Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is a much-loved Jade Plant. In warm climates it can grow outdoors as a small shrub, but it also really shines as a low maintenance indoor plant. It also tolerates low-light conditions. When grown indoors, this plant stays small. Woody branches make this a favorite among bonsai growers. ‘Gollum’ leaves are shaped more like a spoon, with the edges curled in upon themselves. Instead of fully rounded leaves, they are more of a half circle, really tight and tall.
Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ and Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit’ Jade are often confused in literature, by nurseries, and are often used interchangeably. They have some similar features and both names taken from JRR Tolkien’s writings. They both share many common names: Spoon jade, Gollum jade, Hobbit Jade, Ogres Ears, Shrek’s Ears, ET’s fingers, Finger jade, Trumpet jade.
“Soak and drain” method
Filtered / Partial Sun, Bright Indoor Light
Minimum 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C)
Well-draining soil, use a container with good drainage
Fertilize monthly during the growing season
Up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall
Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’
Spoon jade, Gollum jade, Hobbit Jade, Ogres Ears, Shrek’s Ears, ET’s fingers, Finger jade, Organ Pipe Jade Plant, Trumpet jade
Generally toxic to dogs and cats
Gollum Jade plant is a fairly slow growing succulent. Much slower than the common Crassula Ovata. It grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and around 2 feet (60 cm) wide at maturity. The leaves can be up to 2 inches long. Crassula Gollum Jade Plants are typically dormant in the winter months. 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 outdoors in a flowerbed or pot.
Succulents, including Crassula, store water in the plump leaves to survive drought. This plant does not have very high watering needs. Replicate its natural habitat by giving your Crassula a deep watering. Then, let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
Hobbit Jade only needs minimal water during the winter. Remember, as with most succulents, less is more! If in doubt, be sure to use a moisture meter. Very inexpensive and it really helped me when I was new to succulents.
Crassula Ovata Gollum Jade has moderate light needs and does well in filtered light, partial sun, bright indoor light or full sun once acclimated. While ‘Hobbit’ Jade can tolerate partially shaded conditions, it will put on the best growth and coloration in bright sun.
Gollum Jade Plants are not cold hardy. They do well in the ground or in a pot outside in warm or hot climates. Be sure to 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 2:1:1 ratio. Even when I use a commercial cactus soil mix I still add perlite for increased drainage.
Crassulas need to be repotted every few years to avoid compacted soil. Repot during the summer when the soil is dry. Start by gently brushing the soil off the roots. Inspect the roots for rot or other problems that are usually underground. Place in fresh well-draining soil and hold off on watering for a few days. This will allow the roots to get comfortable and heal from any damage during transfer.
The Crassula Gollum naturally propagate 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.
Leaf cuttings are taken by carefully removing the leaf off of the stem. Gently twist the leaf to ensure that you remove the entire leaf and don’t leave any parts behind. This will increase the chances of successful propagation. That section in between the leaf and stem is what enables the cutting to grow roots.
After removing the leaf, let it dry out for a few days so that the ends can callous over. 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.
Stem cuttings follow almost the exact same process as leaf cuttings. Take a sharp pair of clean shears or scissors and cut 2-3 inch long stem cuttings. This may be a frightening experience at first, but eventually you will be happy with the results. When removing offsets or stem cuttings, allow them 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. When placing in soil make sure the stenstem cutting is upright, and in well-draining soil. You can test if it has roots by gently pulling on it. If there is resistance, it has established some roots. The base should eventually produce new babies. Follow the above watering suggested watering instructions for leaf cuttings.
In late fall to early winter, look for white to pink star-shaped blooms with pink stamens. Gollum Jade will only bloom under ideal conditions. To get your Gollum plant to flower, it needs a cold period before dormancy. Allow your Crassula to stay outdoors on an enclosed patio or porch for a few weeks. Shorter and colder days will urge the plant to bloom.
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. If you still aren’t sure of when to water, a moisture meter will take out the guesswork.
Underwatering is harmful to Crassulas, but much easier to fix. Give your succulent a good drink and it will usually perk up. When underwatered, the succulent leaves will shrivel up and the plant will wilt. They can also send out air roots. Read more about air roots here.
Etiolation is a common, but easily preventable problem with succulents. When the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it stretches toward the sun. If you don’t keep your crassula in a bright location, it will grow stretched and less attractive.
Once stretched out, it will not return to its tight rosette. Propagate the stem as mentioned above to give it a second chance and increase your collection size.
Genus name comes from the Latin word crassus meaning thick for the thick leaves. The specific epithet “ovata” derives from the Latin “ovatus,” meaning “egg-shaped
” and refers to the shape of the leaves. Gollum is taken from JRR Tolkien’s writings.
They generally do not require a lot of maintenance. The bottom leaves will brown and die off as the Crassula grows, and this is normal. Be sure to remove these to keep the plant healthy and so that it does not attract pests like the evil mealy bug!
Mealybugs are the biggest pest threat to your succulents. They love to hide in crevices on your Crassula so be sure to inspect your plants regularly. If signs of mealy bugs appear in the form of a white cottony web or disfigured leaves, be sure to eradicate them immediately. These small white scale insects drink the sap out of plants and secrete honeydew that attracts ants. A Q-tip dipped in alcohol or a spray from an organic pest killing soap will do the trick. Read my complete post on mealybugs eradication here.
Aphids are less common but still a potential threat to Crassulas. Like mealybugs, they suck out the sap. If left untreated, they will eventually kill your succulent. Protect your echeveria by applying diatomaceous earth to the soil and neem oil to the succulent. Use insecticidal soap to control existing infestations.
Learn more about Mealybug and pest eradication here.
Make sure you never let your Crassula stand in water or else the chances of root rot and other fungal diseases will increase. Root rot is caused by consistent moisture and can lead to bacterial infections. The good news is that it is easy to prevent. Avoid overwatering and use a well-draining soil.
Root rot is best caught early, so routinely check for rot on your Crassula. Rotted sections will be brown or black and mushy. The rot usually starts in the roots and spreads up the stem. If you find an infected part, you’ll have to remove it or else it will spread. After cutting away the rotted section, leave your succulent out of the soil for a few days so it can dry out and callous over. Repot in fresh well-draining soil and keep an eye on watering.
Brown spots may appear on your Crassula. These are most likely from sunburn. Move your plant out of direct heat to prevent further damage. Learn how to save your sunburned succulents here.
Compliment your Crassula with these varieties:
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