Money Tree Feng Shui
With shiny jade-green leaves and thick stems, the jade plant (Crassula ovata) is native to South Africa. It’s tough, easy to grow and, like all succulents, ultra drought-hardy. Its alternative common name of ‘money plant’ (or sometimes ‘money tree’) comes from Asia, where the plant is seen as a good-luck symbol. The theory is that the vibrant green leaves are symbolic of growth and renewal, and closely resemble jade coins, which represent wealth and prosperity. As a result, they’re often given as house-warming gifts, or even a wedding presents.
In terms of placement, it’s believed for good feng shui to be lucky to keep a jade plant by the front door, to welcome money into the home. There’s even a saying - ‘Jade by the door, poor no more’!
How to grow a Jade Plant
While they can be grown in garden beds where the climate is warm and frost-free, jade plants are most popularly grown in containers. They make ideal patio or balcony plants, requiring a minimum of care, and offering clusters of white or pale pink starry flowers during winter. In cold climates, jade plants are sometimes grown as indoor plants – a bright sun-room offers the best chance of success inside.
But they’re not all small growers – the jade plant (also known as the money plant) grows into a shrub, up to a metre or more high, and has lots to offer.
Tips for success
- Plant in generous-sized containers – at least 30cm diameter – to allow for their shrubby growth.
- Use a well-drained potting mix, or a cactus & succulent mix.
- Water only when the top few centimetres of potting mix are dry. Ensure the water drains freely out of the base of the container and don’t place a saucer beneath.
- Fertilise plants once a year in spring, using a slow-release fertiliser suitable for succulent plants.
How to propagate
Jade plants are arguably one of the simplest succulents to propagate. To begin all propagation methods use secateurs or sharp scissors (depending on the thickness of the stalk) and cut a piece of jade approximately 2-4 cm away from any leaves.
If you are going to plant the cutting in soil let it dry out for a couple of days before inserting into a pot with well-draining soil.
Alternatively, you can propagate Jade plants in water. Simply fill a jar with water until 2-3cm of the root is covered and leave in a well-lit spot. Change water weekly and watch those roots grow - it will take a couple of weeks. Then you can either plant or leave in water.
Money Tree Varieties
There are four common money tree varieties.
1. Crassula ovata
Is the variety most commonly found in Australia, crassula ovata is a succulent plant which often has white or pink flowers in spring.
2. Pachira aquatica
Pachira aquatica is native to Central and South America where it grows in swamps, growing up to 18m tall. It can be identified by its shiny green palmate leaves with lanceolate leaflets and smooth green bark. When grown as a houseplant it’s trunk is often perfectly braided.
With hairy toothed leaves and white and violet flowers, Lunaria can be found in central and southern Europe. It gets the nickname money tree as the seed pods that grow on Lunaria plants resemble large coins.
4. Theobroma cacao
More commonly known as the cacao tree, once upon a time Theobroma cacao was referred to as a money tree because its beans were once used as currency.