What To Do When Your Money Tree’s Stems Turn Brown

One of the most popular tropical houseplants is the money tree, or Pachira aquatica. It has beautiful palm-shaped leaves and doesn’t need much care. The tree has positive associations with Feng Shui as its believed to bring good fortune and wealth. If there is a problem, though, this hardy indoor plant’s leaves may turn yellow, brown, or white, or they may begin to curl and droop.

As a dedicated plant parent, you may be wondering, “Why are my money tree leaves turning yellow?” There are several reasons why money tree leaves turn yellow, such as too much watering, not enough humidity, temperature changes, and pest infestations. Luckily, if you identify the problem in time, restoring your plants health is possible.

The braided trunk of a money tree is central to this plant’s good fortune symbolism and distinctive appearance. So when one or more of the stems making up that braided trunk begins to turn brown or die back, it’s cause for concern. Don’t despair – with the right troubleshooting and care, your money tree can recover from brown stems.

Why Do Money Tree Stems Turn Brown?

There are a few key reasons a money tree’s stems may start to brown, dry out and potentially die:

  • Underwatering – Consistently allowing the soil to dry out too much between waterings can cause the trunk to desiccate and shrivel Leaves may also yellow and drop,

  • Overwatering – Too much moisture around the roots leads to root rot, which travels up the stem base and makes it brown and mushy. Foul odor may accompany stem rot.

  • Sunburn – If placed in direct hot sunlight the trunks can sunburn and turn brown. Leaf scorch may also occur.

  • Pests – Insects like spider mites and mealybugs can infest a money tree and cause stem damage. Look for webs, sticky residue or bugs.

  • Diseases – Fungal issues like botrytis or bacterial infections can make a money tree’s trunk rot. Isolate affected plants to prevent spreading.

  • Cold damage – Exposure to very cold drafts and temperatures under 50°F can make a money tree’s stems turn black and shrivel.

What To Do For A Money Tree With Brown Stems

If your money tree is showing signs of brown, dying stems, take these actions to give it the best chance of recovering:

  • Assess stem health – Check each stem’s firmness and pliability. Healthy stems are firm and flexible. Mushy, brittle stems are dead or dying. Also check for new growth.

  • Isolate the plant – If any part of the trunk is diseased, isolate the money tree away from other plants to avoid spread.

  • Improve conditions – Make adjustments to lighting, temperature, watering frequency, humidity etc. to correct any environmental issues.

  • Treat pests – Use appropriate organic sprays or treatments if bugs are detected on the plant. Removing pests can stop stem damage.

  • Remove dead stems – Carefully unwrap and detach any completely dead stems in the braid. Be gentle with healthy roots.

  • Repot in fresh mix – Replant the money tree in sterile, well-draining soil after removing dead parts.

  • Apply fungicide – For disease issues, apply a copper fungicide spray to stems and soil. Repeat as directed.

  • Fertilize sparingly – Very dilute, occasional fertilizer can help improve money tree health but don’t overdo it.

  • Increase humidity – Mist leaves and provide a pebble tray to raise moisture levels around the plant.

  • Trim damaged leaves – Removing dead or damaged foliage helps the plant conserve energy.

  • Be patient – With good care, money trees can grow new stem shoots even if major parts have died back.

What Causes Each Type of Stem Damage

To treat your money tree’s stem problems correctly, it’s important to understand what underlying issues lead to the different types of damage:


If you consistently allow the soil to dry out too much before watering, the money tree’s stems will desiccate, shrivel and turn brown over time. Wilting and leaf drop often accompany underwatering related stem damage.

Solution: Water more frequently, about once a week. Feel the soil or use a moisture meter to determine when the mix is drying out.


Excess moisture around the roots leads to root rot, which spreads upward into the trunk. Affected stems will turn brown or black, feel mushy/hollow and may have a foul smell.

Solution: Remove dead roots, repot in fresh soil, space waterings out more and improve drainage.


Direct hot sunlight can scorch and discolor tender young money tree stems. Leaf scorch may also occur. Keep it in bright indirect light.

Solution: Move the money tree back from sunny windows. Filter the light with a sheer curtain.


Spider mites, mealybugs and scale can infest money trees and their feeding can cause stippling, spots and browning on stems. Check for webs, honeydew and bugs.

Solution: Treat with horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps. Use a cotton swab to remove bugs manually.


Fungal issues like botrytis and bacterial infections can infect money trees. Affected stems will turn brown or black, get mushy and might have a bad smell.

Solution: Isolate affected plants, treat with copper fungicide spray and remove dead matter.

Cold Damage

If exposed to very cold air or temperatures under 50°F, a money tree’s stems can blacken, dry out and die back. Leaves may also yellow.

Solution: Keep money trees away from cold drafts and chilling temperatures.

How To Revive A Money Tree With Stem Damage

With attentive care and some restorative treatments, it’s possible for a money tree to bounce back from significant stem damage:

  • Remove any dead or diseased parts of the trunk to prevent rot spreading.

  • Repot in sterile, well-draining soil to “reset” the root system.

  • Apply a copper fungicide spray to kill disease organisms.

  • Use horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps to eliminate stem-damaging pests.

