting
- Mold on the soil’s surface
To check for root rot, gently remove the tree from the pot and examine the roots. Healthy roots should be firm and white, while infested roots will be soft, mushy, and dark brown or black.
Dormancy and Leaf Loss
Unlike outdoor deciduous trees, money trees do not naturally shed their leaves during winter. They are native to warmer regions and only slow their growth during the off-season.
If your money tree is losing leaves rapidly during winter, it indicates a problem with the plant’s conditions or care. By assessing watering frequency, soil quality, nutrient levels, sunlight exposure, and pest or disease presence, you can identify and address the underlying issues.
Drooping After Repotting
Plants often experience transplant shock after repotting. This can occur when a plant reacts poorly to the process or doesn’t receive proper care afterward. Transplant shock symptoms include wilting, drooping, falling leaves, and even branch death.
To minimize transplant shock, ensure the plant receives appropriate care after repotting. Choose suitable soil with good moisture and drainage, water thoroughly for the first few weeks, and avoid moving the plant too soon after repotting to prevent additional stress.
Reviving a Droopy Money Tree
Once you identify the cause of drooping leaves, you can take steps to help your money tree recover.
For overwatered plants, reduce watering frequency and trim away rotten roots. Repot the plant in fresh soil with proper drainage. Pruning mushy stems and repotting can prevent root rot from spreading.
If underwatering is the issue, increase the frequency of watering to once or twice a week, or when the top few inches of soil are dry.
During the growing season, fertilize your money tree with a liquid plant fertilizer at half-strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter or off-season.
If lack of light is causing drooping, consider using a plant light to provide additional light. Violet-blue light in the range of 400-520 nanometers promotes chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth.
To enhance the plant’s appearance, remove dead or dying leaves and shape the tree by pruning with clean shears.
Proper Watering Frequency
Watering frequency can vary depending on various factors. Generally, watering your money tree once or twice a week is sufficient. Water thoroughly to saturate the soil, allowing excess water to drain out of the pot.
To prevent overwatering, wait until the top few inches of soil are dry before watering. Avoid root rot by providing proper oxygenation to the roots.
Signs of a Dying Money Tree
A dying money tree exhibits symptoms such as yellow or brown drooping leaves, leaf loss, dry and crispy spots, and dark, mushy stems. While alarming, most issues causing these symptoms can be addressed with appropriate care.
Quickly responding to signs of stress, such as wilting or discoloration, is crucial for maintaining plant health. Propagation is an option if the plant cannot be revived.
By identifying and addressing the root causes of drooping leaves, you can help your money tree regain its vitality. With proper care, your money tree will thrive and bring a touch of prosperity to your home.