How to prune a money tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Money trees (Pachira aquatic), also called "Malabara chestnut," are hardy evergreen trees with greenish bark. These trees grow as small as a bonsai or as tall as 60 feet in some tropical locations. Their foliage is bright green, with glossy, 12-inch-long leaves that quickly fall off their branches after they have grown to their full sizes. Young money tree trunks are sometimes braided for decorative purposes. These trees, usually kept indoors, benefit greatly from regular pruning, which strengthens the plant and promotes new growth.

Prune any leaves that might be suffering from insect infestation or disease or are dying, dead or yellowing. Trim each individual leaf at the stem.

Use pruning shears or a tree saw for larger outdoor money trees to trim away any diseased branches. Yellowing, brown, black, grey or brown spotted leaves are a sign of an unhealthy branch. Outdoor money trees are more susceptible to diseases and overgrowth.

Watch for silky bagworm nests. These are shaped like pine cones and are often mistaken for such. Money tree branches that have nests should be pruned close to the trunk. Also, cut away any new sprouts near the base of the tree. This type of growth is typically more common with outdoor trees.

Maintain the classic indoor money tree shape by carefully cutting off any branches that sprout on the bottom half of the tree. Over time, branches may sprout on top of the trunks and can ruin the braided shape. Prune each sprout away as it appears, but make sure not to cut into the trunk's tissue. Continue the braided pattern once the tree's branches have grown long enough to be braided.

Clean up pruned foliage, stem cuttings and other plant droppings from the plant's soil surface to avoid disease or pest infestation. Place indoor money trees in a sunny spot in your home to energise the tree and help it recover from pruning more quickly.


When pruning large outdoor money tree branches, always follow the saw's manual instructions. Wear safety goggles and gloves. Large, falling tree branches can be very hazardous and might require previous experience or a helping hand to prevent accidents or injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Safety goggles
  • Tree saw
  • Safety gloves
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About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.