  • Place the money tree in bright, indirect light for ideal growth conditions.

  • Maintain warm temperatures between 65-80°F.

  • Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry. Don’t oversaturate.

  • Mist leaves and place on a pebble tray to increase humidity around the plant.

  • Apply a very dilute fertilizer to nourish the plant as it recovers.

  • Be patient! With time and great care, new stems can emerge even if major trunk damage occurred.

The braided trunk of the money tree is not just unique – it’s said to represent bound good fortune. So don’t give up on your plant at the first sign of trouble. With attention to its needs and some restorative care, you can nurse your money tree back to health.

Why Are My Money Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

Your money tree leaves are turning yellow due to various reasons. It’s easy to find the cause and fix the problem, though, if you know what signs to look for. Here are six common reasons for money tree leaves turning yellow:

  • Overwatering – Overwatering causes root rot, resulting in yellowing leaves.
  • Not enough humidity—Dry conditions can make the edges of your plants’ leaves turn brown and crispy before they wilt and fall off.
  • Too much light—Money tree leaves can turn yellow from sunburn if they are exposed to strong, direct light for a long time.
  • Temperature changes: If you put your money tree plant in a place where the temperature changes a lot, the leaves may turn yellow.
  • Pest problem—Pests that live in houseplants, like mealybugs and spider mites, feed on the plant’s sap, which turns the leaves yellow.
  • Normal plant growth—it’s normal for money tree leaves to turn yellow every once in a while. Old leaves naturally turn yellow, die, and fall off as your plant grows.
  • Change how often you water so that the top inch of soil dries out before you water again;
  • Mist the leaves of your money tree often, put a humidifier nearby, or put it on a tray with water and pebbles to raise the humidity around it.
  • You can keep your money tree from getting sunburned by moving it to a spot with filtered or indirect sunlight.
  • Maintain a stable temperature range of 65-850F;
  • To get rid of pests, use natural remedies like insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Holes in Money Tree Leaves: Possible Reasons and Solutions


  • Because spider mites, scale insects, or caterpillars can eat money tree leaves and make holes in them.
  • Solution: To get rid of them, use natural remedies like neem oil or soap that kills bugs. Isolate heavily affected plants to prevent further infestation.

Physical Damage

  • Hole in the leaves can happen by accident when they brush against sharp objects or pets.
  • Solution: Put your money tree somewhere safer, away from things that could hurt it. Trim damaged leaves to encourage new, healthy growth.

Fungal or Bacterial Infections

  • Money tree leaves can get holes in them because of diseases like leaf spot or blight.
  • Solution: To stop the infection from spreading, use the right fungicide or bactericide as directed.

Nutrient Deficiencies

  • Because leaves are more likely to get damaged when they don’t get enough essential nutrients, especially calcium.
  • To fix nutrient deficiencies, use a fertilizer with the right amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Water Quality

  • Reason: Bad water quality, like having a lot of chlorine or fluoride in it, can damage leaves and make holes in them.
  • Solution: To keep your money tree from being exposed to harmful chemicals, water it with filtered or distilled water. Let tap water sit for a day or two before using it to get rid of chlorine.

STOP killing your MONEY TREE | Money Tree Problems


What does an overwatered money tree look like?

There are numerous signs to look for if you’re concerned your money tree is being overwatered. They include: Brown leaf tips. Wilting and yellowing leaves.

What does an unhealthy money tree look like?

Some of the most common Money Tree plant problems are yellowing or browning leaves, stem softening, and leggy growth. That being said, there are often very clear explanations for these issues and simple solutions to bring your beloved plant back to health!

How do you know if your money tree has root rot?

Discolored Leaves. If you notice that your money tree’s leaves are discolored, it’s a sign that the plant is suffering from root rot. Root rot is caused by overwatering, which leads to waterlogged soil and an environment that’s conducive to fungal growth.

How do you revive a dying money tree?

A: You can save a dehydrated money tree by thoroughly watering the soil and providing a humid environment. Gradually reintroduce it to regular care routines, ensuring proper hydration and recovery.

Why do money trees turn brown?

Brown leaves on a money tree indicate the soil is too dry or the humidity is too low. Money trees are native to the tropics and prefer at least 30% humidity and consistently moist soil. If the soil is too dry the money tree’s leaves wilt, turn brown, and drop off with a dying appearance.

Why is my money tree dying?

If the temperature is too hot, your money tree typically suffers from drought stress with brown leaves that wilt and drop off. If the temperature is too cold, the leaves also drop off. As you can see, there are many factors that can be responsible for your money tree dying, so keep reading f learn how I pinpoint each problem and how to revive it…

Why does my money tree turn yellow?

It’s also possible that a bit of dieback will occur during dormancy. This means that a few leaves may yellow and drop. But unlike some outdoor trees that turn colors and drop leaves in the fall, your Money Tree should not begin to turn yellow, brown, or dry in the colder months.

What should I do if my money tree turns brown?

Keep your money away from drafts, both cold and hot. Don’t expose your money tree to extreme temperature swings. Move your money away from fireplaces, heaters, air ducts, and other draft sources. Your money tree’s leaves may also turn brown soon after transplanting or repotting.

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