Is a Jade Plant a Money Tree? Unveiling the Connection

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Jade plant and money tree are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion about whether they are the same plant. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two popular houseplants and find out whether a jade plant is, in fact, a money tree.

Jade Plant and Money Tree: Definitions

Jade Plant

The Jade Plant, scientifically known as Crassula ovata, is a type of woody succulent that originates from the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa and Mozambique. It is characterized by its jade-green, fleshy leaves, and thick stems that become woody with age. The leaves may develop red blushing around their edges when exposed to bright sunlight(Leafy Place).

Popular worldwide as a houseplant, Jade Plants are sometimes referred to as money plants, lucky plants, friendship plants, or money trees are said to bring good fortune and prosperity(BBC Gardeners World Magazine). As a low-maintenance plant, they thrive in temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and only require average humidity levels(Petal Republic).

Money Tree

On the other hand, the Money Tree, known as Pachira aquatica, is a tropical tree native to Central and South America. It has become popular as an ornamental plant, often braided together for decorative purposes. The Money Tree is said to attract good luck and good fortune, hence its name(Better Homes and Gardens Australia). It is worth noting that the term “Money Tree” is sometimes interchanged with the Jade Plant.

The Money Tree is quite different from the Jade Plant in appearance and growing conditions. It prefers to grow in indirect light, with moderate amounts of water, and high humidity levels. A favorite among Feng Shui practitioners, the Money Tree is believed to help balance energies and bring prosperity in one’s life.

Similarities and Differences


Money trees and jade plants differ significantly in appearance. A jade plant, scientifically known as Crassula Ovata, is a succulent native to South Africa and Mozambique. It has jade-green, obovate leaves that grow between 1.1″ and 3.5″ long. On the other hand, the money tree, specifically the Pachira aquatica, is a species of tree native to Central and South America. It is characterized by its braided trunk and green, palmate leaves.


Both the jade plant and the money tree are believed to bring good fortune and luck. The jade plant is often associated with wealth and prosperity in cultures like feng shui. In contrast, the Pachira aquatica money tree is said to bring financial luck and is popular among people who practice feng shui. These shared symbolic associations contribute to the confusion between the two plants.

Care Requirements

When it comes to care requirements, jade plants and money trees have some similarities and differences. Jade plants thrive indoors with ideal room temperatures ranging between 65 and 75°F (18 – 24°C). Money trees also prefer indoor environments and can adapt to a range of lighting conditions.

Watering needs for both plants vary. Jade plants are more sensitive to overwatering due to their succulent nature, while money trees need consistent moisture and humidity. However, neither plant tolerates being in a pot with poor drainage or being overwatered (Bean Growing).

Origins and Significance

Jade Plant History

The Jade Plant is native to South Africa and Mozambique. It has gained worldwide popularity as a common houseplant due to its low-maintenance nature, beauty, and symbolism. In its natural habitat, and when properly cared for indoors, Jade Plants can live a long life and grow up to 5 feet in height.

These succulents have become known for their meaning and symbolism, often associated with good luck, success, and wealth. This is why they are sometimes referred to as the “money plant” or “money tree”.

Money Tree History

The Money Tree Plant is a separate species from the Jade Plant. It has a braided trunk and is thought to have the ability to trap fortune within its folds. The five leaves typically found on a stalk represent the five elements of balance: earth, fire, water, wind, and metal. A stalk with seven leaves is considered extremely rare and believed to bring immense luck to the owner.

In Asia, the Jade Plant is a popular good luck charm, believed to activate financial energies. Its vibrant green leaves resemble jade coins, symbolic of growth and renewal, which contribute to the plant’s association with wealth and prosperity. It is even a traditional gift for businesses due to its symbolism.

Common Misconceptions

There is a common misconception that jade plants (Crassula ovata) and money trees (Pachira aquatica) are the same plant. However, these two popular houseplants are unique species with distinctive characteristics and care needs.

Jade plants, originating from South Africa and Mozambique, are succulents known for their thick, shiny, oval-shaped leaves. Although they are not true trees, jade plants develop a trunk and branches similar to trees, leading to confusion (The Healthy Houseplant).

On the other hand, money trees are tropical wetland trees native to Central and South America. They have distinctive braided trunks and palmate leaves, which make them easily distinguishable from jade plants (The Spruce).

Both plants carry the common name “money plant” because they are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. However, their meaning and symbolism may differ. In Chinese feng shui, jade plants are associated with good fortune, success, and wealth or prosperity, including health and money. They are often given as gifts for friends or new business ventures (Petal Republic).

It is important to remember that although jade plants and money trees share a common name and symbolism, they are different species with unique growth patterns, care requirements, and appearances.

Which One to Choose

When deciding between a jade plant and a money tree, consider their characteristics and care requirements. Both plants are symbolic in Chinese Feng Shui, with the jade plant (Crassula ovata) being known as the money plant and Pachira Aquatica as the money tree or the lucky tree. Additionally, jade plants have over 200 species in the Crassula genus, offering a wide variety of options in terms of shapes, sizes, and colors.


Think about factors such as maintenance, space, and preference when choosing between these two plants:

  • Jade plants are succulents native to South Africa and Mozambique, while money trees are ornamental houseplants often sold with a braided trunk.
  • Both plants require a warm location free from drafts. However, jade plants generally prefer direct sunlight, while money trees thrive in bright indirect light.
  • Jade plants are easier to propagate, as they can start from single leaves or cuttings, and branches often root in the pot they’re growing in.

Placement Tips

When placing either a jade plant or money tree in your home, consider the following tips:

  1. For jade plants, choose a sunny spot close to a south-facing window, ensuring they receive at least four hours of sunlight daily.
  2. For money trees, place them in a spot with bright, indirect light to avoid scorching their leaves. An east-facing window is an ideal location.
  3. To promote healthy growth, rotate both plants every few weeks to ensure equal exposure to sunlight.

Ultimately, the choice between a jade plant and a money tree depends on personal preferences, space constraints, and care requirements. Take all of these factors into account to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

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