5 Signs You’re Using the Wrong Money Tree Soil & The Best

Imagine nurturing a plant that not only elevates your home’s aesthetics but also brings prosperity and good fortune! Meet the Money Tree, or Pachira Aquatica, a coveted houseplant that promises both beauty and luck.

But, its charm and benefits come with a catch – the right soil.

Embark on this enlightening journey to uncover the secrets of the perfect soil for your Money Tree, ensuring it flourishes and showers you with its blessings.

Soil Helps Keep the Beautiful Money Tree Braiding Healthy

braided money tree

The Money Tree, scientifically known as Pachira Aquatica, graces many homes as a sought-after indoor plant, tracing its roots back to the lush regions of Central and South America.

Its distinctive braided trunk isn’t just a visual delight; it carries a rich lore of attracting prosperity and good fortune to its caretaker. As the tree grows, these braids, while aesthetically pleasing, can become a hindrance to its natural expansion. The wooden stems, having been braided early on, solidify in that intertwined form. Removing any restricting bands or ties becomes essential to promote growth.

This is where the soil’s role becomes paramount. A well-nourished and aptly chosen soil ensures that even as the tree matures and the braids become more rigid, the roots have ample space and nutrients to support and foster the tree’s overall health.

Now, let’s dive into more of the specifics on getting Money Tree soil correct.

The Crucial Role of Money Tree Soil

The foundation of any plant’s health lies in the soil it’s planted in, and the Money Tree is no exception. The ideal soil for Money Trees offers excellent drainage capabilities, which is pivotal in preventing the dreaded root rot—a prevalent issue that many Money Tree owners face.

Beyond just drainage, the soil plays a vital role in delivering essential nutrients to the plant. A nutrient-rich, well-draining soil mix ensures that the Money Tree not only grows but thrives, showcasing lush green leaves and a robust structure.

Ideal Soil Composition

The soil it’s planted in is more than just a foundation—it’s the bedrock of its health and vitality. Let’s delve deeper into the components that make up the best soil for these prosperity-bringing plants:

  • Well-Draining Potting Mix: At the heart of the Money Tree’s soil preferences is its love for a well-draining potting mix. This ensures that excess water doesn’t linger around the roots, which could lead to root rot or other fungal issues. A soil that drains well ensures that the roots remain aerated, promoting healthier growth.
  • Perlite: This lightweight, volcanic glass is a boon for potting mixes, especially for plants like the Money Tree that are sensitive to waterlogged conditions. Perlite not only aids in drainage but also has the unique ability to retain a certain amount of moisture. This means that after watering, perlite holds onto some of the moisture and then gradually releases it back to the surrounding soil as it starts to dry out. This mechanism ensures a consistent moisture level, striking a balance where the soil is neither too soggy nor too dry.
  • Peat Moss: Another critical component is peat moss, an organic material that decomposes at a slower rate. It aids in retaining moisture without making the soil waterlogged. Its fibrous nature also helps in aerating the soil, ensuring that the Money Tree’s roots have access to both moisture and air. Moreover, peat moss slightly acidifies the soil, creating a pH environment that Money Trees tend to favor.
  • Balanced Moisture Level: While Money Trees need moisture, they don’t fare well in overly wet conditions. The combination of perlite and peat moss in the soil mix ensures that the moisture levels remain balanced. This equilibrium is crucial for the tree’s roots to absorb nutrients effectively without the risk of rotting.

Potting Mix vs. Potting Soil: Which One Should You Use?

money tree plant in white pot

When it comes to planting and caring for Money Trees, the choice between potting mix and potting soil becomes pivotal. Both have their merits, but understanding their distinct characteristics can make all the difference in the health and growth of your plant. Let’s dive deeper into their differences:

Composition and Texture

  • Potting Mix: Typically, a potting mix is soilless and is made up of a blend of organic and inorganic materials like peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and sometimes bark. This combination results in a lighter texture, which promotes better aeration for the roots.
  • Potting Soil: As the name suggests, potting soil contains actual soil, often combined with other organic materials like compost or manure. Its texture is denser compared to a potting mix.

