Crassula Ovata Gollum

Crassula Ovata Gollum Care (Gollum Jade)

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is a much-loved Jade Plant variety. In warm climates it can grow outdoors as a small shrub. But, it is also a funky looking, low- maintenance indoor plant. Specifically, because it also tolerates low-light conditions. 

I love it because it adds texture and height to my succulent arrangements. Definitely a great filler plant in flower beds or pots. Also commonly called ET Fingers or Shrek’s Ears. 

When grown indoors, Gollum Jade stays small. Woody branches make this a favorite among bonsai growers. ‘Gollum’ leaves are tubular and elongated. Similarly shaped to trumpets or fingers. The concave leaf tips looked puckered.  

Hobbit Jade vs Gollum Jade

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ and Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit’ Jade are commonly mistaken for one another. Often confused in literature, by nurseries, and are often used interchangeably. They have some similar features and both names are taken from JRR Tolkien’s writings.

In fact, they both share many common names. For example: Spoon jade, Gollum jade, Hobbit Jade, Ogre Ears, Shrek’s Ears, ET’s fingers, Finger jade, Trumpet jade.  Furthermore, they both have pretty similar care and maintenance.

Water

“Soak and drain” method

Light

Filtered / Partial Sun, Bright Indoor Light

USDA Zone

9a-11

Temperature

Minimum 30°F (−1.1°C) to 50°F (10°C)

Soil

Well-draining soil, use a container with good drainage

Fertilizer

Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer

Size

Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide

Scientific Name

Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’ 

Common Names

Spoon jade, Gollum Jade, Hobbit Jade, Ogre Ears Succulent, Shrek Ear Succulent, ET’s fingers, Finger jade, Organ Pipe Jade Plant, Trumpet jade, Tube Succulent, Gollum Jade Succulent, Gollum Crassula, ET Finger Succulent, Ogre Ear Jade, Money Plant

Pronunciation

KRASS-yoo-luh oh-VAH-tuh

Pests

Mealybugs, aphids

Flower

Clusters of small, star-like, white or pinkish-white flowers, with pink stamens bloom in winter

Toxicity

Generally toxic to dogs and cats

Gollum Jade plant is a fairly slow growing succulent. Definitely slower than the common Crassula Ovata Jade Plant. Growing up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and around 2 feet (60 cm) wide at maturity. Additionally, leaves can grow up to 2 inches long.

This hard to kill succulent is a great variety for beginner plant parents. Gollum Jade plants make a charming addition to any home or office. Or, outside in a flowerbed or pot. Furthermore, Crassula Gollum Jade Plants are typically dormant in the winter months.

Watch our Crassula ovata GOLLUM vs HOBBIT Jade Video

Succulents, including Crassula, store water in the plump leaves to survive drought. Gollum Jade Plants do not have very high watering needs. Therefore, replicate their natural habitat by giving your plant a deep watering. Then, let the soil dry out completely before watering again.

Gollum Jade plants need minimal water during the winter. Remember, as with most succulents, less is more! If in doubt, be sure to use a moisture meter. Indeed inexpensive and really helped me when I was new to succulents. 

Watering with distilled or filtered water may be a good idea if you see brown or white tips on the ends of the leaves. Depending on your tap water, it may have high salt content. Also, be sure to avoid getting the leaves wet. Not only can this cause sunburn in hot direct sun. But, it can also cause leaves to rot in humid conditions.

Crassula Ovata Gollum Jade has moderate light needs. Your plant will do well in filtered light, partial sun or bright indoor light. Also, Gollum Jade plants tolerate some full sun once acclimated.

Gollum Jade can tolerate some partial shade. However, you will see the best growth and coloration in bright sun.

Crassula Ovata Gollum
Crassula Ovata Gollum

Gollum Jade Plants are not cold hardy. They do well in the ground or in a pot outside in warmer climates. Definitely move your Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’ inside when temperatures fall below 20°F (-6.6°C). Allow indoor Gollum Jade Plants to get 4-5 hours of indirect sunlight in order to flourish.

Well-draining soil is essential for keeping Crassulas happy. If your succulent is left sitting in water, it’s susceptible to rot and fungal diseases. Add pumice or perlite to the soil to help increase extra drainage and be sure to pick a pot with a drainage hole. 

