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money plant might be dying! Please HELP!!!

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by sugarpalm on August 19, 2005 03:17 PM

my sister gave me a pachira plant also known (money tree) for my birthday..i was so happy because she said its a lucky plant(it has 5 trunks braided to each other with beautiful green leaves 5-6 leaves each stem)..she also gave me a bigger pot where i can transfer my i transferred my plant into the new pot..what i did was i try to loosen up the soil from the pot until i got the whole plant including its roots.then i put new soil (miracle grow) into the new pot just 1/2 of the pot and i transferred my plant..then i pour the old soil from its previous pot to fill up the bigger pot..then i pour 1 1/2 cup of water mixed with a small pinch of miracle grow fertilizer into the pot...i did not put too much water coz my sister said too much water might kill the plant..after 4 days, i started to notice 2 leaves of my pachira started to fall and i notice that its leaves are not strong enough compare before my sister gave me...please please help me...what should i do? is my plant going to die? is the way of my stransferring to another pot done in a wrong way? please help me i need some advice...i live in chicago and its very hot since its summer, so i use the aircondition most of the the environment a factor too? i place my plant away from the aircon...i dont know what to do right now..i was crying already coz my plant might die and its a special gift from my sister...i dont want my plant to so desparate..please tell me if theres a chance my plant going to live? its been 4 days already since i transfered the plant..the leaves are still all just worried that after few days all the leaves might fall down..but is there a way that the leaves will grow into new one? i've checked the soil and its still moist..not too dry not to wet beacause i didnt put much water on it..please help me....
by Longy on August 19, 2005 05:50 PM
After transplanting, a good watering is necessary. This will help the roots come into contact with the soil and expel excess air from the soil. As well as help prevent stress. Your sis meant that the plant ordinarily won't require excessive watering (but for transplanting it will.) Give it a good drink. A real drink. It should be OK. Make sure you empty the excess water out of the saucer once it has drained thru the pot.

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The secret is the soil.
by Will Creed on August 20, 2005 06:03 AM
Hi Sugarplum,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but repotting your new plant was not a good idea. Pachiras are rather fussy plants that do not respond well to having their roots disturbed. Plus, it is never a good idea to repot a new plant that is trying to adapt to its new environment. Finally, by adding extra soil, you have increased the chances that the roots will rot because it will take much longer for the soil to dry out.

I am not sure how to advise you at this point. I would move it back to its original pot, but given your inexperience that might do even further damage. If the new pot is only an inch or so larger, then perhaps you will be able to keep it alive by being very careful not to water it too often. It is also very important to provide lots of bright indirect light.

Good luck!
by Will Creed on August 20, 2005 09:59 PM
Sugarplum contacted me privately for some additional information. I thought that some of it might be useful to some others, so I am posting portions of it below.

Let me start with some basics for you. Plant roots need moisture and they need oxygen. Good potting soil is porous, which means that there are lots of tiny spaces between the particles of soil. When the soil is dry (or barely damp) these tiny spaces are filled with air and that is how the roots get oxygen. However, after you water, the air in the tiny spaces is replaced by the water. This is how the roots get water. As the soil dries out, air returns to the tiny spaces.

If the soil is kept constantly wet, then air never gets a chance to enter the spaces. The roots then begin to suffocate because they do not receive oxygen. The roots then begin to rot and the plant will eventually die.

Thus, it is important for you to allow the soil to dry out regularly in between thorough waterings. If the soil stays moist for more than 10-14 days, then there is a good chance that roots will start to suffocate and rot.

The danger of a pot that is too large is that it holds lots of extra soil that retains water like a large sponge. The soil stays moist for a long time before it dries out enough to let oxygen back in. Root rot is a very common result of up-potting unnecessarily. That is why I expressed concern about your repotting and adding more soil.

Research has shown that plants that are quite potbound grow best. A properly potted plant will dry out every 3-7 days after a thorough watering.

