White Spots on Money Tree (Causes And How to Fix It)


Indoor money tree leaves have white spots

Money Tree is famous for its tale of bringing fortune and wealth into a household. But regardless if it’s a rumor or reality, you can guarantee that a Money Tree can add vibrance and life into your home as it purifies your air.

Though highly-rated as a cleaner, your Money Tree is still prone to harmful uncertainties such as having white spots on its leaves.

White spots on Money Tree leaves can be due to mealybug infestation, lack of micronutrients, sunburn, and mosaic virus. Improper watering, insect infestation, septoria leaf spots can also cause white spots on money tree leaves.

How to Identify White Spots on Your Money Tree?

Usually, the white spots on your Money Tree are caused by Powdery Mildew, a common fungal disease among your braided plant.

These fungal spores directly attack your plant’s leaves, which produces a visible appearance of white spots accompanied by white powdery coating on the surface. 

Furthermore, because the coating blocks the entry of sunlight, which is highly needed for photosynthesis, your plant leaves will also experience discoloration, such as turning brown or yellow.

When not prevented immediately, your Money Tree might wither, wilt, or worse, it may be prone to other infections because of its declining health.

Why Does My Money Tree Have White Spots?

Though Powdery Mildew is the main culprit in bringing white spots to your Money Tree, we still need to look at other possible causes to ensure that we will provide the necessary treatment.

To help you identify those other factors that produce white spots on your Money Tree, thoroughly read the remaining passages.

Oedema

Oedema occurs in your Money Tree when it experiences an extreme moisture level on its roots.

Though it commonly takes place on a Greenhouse set-up, it is still possible to happen on your indoor plants precisely when you overwater it after letting it stay in a dry condition for a long time.

When overwatered, your plant cells will rapidly receive too much water than they could ever handle, resulting in sudden bursts.

The symptoms start with typical blisters or small spots developing underneath the leaves of your Money Tree.

Over time, the infection will move towards the upper portion of the leaves, which soon adds a rust-colored substance.

When your plant’s tissue dries, it will fall and leave a displeasing-hole appearance in the leaves. (Source: Purdue University)

Proper Remedy

  1. The first thing you need to consider when you’re Money Tree is experiencing oedema is regulating your watering process. You need to supply an adequate amount of water and, at the same time, monitor your plant’s soil to avoid undergoing dryness.
  1. Make sure that your plant’s drainage system is functional. Always check for excess water on your pot saucer.
  1. Allow 5-inch spacing between your plants to improve air circulation, thus reducing your area’s humidity level.
  1. Locate your Money Tree in a sunnier area where it can receive a tolerable amount of sunlight to help the drying process of your plant’s soil. Avoid placing it in spaces where too much direct sunlight is present. 
  1. Conventionally, you can add compost with banana peels to increase your soil’s potassium level and spray it with a solution of calcium chloride (1 ounce of calcium chloride diluted in a gallon of water) to provide additional calcium intake for your plant.

Powdery Mildew

As stated earlier, Powdery Mildew is the expected primary culprit on why your Money Tree is suffering from those white spots.

The usual cause of this disease is the defoliated leaves or other parts of your plant where spores tend to develop.

From there, it will make its way towards your plant and directly attack the leaves.

The symptoms are pronounced since Powdery Mildew produces a visible white powdery substance on the upper part of your plant’s leaves.  

Proper Remedy

  1. It’s best to isolate your Money Tree once you detect a symptom of Powdery Mildew. The earlier you separate it from other houseplants, the higher the chance of preventing the spread of spores. 
  1. If the damage is not yet severe, you can spray a mixture of baking soda (1 teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a liter of water).
  1. You can also wipe your plant’s leaves with clean fabric soaked in a mixture of fungicidal soap and warm water.
  1. To avoid a possible recurrence of the disease, make sure to clean the area where your plant stays inside your house.
  1. In case the infestation is severe, immediately dispose of your money tree to avoid causing damage to other houseplants.

Pest Infestation

As much as it attracts attention, your Money Tree also attracts different unwanted parasites on its body.

Those invasions happen when your plant invites a couple of insects with the sticky-sap that it excretes underneath the leaves during the process of guttation.

There are many possible intruders to your Money Tree that you need to watch out for to prevent the formation of white spots on its leaves.

To help you identify the common culprits and how to stop their infestations, let’s proceed to the detailed discussion below.

Mealybugs

Due to their white color and cottony appearance, these tiny insects will sometimes deceive your eyes as small lumps on your plant. 

Mealybugs enjoy infestation on the sap from the phloem of your Money Tree.

With that, these wax-coated insects excrete honeydews on the leaves of your plant, causing various fungi to develop.

Though their feeding causes discoloration and general decline in your plant, more severe problems could happen when fungi start developing and disrupting your plant’s system.

Proper Remedy
  1. Gently wipe the leaves of your Money Tree with a clean cloth soaked in alcohol.
  1. In severe cases, use insecticidal soaps to help your plant overcome the infestation.
  1. Naturally, eliminating ants’ presence in your plant will help the natural predators of Mealybugs come and terminate those invaders.