I also like adding coarse sand with perlite to commercial potting soil for a 2:1:1 ratio. Even when I use a commercial cactus soil mix I still add perlite for increased drainage.

Repotting Gollum Jade

Jade plants can thrive in pots. In fact, they do not need much room to grow full and healthy. However, if you want to keep your plant on the small side, then keeping it in a smaller pot is a good way of controlling its growth. Definitely choose a pot with good drainage.

Crassula ovata Gollum plants will eventually become root-bound. Although, it doesn’t affect the overall health of the plant. Plants should be repotted every few years to avoid compacted soil and encourage new growth. Older Gollum’s can be repotted every 4-5 years. Here are a few tips for potting jade plants.

  • First, repot Jade Plants in summer when the soil is dry.
  • Next, start by gently brushing the soil off the roots.
  • Then, inspect the roots for rot or other problems that may be lurking underground.
  • Finally, place your Gollum in fresh well-draining soil.
  • Hold off on watering for a few days. This allows the roots to get comfortable in its new soil. Also, to heal from any damage during the transfer.
Jade Plant Types
‘Gollum’ Jade Crassula Ovata

Using fertilizer isn’t a priority with this plant. However, if you want to give it a try, do so during its growing season. In fact, Crassula ovata ‘Gollum” can grow all year round, and actively grows in cooler months. Keep in mind it will need plenty of light to minimize stretching. A liquid balanced cactus or succulent fertilizer, that is low-nitrogen is best.

Crassulas are generally toxic to dogs and cats. Keep away from small children just to be sure. Additionally, visit the ASPCSA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for more info.

The Crassula Gollum naturally propagates via offsets. If you want to speed up the propagation process, this can be done by leaf and stem cuttings. Once you have the process down, you can easily multiply your Crassula collection.

Crassula ovata Gollum Propagation – Leaf cuttings

Leaf cuttings are taken by carefully removing the leaf off the stem. Gently twist the leaf to ensure you remove the entire leaf. Don’t leave any parts behind. This will increase the chances of successful propagation.

After removing the leaf, let it dry out for a few days so that the ends can callous over. Keep in mind, Gollum is one of the harder succulents to propagate via leaves. But, it is definitely possible.

An option is to dip the leaf in a rooting hormone. I usually skip this step but some people prefer using rooting hormones to speed up the process and increase success rates. Once dry, set it on top of well-draining soil and mist it with water. Keep the soil damp until new roots have grown in. As the leaves begin to take root, return to a regular watering schedule.

Crassula Gollum Stem cuttings 

Follow almost the same process as the leaf cuttings. First, take sharp, clean shears or scissors and cut 2-3 inch (5-7cm) long stem cuttings. This may be super scary at first. But, eventually you will be happy with the results.

Next, allow the Jade cuttings to dry for three to five days (depending on your climate) before planting in soil or propagating in water. Water propagation is one of my favorite methods and you can read more here.

Then, place your Gollum cutting in well-draining soil. Make sure the stem is upright. Eventually, you can test the cutting to see if it has roots. Do so by giving  your cutting a gentle tug. If there is resistance, it has established some roots. 

The base should eventually produce new babies. Finally, follow the above suggested watering instructions for your stem and leaf cuttings.

Crassula Ovata Gollum
Crassula Ovata Gollum Flowering

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is an evergreen succulent. Additionally, its tubular green tips turn red when grown in full sun. In late fall to early winter, look for white to light pink, star-shaped blooms with pink stamens. 

Jade plant flowers emit a sweet smell attracting bees, flies, wasps and butterflies. Indeed the main pollinators of this plant.

Gollum Jade will only bloom under ideal conditions. To get your Gollum plant to flower, it needs a cold period before dormancy. Also, allow your Crassula to stay outdoors on an enclosed patio or porch for a few weeks. Specifically, shorter and colder days will urge the plant to bloom.

Crassula Ovata Gollum
Bonsai Crassula Ovata Gollum

Crassula ovata Gollum plants are perfect for beginner Bonsai enthusiasts. Additionally, its trunk is thick, but branches are fine. Because the Gollum Jade tree is a succulent, it retains water in its trunk and branches. 

