Braided Money Tree

Facts about Growing a Braided Money Tree

            Growing a braided money tree is easier than most would think.  It is a continual work in process that lasts until the tree has reached its maturity, but requires such small steps along the way that any beginner can achieve great results.

            Before beginning to learn how to grow the plant, it is important to know exactly which plant you have, as there are two very different plants that are sold commercially as the money tree plant.  One type is the Pachira aquatica, and the other is the Crassula Ovata.  Since each plant is a common type of houseplant, it can be confusing to the individual who is not aware of the differences in the plants, which are many.  Especially for those who are interested in having a braided money tree, this information is important to know.

            The Crassula Ovata is a succulent plant that is often marketed under several names, including the Jade Plant, friendship plant, lucky plant and the money plant.  The Jade plant is a popular houseplant, and can live for over 20 years under the ideal conditions.  Its leaves are thick and fleshy; the result of the storage of water for the survival of the plant.  While the Jade plant is a popular houseplant, and may carry the name of “money tree plant” when found in garden shops and nurseries, this is not the same plant that can be trained to grow in a braided fashion.

            There are 24 species of Pachira; one of which is the aquatic.  Many people are confused by the plant’s versatility.  It is commonly found growing as a tree in Florida where it is called a Guinea Chestnut and can grow to be well over 20 feet in height.  It is grown for its tropical appearance, but also for the edible nut that it produces.  The money tree plant is also often used as a lovely bonsai tree; containerized, the Pachira can remain quite small with pruning, or grow to 7 feet tall if desired.

This plant will feature five to seven leaves per stem; leaves that are bright green and glossy. It is a highly versatile and amenable plant in regard to the conditions in which it is grown; bright light or low light, regular watering or meager watering, kept indoors or outdoors.  Because of this hardy nature as well as its lovely appearance, the Pachira is a great household plant. When a braided tree is the desired result, the plant to purchase is the Pachira aquatic money tree.  

            One of the most dramatic methods of growing and displaying the Pachira is as a braided money tree plant.  In fact, many of the plants sold are in the braided form; including two or three separate plants whose stems intertwine to form what appears to be a single erect stem.  To grow your own Pachira aquatic and begin the braiding process, either starting the plant by seed or by cuttings can be successful.  New shoots will often be seen emerging from the tree trunk, and these side shoots can also be used for propagating a new tree.

            To grow your own braided money tree, plant cuttings, side shoots or seedlings close together in a container.  As they grow, begin to train the small plants to twine loosely around one another in braided form; allow enough room for the stems to broaden without damaging one another.  As the plants grow taller, continue to weave the stems in a braid, carefully securing them with landscape wire, twine or rubber bands.  This practice will need to continue throughout the money tree’s growth for best effect.

            Having a braided money tree plant in a home or office provides a dramatic effect.  With its hardy, easy going nature, the plant will do well in most surroundings.  Whether the plant is purchased in the braided form, or if it is begun as seedlings and trained, this popular plant will provide many years of enjoyment.