Grow A Fuller Money Tree With This Helpful Houseplant Tip

Money trees –- Pachira aquatica –- make beautiful houseplants, even if they don't actually produce crisp dollar bills. They're minimalistic plants when it comes to maintenance, but they will need to be pruned once each year to keep their shape and prevent them from becoming leggy. You can redirect your tree's growth if it's growing tall and spindly rather than short and bushy. Pinching the ends of stems is the best way to encourage the tree to grow more branches to create that luscious, full look. You can also prune off entire branches or portions of them to encourage new growth.

Timing matters with money trees. If you prune it in the wrong part of the year, it could stress the plant and cause more harm than good. Prune your tree in the spring once it starts growing again. Make sure your tree is in good condition before you start pruning, though. Sudden changes like losing a limb are stressful to a healthy plant, and especially so for an unhealthy one.

Pinching the plant makes it bushy

You can try a few different methods of pruning a money tree (or any woody ornamental tree), but pinching – also called heading — is by far the best method that will give you amazing results. It's super simple and may not even require any tools; if you do need a tool, you only need a clean and sharp pair of shears. To pinch your plants, take a branch tip and detach it right above a bud or node. You can use your finger on thin branches, but thicker ones will likely require the shears.

The University of Georgia Extension has helpful drawings of branches that label nodes and buds. A node is a point where new growth will occur, and a bud is the new growth that will develop into a shoot or a leaf. When you cut just above these, the plant will stop growing taller and will instead develop new branches that will create a bushier appearance.

Thinning helps the overall shape

Thinning out your money tree is a good way to increase airflow and improve the distribution of sunlight. This is often used for plants that have become too bushy, but it can be used on leggy plants to remove long branches that cast too much shade on other portions of the plant. Cut the branch where it meets the main stem of the tree with shears. New growth will appear on the parts of the tree you didn't cut. You'll need to think ahead a bit to ensure you don't change the tree's look too much. While this method isn't the most invigorating of the bunch, it will affect where new growth appears, which can do wonders for your money tree's appearance.

When you pair thinning with pinching, you can make your money tree look just the way you want. You can redirect its growth or control its height and then help it get bushy. Prune your plant in the spring once it comes out of dormancy and resumes growing. However, you can remove dead branches at any point in the year, as that won't affect the plant.