En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
17 ratings

Sunday - October 14, 2007

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of non-native house plant, Pachira aquatica
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just bought a miniature money tree. I would like to plant it on a metal like decorative pot. What advice would you give me how to prevent the plant from getting any metal residue after being planted on the pot and/or how I can keep it alive for a long time? My track record with my plants is not good. I can only plant indoors. I live in an apt. Thanks for your patience.

ANSWER:

Pachira aquatica, also known as the Money plant, is a special kind of bonsai. It is a tropical wetland tree native to Central and South America, where it grows in swamps. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the protection and propagation of plants native to North America. However, living in an apartment in New York, we can see it would hardly be possible for you to be growing a field of wildflowers. Most plants used for indoors decor are non-native tropicals and semi-tropicals because their environment can be altered to suit their needs indoors.

The Money tree is considered to be a harbinger of good luck but it doesn't actually sprout money. It has been especially associated with China and is often given out at Chinese New Year.

We were unable to find any research about the dangers of metal residue from a pot damaging the plant over time. We are more concerned with the possibility of poor drainage if the plant is placed directly into a non-porous container. Every plant, even one originating in a swamp, needs good drainage for its roots to survive. We are assuming you did not plan to drill drainage holes in your metal container. If you are worried about metal residues, you might consider lining the metal container with a heavy clear plastic. Now, to establish some drainage, first raise the "floor level" of the pot with some pebbles. Then, you can choose either to place the potting soil directly into the container, or to plant the tree in a porous pot, like terra cotta, or a plastic one, both with drainage holes and that will fit inside the metal decorative pot. You can add moss from a florist around the edges to conceal both the plastic liner and the interior pot. The link above will give you more information on the type of potting mix, size it may grow to, sun exposure, etc.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Jasmine trachelospermum jasminoides in Utah
June 08, 2008 - Bought (4) Star Jasmine trachelospermum jasminoides at Costco. Want to use them in Salt Lake City, UT, brutal winters, on a fence in a retail center parking lot surrounded by trees. Will the leaves st...
view the full question and answer

Blueberries and non-native squash in Fort Worth
April 15, 2010 - Blueberries in North Central Texas-Fort Worth In sun or shade? Got only male blossoms on my squash last year why?
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on weeping willow
August 03, 2008 - We have a 4 year old Weeping Willow, 12+/- ft. tall and this week the leaves are starting to become yellow. This willow is full and robust in appearance, best it's ever looked. We have 2 other Wee...
view the full question and answer

Sprout from a non-native sago palm in Poinciana FL
October 16, 2013 - I have two mature (10 years old)sago palms. One of them sprouted a new "head' at the top of the trunk. It is competing with the original one. It is not a pup coming from the root area. Can I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center