Money Tree Is Dying? Here is how to fix it

Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow

Root rot causes the leaves of a money tree to drop off, yellow, and droop. It is often caused by poor drainage or overwatering. The money tree’s leaves will turn brown due to low humidity and dry soil.

What is the best condition to grow a money tree?

Money trees prefer shade, and can become scorched brown when exposed to direct sunlight. They also die when they are living in conditions that are not compatible with their natural environment. It is essential to create conditions that are high in humidity and consistently moist soil to revive a dead money tree (Pachira aquatica), so that it can recover.

Temperatures for money tree

Money trees can tolerate temperatures between 53.6°F and 77°F (12°C to  25°C). The money tree can become brittle and wilted if it is too hot. The leaves will also fall if the temperature drops too low.

Money Tree Leaves Drooping, Turning Yellow and Dying

  • Symptoms: Yellow leaves can appear wilting or droopy and eventually fall off.
  • Causes: Root rot can be caused by a pot that is too small or too saturated.

Saturated Soil

Too damp soil can cause money tree leaves to turn yellow. Although money trees can tolerate damp soil for long periods, soil that is too saturated will prevent root respiration. This causes the leaves of money trees to turn yellow and fall off.

Money trees are native to Mexico, South America. They grow in forests that can flood seasonally but also have periods of dry weather. Money trees can tolerate damp soil for short periods due to their environmental adaptations. However, they require that the soil dry slightly between damp spells.

The soil should be constantly saturated, not just moist. This will prevent root respiration and exclude oxygen from the soil. The roots can’t breathe if this hinders their ability to absorb nutrients and moisture. This causes the leaves to turn yellow and eventually fall off. A saturated soil can also encourage root rot.

Not Enough Sunlight

Money tree leaves can become yellowed and fall off if there isn’t enough sunlight. Money trees can be grown indoors under shaded forest canopy. If the money tree is in deep shade, it could also cause yellowing of its leaves as they are unable to absorb enough light.

The money tree leaves can often become yellowed and fall off in northern latitudes that have shorter days and less light during the Winter and Fall. This isn’t necessarily a sign of something wrong in your home, but merely a part of the plant’s reaction to shorter daylight hours. As long as the sunlight increases, the leaves will regrow in Spring.

How to Revive a Money Tree With Yellow Leaves

1. Reduce the amount of watering required to replicate the natural water cycle of their environment

To water money trees, give the soil a good soak. This will allow excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot. The soil should then feel moist to the depth of a finger. This will ensure that the money tree receives the correct moisture level to water it and allows oxygen to reach the soil’s roots to aid root respiration.

2. Make sure the pot of your money tree has drainage holes at the base. Pots that do not have drainage can cause water to pool around roots

To prevent yellowing of the money tree’s leaves, it is important that its soil dries out between waterings. Make sure that drainage holes are not blocked by compacted soil, or other obstructions.

3. Regularly empty any saucers or trays under the pot

After watering, saucers and trays under the pot can be a great way to stop water from leaking into your home. It is essential to empty the tray or saucer as frequently as necessary so that your money tree’s bottom isn’t in water. This can cause root rot, which will turn the money tree’s leaves yellow and eventually die.

4. You can place your money tree in a brighter room or move it closer towards a window

Although money trees can tolerate shade, if there is too much light, the leaves will not be able to photosynthesize. They will become yellow and droopy. After a period in shade, do not place your money tree in direct sunlight. The contrast will likely cause scorched brown leaves. The leaves will begin to appear more green after being exposed to bright sunlight.

Improved drainage and a watering regime that mimics the soil moisture conditions of their native environment can help money trees’ roots recover. The plant can then start to thrive again. Sometimes the leaves may fall off due to water stress, but the money tree will recover if the growing conditions are good.

Money Tree Leaves Wilting and Turning Brown and Dying

  • Symptoms: The leaves may turn brown or appear scorched.
  • Causes:  Low humidity, dry soil or excessive sunlight.

Too Much Sunlight Or Low Humidity

Money trees can only grow in shade and under a forest canopy that has high humidity. The leaves will turn brown and die if they are exposed to direct sunlight. As long as the money tree’s leaves are not exposed to direct sunlight, they will be sensitive to it. Money trees can be grown in shade, but they prefer bright indirect light and scorching brown under full sun.

Can you grow money trees in high-level humidity?

The money tree is used to high levels of humidity because it grows in tropical areas of central and South America. Indoor humidity is typically around 10%, which is lower than the humidity in the money tree’s natural environment.

