Legend has it that these plants bring good luck and great fortunes to the owner making them a great gift for a friend or family member down on their luck or a business partner. The money tree or Pachira Aquatica is easy to grow and easy to bonsai which makes it a great display houseplant or a desk accessory in your office.
New growth on a money tree will be supple and green for a while before it turns woody. If you are starting the braid from scratch wait until there are at least 3 stems that are just becoming woody at the base, they should still be somewhat supple up to 7-10 inches. Carefully start a loose braid at the base and continue until the leaves start to crowd each other. Tie the top of the braid together loosely with a piece of string and wait. Every few months you should be able to continue the braid a few inches. Some people recommend tying the braided stem to a stake on either side to keep it growing vertically but I have never had to do this myself. To get longer lengths of supple growth don’t let the soil your money tree is in dry out completely, cut it as close as you can but keep it moist. Use distilled water or rain water as oppose to tap water. City water generally has high chlorine content as well as other additives that can adversely affect your money tree and other houseplants.
At some point your money tree will start to branch off and tall shoots will sprout from the canopy, grow a few inches and produce more foliage almost like a second canopy. When this happens remove the lower leaves where the base of the stem meets the trunk, continue the braid and retie. If you like you can plant these cuttings in a mixture of peat moss and perlite and get some brand new plants. To increase your survival rate use a rooting compound and most if not all of them should make it.