Can anyone suggest a course of action?

Saturn99February 25, 2013

Hi, I'm a newbie to gardening and to this site thanks to all that have made this site possible for people like me.

My request has to do with the Pachira aquatica, "Money Tree", I know there are thousands of posts relating to this plant type however I just need some help identifying what the issue is as (I don't think it is root rot) and from that point any recommendation on how to move forward would be greatly appreciated.

I've had this plant for about 2 years now and prior to repotting it was looking fabulous, repotted so that I could give it a bigger pot. I changed the soil and ever since then it has been downhill. Soil I used was from Home Depot (Scotts
Scotts Premium Potting Mix) i've been careful not to water it too much.

I love this plant and want to do my best in helping it out.

Any help would be much appreciated. i've posted some pics for reference.



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Here's another pic of what it looks like. Currently I have unpotted it and was going to buy new soil.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Try posting this on the Houseplant forum.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:49AM
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I have this plant. The roots look quite dry and distressed. It seems it may have suffered from transplant shock. At this stage I am not sure if it can survive but you can still try.

First - don't uproot it anymore.

Do not fertilize any newly transplanted plant. This is because it won't be able to absorb the fertilizer and second that fertilizer can burn the plant.

Try cutting back the branches by 2/3. The plant has way too big a crown at this time to be supported. Your plant is dying of thirst and cannot absorb any water from it's damaged roots.

Do not subject the plant to strong sunlight. (indirect sunlight or florescent lighting is okay)

Last - water but don't overwater. It the roots survive, it will slowly get back to normal, but along the way, the roots won't be able to absorb as much water as the plant will need. So expect more branches to die back but leave them be. That will be expected. if successful, the plant will then be able to grow more branches.

Next time do remember the following: Water well for at least 1 hour before transplanting. never fertilize a newly transplanted plant. Also please be aware that plants can just be as comfortable in smaller pots like bonsais. The larger the pot, the larger the plant. If you need to replenish the soil, simply take a bit of the old soil and add new. A form of top dressing. Eventually though, like bonsais, you would need to do a root trimming but to do so, you would have to prepare the plant prior to doing this, and you'd have to take careful care of removing the extra roots to reduce transplant shock.

I do hope this helps. There is one thing in your favor. This is a tropical plant and like many tropical plants, you can grow new plants out of cut branches. I'm hoping your plant has the same characteristics and can grow new roots in good time.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Wow, thanks a million for this info. It will help a great deal and I hope I can still save this plant. I just had a couple of questions.

As you can see, I have removed it from its POT. I was waiting to hear back on this forum prior to replanting it. I wanted to know what kind of soil I should use? I have also read that there should be rocks, pumice within the soil mixture to help with draingage. So my question would be relating to the soil.. also how much I should water it after the soil has been deposited and last how much soil to I add as a first layer prior to putting the plant in.

Again, thanks for your time and all your help.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Hi there.

If you use a regular potting mix, that should be fine. It would already contain materials to help with drainage. No need to go out of your way to look for pumice or other grits. I normally add some broken pot shards or perhaps a crushed up styrofoam cup to the bottom of the pot so the drain hole won't be blocked out by the soil and it will prevent the soil from eroding. Some people may use felt or weed cloth. It has the same effect.

( if I were preparing an outdoor planter, this is where I would amend my soil with brick sand - for drainage reason. Pumice can be too expensive so brick sand is a good substitute. I also wouldn't be using potting soil but black earth amended with compost, and cattle or horse manure)

How much water: - just for as long as it feels wet to the touch (don't eyeball it because it may look dry but it is actually wet). Potting mixes are not true soil so these are probably mostly organic materials such as peat, coir, compost. So I would advise just adding water to the mix prior to transferring them to the pot. This way you can ensure it gets damp and excess water drained out. You can squeeze out the excess moisture. Water only when it starts to feel dry.

How much soil - normally near the bottom of the lip of the pot. it just prevents soil from spilling out of the pot.

if you need to anchor your plant in the middle, you could use wires or large stones just to secure it in the middle. -- just in case the plant may topple over.

Hope that works out for you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Once more, thank you for this. I'm going to repot now .:)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Once more, thank you for this. I'm going to repot now .:)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:55PM
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good luck. when it bounces back, don't let it get too large. Dont be afraid to cut back the crown. the more you cut back the more branches it will produce and therefore it will become more fuller at the top. -- a bonsai and topiary technique.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:00PM
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Hi, thanks for the heads up.. i've done some surgery on it today. She dosen't look soo good but I'm hoping she will rebound quickly.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:09PM
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keep your fingers crossed and don't let the pot dry out. The stems look good and not shriveled. The roots somehow have to bring moisture up and throughout the plant and so by reducing the crown size, you would have lessened the amount of moisture it will need. You would also have lessened the plant's water loss. Expect more die backs from the tips of the cut branches but do not cut these back further until the plant fully recovers.

Once it starts to bounce back, give it some slow release or weak fertilizers.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:45AM
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