Money trees (Pachira aquatica) are sold in garden centres and floral shops as indoor bonsai plants. The trunks are often trained into a braid formation and have fused together. In Chinese culture they are said to bring good luck with money matters and are often given out during New Year celebrations. Money trees are easy to care for as a houseplant and like bright, indirect light and even moisture. Young trees have thin trunks and are easy to shape and manipulate into the classic braided form.
Buy three or more young money tree plants that are about 6 to 12 inches tall and have thin and bendable trunks. Grow them from seed or look at speciality houseplant nurseries for young plants.
Remove the trees from their pots and gently loosen the soil from around the roots.
Fill the bottom of the new pot with a layer of soil.
Arrange the three money trees in the centre of the pot so that their trunks are about 1/2 inch apart from each other in a triangle formation.
Fill in the soil around the roots and gently firm it so that the trees hold their position in the pot. Water the soil until it runs out of the drain holes in the bottom.
Prune off any side branches or leaves except for the very top of the trees.
Braid the trunks together like you would braid hair by folding one trunk over the other. Keep the braid loose and as even as possible all the way up the trunk until the branches and leaves get in the way of the braid.
Tie the top of the braid off with twine or wire to keep it in place. It may be necessary to tie lower portions of the trunk as well to hold them in place temporarily until the tree trunks thicken.
Monitor the money tree as it grows and continue the braid as the trunks get longer. As the trunks thicken they will hold their shape. Remove the twine before it starts to constrict the growth. Eventually all three trunks will graft together into a single decorative trunk.
Use a pot that is just large enough to hold all three trees. If the pot is too large it will not dry evenly. Money trees do well in commercial potting soil. They like to remain slightly moist but not dry out. Money tree trunks do not have to be braided although this is most commonly seen. They can also be twisted or made into a lattice formation. You can also braid more than just three trunks together.
Avoid tying the twine too tight. This can cause damage to the bark as the tree grows. It should be just tight enough to keep the trunks in place.