Drainage Capabilities

  • Potting Mix: Due to its lighter texture and the presence of ingredients like perlite, potting mixes offer superior drainage. This ensures that excess water doesn’t remain trapped, reducing the risk of root rot—a condition detrimental to Money Trees.
  • Potting Soil: The denser nature of potting soil means it retains more moisture. While this can be beneficial for some plants that require consistent moisture, for Money Trees, it can lead to waterlogged conditions, especially if the pot doesn’t have adequate drainage.

Moisture Retention

  • Potting Mix: While it drains well, the presence of components like peat moss ensures that the mix retains just the right amount of moisture, releasing it gradually to the plant’s roots.
  • Potting Soil: Its dense composition allows it to hold onto water for longer durations. However, this can be a double-edged sword, as prolonged moisture can lead to root rot in Money Trees.

Suitability for Money Trees

  • Potting Mix: Given its well-draining yet moisture-retentive properties, potting mixes are often the go-to choice for Money Tree enthusiasts. The mix ensures the roots receive adequate air and moisture without the risk of becoming waterlogged.
  • Potting Soil: While it can be used, caution is advised. If opting for potting soil, ensure the pot has good drainage, and be mindful of the watering frequency to prevent over-saturation.

Other Considerations

Some potting soils can have a sponge-like consistency, especially those with high peat content. While this can help retain moisture, it might not provide the aeration Money Trees require for optimal growth.

So, while both potting mix and potting soil have their places in the gardening world, when it comes to Money Trees, I prefer a well-formulated potting mix often emerges as the more suitable choice. It provides the balance of drainage and moisture retention that these unique plants thrive on.

The Role of pH Level In Money Tree Soil
houseplant ph meter

The pH level of soil, which measures its acidity or alkalinity, is a critical factor in the health and vitality of plants. For Money Trees, this becomes even more significant. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Any value below 7 indicates acidity, while values above 7 denote alkalinity. It’s essential to note that the scale is logarithmic, meaning each unit change represents a tenfold change in acidity or alkalinity.

Money Trees have a specific affinity for slightly acidic environments. They tend to flourish best when the soil pH is between 6 and 7.5. Within this range, the soil conditions become optimal, allowing the tree’s roots to absorb essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium effectively. But why does pH matter so much?

Firstly, the pH level directly impacts nutrient availability in the soil. Certain nutrients become more soluble and available in acidic conditions, while others are more accessible in alkaline settings. For these houseplants, a slightly acidic soil ensures that they get a balanced nutrient uptake, vital for their growth and health.

Secondly, the pH level influences microbial activity in the soil. Beneficial microbes, which play a crucial role in breaking down nutrients and promoting soil health, thrive in specific pH ranges. A slightly acidic environment fosters a microbial community that is beneficial for Money Trees.

Moreover, the health of the tree’s roots can be affected by extreme pH levels. If the soil is too acidic or too alkaline, it can harm the roots, hindering their ability to absorb water and nutrients.

To ensure your plant remains healthy, it’s crucial to monitor and adjust the soil’s pH regularly. Using pH testing kits or meters, one can get insights into the soil’s current state. It’s advisable to test the soil at least once a year or after adding any amendments. If adjustments are needed, add

5 Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil for Money Trees & Solutions

The Money Tree, with its distinctive braided trunk and lush green leaves, is a popular houseplant known to bring prosperity and good fortune. However, like all plants, it communicates its health through various signs. One of the primary factors affecting its well-being is the soil it’s planted in.

Here are some indicators that you might be using the wrong soil for your Money Tree and what you can do about it:

  1. Yellowing Leaves: One of the most common signs of distress in many plants, including the Money Tree, is the yellowing of leaves. While this can be due to various reasons, unsuitable soil that either retains too much moisture or doesn’t provide enough can be a significant culprit. Overly moist soil can lead to root rot, while excessively dry soil can deprive the plant of necessary hydration.
  2. Stunted Growth: If you notice that your Money Tree isn’t growing as robustly as it should, or its growth has become stagnant, the soil might be to blame. The right soil not only provides support but also essential nutrients. Soil that lacks these nutrients or doesn’t facilitate their absorption can hinder the tree’s growth.
  3. Root Rot: This is a clear sign of overwatering, but it’s also an indicator of poor-draining soil. If the soil retains too much water, the roots remain submerged, leading to decay. When you water the plant, the water should drain out relatively quickly, ensuring the roots aren’t waterlogged.
  4. Drooping or Wilting Leaves: While this can be a sign of underwatering, it can also indicate that the soil is retaining too much water, preventing the roots from getting the oxygen they need.
  5. Mold or Fungus on Soil Surface: If you notice a white, moldy layer on the soil’s surface or small mushrooms sprouting, it’s a clear sign that the soil is retaining too much moisture. This not only deprives the roots of oxygen but also creates a breeding ground for fungi and pests.


