Money Tree
Credit: Kamikam/Getty Images

While it's often said that money and trees don't go together, we're here to tell you that's not altogether true. We've never seen money growing on trees, but we have seen money trees, and we're big fans of their low-maintenance growing requirements. The money tree is also commonly known as the Guiana chestnut. It goes by the scientific name Pachira aquatica, and it's a member of the family Malvaceae, home to the many mallow species.

About the Money Tree

Pachira aquatica is, as you can probably guess from its name, a tree that grows in marshy wetlands. It's a tropical species that thrives in swamps and is native to Central and South America. It's thought to be good luck (hence the name!) and has come to be associated with financial good fortune. That's one reason so many people love growing money trees in their homes.

What Does a Money Tree Look Like?

The money tree has a telltale braided trunk with many individual parts woven together. This isn't a natural feature, however. When the tree is young, gardeners braid its stems to give it that distinctive form. Money trees have bright green leaves; each of the many trunk segments is topped with delicate stems, out of which arise five or so shiny, almost waxy leaflets. Outdoors, in the right conditions, Pachira aquatica can grow up to 60 feet tall. Indoors, it's more compact and likely won't grow over 6 feet tall, making it a good choice for a houseplant.

Money Tree
Credit: OGGM/Getty Images

Money Tree Plant Care

Money trees are relatively low-maintenance plantings and can be grown indoors or out. They thrive in indirect light—too much direct sunlight will damage the leaves—and high humidity. To avoid root rot, money trees should be planted in well-draining soil amended with plenty of organic matter. They need regular watering when the soil they're planted in dries out. Avoiding direct sunlight and overwatering will ensure your money tree is a happy planter.

WATCH: 16 Herbs You Can Grow Indoors All Year Long

Do you have a money tree in your home? What other houseplants would you like to learn how to care for this year?