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Money Tree Leaves Turning Brown [With Easy Fixes]

Money Trees bid fortune with proper care, but unfortunately, their leaves can turn brown under distress and invite all sorts of bad luck for the plant.

Generally, Money Tree leaves turning brown is an upshot of improper watering, lighting issues, overfertilization, temperature change, pests, and diseases. To fix these, maintain the right watering & fertilizing schedule, avoid unstable temperatures, and monitor for outbreaks.

Browning of leaves utter several diseases for Money Trees that can slowly eat away the entire plant. With this article’s help, you can instantly retain the green leaves in your Money Trees! 

What Causes Money Tree Leaves To Turn Brown? (Solutions & Preventive Measures)

Money Tree, or Pachira aquatica, is a tropical evergreen-deciduous tree native to Central and South American forests.

The palmately compound leaves and 10-15 years lifespan of Money Trees make the plant popular for home decor.

Usually, aging Money Trees get brown leaves towards the bottom, but it’s alarming to notice the brown leaves in Money Trees when the plant is young.

Image represents the palmately compound leaves of Money Tree
Each leaf of Money Tree has 5-7 broad and elongated leaflets.

1. Watering Issue

Money Tree leaves turn dry and brown due to inconsistent watering schedules.

Normally, it’s ideal to give 0.1-0.2 liters of water to your Money Tree every 1-2 weeks in spring and summer. Ensure to let the soil dry around 50-75% between watering sessions.

Underwatering and Overwatering can cause the brown and curled leaves in Money Trees, but their progressive symptoms are slightly different.

Underwatering: Leaves turn brown and crispy, starting from the tips and slowly spreading to the entire leaf.

Overwatering: Leaves turn droopy and later brown due to root rot, rendering the roots unable to take in oxygen.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

  • Check the top 2-4 inches of soil using a finger-dip test every 2-5 days.
  • Empty the saucer beneath the pot before and after watering.
  • Add perlite or sand to the potting soil.
  • Place the plant in full sun until excess water from the soil evaporates.
  • Try bottom-up watering by placing the potted plant in a water bath for 24 hours.
  • Reduce watering in fall and winter and aerate the topsoil by poking holes using a pencil.
  • Stop watering if excess water seeps from the drainage holes during watering bouts.

2. Inconsistent Fertilization

Less fertilizer can slow the growth of Money Trees, but overfertilizing the plant is deadlier.

Normally, Money Trees require well-balanced NPK fertilizer of half the strength once a month in spring and summer. Use liquid fertilizer for better permeability in the soil.

Money Trees are not heavy feeders, but people overfeed the plant irregularly, which harms their leaves even more.

Overfertilization: Tips of the leaves turn brown, spreading to the margins and the entire leaf. Excess fertilizer salt accumulates in the topsoil.

Underfertilization: Leaves turn pale yellow and brown later due to fewer nutrients reaching the leaves.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

  • Flush the soil with distilled water 4-5 times to wash out the excess salts.
  • Apply the feed once every 6-12 months if you own a busy schedule.
  • If the fertilizer salts persist, repot the plant with new soil.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to half the strength during application to avoid accumulation.

3. Lighting Issue

Money Trees are tropical plants that like to live under the shade of other tall trees in their natural habitat.

They despise direct sunlight, and continuous sunshine can scorch their leaves.

Locate Money Trees near an east-facing window indoors for 6 hours daily to avoid leaf burns. Choose an outdoor spot with similar lighting and some partial shade in the afternoon.

But, low light is also equally harmful as direct sunlight, and both conditions can bring severe consequences for the Money Tree leaves.

Low Light: Due to less sunlight, Money Trees cannot prepare food, and the leaves turn yellow. Later, they turn brown and drop.

High Light: Leaves start to lose their color and turn yellow. The tips and margins of the leaves turn brown or black and crisp due to water loss.

Image represents the edges of the leaves of Money Tree turning brown
Money Tree leaves attain brown tips and margins due to sun burns.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

  • Keep the plant at least 3-5 feet away from south-facing windows.
  • Use drapes or curtains to shade the plant from the blazing sun.
  • Cut the brown leaves to encourage the growth of new leaves.
  • Locate Money Trees under grow lights for 10-12 hours, alternating with light and dark periods in winter.

4. Temperature Changes

Money Tree leaves turning brown may result from temperature surges and frost.

