Ornamental or utility value
neutral to slightly acidic
The money tree (Crassula ovata) belongs to the thick leaf family (Crassulaceae), which includes more than 300 species. He originally comes from South Africa. The plant is not only known under the name “Geldbaum”, but is also called “Glücksbaum” or “Pfennigbaum”. Here in the United States, the money tree is often kept as a houseplant.
What you can buy as a six-centimeter-high mini plant grows into a small tree over the years. The money tree is about 50 to 100 centimeters high. Even larger specimens can be found in some living rooms. The yearly increase is still quite strong in young years, decreases with the age however. Then the trunk and branches begin to grow thicker and thicker – the only way to make them strong enough to carry the heavy leaves.
The leaves of the money tree have a slightly oval shape and are arched on the upper side. They are flat on the underside. The dark green, thick leaves sit without stems directly on the branches of the money tree. As is typical for thick-leaf plants, the leaves are fleshy and the shoots of the money tree are initially green and later brown-grey.
Only after ten years does the money tree develop its fine white or pink flowers. A very special sight, because the star-shaped flowers are very small and the stamens protrude long and filigree from it. Usually it starts flowering in late winter or spring – but only if it can feel the difference in temperature from summer to winter. In order to stimulate the flowering joy of your money tree, you can place it on the terrace or balcony in summer, for example. But at the beginning of autumn he was to return to the house.
The money tree is quite uncomplicated in the choice of its location. In summer it is advisable to place it outside in a sunny or semi-shade place. If it is cultivated in the room, the place at the window in the first half of the year is the right one. But he doesn’t like warm heating air that much. In winter it should be placed in a cool but bright place. Temperatures around ten degrees Celsius are ideal.
A loose and rather nutrient-poor soil, mixed with a quarter sand, is suitable as a plant substrate. Seramis granulate or lava grit or pumice is also suitable. The pH value of the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral. Cactus earth, half mixed with a substrate containing minerals, is also a suitable substrate for the money tree.
Waterlogging should be avoided, which is why the money tree should be watered rather carefully. On hot days, when the water evaporates faster, the tree can absorb larger amounts of water very well and also needs them for its growth. On cool days, however, you should rarely water the money tree. This is also the case in winter, when it stands in a bright but cool place. Here the earth can dry out quietly over several days.
From April to September, i.e. during the growth period of the money tree, the plant receives some cactus fertilizer once a month. If necessary, you can increase it to every two weeks.
The money tree must be regularly repotted, especially at a young age, as it then grows very quickly and requires space for its roots. It is advisable to repot the money tree every two to three years, later every five years. The spring and summer months are well suited for this. In winter you should not repot the money tree. It rests in this time and hardly grows. So it could not regenerate well if parts of its root are damaged and hardly grow well.
Due to its natural growth habit, a money tree that is not guided into a certain shape grows crooked and crooked. And his branches break off. It can and should therefore be cut once or twice a year. After cutting, the money tree grows stronger and denser again. Make sure you don’t leave any “stumps” standing. Always make smooth cuts and cut only at the fine grooves where, for example, a leaf has fallen off. The money tree can also be raised and cut as a bonsai. A regular and clean cut is necessary right from the start.
There are countless variants of the popular and easy-care indoor plant. Here is a small selection of well-known varieties with unusual foliage or special colouring: The spoon tree (Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit’) owes its name to its light green leaves, which actually look like small spoons. With a little luck, it shows its delicately fragrant white flowers in summer. However, these only very rarely come to light. Also originating from the J. R. R. Tolkien universe, the name of the variety Crassula ovata is ‘Gollum’. This turns reddish when exposed to the sun.
The breadcrumbed money tree (Crassula ovata ‘Variegata’) resembles the wild form, but has striking yellow-green breadcrumbed leaves. The variety Crassula ovata ‘Tricolor’ is three-coloured: its leaves are yellowish-green inside. The edge of the leaf is bordered in red. The sunnier the location, the more intense the colours.
The money tree can be reproduced very well with head cuttings. In spring after flowering, cut off the fresh green shoots at the end of a branch. You can either root these in a water glass or put them directly into a new container. However, you must always keep them moist there. Or you can carefully cut off one of the leaves, i.e. make a leaf cuttings and place it on the right plant substrate. With this method, it takes a little longer for roots to form and the plant to grow. However, both variants are promising.
Diseases and pests
Root lice can become a problem with the money tree. They usually settle in dry and dense soil. The infested plant begins to wilt and eventually dies. The lice are easily recognizable by their excrements, which are whitish in colour and look like powder. If you notice the infestation in time, you can drive away the lice again by regular watering. Otherwise, an insecticide must be used against the root lice. Lime and aphids also like to infest the money tree. However, the money tree is hardly susceptible to diseases.
In an interview with our store editor Dieke van Dieken, plant doctor René Wadas reveals his tips against aphids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera and Editing: Fabian Primsch
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I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.