Lower indoor humidity means that moisture is absorbed faster from the money tree’s foliage than the roots can absorb water. This causes stress to the plant, which in turn makes the leaves brown and dry out.

Dry Soil

Money trees can also be adapted to flood and drought cycles of watering in their natural environment. The roots can be submerged for a while by heavy rains, seasonal river flooding, or even drought. Because the money tree can withstand a variety of conditions, including flooding and drought, it is a great houseplant. It can also recover from neglecting to water its roots.

The money tree is still vulnerable to drought if the soil is dry between waterings and the money tree isn’t watered enough. It should not be watered too often so that the soil’s top is moistened and water doesn’t penetrate the soil enough to reach the roots.

The pot is too small and dries too quickly. A smaller pot will hold less soil, which means that it will be less able to retain moisture around the roots of money trees.

How to Revive a Money Tree with Leaves Turning Brown

1. Place the money tree in an area with indirect, bright light. 

The brown leaves are caused by the money tree being in direct sunlight. Bright indirect light is the best light for money trees. It provides enough light to keep them healthy, but not so much that they turn brown. Shade also reduces water loss as too much sunlight can cause dehydration.

2. If the leaves have been burned in the sun, you should trim off any brown, scorched or dried out ones. 

Individual scorched leaves will not recover so you need to trim them with sharp pruners to encourage the growth of greener leaves.

3. Give your money tree a good soak, rather than a light watering. 

This ensures that the water has reached the roots. If you water too lightly, it can cause drought stress and brown leaf formation.

4. You should check to make sure the roots are not pot bound. 

If so, you will need to repot your money trees in a larger pot. Pot bound roots mean that the soil is too dry to support the money tree’s growth. This can cause the leaves to turn brown. A larger pot can hold more soil, and is therefore better at retaining moisture around your money tree’s roots. To revive brown leaves that are already damaged by drought stress, a larger pot can be used.

5. The money tree should be located away from heat sources that cause temperature fluctuations and out of the way of air currents. 

The money tree’s leaves will turn brown from the effects of forced air conditioning and draughts. Make sure your money tree is located in a more drafty part of your home.

6. Misting the leaves frequently will increase the humidity around the money tree. 

Misting the leaves daily creates a humid microclimate that replicates its native environment. It reduces water loss and prevents them drying out.

7. A humidifier is recommended for those who live in low humidity areas. 

This will replicate the natural humid environment of the money tree’s home. Humidifiers can help your money tree’s leaves recover from browning and dying by creating the ideal microclimate.

Keep in Mind:

Brown-leaved money trees can be revived from drought stress if you maintain the ideal conditions in their natural environment. This means that the soil must be evenly moistened and misted regularly to increase humidity.

After 2 to 3 weeks, the money tree should be showing signs of recovery with its drooping leaves returning back to normal. You may notice some leaves that have lost their color or are not recovering from it. In this case, you can trim the leaves and use pruners to remove them when you see new green growth.

Money Tree is Dropping Leaves and Dying

  • Symptoms: Money tree leaves may drop and turn yellow, or curl and become brown.
  • Causes: Reacting to cold temperatures in Winter and Fall, or low humidity, dry soil, saturated or transplant shock.

Cooler Temperatures

The seasonal changes in weather patterns, such as cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and shorter days, can cause trees to lose their leaves in Fall and Winter. A sudden change in weather conditions, such as frost or cold exposure, can cause trees to lose their leaves.

Money trees can be evergreen in their natural environment. They will retain their leaves throughout the year as long as there are favorable conditions. They can also lose their leaves if they are under stress, if the weather is not favorable or if they live in an area where the days get shorter in Winter and Fall. Winter brings less daylight hours and greater temperature variability due to indoor heat sources and forced air.

Low Humidity

These factors are not in the best interest of the money tree’s preferred environment, which is higher humidity, stable temperatures between 53.6°F and 77°F (12°C to  25°C), and more daylight (in its natural equatorial environment there is always around 12 hours of sunlight).

Saturated Soil

If they aren’t watered enough or too often, money tree leaves may curl and dry out. Between watering, the soil should not dry completely. As a survival strategy, money trees will curl their leaves if the soil is too dry. If the soil is not evenly moist, money tree leaves will turn yellow.

Saturated soil can prevent root respiration and hinder the roots ability to absorb nutrients and moisture. This causes leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off. Root rot can occur when the soil around the roots of the money tree is too saturated and not drained properly. This can make it very difficult to save the tree.