It’s because Money Trees are well-adapted to hot and humid tropical environments.

Maintain a surrounding temperature of 65°F-80°F for Money Trees throughout the year. Protect the plant in winter as Money Trees cannot tolerate temperatures below 30°F.

Consider protecting the plant from temperature fluctuations, as it can kill the Money Trees.

High Temperatures: Tips of the leaves turn brown first. This browning spreads to the entire blade, leading to shriveling of the leaves due to the loss of water from the cells. 

Low Temperatures: Browning of the leaves occurs when ice crystals form in the cells. Afterward, the plant begins to drop its leaves.

Image represents misting the leaves of Money Tree
Money Tree leaves require frequent misting during hot days when the humidity is low.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

  • Regularly monitor temperature changes using an indoor thermometer.
  • Keep the plant away from fireplaces, heaters, coolers, and radiators that can change the surrounding temperature.
  • Mist the Money Tree once a day if you live in hotter areas or during heat spells.
  • Relocate the plant away from north-facing windows to protect it from cold drafts.
  • Use frost blankets for covering outdoor Money Trees in winter.

To prevent the temperature changes due to humidity, group your Money Tree with other plants or place the plant on a pebble tray inside a well-lit bathroom.

5. Pest and Diseases

Pests hide on the lower surface of the leaves and feed quietly.

Similarly, most diseases in Money Trees are an outturn of fungal pathogens or physiological mismatches.

Common Money Tree pests include aphids, scales, white flies, gnats, spider mites, and mealy bugs. Some common fungal diseases are leaf spots and foliar blight.

Pests and pathogens can turn the Money Tree leaves brown, following cellular decay and damage to the plant leaves.

Pests: They suck the sap from the Money Tree leaves on the surface or around the petioles, leaving behind honeydew. At the spot of infection, the leaves turn yellow and brown patches appear later.

Diseases: Fungal spores land on the leaf surface and thrive on high moisture. Yellow rings or patches appear on the surface that later dries up and turn brown, deteriorating the entire leaves.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

  • Isolate your Money Tree away from other houseplants to prevent the extent of the infection.
  • Manually remove the pests and honeydews by washing the plant parts with q-tips dipped in dilute isopropyl alcohol.
  • Prevent the infestation of air-borne pests by surrounding your Money Tree with sticky traps.
  • Use neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or copper fungicides to kill pests and deter pathogens from the plants every 2 weeks until the infection severity diminishes.
Image represents the process of applying disinfectant on the leaves of Money Trees
Reduce the prevalence of bugs from the Money Tree leaves using q-tips dipped in disinfectants.

Should I Cut Off Brown Money Tree Leaves? 

Brown leaves on Money Trees divert all the useful energy for healing and can be a favorable site for pathogens to grow.

Instead, the plant can use this energy to focus on new growth and flowering for later seasons, don’t you think?

Infected leaves will do more harm than good, as infection may spread to other parts. 

  • Begin the pruning process by snipping the whole leaf back to where it connects with the main stem.
  • Additionally, prune some leggy growths along the way to shape the plant. Place the plant in filtered sunlight, with the cut areas facing the light source.
  • After you are done, dispose-off the brown leaves by burning them to reduce the disease extent.

You can go through the video below to get details on removing the brown leaves from the Money Trees.

Additional Care Tips for Money Trees

You can look at some subsidiary care tips below for Money Trees.

Image illustrates some additional care tips for Money Trees
To prevent the spread of infection, trim out and burn the diseased parts while also caring for the plant with considerable watering and braiding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s learn about the browning of Money Tree leaves up close.

Should You Remove Brown Leaves from Money Trees?

You can remove the brown leaves from Money Trees all year round to prevent the spread of pathogens. 

How Do You Fix Brown Leaves on Money Trees?

To counter the Money Tree leaves turning brown, relocate the plant immediately to an area that receives bright, indirect light, such as near an east-facing window. 

Why are my Money Tree Leaves Getting Brown Edges?

Money Tree leaves can get brown edges due to low humidity or extreme sunlight.

From Editorial Team

Protect Money Trees from Physiological Extremities
Physiological mismatches (watery blisters) result from overwatering, leading to problems with Money Tree leaves brown tips. The symptoms of overwatering are further elevated by low light and temperature changes.
So, place the plant under dappled light and cool it down to relieve heat stress.

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