How to Save Your Money Tree with Yellow Leaves

Last Updated on November 6, 2022 by Stephanie

The reason that leaves of money trees change color is usually due to root rot, which can occur due to excessive watering or inadequate lighting. The money trees prefer the top two inches of the soil to dry out between watering sessions and require bright light. If the money tree is shaded too much or the soil is saturated, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off.

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and then brown, usually and with spots of brown, it indicates it is too wet, typically due to excessive watering.

The leaves of the money tree change color and fall off in winter due to the shorter length of days and lower light intensity.

In the absence of bright lighting the money tree will lack the energy needed to support its leaves, causing the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.

The leaves will reappear in the Spring, with more sunlight.

The leaves of money trees tend to turn yellow and fall off when repotting because of shock from transplants.

Continue reading to find out the reason the cash tree ( Pachira aquatica) leaves are changing color from yellow to (and brown, and then drop off) and how you can keep the tree…

Money Tree Leaves turning yellow and Brown (and fall off) Because of overwatering

The most frequent reason for leaves of money trees becoming yellow is due to root rot caused by overwatering. The money trees like the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. If the soil remains saturated and the roots begin to decay and they are unable to transport nutrition to leaves, which results in the leaves turning yellow and fall off.

The money tree is native in Mexico as well as South-Western USA and grows in areas that are subject to floods during the season, but also endure prolonged dry weather during the summer.

Thus, money trees thrive in the dry and soak style of watering. In this method, the soil for potting is watered well, but then allowed to dry out a bit before watering it again.

If the soil in the potting area is always saturated, the excess water obstructs oxygen from the potting soil, which hinders the roots ability to breathe.

Indoor plants by window - fiddle leaf fig, money tree, cactus

The roots of the money tree need to have access to oxygen through the pores of the soil to breathe.

If the roots are unable to breathe, it hinders the ability of the roots to absorb water and nutrients for transport to the leaves.

If the leaves dont have access to moisture or nutrients the leaves of the money tree change color from brown to yellow and fall off because the tree doesnt have the resources to sustain the leaves and maintain their health.

If the roots of the money tree are immersed in soil that is saturated for too long, it increases the chance of developing fungal and root rot that cause the leaves to turn yellow, usually with brown spots, and causes the leaves to fall off.

Sometimes, its not the overwatering specifically that causes the leaves of your money tree to change color from brown to yellow however the soil is too wet because:

  • The tray or saucer underneath the pot (to prevent water from spilling into the home) is not empty and the excess water has accumulated around the base of pot which is preventing drainage of the dirt correctly.
  • The application of a decorative outer pot or one with no drainage holes in the base could hinder water from draining out of the pot in a timely manner and can cause the leaves of the money tree to become yellow due to root decay.

Money trees thrive in well-drained soil in their natural habitats Therefore, it is crucial that the water drains effectively out of the pot in order to avoid the leaves from turning yellow.

How to Save Money from a Tree with yellow leaves because of overwatering

  • Reduce the frequency of watering your money tree in order to mimic the natural surroundings. If you water the money tree much more frequently than once a week, then you may be the cause of the leaves of your money tree becoming yellow. Make sure to give your tree a watering when the top two inches of soil feel slightly dry. Check the soil using your fingers to determine whether you feel any the presence of moisture. If the soil in the potting is still damp, you should put off the watering for a couple of days. If the soil in the potting area feels like its drying out, its the ideal time to water.
  • Repot your money tree into an empty pot with drainage holes at the base. It is crucial that water excess be drained from the pot following the watering. Pots that do not drain properly create conditions for roots rot and yellowing leaves. Make sure that the drainage holes are clear of obstructions, or from soil that has been compacted or as a mass of roots.
  • Clean any trays, saucers and pots with outer lids of excess water regularly. A small amount of water that has accumulated at the bottom of the pot will prevent excessive water from draining away from the soil, leading to the development of yellow and rotting roots. Be sure to empty everything that is beneath your pot after watering, to ensure proper drainage.

The most effective method to revive the money tree that has yellow leaves because of excessive watering is to create an irrigation cycle that is similar to the natural conditions of the money tree. The 2 inches above the soil of the soil to dry prior to the next watering cycle allows oxygen to enter the soil to allow root respiration.

This lets the roots breathe (roots require breathing to function) which eases stress on the plant . It also lets the roots draw in the nutrients and moisture which the leaf of the money trees require to remain green.

