If you are looking to bring home a plant known to bring good luck and abundance, there are many options. A few plants are given the nickname Money Plant or Money Tree because of their perceived ability to bring good luck.
Unfortunately, all of these options can get confusing, especially if you are trying to decipher which plant is a Money Plant, which plant is a Money Tree, and which plant is best for your environmental conditions.
The most commonly recognized Money Tree plant is the Pachira Aquatica, while the most widely recognized Money Plant is the Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata). While these two plants certainly have similarities, they are structurally very different, and so are their care needs.
The Money Tree prefers bright indirect light, humidity levels above 50%, and frequent watering when the soil is nearly dry. The Money Plant prefers direct sunlight, lower humidity levels, and only requires watering when the soil is completely dry.
Is a Money Plant the Same as a Money Tree?
While the nicknames can be quite confusing, people often refer to a few different houseplants as Money Plants versus Money Trees. This is because many people consider houseplants to be lucky in both folklore and Feng Shui practices, as the color green can symbolize money.
In addition, plants generally give the appearance of abundance, so suggesting a plant could represent money or good fortune is quite common. When it comes to classifying which plant is a Money Plant and a Money Tree, these are ultimately two completely different plants altogether.
Are There Different Types of Money Trees?
The Money Tree most commonly refers to one particular tree, The Pachira Aquatica Money Tree. However, there are a few different types of Money Plants that can become quite tree-like when mature but are often referred to as Money Plants instead of Money Trees. This is likely because Money Plants are much more common in their juvenile state, particularly when grown indoors.
How Big Do Money Trees Get Indoors?
While they can grow impressively large in the wild, up to 60 feet (18 m) tall, you likely will not see Money Trees grow this tall indoors. Instead, you will likely see your Money Tree grow up to an average of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) indoors if you give them ideal growing conditions and care.
Do Money Trees Actually Grow Money?
It would be lovely if Money Trees could grow actual money; that isn’t the case for any plant. Money Trees, just like Money Plants, get their nickname due to their perceived ability to bring good luck, good fortune and, therefore, money into your home.
Why is it Called a Money Tree?
The legend of the Money Tree’s name came from Taiwan when a farmer stumbled upon this unusual plant after praying for abundance and wealth. He then proceeded to grow more of these plants from seed and sold them at the market. They sold instantly, and the plant was revered as lucky and fortuitous. Many people also believe that braiding the stems of a Money Tree will further lock in luck.
How Many Types of Money Plants Are There?
Money Plants can refer to several different types of plants. However, two types of houseplants, in particular, hold the nickname “Money Plants.” The first one is Pilea Peperomioides, which is referred to as the Chinese Money Plant. This plant, which comes from Southwest China, has round, coin-shaped leaves and is believed to bring good luck and good fortune into your home.
The second type of plant with the nickname Money Plant is the Crassula Ovata, also known as the Jade Plant. Jade Plants got their nickname Money Plant based on their reputation as lucky houseplants in Feng Shui. Jade Plants will eventually grow into large trees under ideal conditions, which is often why Jade Plants can be confused with Money Trees.
Even more houseplants may occasionally have the nickname “Money Plant.” This includes:
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera adansonii)
- Marble Queen Pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum’ Marble Queen’)
- Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Which is the Real Money Plant?
For the sake of this article, we will compare the Jade Money Plant with the Money Tree, as the two of them can often be confused with one another. Since the Pilea Peperomioides specifically has the nickname Chinese Money Plant, it can be much easier to differentiate them from the Money Tree. In addition, the other plant varieties tend to have other nicknames that are much more prominent than Money Plant.
Money Plant vs Money Tree: Appearance
The leaf structure is the most significant difference between the Money Tree and the Money Plant. For example, the Jade Money Plant is very succulent. Its coin-shaped leaves are very thick and retain water.
