Chinese money tree

Why is it Called a Money Tree?

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I grew up with my mom’s favorite saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”.  So when I heard about the money plant, it got me thinking –  Hmmm that sounds really interesting!

While this tree doesn’t literally grow leaves that will turn into paper money. Nor will it bear seeds or fruits that become a shiny penny. The origin and the beliefs surrounding it make one heck of an intriguing plant.

In this article, I will tell you 7 fascinating things about the Chinese money plant. Although I cannot vouch for its legitimacy. But, I can guarantee you it is surely something that can create great conversations among your house guests. 

7 Interesting Facts About Chinese Money Plant

Fact #1: Why is it called a “money tree”?

Well, this all started from ancient Chinese folklore. 

In the story, there was a poor farmer who prayed to the Gods to grant him bountiful wealth. One day on his farm, he came across this beautiful tree. He was so enchanted that he decided to grow and plant more. It did not take long for other people to take

Chinese Money Plant

 notice and appreciate the tree’s beauty too. Soon after, people already started to offer the farmer money in exchange for the plant. Since then, a once poor farmer became the wealthiest man in the village.

Thus, it was coined as the “money tree” because of the fortune the farmer made from selling the plant.

Fact #2: The “real” origin of the Chinese money tree

Well, a legend is just a legend. But truth be told, the Chinese money tree was actually created by a Taiwanese truck driver in the 1980’s

This man cultivated 5 bonsai varieties of Pachira aquatica or Guiana Chestnut plants. He decided to intertwine the trunks to somewhat create a single plant out of it. Thus, the birth of the Chinese money tree.

The unique braided look of the tree became an instant hit. Its popularity has quickly spread to Japan and throughout East Asia. 

Fact #3: What does the money tree symbolize

The Chinese money tree is a slow-growing and low-maintenance houseplant. But apart from that, the tree also gained recognition because of what it aims to symbolize. There are actually several of which:

Wealth – From the ancient story itself, the money tree is believed to bless its owner good wealth. Thus, it is also often displayed in the place of business and offices to attract customers and more income. 

Prosperity – The same with wealth, many people perceive the money tree as a symbol of prosperity. By that, it yearns to achieve a happy and abundant life.

money tree is taller than it seems

Good Luck – Money tree is also a popular gift in Asian countries. Gifting the plant symbolizes that the giver wishes the recipient good luck. 

Feng Shui – Following the traditional Chinese geomancy, the money tree symbolizes the 5 elements. Each trunk represents the Earth, Water, Wood, Fire, and Metal elements.

Fact #4: Why trunks are braided

The act of braiding the trunks are believed to prevent fortune from escaping. Keeping t

he plant tight-knit seals your blessing within the folds. Thus, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of luck anymore.

Fact #5: Seven leaves means extra luck

Often, you would find the money tree branch to have 4 to 6 leaves each. But, in special cases,

 it would grow up to 7 leaves. It is said to be a rare occurrence. So, if your money tree happens to have it, then you are being considered extra lucky

So far, I haven’t experienced that yet in my money tree. But if ever I’d get 7 leaves, I’d sure be buying lottery tickets to test my lucky number 7!

Fact #6: The money tree is taller than it seems

When grown indoors, the money tree can grow an average height of 3 to 6 feet. But because the trunks are often braided, it can appear much smaller than what it actually seems.

Nevertheless, it can surprisingly reach as tall as 60 feet if it was freely grown in the wild. So, just imagine how big a money tree can actually be outdoors. 

Fact #7: Money tree is a good air purifier

The money tree ain’t just for luck. It has the ability to filter the air from harmful pollutants too. 

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, the plant has a natural way of removing toxins in the atmosphere. This may well include benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. So not only are you adding a touch of green or inviting in fortune. But the money tree is actually purifying the air you breathe too.

How to care for the Chinese money tree?

  • Light – The money tree thrives best when exposed to an area with medium to bright sunlight. From time to time, it is ideal to rotate the position of your pot. This ensures that all sides of the plant will receive even lighting. care for the Chinese money treeThe money tree can also be grown indoors. You can alternatively use a grow lamp to provide supplemental lighting.
  • Water – As with any other houseplants, it is ideal to water only when the top 2 inches of the soil already feels dry to touch. When it does, make sure to water it thoroughly. You should see excess water dripping out of the drain hole. Doing so allows for even hydration and the prevention of mineral buildup
  • Soil – Money trees are best planted in well-draining peat moss-based potting soil. Furthermore, sand is also incorporated into the soil mix to promote aeration and provide a more stable hold.
  • Temperature – The money tree rests comfortably at typical room temperature. For optimal growth, though, it is ideal to maintain the temperature within the range of 65°F to 80°F.
  • Humidity – Money trees love ambient humidity. In fact, a relative humidity of 60% to 90% suits its liking best. Thus, it is important to maintain this level as much as possible. A simple misting will do the trick.
  • Fertilizer – This low-maintenance plant doesn’t need much plant food. It can get by just fine feeding it at least once a month during its active growth in the summer and spring seasons. You can use a balanced all-purpose fertilizer diluted at half-strength.

Where to buy a Chinese money tree plant?

M&M Bonsai Money Tree Plant

9GreenBox 5 Braided Money Tree

Lou’s Bonsai Nursery Braided Money Tree

Hirt’s Garden Stylized Money Tree Plant

Bonsai Boy Bonsai Money Tree

Yuxusus Pachira Aquatica Seeds

Wrapping Up:

Pachira aquatica or the Chinese money plant is truly a piece of gem. It may be surrounded by fascinating stories and beliefs. But whether you choose to believe it or not, the tree sure is worthy of every penny you spent. 

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