This water retention can help it naturally bend. Also, they respond really well to pruning. In fact, you should trim the Gollum Jade Bonsai regularly to maintain and refine the shape of a tree. Also, to encourage more dense foliage and to evenly distribute growth.

How to Bonsai a Jade Plant

Use bonsai shears to prune branches and shoots that have outgrown your desired canopy shape. Trees will concentrate the most growth on the top and outer parts of the stems. Don’t be afraid to trim regularly. 

I think the bigger the tree, the more impressive looking they are. Indoor Gollum Jade Bonsai can be pruned year-round.

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ Jade plants can grow up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall and 2 feet (61 cm) wide. I have seen some really old plants that have a super thick stem. In fact, treat them right and they can last for an incredibly long time.

Crassula Ovata Gollum
Crassula Ovata Gollum

Not too many issues affect Gollum Jade Plants. They are typically low-maintenance and easy to care for. Below are the most common problems affecting Crassulas.

Overwatering Gollum Jade Plants

Be wary of overwatering your Crassula, which is the number one killer of succulents. Overwatering kills succulents much faster than underwatering. Symptoms of overwatering include yellow, mushy leaves that easily fall off. Remedy this issue by removing your succulent from the overwatered soil and place it in fresh well-draining soil. Hold off on watering for a week or so. As mentioned earlier, use a moisture meter to take out the guesswork. 

Underwatering Gollum Jade 

Although overwatering is the most common, underwatering is also harmful to Gollum Jade Plants. However, it is much easier to fix. Give your succulent a good drink and it will usually perk up.

When it is underwatered, jade leaves will shrivel up and look wilted. Additionally, they can also send out air roots in search of moisture. Read more about air roots here.

Gollum Etiolation

Succulents often grow etiolated or stretched out. Indeed common, but easily preventable. When your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it “stretches” towards the sun. If you don’t keep your crassula in a bright location, it will grow stretched and less attractive.

However, once stretched out, it will not return to its original shape. Propagate the stem as mentioned above to give it a second chance. Also, increasing your collection size.

Gollum Jade Diseases 

Make sure you never let your Gollum stand in water. Specifically because this can cause root rot and other fungal diseases. Root rot is caused by consistent moisture and can lead to bacterial infections. However, it is easy to prevent. Therefore, avoid overwatering and always use well-draining soil.

Root rot is best caught early. So, routinely check for rot on your Gollum Jade. Rotted sections will be brown or black and mushy. Yuck! Specifically, the rot typically starts in the roots and spreads up the stem.

If you find an infected part, you’ll have to remove it. Otherwise it can spread. First, cut away the rotted section. Next, leave your Gollum out to callous over for a few days. Then, repot in fresh well-draining soil. Finally, keep an eye on watering.

Crassula Ovata Gollum Sunburn

Brown spots may appear on your Gollum Jade. These are most likely from sunburn. Definitely move your plant out of direct heat to prevent further damage. Learn how to save your sunburned succulents in our blog post here.

The Genus name “Crassula” comes from the Latin word crassus. Meaning thick for its thick leaves. Its specific epithet “ovata” derives from the Latin word “ovatus”. Which means “egg-shaped”, referring to the shape of the leaves. Finally, “Gollum” comes from JRR Tolkien’s character Gollum.

Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’
‘Gollum’ Jade - Crassula Ovata Gollum

These succulents generally do not require a lot of maintenance. The bottom leaves will brown and die off as the Gollum Jade grows. However, this is completely normal. Definitely remove old leaves to keep the plant happy and healthy. Also, so that they do not attract pests like evil mealybugs! 

Gollum Jade Mealybugs 

Mealybugs are the biggest pest threat to Gollum Jade plants. They love to hide in tiny crevices. So, be sure to inspect your plants regularly. Look for a white cottony web or disfigured leaves. Definitely eradicate them immediately.

These small white scale insects drink the sap out of plants. Additionally, they secrete honeydew that attracts ants. A Q-tip dipped in alcohol or a spray from an organic pest killing soap will do the trick. 

Spider mites on your Gollum Jade

Spider mites are tiny red or brown spiders that burrow into your plant’s soil. First white spots may appear on your Gollum Jade leaves. However, as the problem progresses, spider webbing can appear on the leaves and stem of your jade plant. In fact, this is when you will most likely notice them. 

