Jade Plant vs Jade Tree: Debunking Common Misconceptions

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Jade plants and jade trees are both popular indoor plants known for their thick, fleshy leaves and ease of care. However, some people may be unsure of the differences between the two plants and how to properly care for them. In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of jade plants and jade trees, including their appearance, growth habits, and care requirements. We’ll also provide tips and recommendations on how to distinguish between the two plants and how to ensure that each receives the proper care to thrive.

Jade Plant and Jade Tree: Background

Origins and Scientific Names

Jade plants come from the botanical family Crassulaceae, originating from South Africa and Mozambique. Jade plant is commonly known as money plant, while the scientific name is Crassula ovata. The name “jade plant” is derived from the jade-green color of the leaves, which may develop a red blush around their edges with exposure to bright sunlight (Leafy Place).

Common Characteristics

Both jade plant and jade tree are characterized by their fleshy, oval leaves, and thick, woody stems that resemble tiny tree trunks. Jade plants can grow indoor, and they thrive in room temperature (65° to 75°F / 18° to 24°C). They prefer slightly cooler temperatures at night and in the winter (down to 55°F / 13°C) (The Old Farmer’s Almanac). Jade plants are known for their longevity, with some living up to 100 years or more (Leafy Place).

These popular succulent houseplants typically grow slowly, gaining about 2 inches per year, and can eventually reach heights between 3 and 6 feet tall (The Spruce). Jade plants require minimal care and can grow well in containers, making them an excellent choice for indoor gardening (Leafy Place).

Distinctive Features

There are various types of jade plants, and they differ in appearance. Some types of jade plants have branches like small trees and coin-shaped leaves, while others feature thick succulent pencil-shaped or spiky leaves (Leafy Place).

As an indoor plant, jade plants are prized for their ornamental value. Some jade plants can become top-heavy as they grow, and it is important to provide them with sturdy pots. When repotting, it is necessary to examine the roots and make sure there is no fungus before planting in fresh soil (Better Homes & Gardens).

Caring for Jade Plants and Jade Trees

Light Requirements

Jade plants and jade trees thrive in bright environments. Ideally, they should receive at least four hours of bright light per day to promote healthy growth. Direct sunlight or partial sunlight are both suitable for these plants(Petal Republic).

Watering Techniques

When it comes to watering, jade plants and jade trees require a careful approach. During the summer months, water the plants regularly, ensuring the soil is moist but not overly saturated. In the winter, reduce the watering frequency and only water when the soil is dry(Petal Republic).

Soil and Potting

For optimal growth, jade plants and jade trees should be planted in well-draining soil. A suitable choice is a cactus and succulent potting mix, which should have a pH level of around 6.0(Petal Republic). Make sure the pot you use has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

Pruning and Shaping

Pruning and shaping your jade plant or jade tree is important for maintaining its appearance and promoting healthy growth. Remove any damaged or dead leaves and branches to encourage new growth. Pinch off new growth at the tips to shape the plant and keep it from becoming too leggy. Prune your plant during the warm growing season for the best results.


Jade plants and jade trees are easily propagated by either leaf or stem cuttings. Allow the cuttings to dry for a few days before planting them in soil. Keep the soil moist, and new roots should begin to form within a month(The Old Farmer’s Almanac).

Potential Health Issues

Jade plants, also known as jade trees, can encounter some health issues that may affect their growth and appearance. These issues can be categorized into two main areas: pests and diseases.


A common problem many jade plant owners face is the infestation of pests like aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can cause damage to the plant and potentially affect its growth, leading to deformation1. To tackle this issue, one could dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently clean the affected areas of the plant to remove pests. Regularly inspecting the plant for signs of pests and maintaining proper hygiene can help prevent infestations from occurring.


Jade plants can also experience issues related to overwatering, which could cause diseases or make the plant more vulnerable to them2. Overwatering leads to soft and mushy leaves that will likely fall off the plant and potentially attract diseases. To avoid this, ensure proper drainage in the pot and water the jade plant moderately.

Inadequate light may also be a concern for jade plants. When these plants don’t receive enough light, they can become weak and have slow growth, making them more susceptible to diseases3. Placing the jade plant near a south or east-facing window or providing supplemental lighting during parts of the year can help prevent issues related to insufficient light.

High temperatures, when combined with insufficient air circulation, can cause jade plants to drop older leaves and become leggy, which could potentially lead to diseases4. To alleviate this problem, move the plant to a cooler area with better air circulation.

Jade Plants and Jade Trees in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui, jade plants and jade trees are both believed to bring positive energy and good fortune to those who keep them in their homes. They are two commonly used plants to enhance the flow of chi, or energy, and promote overall harmony in the living space.

Jade plants, which are scientifically known as Crassula ovata, are more commonly referred to as money plants. Their succulent leaves are believed to symbolize wealth, success, and prosperity, which is why these plants often carry nicknames like “money plant” or “money tree” (Petal Republic). On the other hand, jade trees or Pachira Aquatica are sometimes called lucky trees and are often found with a braided trunk (Leafy Place).

When placed in the right locations within a home or office, both jade plants and jade trees can activate the luck benefits associated with their energy. For example, putting a jade plant in the wealth corner of your living space is said to enhance your financial fortune (LoveToKnow). It is essential to maintain these plants to ensure they continue to bring positive energy, as unhealthy, dead, or dried plants can attract negative chi energy.

Keeping jade plants and jade trees in your space can improve the overall Feng Shui of your environment. Therefore, adding these plants to your home or office can act as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity, while also creating a sense of harmony and positivity (Petal Republic).

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