Spider Mite

These yellowish microscopic insects enjoy sucking on the juice of your Money Tree.

They usually travel through the wind, but they need help from birds to propagate most of the time.

Since they consume your plant’s juice, there are chances that most of the nutrients will be sucked as well, which leads to forming white spots and discoloration on your plant’s leaves.

Apart from those, you will also encounter some residual leaf dropping, early deformation, and an increasing number of yellowish-brown spots.

Proper Remedy
  1. Consider isolating your plant to prevent the rapid travel of Spider Mite towards other houseplants. If possible, maintain proper spacing in between your plants.
  1. Too much sunlight might add up to the stress level of your Money Tree, so make sure that your plant is not exposed to too much sunlight. It’s also good to monitor your plant’s watering needs ensuring that it is well-watered
  1. Use horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps on the leaves of your Money Tree to control the infestation.

Thrips

These are needle-like insects that are usually yellow or brown in color with silver linings at the back.

They are microscopic in shape, but they might appear as silver spots on your plant’s leaves upon looking closely.

Like other sap-sucking insects, Thrips tend to enjoy your plant’s juice, thus resulting in streaks and white patches on the top part of your leaves.

Not only that, but they’re also capable of injecting viruses towards your plant, which might lead to a more serious complication or, worst, your plant’s demise.

Proper Remedy
  1. Manually, you can place a white cloth underneath your plant, then gently shake it to quickly drop all the thrips. Due to its silver lining, these insects will become more visible to our eyes. Terminate the insects using dishwashing soap.
  1. You can also spray neem oils or spinosad to instantly get rid of Thrips on severely infected spots.
  1. Don’t forget to inspect all other houseplants for possible thrip infestation. Remove all defoliated parts of your plant to ensure no other host is present near your plant.

Leaf Miners

Leaf Miners are larvae of different insects such as moths and flies. Though moths and flies don’t really harm your Money Tree, its larvae are what you should be careful about.

When the egg hatches on the leaves, the larvae will immediately create a tunnel towards the inside of your leaves, which produces visible curvy lines on your plant’s leaves.

They usually stay for about 15 days before leaving your plant, but as the larvae grow, the size of the tunnel also increases. 

Aside from the yellow or white curvy line that they leave, you will also see some white patches or scars on the leaves of your Money Tree.

Proper Remedy
  1. Apparently, spraying insecticides and oils will not eliminate the larvae since it will only coat on the outer part of your plant’s leaves. Approved pesticides can be useful but not advisable and safe to use, especially in treating houseplants.
  1. Immediately cut off the infected leaves and dispose of them properly. Do not use those infected leaves as compost.
  1. Though neem oil will not totally terminate the presence of leaf miners, it can still affect those larvae’s life cycle to prevent complete germination.
  1. We might be talking about your Money Tree as a houseplant, but if it’s possible, you may try to purchase cultured parasitic wasps that kill and infest the leaf miners.

Lack/Excess of Micronutrients

Your Money Tree needs fertilization to thrive and reach its maximum growth potential. Though it’s good to fertilize your plant to sustain the necessary nutrients, still overusing it might also cause severe damage

Let’s take a look at the micronutrients needed by your Money Tree and how to provide the necessary adjustment for your plant’s soil.

Iron

Your plant has many iron-dependent processes such as chlorophyll production and metabolism processes for it to survive.

Problems: Iron deficiency will most likely happen if your plant’s soil has a high pH level combined with a humid environment.

Symptoms: The common symptom for iron deficiency is chlorosis or sudden yellowing of your plants accompanied by white patches on the top part of your plant’s leaves.

Corrections: The best way to increase your houseplant’s iron level is by adding chelated iron fertilizers(check the latest price on Amazon), which keep the iron in a suitable form for plants.

Calcium

Calcium provides a structure to your plant to strengthen its cell walls.

Problems: The problem here is not a deficiency but excessive presence since calcium is abundant in soil and water. When there is too much calcium, there’s a high chance that it can limit other nutrients’ function in your plant.

Symptoms: You will encounter some leaf distortion and irregular formation in addition to having white and brown spots

Corrections: The most advisable way is to limit your plant’s water intake and refrain from using gypsum-based fertilizer.

Magnesium

Being the central atom in chlorophyll molecules, this micronutrient is an essential factor in the photosynthesis process.

Problems: Magnesium deficiency occurs in soils that are easily leached. Excessive levels of Potassium and the high presence of ammonium nitrate could also trigger this problem.

Symptoms: The symptoms usually appear on the lower portion of your plant’s leaves, wherein discoloration and defoliation happens

Corrections: Applying magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salts (link to Amazon), is an advisable way to increase the Magnesium level in your plant’s soil. Do not mix Epsom salts with other water-soluble fertilizers.

Copper

Apart from being a requirement in photosynthesis, copper is also essential in your plant’s respiration and metabolism processes.

