The Chinese money tree is a succulent ornamental houseplant that is said to bring luck to its recipient. Chinese money trees are aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance trees ideally suited for homes and offices. Many people who decorate in the Feng Shui manner tend to incorporate this plant in their designs because of the five lobed leaves. A Chinese money tree that has leaves in clusters of seven is considered especially lucky. Another benefit of the plant for the busy office executive is that its leaves are edible. No longer is time a reason to skip a meal. Just reach over and grab a leaf!
The Chinese have always believed strongly in the usefulness of lucky charms or symbols. The Chinese Money tree is one of these symbols of luck. Several stories tell the tale of origin of this tree’s symbolism. One tale tells of a sculptor who placed fake money on a tree in order to trick villagers into cutting it down for him. However, the tree was soon revered by the villagers as sacred. It was believed that cutting it down would lead to their doom. When the sculptor attempted to cut it down, the villagers paid him not to harm the tree. Another story tells of an elderly man who gave a peasant a purported special seed. The man told the farmer to plant the seed and water it daily with beads of his own sweat until it sprouted. Once the seed sprouted the fledgling tree required drops of the farmer’s blood for survival. The peasant did as he was instructed and the resulting plant grew up to be a “money tree”. The peasant found that by shaking the tree, coins would fall to the ground. Repeated harvests led to the peasant becoming rich. The tree became a source of perpetual wealth. The story can be taken literally. However, today it is taken to mean that to become rich, it must be through hard work and one’s own sweat and blood. The Money tree is a popular gift during the Chinese New Year.
1) Water: Chinese money trees aren’t water hogs. Typically they require a light watering once a week. Feel the soil, if it is dry, time to water. Do not spray mist.
2) Light: A young tree should not be subjected to direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight for 4 hours a day is sufficient. Mature plants can tolerate direct sun but prefer indirect.
3) Temperature: Chinese money tree grows well in typical indoor temperatures (60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit).
4) Pruning: Remove any damaged or dead leaves regularly thereby promoting new and healthy growth.
5) Fertilizer: Like any houseplant, a dose of fertilizer now on occasion is beneficial. Be careful not to over fertilize. Better to not fertilize rather than fertilize too much.
6) Repotting: The container of the money tree should not be undersized. Typically every couple of years it’s time to repot the tree into a larger pot. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes. Inability to drain could lead to root rot.
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2 thoughts on “The Chinese Money Tree: Luck be a Tree Tonight”
Thanks for this column. I like it!