Does money grow on trees?

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The answer is that money can grow with trees.  What do I mean?  In the far east and now popular in America, the money tree can improve your prosperity.  I found this great article about it in the Manila Bulletin, but I have enjoyed this plant inside and outside my home for years.

It’s during the Christmas holidays when the Money Tree, scientifically known as Pachira aquatica, becomes a popular ornament for homes and offices. After all, Feng Shui experts say the tree attracts good fortune and wealth. The plant is popularly cultivated and sold as a potted plant in Taiwan, Japan and East Asia.   They are symbolically associated with good financial fortune and are typically seen in businesses, sometimes with red ribbons or other auspicious ornamentations attached.

The name “money tree” seems to refer to a story of its origin. Legend has it that a poor man prayed for money. He later found an odd plant, took it home as an omen, and made money selling plants grown from its seeds.

The Money Tree is a tropical wetland tree found in Central and South America where it grows in swamps.  It belongs to the Malvaceae family and is also popularly known as the Malabar chestnut.  In the wild, Pachira aquatica can grow up to 18 meters in height. It is most often composed of three plants with their stems braided together.  It has shiny green palmate leaves with spear-shaped leaflets and a smooth green bark. Its showy flowers have long, narrow petals that open like a banana peel to reveal hair-like yellowish orange stamens.

The tree is cultivated for its edible nuts which grow in a very large, woody pod similar to that of a mahogany pod. The nuts are light brown in color and striped with white lines.  The nuts are said to taste like peanuts, and can be eaten raw or cooked or ground into a flour to make bread. The leaves and flowers are also edible.

In the urban areas, the tree thrives in moist, tropical areas, and can be started from seeds or cuttings. It is a durable plant and can adapt very well to various conditions, especially in slightly shaded areas and indoors. The Money Tree needs plenty of sunlight though it is important to avoid direct sunlight during the summer months as the leaves may get sunburned.

The plant is easy to grow. It’s best for growers to use common well-draining potting mix composed of a mixture of garden soil, sand and compost in a clay or plastic pot with adequate drainage holes.  The size of the pot will depend on the size of the plant. One can use only the appropriate pot size that can hold the plant’s roots.  The potting medium must always moist but not dripping wet.  It requires regular watering plant and application of water-soluble organic or synthetic fertilizer every month for optimum growth and good health.

Dead, damaged or diseased leaves and branches must be pruned immediately. For shinier leaves, a very thin coat of mayonnaise can be applied on the top part of the leaves. Dust can be wiped off with a soft cloth or cotton.  The Money Tree is rarely infested with pests.

I have found that the Money Tree makes a great houseplant.  I have on rare occasions managed to kill it but usually if it looks bad, I feed it and it bounces back.  I have them at my entry to invite money into my house and in prosperity areas throughout my house.  I love the its beautiful tropical leaves. I had the pleasure of seeing it in the wild in Costa Rica and took it as an omen of a good year to come.


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