This past year was one of caring for ourselves and others while remaining in our homes—and with the increase of time spent indoors, so too came an increase in plant parenthood. As people all over the world were looking for a new habit or hobby, houseplants became even more beloved than ever.
If you’ve been eager to dive into the world of plant parenthood, why not start with the most popular houseplant of the year, according to Bloomscape: the money tree. Low-maintenance, pet friendly, and super versatile, the money tree is said to be one of the easiest trees to grow indoors, according to Joyce Mast, Bloomscape's official Plant Mom.
“This plant is one of the most popular indoor foliage plants around, perhaps for the plant’s reputation for bringing good fortune,” Mast says. “It’s also easy to care for and has a beautiful braided trunk.”
Read on to find out why the a money tree might just be the perfect plant baby for you—and what made the plant such a hit in 2020.
The money tree is comprised of multiple Pachira aquatica trees that braid together during growth to promote trunk strength. The tree is native from Mexico to northern South America, though very popular in Taiwan and other East Asian countries. The plant was coined a “money tree” after becoming a favorite houseplant in the practice of Feng Shui, which believes it will bring positive energy and good luck to the owner. It has been said this plant reduces stress, anxiety and may also help lessen sleeping disorders.
According to Mast, the symbolism of the money tree is not exactly what you’d expect. “The first modern money tree was cultivated in Taiwan as a bonsai by a truck driver in the 1980s,” she tells MyDomaine. ”It quickly became a symbol of prosperity and highly sought after by Feng Shui practitioners.”
Money trees make the perfect plant for first time owners, which is part of why it became so popular in 2020. “It is carefree, adaptable from low to bright indirect light, and it is the perfect choice to add a tropical feel to a bookshelf, tabletop, or desk,” Mast says. “Plus, they are pet-friendly.”
If you’re on board to get a money tree of your own, there are a few tips to know when caring for the tree. First, the most common mistake that new plant parents make is overwatering, Mast notes.
“The money tree prefers deep but infrequent watering—and even less water in the winter months when growth slows,” she says. “Water the plant until it runs from the drainage holes. Once water drips from the bottom of the pot, stop watering and empty the saucer.”
To prevent root rot, make sure your plant is never standing in water. Let the top 2”-4” of the soil dry out between waterings.
Since money trees typically grow in humid climates, they prefer to live in a bit of extra humidity. You can increase humidity in your home in the winter months with a pebble tray or a humidifier, as the money tree grows best in temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to mist the tree regularly between waterings as well.
Your money tree will thrive most in bright, indirect light, and should be turned every time you water it in order to encourage even growth and leaf development, according to Mast. And if you want to truly embrace the tree’s traditional symbolism, place it in the southeast corner of your home to promote wealth.
Try not to move your money tree too often, as they prefer to stay in the same spot if possible. “If you need to relocate, you may see some leaves drop off,” Mast notes. “But don’t worry—the tree will adjust to its new home.”