OK, now some basics on repotting. When you remove the plant from its pot you should see lots of healthy roots wrapped all around the outside of the rootball. (If you don't, then it should not be repotted!) Use a fork or knife to loosen the outer roots of the rootball. Do not worry about tearing some of these roots. The loosening will help the roots integrate (grow into)with the new soil that you will add.

Use a pot that is one size larger. Add enough damp potting soil to the bottom of the new pot so that the top of the rootball will be about a half-inch to an inch below the rim of the pot. Set the rootball on top of this, center the plant, and then fill in the sides with damp potting soil until it is level with the top of the rootball. Do NOT add soil to the TOP of the rootball.

Water the soil thoroughly - slowly and all the way around until some water trickles through the drainage holes. You may notice that same of the added soil settles and compacts. If so, it may be necessary to add a bit more soil in those places.

That's it. Do not water again until the plant has reached an appropriate level of dryness. For the Pachira, that means when the top quarter of the soil feels dry to the touch. If it takes more than 14 days to dry out, then there is a very good chance that root rot will occur.
by gomerp618 on September 08, 2005 07:21 AM
I recently got a money tree and have been having pretty good luck with it. I kept it in it's original tiny pot for 2 weeks first before doing anything. Mine is only one stalk. I repotted into a pot slightly larger and watered it well. They do like to dry out between waterings and will tolerate dry soil pretty well but do need that good watering when repotting as all plants do. Mine is sprouting 4 new leaves already since repotting it 2 weeks ago.

I am not sure what type of a/c you have, but one thing about a/c that I have finally figured out after a couple months of trying to figure out why my plants were bone dry 2 days after watering. Took me long enough, but sometimes I am kind of slow! [Confused] My a/c has a dehumidifing feature built right into it and it sucks any humidity the plants can use right out of the air. I have started using the a/c less often and running a humidifier for a couple hours a day as well.

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Lord, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am!
by RumBum on September 16, 2005 12:58 AM
HI, I am new here. Have a Pachira that is about 2 feet tall and still in a 2" pot. It is really time to repot it. It is quite healthy in a moss mix, can I change to soil when I repot?
by Will Creed on September 16, 2005 03:57 AM

If it is healthy and doing well, why do you want to repot it?

Is it growing only in sphagnum moss or is the moss covering potting mix below?
by RumBum on September 16, 2005 04:34 AM
The top is healthy and growing well but the bottom shoots are withering a bit and some yellow tips. It has been in the same pot for at least 3 years. I think it needs more root space. Also, the pot it is in has no drainage holes, top watering is causing the bark on the trunk to turn whitish/ unhealthy looking near the base.
by RumBum on September 16, 2005 04:35 AM
oh, and now that I look, the moss is just a top layer over soil. Thanks! So that just answered my original question.
by Will Creed on September 16, 2005 04:47 AM

Good idea to get a pot that has drainage holes! Make sure it is no more than an inch larger than the existing pot. Try to use a soil mix that matches the soil it is now in. Loosen the roots before repotting but do NOT replace the existing soil.

The white stuff may be a result of using hard water. If your local tap water is on the hard side, then switch to filtered, distilled or rainwater.
by DebT on October 09, 2005 06:48 AM
Hi, I have a question about the Pachira plant that I have not seen an answer to, although I have learned a lot from reading the other postings! My plant has developed holes in the leaves that look like they could be from a bug, although I can't see one. Any ideas on what it might be and how to treat it? I am thinking to remove at lease some of the leaves affected, but there are a lot.
Also regarding transplanting, I was thinking to do that to increase the growth/height of the plant. I have had it about 6 months, if I follow the guidelines on the other posts will it allow the plant to grow bigger?
Thanks for your help!
by Will Creed on October 09, 2005 08:56 AM
Hi Deb,

The holes were probably not caused by a bug. They might have ocurred from being in too much direct sun or from improper watering. If it is just some of the older (lower) leaves, don't worry about it.