Problems: Though Copper deficiency is rare, it still occurs, especially on recently opened leaves. Deficiency usually happens in soil with high pH levels.

Symptoms: Typically, symptoms start with mild chlorosis on either leaves or veins of your Money Tree.

Corrections: Apply copper or cupric based fertilizer (link to Amazon) to increase the copper level of your plant’s soil.

Remember to apply it as a drench and not by spraying on the leaves since it might burn the foliage.

Manganese

Manganese plays a role in pollen germination, photosynthesis, and even a resistant force against pathogens.

Problems: A deficiency happens when the soil’s pH exceeds 6.5 since it will become unavailable for uptake. Another reason is when your plant intakes too much iron or iron chelate in its system.

Symptoms: The symptoms are almost the same with iron deficiency, such as chlorosis on the young leaves, visible white spots on the upper part of the leaves, and some areas of your plant’s vein.

Corrections: Basically, all you need to apply is a manganese sulfate fertilizer (link to Amazon) to balance the nutrient requirements in your plant’s soil.

Septoria Leaf Spot

This disease is caused by Septoria, a fungus that thrives in a humid environment.

When your plant is infected with this disease, you will notice visible white and yellow spots in both the top and underneath your plant’s leaves.

Proper Remedy

  1. Immediately remove all infected areas of your Money Tree and dispose of them immediately. Make sure to clean your tools and wash your hands before engaging in other houseplants.
  1. Apply a copper-based fungicide (Amazon link) to stop the germination of the Septoria.

For the treatment of Fungal diseases. Here are the fungicides i recommend:

Name of The FungicideAmountAmount of Water
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide32 tablespoons (1 fl oz) 1 gallon of water
Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide1-4 tablespoons (.05-2.0 fl oz)1 gallon of water
Southern Ag – Liquid Copper Fungicide3-4 tablespoons1 gallon of water

White Rot

Though this disease is common to onions, it could also affect your houseplants, including your Money Tree.

This disease is caused by fungi infestation on your plant’s root system, resulting in root rot.

Since the root system can not provide an adequate amount of water for your plant’s physiological needs, the leaves will suddenly experience yellowish-white spots. If not treated, your plant will soon defoliate.

I have written another step-by-step article on How to Fix Root Rot in Money Tree.

Proper Remedy

  1. Unfortunately, white rot is hard to control, primarily when it infects your plant’s tissue. Repotting your plant using a new clean pot mixture is the most advisable way.
  1. Make sure to wash your plant’s roots and remove all infected areas of your Money Tree.
  1. Apply fungicide to the roots before planting it in the soil.

Mosaic Virus

White Mosaic virus is the main culprit for this disease. It attacks directly on your plant’s leaves, thus leaving alternate white and green spots.

Symptoms like yellowish or greenish small specks usually start on the younger leaves and soon grow and spread on the entire foliage.

Proper Remedy

  1. Like white rot, Mosaic has no possible cure once your plant is severely infected. So, it’s highly suggested that you remove all infected plants and dispose of them immediately.
  1. One way to somehow revive your plant is through repotting, but it’s highly recommended to just propagate it through its cuttings.
  1. Make sure to clean your area and disinfect all your tools using bleach or disinfectants.

Sunburn

Your Money Tree prefers to receive moderate indirect sunlight, so overexposing it might put your plant in a challenging situation. When your plant receives too much sunlight when the leaves are still wet, your plant will experience sunburn.

Sunburn produces white spots on your plant’s leaves since light particles travel to the water droplets and directly hit your plant’s tissues.  

Proper Remedy

  1. Make sure that your plant is not totally exposed to too much sunlight. If your plant is located near your window, consider providing a shade or blinds to minimize the entry of light.
  1. Water through your plant’s soil and not overhead to avoid the build-up of moisture on the leaves.

How to Prevent White Spots on Your Money Tree? 

As much as possible, you don’t want your Money Plant to suffer from those causes that lead to forming white spots on its leaves. You can only do that if you  take preventive measures as early as possible. 

Always remember that in taking care of your Money Tree. Prevention is still better than cure.

  1. Thoroughly check the plant before purchasing. Do not buy any plant that exhibits possible symptoms of any disease.
  1. Provide adequate amounts of sunlight.
  1. Properly water your plant on the soil and not overhead. Always check the drainage every after watering your plant.
  1. Carefully attend to the nutrient requirements of your plant.
  1. In case of any infestations, refer to the discussion above and apply the remedy properly.
  1. Always remember that maintaining a clean environment in your home is not only beneficial to your houseplants but to the whole household as well.

Final Words

If you find out that your plant is having white spots on its leaves, carefully verify first the primary cause of the infection, you may check on the list we’ve discussed earlier.

Your Money Tree might be attractive to different pathogens and infections, but still maintaining and taking care of it is not as hard as what you’re thinking.

With proper attention, well-educated understanding, and proper handling of your plant, it will indeed thrive and bring scenic attention to your house.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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