  • Re-potting: If you suspect the soil is the issue, consider re-potting your Money Tree. Choose a well-draining potting mix, preferably one with ingredients like perlite and peat moss, which aid in moisture regulation.
  • Check Drainage: Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes. If water doesn’t drain out after watering, consider repotting the tree in a pot with better drainage or adding more perlite to the mix.
  • Watering Routine: Adjust your watering routine based on the soil’s moisture level. Stick a finger an inch into the soil; if it feels dry, it’s time to water. If it feels wet, wait a few days before checking again.
  • Regularly Monitor: Keep an eye on your Money Tree’s overall health. Regularly inspect the leaves, stems, and soil to catch any signs of distress early on.


As master gardeners, we often get asked common questions.  Here are some of them:

Q: What is the best soil for a money tree?

A: The best soil for a money tree is one that drains quickly to avoid root rot. Money trees prefer a well-draining, nutrient-filled soil. While you can opt for standard potting mix, a blend of loamy, coarse soil with pumice or pebble inclusions can ensure optimal health for your money tree plant.

Q: How often should I change the potting soil for my money tree?

A: Money trees aren’t overly demanding when it comes to soil quality, however, it’s a good idea to consider a soil change when you’re repotting (every two years). The fresh soil will provide a boost of nutrient content, bolstering the overall health and prosperity of your money tree plant.

Q: Is succulent or cactus soil good for money tree plants?

A: Yes, succulent or cactus soil can work well for money tree plants. Both cactus and succulent soil are well-draining, which is crucial since money trees are susceptible to root rot if the soil isn’t draining adequately. Moreover, these types of soil contain a high percentage of inorganic matter like sand and pumice which aids the water to pass easily and prevents clogging around the root system.

Q: Does soil mix for money trees need any specific nutrient content?

A: Money tree plants don’t require any specific nutrient content. They can thrive in a variety of nutrient-rich soils. However, adding a periodic fertilizer to your money tree’s soil can bolster growth, especially if your potting mix is lower in organic matter.

Q: How can I choose the best potting mix for a money tree?

A: To choose the best potting mix for a money tree, focus on the drainage properties and nutrient content. A mix that includes coco coir, pine bark, and sand can provide a well-draining environment for your plant’s roots while also being nutrient-rich. An optimal mix would also drain quickly but retain enough moisture to support the tree’s growth needs.

Q: Does potting soil for money trees need to have a certain level of humidity?

A: Money tree plants prefer high humidity, but they don’t require this condition from their soil. It’s more important that the soil drains well to prevent root rot. If you want to prioritize humidity, focus on overall care for the plant such as misting the leaves, using a humidity tray or placing a humidifier near the plant.

Q: What role does soil play in keeping your money tree healthy?

A: Soil plays an essential role in keeping your money tree healthy. A well-draining and nutrient-rich soil helps to prevent root rot and provides your money tree with the essential nutrients it needs to flourish. Moreover, choosing the right soil helps create an environment where the money tree can bring good luck and prosperity – at least, so says tradition!

Q: What happens if I use a soil mix that doesn’t drain well for my money tree?

A: A soil mix that doesn’t drain well can lead to root rot for money trees, which can ultimately be deadly. Overly wet soil inhibits oxygen flow to the roots, causing them to suffocate and eventually rot. Choosing a well-draining soil mix is crucial to avoid this issue.

Q: Can I use standard garden soil for my money tree plant?

A: Garden soil is generally not recommended for potting indoor plants, including money trees. This is because garden soil doesn’t drain well in container conditions and may contain insects or disease organisms. Instead, opt for a potting mix specifically designed for indoor plants, which will be loose, well-draining, and free of pests and diseases.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.