If your Pachira is in a Bonsai planter, then it would probably get larger if moved into a slightly larger pot. But that defeats the purpose of the Bonsai. If it is not in a Bonsai planter and it gets dried out every couple of days, then it is probably ready for a pot one size larger. Otherwise keep it in its existing pot. A larger pot does not automatically mean you will get a larger plant.
by DebT on October 10, 2005 03:08 AM
Thanks Will! My plant is not in a bonsai planter. I will note how quickly it dries out and then transplant as needed. It is not in direct sunlight, which means I am probably not watering correctly. I will see what I can do about that! [Smile] The holes are all over, do you see any problem with removing the leaves with holes or should I just leave them? Thanks again for your help. Really appreciate it! Deb
by Will Creed on October 10, 2005 04:58 AM

Your Pachira should have bright light, but not direct sunlight. For example, it would do well on a north-facing windowsill or slightly to the side of an east or west window. In any case, it should be pretty close to the window, not across the room.
by greenhand on October 12, 2005 04:03 AM
Hi, I have a pachira that has leaves yellowing starting at the tips and then drying out at the tips. I started giving it a little more water, and now it's making new leaves, which is great. But, it's still yellowing. I decided to repot it (maybe now wasn't such a good time since it seems stressed but I thought I'd try it). The root ball is dead-looking, brown and dry, and it looks like the plant used to be root-bound. It has one small root that looks alive sticking out of the bottom. The soil is sandy but seems very compacted, it didn't get wet near the middle when I transplanted. I followed the directions that Will Creed posted for transplanting.
Should I loosen all of the soil and replace the old soil with new soil? It doesn't seem to be draining water at all, and is very hard when dry. Any help would be appreciated!!
by Will Creed on October 12, 2005 05:02 AM
Hi Greenhand,

Apparently, your Pachira got very dried out and like a dried out sponge is not accepting water readily. No need to replace the soil. Just re-wet it by letting it sit in warm water for 20 minutes. The soil will wick up the water from the bottom and saturate the rootball throughout.

In the future don't let it get completely dried out like that and you should be able to water it normally.

I hope it recovers, but if there is only a single healthy root remaining, the odds are not real good.

Good luck!
by greenhand on October 12, 2005 06:19 AM
Thank you Will!!
I'll try it. I'm hopeful that it will survive because of the new leaves coming out. I'll leave the soil alone, give it a dunking and cross my fingers. Thanks again!
by honeytrif on October 18, 2005 03:11 AM
Help, I think one of my trunks is sick!!!!

I've had my money tree for about 2 months and it's been doing ok so far. Recently some of the leaves started browning on one branch, then eventually all of the leaves from the branch turned brown and the whole branch wilted and fell. When I examined the trunk it was stemming from I noticed it was very soft and when I pressed it at the base of the soil it made a squishy noise and some moisture came out. It's also very yellowish under the bark and looks like some type of mold might be forming.

The rest of the tree seems strong but I am fearful that this one trunk will affect the other 2 trunks. Please help me [Frown]
by Will Creed on October 18, 2005 08:20 AM
Hi Honey,

The rotted stem is not infectious. However, the same conditions that cause it to die may also cause the others to die. Keeping the soil too moist is a likely culprit.

Sometimes just one stem dies back and the others remain. Let's hope that is the case with yours!
by honeytrif on October 18, 2005 10:01 AM
Thank you so much Will...

Is there any way to save a rotted stem? I am pretty sure I was over watering which I will stop doing immediately.
by Cricket on October 18, 2005 10:05 AM
Hi Honey,

I can answer that one. Unfortunately, once stem has rotted there is no way to save it. [tears] Best to cut it off at the base and try to save the remaining stems.

by msgvb on May 13, 2006 01:05 PM
I have a pachira I'm trying to promote compact growth on.

it's about 12" tall and has a wide canopy with some really really large leaves on it.

what I would like to do is replace these larger leaves with smaller, better matching ones.

I am having a hard time finding information regarding pruning these things (shefflera too, for that matter) and how they will respond to pruning and leaf trimming.

can I cut the large leaves in half to make new leaves grow?

do the leaves grow larger when they are not getting the right amount of light?

I have just moved them to a shelf system I built right in front of a north facing window.

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msg ::novice houseplant taker-care-of-er:: - msgvb

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