Individual Money Plant stems will grow similarly to the Echeveria succulent, where the leaves form like a rosette. As the stem matures, it will harden and become woody giving the Money Plant a more tree-like appearance.
On the other hand, the Money Tree has more waxy and elongated tropical leaves. Each stem will grow approximately five leaves, forming a pinwheel shape, similar to the Schefflera plant. The stem of the Money Tree can become quite tall and woody. These stems are where the Money Tree will retain water, as opposed to its leaves.
You will often find Money Trees sold with three individual plants with their stems braided together, giving the illusion of one large tree. This is a man-made decorative practice and occurs when the Money Tree is younger and the stems are more pliable.
Money Plant vs Money Tree: Care Requirements
Money Plant Care
The Jade Money Plant closely resembles the succulent in their care needs. They prefer bright sunlight indoors and like to have their soil dry out completely between watering. Make sure the soil and pot are well-draining, as succulent-type plants are highly susceptible to root rot. When your Money Plant is thirsty, the leaves may start to give a puckered appearance. Once watered, the leaves will become plump again.
The Jade Money Plant is very easy to care for as long as they are not overwatered. They don’t need extra humidity and they are hardy and relatively temperature-tolerant houseplants. This makes them a great houseplant for beginners looking for a plant they can place on a sunny windowsill and provide occasional watering. They are also effortless to propagate and will propagate quite well from leaf cuttings, just like other succulent varieties.
Money Tree Care
While the Money Tree has similar care needs, there are some notable differences. Though they grow thick trunk-like stems that retain water, Money Trees have more tropical characteristics, so they tend to need higher humidity levels than a Money Plant may need.
Ideally, you will have humidity levels above 50% for your Money Tree, so keeping your tree in a naturally humid place or supplementing with a humidifier is ideal if your space tends to have lower humidity levels. If you need to figure out what the humidity is like in your space, consider purchasing a hygrometer.
Money Trees can withstand drought before getting a thorough soaking in the wild, so the best way to water your Money Tree is to mimic these conditions. Most people only need to water their Money Tree a couple of times per month, but it’s good to check the soil to ensure it is almost completely dry before watering. The exact frequency you water your Money Tree will depend on its size, the pot, light and other conditions in your home.
Receiving indirect light is much more important for the Money Tree, as it can be sensitive to leaf burn if light levels are too strong. Rotating your Money Tree regularly is also important, as they tend to lean toward the sunlight. This can become a problem over time as the tree can tip over if it leans too far since the top of the tree, where all leaves are, may get heavy.
Money Plant vs Money Tree: Comparison Chart
|Care Requirement||Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica)||Money Plant (Jade)|
|Light||Medium to Bright Indirect Light (200-400 Foot Candles)||Full sun (400+ Foot Candles)|
|Water||Deep water when the soil is nearly dry||When soil is completely dry|
|Humidity||Higher humidity levels (Above 50%)||Tolerant of lower humidity levels|
|Soil||Well-draining soil with some moisture retention properties||Very chunky, succulent soil|
|Fertilizer||Balanced 10-10-10 or fertilizers with more nitrogen during the growing season||Balanced 20-20-20 during the growing season|
|Common Problems||Trunk rot, root rot, leaning toward the sunlight||Overwatering, yellowing leaves|
|Pests||Fungus gnats, aphids, scale||Mealy bugs, spider mites, scale|
If you have debated bringing home a houseplant that is beautiful and rich in history and tradition (and perhaps luck), then the Money Tree and the Money Plant are both great choices.
However, while they have similarities, especially in their nicknames, they are quite different in their care needs and the environments they thrive in. This may ultimately become a factor in determining which type of lucky houseplant will be suitable for your home.
The Money Tree prefers bright indirect light, humidity levels above 50%, and frequent watering when the soil is nearly dry. The Money Plant prefers direct sunlight, lower humidity levels, and only requires watering when the soil is completely dry. Both of these plants will make a wonderful addition to your home or space!