What Are the Causes of Spots on a Money Tree?

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The Money tree doesn't really sprout bills; it's also known as the Malabar chestnut.
The Money tree doesn't really sprout bills; it's also known as the Malabar chestnut. (Image: money tree image by charles taylor from Fotolia.com)

If there are spots on the foliage of your Money tree, there are a couple potential reasons to consider. The Money plant -- Pachira aquatica -- is also known as the Malabar chestnut. It's a popular, indoor potted plant, native to tropical and subtropical locations, its native range extending from southern Mexico through northern Brazil. The Money tree is generally a relatively hardy plant, well-suited to indoor care or outdoor care in sufficiently warm climates, with just a few potential problems.

Over-watering

Do not over-water your Money tree, as doing so can cause brown spots to form, especially around the tips of the individual leaves. Likewise, ensure that the tree's soil is well-drained, as it will not grow well in a soggy or waterlogged substrate. On the other hand, it's vital that you water the tree sufficiently. Native to marshy swamplands, the tree requires consistently moist soil. Plant the tree in a porous container, such as a terra cotta pot, and place it on a wide-lipped saucer to help regulate an appropriate moisture level. To avoid browning, check the soil's moisture level by sticking in your fingertip at least weekly, and eye the plant's foliage for any brown signs.

Fungal Pathogens

Leaf spots caused by fungal or bacterial pathogens can occur in many types of small trees and shrubs, including the Money tree. One of the most common types of fungal problems is called anthracnose; strains of anthracnose infections usually cause irregularly shaped spots or blotches on trees' leaves, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Often the blotches are located close to the leaves' veins and have an angular shape. Leaf spots vary in color and sometimes are tinged brown or gray.

Cultivation Requirements

One of the best defenses against infection is to cultivate a healthy and resilient plant by monitoring all the growing conditions as accurately as possible. Whether you grow your Money tree indoors or out, make sure that it receives partial or full sun. If you plant the tree outdoors, make sure the soil drains well and offer it protection from hot, dry winds, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers website.

Uses

The Money tree gets its name from the belief among Chinese traditions that it brings good luck, financially. As such, it makes an auspicious housewarming gift. It grows well potted and indoors, suiting it ideally to serve as a bonsai tree. The trunk and branches of the small tree respond extremely well to pruning, making it possible to train its stalks into a braid.

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