Whether you are a ‘real’ gardener or just a hobbyist, this article will help you take care of your pachira.
The Pachira aquatica, also known as the Guiana chestnut tree, is a plant that produces edible nuts. It is native to South and Central America, but its symbolism is strongest in Asia. This giant tree in the wild, adapted as a houseplant by the hand of the botanist, has only been in the garden centres for a few years.
The ideal environment to care for your pachira
Apart from exposure to full light, which is not suitable, the Pachira is not very demanding in terms of its living environment.
Indeed, the Pachira enjoys moderate to very moderate watering.
The hardiness of the Pachira aquatica allows it to withstand temperatures of up to minus 5° Celsius without losing its leaves. However, it is recommended that it be placed in a location where the temperature does not fall below 12°C, as is the case with orangery trees, for which the ideal environment is around 20°C all year round. The leaves of the Pachira fall off during occasional light frosts and reappear in spring.
The ideal time to plant a pachira
Pachira seeds can be sown but are difficult to obtain. For gardeners, summer is the ideal time for successful cuttings. Potting in spring is also a good idea.
Maintenance and cultivation
Pachira should be watered once a week during the summer and more frequently in winter. As it is a fast-growing plant, it needs to be repotted at least once a year or to be resurfaced. It can be placed in a flower pot or a tub (depending on the size and decoration).
What can damage your pachira
Like all plants, pachira can suffer from diseases and attract pests. Indeed, mealy bugs are one of the main pests of the pachira. If your plant is invaded by these mealy bugs, you are advised to act quickly. The pest can cause your pachira’s leaves to dry out or its trunk to burst. There are several remedies to get rid of them :
- apply white oil, which you can buy in specialist shops
- for a more natural treatment, spray the affected areas with a mixture of methylated spirits, olive oil and black soap (diluted with water)
- in case of severe infection, the appropriate solution is to cut off the branches and burn them.
Red spiders are also harmful to the pachira. The red spider is not an insect as one might think. They are actually small mites that are difficult to spot.
How to prevent red spiders ?
- spray with nettle manure or a decoction of horsetail
- introduce phytoselulus persimillis, a small mite that feeds on the spider
- spraying essential oil of rosemary diluted in water is also a very effective technique, as is a decoction of garlic diluted at 30%.
5 tips to remember when caring for your Pachira
1 Your Pachira should be placed in a moderately lit area, as the plant cannot stand full sun.
2 Make sure that the soil remains slightly damp in summer, and especially that there is no standing water. In winter, the root ball may dry out slightly between waterings.
3 Spray the leaves regularly with a little water to maintain their beauty.
4 The lack of light causes the plant to grow very quickly with very few leaves.
5 Finally, reorient your pachira from time to time as it tends to seek the light.