If the money tree is in saturated soil for too long , the roots may become damaged by root rot. At that the time it becomes difficult to save the tree.

When your tree is still declining despite watering it less frequently and the tree is in the proper proportion in light ( bright, indirect light is the best to use for trees that are indoors) and if the leaves arent falling because of shorter daylight hours in winter, then you can take the money tree from its pot and examine the roots.

If the roots look slimy and rotten and smell bad and appear yellowish, then cut the roots back to their healthy growth using the sharpest pruning tools.

Clean the blades of pruners using a cloth that has been that has been soaked in disinfectant before each cut to avoid spreading pathogens from the diseased growth to the growth that is healthy.

Take out and dispose of the soil. Repot the tree using new pots and soil. Then, you can resume the regular watering schedule.

The tree that earns money is likely to fall over because of shock. It is possible to not be able to survive. However, cutting back the roots that are diseased could save the plant by preventing the decay from spreading. The likelihood of survival is contingent on the severity of injury caused by root decay.

Money Tree Turning Yellow and Falling off due to a Lack of Light

The leaves of money trees become yellow and drop when they dont have enough sunlight. The money tree is adapted to grow in indirect, bright light or in filtered light within their natural surroundings. If the money tree is in excessive shade, it will not possess enough strength to sustain its leaves, which causes the leaves to turn yellow before falling off.

Juvenile trees of money (the size of house plants) usually grow within the shade of tree in their natural habitat.

Insufficient direct sunlight when the plant is still in its development can cause the leaves to turn brown, however not enough sunlight can result in the leaf to change color and then fall off.

The ideal conditions for a money tree is to be in a space that is bright, but also has indirect light.

Money trees are also thriving in the morning sun, and afternoon shade especially in cooler climates in which the sun isnt as powerful.

When the tree doesnt receive enough light, the speed of its growth will slow down and eventually it turns yellow and fall to the ground (particularly those with lower leaves)as the tree attempts to save energy.

How to revive the Money Tree that has Yellow Leaves because of a lack of Light

  • Set up the money tree a space that has bright indirect light or morning sun, followed by afternoon shade. A little filtered sunlight all day long is an excellent way to recreate the natural light conditions, provided that the sun isnt too harsh. If you live living in a dry and hot climate, indirect light is the best option. In cooler climates that have less light are more suitable for the money tree. the morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • Mist the tree with mist to encourage it to re-grow. If you need to relocate the money tree to a new location in order to let more light, spray the leaves using lukewarm water each day. This creates an arid micro-climate that resembles the tropical climate of the money tree and can help reduce any shock that comes from moving abruptly.
  • The money tree should be watered thoroughly whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry. Make sure to give it a thorough soak to ensure that the excess drips out from the bottom in the container. This will ensure that the water has soaked into the soil , and reached root where it is needed. The process of waiting for the top two inches to become dry mimics the normal moisture levels found in the natural environment of the money tree to ensure adequate water supply and prevent root decay. Misting and watering correctly can help to reduce transplant shock if you have to relocate the tree to another room that has more lighting.

In re-creating the natural lighting conditions of the environment where the money tree is rooted by using indirect, bright and misting the tree frequently and properly watering the money trees yellow leaves will be showing signs of recovery.

Sometimes, the leaves can fall off when theyve turned yellow, but you should treat the money tree in the same way and under the proper lighting, humidity and watering, the tree will grow new leaves in Spring and the summer.

(Read my article on the best way to revive a dying tree of money).

Money Tree Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off in Winter

The reason why the leaves of money trees changing color in winter is due to the shorter length of the day. The trees of money are always green in their natural habitat however, their leaves tend to change color and fall in winter due to colder temperatures and less light especially when they are in indoor environments.

The leaves of money trees remain throughout the year in their natural habitat since have relatively stable conditions.

As a houseplant, its not unusual to see the money trees leaves change color and fall off in winter typically due to the less light levels, however, temperature could be an additional to the cause.

When this occurs to you cash tree, dont worry because the leaves will grow in the spring, as a response to bright light and longer length of day.

It is essential to mist your money tree regularly during winter because the humidity can drop due to heating in the indoors which dry the air.

Dry air saps moisture from the money tree leaves, which causes the leaves to yellow and fall.

It is also essential to control your watering during winter, since money trees generally require less frequent watering in winter especially if their leaves are falling off.

In winter, wait until the top two inches of soil are dry completely before you water your tree. This generally takes a lot longer than summer. Typically, you should water your money tree every 3-4 weeks during Winter.

