Sick Money Tree


Hi there,
I was hoping you could help me identify what is wrong with my money tree.
All of a sudden it is covered in yellow spots. Initially, I cut off the few leaves that had the spots, but overnight the rest of the leaves have gained them… I have tried spraying it with soapy water and I don’t see any bugs anywhere so I’m not sure what is causing it.

Thani=k you for your help!!


Money trees, Pachira Aquatica, are commonly prone to three sap sucking insects – mealybugs, soft brown scale and red spider mites.  Looking at the photo you sent, I think you have in infestation of the latter, red spider mites.

These are teeny tiny spiders which you may not see on inspection but can detect only by the damage they inflict while feeding.  The result is a dull, mottled or stippled effect.  They pierce the leaf surface and suck the contents including the chlorophyll which is why you get these tiny holes or yellow spots.

The best treatment for this infestation is to take your plant outside, put the pot into a plastic bag and tie it tightly around the trunk/stem of the plant at soil level – this will protect the pot and soil.  Then, get your garden hose and thoroughly spray the plant down with a good blast of water, making sure to get all the leaves including the undersides.  Once the plant has dried off, you can safely remove the pot from the plastic bag.

If a good blast from the hose does not solve the problem, a treatment with insecticidal soap is your next step.  This can be purchased from any neighborhood nursery and in many hardware stores at this time of year.  Follow the instructions on the container carefully and be prepared to re-apply in several days.

It is a good idea to isolate this plant away from other house plants in order to stop cross infection while you get the infestation under control.  Also, check your other plants to see if there are signs that spread has already occurred and treat at the same time.

Hope this helps.