Pachira aquatica - Malabar chestnut, commercially sold under the names money tree and money plant - is a tropical wetland tree native to Central and South America where it grows in swamps.
It grows up to 18 m (59 ft) in height in the wild. It has shiny green palmate leaves with lanceolate leaflets and smooth green bark, showy flowers with long, narrow petals that open like a banana peel to reveal hairlike yellowish orange stamens.
The tree grows well as a tropical ornamental in moist, frost-free areas, and adapts well to different conditions.
Sowing & planting
60 - 200
Identify my malabar chestnut
Malabar chestnut is a plant commonly found indoors: it adapts well!
It has palmate, green, glossy leaves 30 cm in diameter with 5 to 9 obovate-elliptic leaflets.
Its showy and fragrant flowers appear from December to March, with long and lanceolate petals, opening like a banana skin to reveal stamens of an orange pulling yellow or white with a red end.
The fruit is oblong, shaped like a cacao pod, fleshy and green, becoming woody and brown, and can appear from February to June.
There exist variegated leaf cultivars.
Plant my malabar chestnut
A plant native to French Guiana, loving hot and humid environments, Malabar chestnut adapts rather well inside our homes and apartments. It will grow well with a temperature between 18-22 ° and needs light.
Be careful : avoid placing it directly behind a window to the south, the direct exposure could burn it.
Prefer the proximity of a window facing west to bathe it in brightness. It is possible to keep a Malabar chestnut outside if the temperatures in your area do not drop permanently below 5 ° C. Elsewhere, keep it at home, and put it outside in the summer if you can!
Water my malabar chestnut
Water as soon as the soil dries without ever waiting for it to dry out, it is a tree native from wetlands!
Never forget that its roots like to breathe out of water, despite its name, it is not an aquatic - so avoid large water inputs that stagnate: during the period of growth (spring, summer), watering should be regular - about once or twice a week - but measured to avoid asphyxiating the roots of the plant.
In the fall, gently space the waterings until winter when a simple input of water twice a month should suffice.
Spray my malabar chestnut
In dry weather, spray your plant with water not too hard, clean the dust on the leaves: it will be all the more beautiful and you will protect it from red spiders - its main enemy!
Prune my malabar chestnut
It is not necessary, but you can proceed with a light pruning in the spring: on the branches you want to shorten, look for a bud - the start of a shoot - and cut just above.
If a branch has become too big and you do not want it to grow back, then just cut it off.
Fertilize my malabar chestnut
In spring and summer, you can add some liquid fertilizer for green plants every two weeks. You can also include in the soil mix a slow-release fertilizer during repotting. Spot any input in the fall.
Repot my malabar chestnut
Your Malabar chestnut likes to be cramped, so only repot it when it is really too cramped, with a mixture of sand and potting soil, as well as some slow fertilizer.
Check on my malabar chestnut
Keep a close watch on the leaves: if they are deformed it is either a lack of light or an unsuitable water supply. Yellowing leaves indicate excess water, brownish indicates a lack of water! Adapt the waterings.
Put outside my malabar chestnut
Feel free to take it outside for the summer! Avoid simply plopping it down in full sun; let it acclimatize slowly and, of course, keep an eye of watering! Take it inside at the end of the summer.
Shelter my malabar chestnut
Bring your plant as soon as temperatures drop below 15°C, in a bright place at an ideal temperature of 7 to 15 ° C - but your living room could do if bright enough.