Be aware not to put the money tree close to any sources of heat in the indoors that could make the temperatures change dramatically and could contribute to the leaves turning yellow and falling off.

How to Save Money from a Tree with yellow leaves after Repotting

To save a tree that has yellow leaves after repotted, mimic the trees natural environment by misting it to boost humidity, then water thoroughly, and then repot the money tree in aerated soil which is amended by adding perlite or pine bark to improve drainage.

  • Repot your money tree into well-draining pots (add perlite). The normal, unamended soils for potting can hold excessive moisture for a cash tree to withstand and can also retain more moisture than the potting soil your money tree rooted in before. Add 1/3 of perlite , or even pine bark to the soil (by volume of the pot) to recreate the drainage conditions of the native habitat.
  • Repot only cash trees that is one larger than the pot before to keep away from yellow leaves. Pots that are larger contain more soil and dry more slowly. Place the money tree inside the pot that is two inches larger in diameter, to make sure that the soil in your potting plant dries in a similar manner to prevent root rot and yellow leaves.
  • Avoid compacting the potting soil before repotting the money tree. In their natural environment the money trees are planted in porous, aerated soil that drains well to allow water to be drained away from roots efficiently and they have room for oxygen, so the roots breathe and remain healthy.
  • Make sure to repot your the money tree in pots that have drainage holes at the base. A good drainage system is vital to prevent water from getting into the root of your tree. Make sure that drainage holes are clean and empty the saucers or tray containers that are underneath the pot on a regular basis.
  • The money tree should be watered thoroughly after repotting, and mist the leaves to reduce the shock of transplant. Repotting can affect the root system, and it is difficult for the roots to absorb moisture and nutrients immediately following the repotting process, which may also make leaf color yellow. Give the tree a thorough soak (let the two inches of soil on the top dry between periods of watering) and mist the leaves on a regular basis throughout the day.

The leaves can change color and become droopy following repotting, as the root system is slow to establish in the new potting soil. If the tree is well-watered after repotting and the leaves are misted frequently, the tree will grow back.

The leaves may fall off when they turn yellow, but they will be able to re-grow during the Summer and Spring months.

It is crucial to remember that the ideal time of year to plant money trees is during the spring, as that is when the tree is at its strongest.

Money Tree Turning Yellow After Repotting

The reason that money trees become yellow after repotting is typically due to transplant shock or the soil drains too slow for the tree to handle. An abrupt change in the conditions following repotting, moist soil, or any disturbance to the root system could cause the leaves of the money tree to become yellow and fall off.

Pots that are larger have more soil in them and dry out in a slower manner therefore, if youve relocated your money tree to the pot that is bigger than the previous one the soil could dry out too quickly for the money tree to handle and cause yellow leaves.

Money trees thrive naturally in well-draining soil that is porous and aerated that allows water to efficiently drain.

If the potting soil is firmer around the roots of the money tree after repotting , this results in water draining in a more gradual manner and also blocks oxygen from the roots.

If the roots dont get oxygen because of compacted soil, they are unable to breathe and function normally and prevent them from transferring nutrients and water to the leaves, causing the leaves to turn yellow and then drop off.

It is also important to relocate your money tree in an area with drainage holes at the base, allowing excess water to drain away and empty the trays or saucers of water that is not being used frequently to ensure proper drainage.

When the removal of the tree occurs in conjunction with the removal of the plant, then the shock of the move can cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Key Takeaways:

  • The reason why the leaves of money trees changing color from brown to yellow and dropping off is due to excessive watering. The two inches above the soil to dry before replenishing the water. If the soil is constantly over-watered, the tree will develop root rot, which causes leaves to turn yellow, with brown spots, and then fall off.
  • The leaves of money trees change color if they are shaded too much. The money tree requires ample indirect light in order for their leaves to remain healthy. If the money tree is not getting sufficient light, it will lack the energy required to support its leaves, which makes them yellow and causes them to drop off.
  • The leaves of the money tree change color and fall off in winter due to shorter days and less light intensity. If the money tree is not getting sufficient light sources, it sheds its leaves in order to save energy. The leaves will re-grow in the spring.
  • The leaves of the money tree change color and fall off following repotting because of transplant shock. Repotting can affect the roots of the money tree, that temporarily stop them from absorbing nutrients and moisture that cause the leaves to change color and fall off. The leaves will grow back as roots grow in the new potting soil.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)