How to Stimulate New Money Tree TRUNK Growth

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Fiddleleaf7, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Fiddleleaf7

    Fiddleleaf7 New Member

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    I bought a small money tree (about 10”) as an indoor plant. It’s grown well for the last two years that I’ve had it and is about 3’ now. It’s been repotted twice as it’s grown. Now that I’ve become more involved with gardening (within the last year) I want to know how to “prune” the trunks if possible. When I bought the plant it had its signature already braided trunks as the base however five out of the six of them had artificial caps (some kind of hard wax/rubber) I’m assuming to keep the plants small? Anyways it didn’t occur to me until recently that I could potentially permit new growth by removing those caps. After I did about 2 months ago, nothing happened which I’m thinking now I obviously need to actually cut those tips if I wanted to even have a chance of new growth but I’m nervous to do so because I can’t find ANYthing on the internet about the right way to do this if at all. I’ve searched high and low on how this might be possible but everything that’s turned up is only in reference to propagating and pruning stems or removing rotted/infected trunks. Someone with experience PLEASE send some insight
     

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  2. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    Hi there,

    I have grown these plants (Pachira aquatica) for several years and yes- they are typically sold braided and sometimes capped with wax in order to stunt their growth because in the wild they are full sized trees. This also often means that a braided money tree is actually 4 or 5 different plants entirely that have been braided together. I have taken cuttings from a braided one and now it's nearly 6 feet and continuing. What to do in terms of pruning this plant depends on what your goals are for it- would you like it to grow taller or would you like it to be smaller and bushier?

    I personally wouldn't be afraid to prune this plant- they're pretty adaptive growers. The one thing to consider is the older the wood is, the less likely it is to break new buds. It is possible that the wax covered ends have gotten to a point where they're unlikely to break new buds. I certainly wouldn't be afraid to cut the tips back a bit- at the very least nothing will happen. It also looks, from your picture, that your plant was originally 5 separate plants that have been braided together. Whether or not the shoots that were previously stopped with wax are actually still alive remains to be seen. Try cutting them back at different heights. Again, at the bare minimum this wont affect your healthy living shoot. If they are still living, they may break new buds. If they are not still living, they will eventually begin to rot and need to be removed (just like those articles you were finding online about "how to remove rotten trunks"). This is why the ones that care capped with wax are not ideal candidates, as the individual plants are more likely to die and rot if unable to create new foliage.

    I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to ask more questions if anything is unclear.
     
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  3. Fiddleleaf7

    Fiddleleaf7 New Member

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    Great advice, thank you so much for your input. I posted another thread on a different site and received horrible advice, so thank you again.

    I’ll more than likely leave the existing trunks alone. If they’ve remained as is for the past two years, is it likely they will not rot? Overall, I want to strengthen its base as it seems like it’ll eventually become top heavy. Ultimate goal would be for her to grow tall, I’ve posted two photos below for my ideal vision
     

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  4. Fiddleleaf7

    Fiddleleaf7 New Member

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    I’m rereading your response and concerned that regardless of whether I cut back the tips of the capped trunks or not they will eventually rot....so best case scenario is to trim them, hope for the best, and if all else fails, remove them
     
  5. Andrew Matheson

    Andrew Matheson Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    Yes I think that's the best case scenario. Cut them back and see what happens. When you're satisfied that they're dead they can be removed.

    Another more invasive option is to remove the others now and repot the living one in order to allow it to grow tall. If you do this and it survives, it will eventually grow quite tall. If you want it to stay shorter I would recommend also just cutting the tip off the top, which would cause the plant to branch below. Let me know if it makes sense!
     

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