Money doesn’t grow on trees

The Pachira Aquatica, also known as a money tree, is a traditional symbol of good luck and good fortune.  It grows well in low-light conditions, a perfect fit for office spaces. The trees are typically grown as ornamental plants; when you receive them, they will be about 5 years old (one to two feet in height). Properly cared for and repotted every few years, they can grow to upwards of 7 feet.  

The plant is quite resilient.  If you forget to water it for a few days, no problem. Money Trees do best with indirect sunlight. They are also easy to interpret the care they require.  If leaves start “crinkling”, it means the plant is being under-watered; when they turn soft and yellow, it means it is being over-watered.

money tree at lion and panda

Braided money trees are a popular bonsai with five to seven glossy-green, plume-like leaves on each stem.  Many believe that the leaves resemble an open hand and symbolize the five fundamental Feng Shui elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.  When a space is not balanced, a money tree will help create harmony by adding the missing element.  The plant is referred to in Asian cultures as “Bringer of Good Fortune”, particularly when given as a gift. Some say that if the plant is placed near areas where money is kept or where wealth is needed, prosperity and wealth will follow. A new proverb even arose to describe the intertwining trees: “The five fortunes come home, richer at each juncture.”

The Legend of the Money Tree

According to the legend of the money tree plant, a poor, hardworking, old farmer one day came across an unusual plant in the fields. Since he’d never seen anything like it before, he decided to dig it up. The little tree was difficult to uproot, but he managed to bring it home. At home, he found that the tree was resilient and grew without much care. He decided to take a lesson from the plant, and decided to be stubborn, resilient, and not to give up on the things he worked for. Soon, he became a great entrepreneur.

Beyond the Legend

The real story behind the braided money tree is not quite as romantic, but no less fascinating. The story goes back to the 1980’s. During a typhoon, a truck driver in Taiwan was unable to drive his truck. So, he stayed home and helped his wife braid hair in her beauty salon. The thought struck him–why not braid a few money tree plants together? He took five plants and made a shape out of them. They were an instant hit, immensely popular throughout Asia. Today, the braided money tree plant has become one of the world’s most popular houseplants.


Marketing and Money Trees

Somewhere beyond the legend is my own personal truth with the money tree.  One of the rules that I’ve remembered very clearly is “have more customers coming in the front door than leaving out the backdoor”.  On the surface it may seem a banal platitude; however, the trick is digging into the real meat of that statement.  While new business is critical to growth; it is just as important, if not more important to retain your current clients.

A money tree grows similar in that it needs water for new leaves to sprout; however, over-watering will result in leaves turning yellow and falling off.  It must be a balance of focus on new business and ensuring that that focus does not distract from maintaining what you have as a business.

For an overly aggressive Leo this proved immeasurably hard.  Restraining the urge to onboard as many clients as possible and focus on the processes of the business to ensure we delivered beyond not only industry standards, but beyond our own standards is the foundation that we have built over the past few years.  It is that foundation which led to word of mouth referrals and onboarding not only new clients, but clients that trust us from day one.