A money tree can grow to 18 metres (60 feet) in its native habitat. It is commonly grown in the UK as a houseplant or bonsai. It has five lobed leaves, huge creamy flowers and a gourd-like fruit that houses edible nuts. Pachira aquatica is a native of Central and South Americas and grows in freshwater bogs. The money tree is a fast growing, interesting ornamental tree when grown in subtropical areas. The plant can be started easily from seed or cuttings.
Money tree produces huge fruits that contain numerous large nuts. The nuts conceal seeds that germinate willingly when exposed to the right heat and very moist conditions. Money tree can propagate through seed, but the result is never as true as a vegetative reproduction that uses the parent DNA to make an exact replica. Cutting and grafting reproduction is called asexual. The method of copying the genes does not require male and female organs, or any organs at all.
Taking the cutting
Cuttings from money trees root very quickly. You can take a stem or root cutting and even propagate the tree from a leaf or branch. The easiest method on the Pachira is to cut a soft terminal budding stem from the tree. Pick a young shoot and separate it from the tree with a sharp knife dipped in alcohol or bleach. The cut should be very straight and clean so it opens up the phloem and the cell structures inside the stem.
Growing the cutting
Every plant likes a different growing medium. Money tree is grown in flooded areas with plenty of rich silt. Full sun or partial shade will be adequate and the plant needs plenty of heat. A money tree cutting should be dipped in rooting hormone at the cut site. The tree is then planted cut side down into a mix of potting soil and peat moss. The rooting hormone is not necessary but it will speed up the production of roots on the cutting.
The most important thing to provide a money tree plant is water. The plant can live in moist well-drained soil or even in a pond or water garden. The plant can be watered once a week if not grown in water and every other watering it can get some diluted fertiliser watered in. Money tree can get really tall, so for indoor growing it needs to be pinched back while it is young. The branches can get pinched back to the next leaf node so it stays a bushy tree and not a tall tree.
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