Transplant Shock

The leaves can also drop when you move your money tree around, especially if there is a large contrast between the two locations. Money trees are sensitive to temperature, humidity, sunlight, air flow, and temperature. If there is a sudden change, the leaves will drop.

How to Revive a Money Tree That is Dropping Leaves

Reviving a dead money tree with its leaves falling is possible by restoring the environment that it used to live in. This includes higher humidity, stable temperatures and moist soil.

You can replicate the natural environment of the money tree and create favorable conditions for growth. This will increase the chance that the tree will re-grow its leaves.

1. Ensuring the environment is favorable for leaf growth

When the winter leaves of the money tree have gone, they will often grow back in spring when there is more light. It is vital to ensure that the environment is favorable for the growth of the leaves.

2. Increase the humidity, but ensure that the money tree isn’t directly forced or air conditioning. 

Money trees prefer humidity levels that are at least 30% higher than the average humidity level in most homes, which is about 10%.

3. Using a humidifier is the best way to increase humidity. 

You can control the humidity level to suit the needs of your money tree. Bathrooms are the most suitable rooms for money trees because of the high humidity, which is more like their tropical environment. To prevent root rot, place your money tree on a tray or saucer of water. The micro-climate created by the saucer’s water evaporates creating a humid microclimate that replicates the environment of a money tree.

4. Heating can cause indoor temperatures to fluctuate dramatically.

Make sure you choose a place for your money tree that is away from heat sources or extreme cold. As long as the temperature remains stable, the money tree will adapt and grow.

5. Make sure to water money trees as often and as frequently as necessary, so the soil is not too dry. 

Give the soil a good soak to ensure that water drips from the bottom of the pot. This method of watering ensures that moisture reaches roots where it is needed.

6. To allow water to drain after watering, ensure that the pot of your money tree has drainage holes. 

Pots with no drainage can cause water to pool around roots, and money trees cannot tolerate soil that is saturated for prolonged periods. Pots with drainage are great for keeping water from leaking into the home. However, it is crucial to regularly empty the saucers or trays to ensure that the pot does not remain in standing water. This can cause root rot. This will prevent water from leaking into your home. It also creates a microclimate that is favorable and humid around your money tree.

What To Expect:

Once you have determined the cause of your money tree’s leaf drop and create favorable conditions, the leaves will grow back within the next few weeks, or in the Spring when there is more sunlight.

Money Tree Dying After Repotting

  • Symptoms: The leaves may wilt, turn brown or fall off.
  • Causes: Roots need time to grow in new soil. This can lead to temporary death of the money tree.

A money plant will die after being repotted because its roots have not been established in the new soil. This means that the roots cannot absorb the nutrients and moisture necessary to keep it alive. The soil should not be too dry after repotting. This will cause the leaves to wilt and eventually die.

Moving a money tree or any other plant from one pot into another can cause stress because the roots must quickly adjust to new soil conditions.

Drought Stress

Drought stress is usually the root cause of the problem. Roots are unable to draw water as efficiently as they did before repotting. This can be further exacerbated by environmental changes like lower humidity or higher temperatures. Potted money trees can often display signs of drought stress, such as wilting and dying leaves.

A money tree dropping leaves is an indication that it is losing more moisture than the roots can absorb. The money tree then drops its leaves until the roots are able to establish themselves and draw water from the soil more effectively. Once the roots are strong enough to hold the water the plant needs, the money tree can regrow its leaves if the weather is favorable.

How to Revive a Dying Money Tree After Repotting

1. It is essential to follow a watering schedule when repotting money trees. 

This is to ensure that the soil does not dry out too quickly and the roots have ample water to drink as they adjust. To prevent drought stress, water the soil as frequently as necessary.

2. You can increase the humidity by using a humidifier, or misting the money two times a day. 

The best way to maintain the humidity around your money tree is to use a humidifier. A humidity level of around 30% is ideal. By creating a humid microclimate around your money trees, the rate at which the leaves lose water (or transpiration) should be greatly reduced. This helps alleviate drought stress. Even if your leaves are gone, a humid environment around your money tree will allow new leaves to grow.

3. Keep the money tree at a cool temperature. 

Drought stress is the greatest threat to your money tree once it has been repotted. A cooler indoor temperature away from direct sunlight can reduce evaporation and save the plant.

You can take care of your money tree by re-creating its natural environment. The leaves will start to grow and new leaves will appear in the coming weeks.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.