Definitely remedy the problem with a 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water ASAP. Spray your Gollum leaves every week for several weeks. Indeed, ensuring that the spider mites and their eggs die. If not addressed, spider mites could kill your Jade plant.

Aphids and Scale on your Gollum Jade

In addition to mealybugs and spider mites, scale or aphids can also infest your Gollum Jade. Aphids are less common but still a potential threat to Crassulas Ovata Gollum. Similar to mealybugs, they suck out the sap. In fact, if left untreated, they will eventually kill your Gollum Jade.

Protect your Crassula by applying diatomaceous earth to the soil and neem oil to the succulent. Use an insecticidal soap to control existing infestations. Learn more about mealybug and other pest eradication in my blog post here.

Crassula Ovata Gollum FAQ’s

What are the white specks on my Crassula ovata Gollum plant?

White specks are mineral deposits. These are caused by using water with high salt content. They don’t damage your plant at all. However, if you don’t like the look of them you can wipe them off. To prevent them from continuing to pop up you can water with filtered or distilled water.

Why is there white fuzz on my Gollum Jade leaves? 

powdery mildew could also be to blame. Growth of white powdery mildew can be caused by low light conditions, low air circulation, cool temperatures and high humidity. Remedy this by spraying the leaves with a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon of non-detergent soap + 1 gallon of water.

Why are there black spots or black dots on my Gollum Jade leaves?

Black spots on your Gollum Jade plants could be from injury or disease. In fact, the most common reason for black spots is because of excess humidity or overwatering. Basically the plant is getting too much moisture. Specifically either in the air or in the soil. Often this happens in winter when overwatering is more common. Crassulas go into dormancy when light levels are low. Reducing water during the colder months is important to maintaining Jade Plant health.

Why are my Gollum Jade plant leaves shriveled?

Jade plants store water in their leaves. In fact, wrinkly or shriveled Jade leaves are a sign your plant is not getting enough water. Give it a good soak and your Gollum Jade should perk up within a day or two.

Why is my Crassula ovata Gollum dropping leaves?

When Jade plants drop leaves excessively, it may be from lack of light, overwatering or cold damage. Definitely move your Gollum plant to a sunnier spot if it is in the shade. If light isn’t your issue it may be getting too much water. Leaves may get slightly mushy and fall off with even the slightest touch. Only water the soil when it is thoroughly dry.

If it was recently left out in temperatures that were very cold, this may be the culprit. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do about the dead leaves from cold damage. Definitely remove the unhealthy leaves so nutrients can focus on new growth.

After pruning, make sure it gets a lot of sunlight. Rotate at each watering to make sure all the sides of your Jade get even amounts of light. Hold off on watering until the leaves slightly start to pucker.

Why are my Gollum leaves yellow?

If there are only one or two yellow leaves on your Gollum then it isn’t cause for concern. Although, if there are many yellow leaves there is a definite problem. Most likely it is from overwatering. Definitely check the root health and hold off on watering until your soil is completely dry.

Why is my Gollum Jade stem turning black?

When the stem is black and spreads up the stem is from root rot. Chop above the rotted portion of the stem and propagate the cutting. Follow the above propagation steps. Definitely make sure the new cutting is placed in well-draining soil.

Why is my Crassula ovata Gollum growing so slow?

Gollum Jade plants are slower growers than the more common Crassula ovata Jade plants. However, if it is growing slower than normal it may be from lack of sunlight, compacted soil, or lack of nutrients. Once you identify the cause either move to a sunnier spot, replace with fresh soil, or add some fertilizer. 

Why are my Crassula ovata Gollum leaves not propagating?

In order for a succulent leaf to properly propagate it must be healthy and a COMPLETELY full leaf. If any portion of the leaf is left on the stem the odds of propagating are slim. Leaves that drop due to overwatering usually rot pretty quickly. Keep in mind Gollum leaves are some of the harder succulents to propagate. 

Why is my Gollum Jade drooping? It is growing downward and bending.

Plants bend or grow downward if there is a lack of light. Limbs don’t actually droop because they are heavy (unless it is from root rot). Rather, because the branches and/or stems aren’t thick and strong enough to hold their weight. Many Jade plants are quite large and grow upright. Lack of sun is definitely the problem.

Compliment your Gollum Jade with these varieties:

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