Gollum Jade is a pretty succulent plant that overwinters wonderfully during the winter months indoors and goes back outside in the springtime. It’s a member of the jade plant family, and it’s related to the Hobbit Jade. If you noticed a pattern, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s listed under the Lord of the Rings and Shrek categories, and there are a few jade plants on the market that have now inherited movie nicknames. Very similar to the larger ET’s Fingers, Gollum Jade has tubular, long leaves that curl inward and have red tips. When it’s happy with the location and care, the plant can produce very small, pink-hued, star-shaped flowers during the summer months.
Gollum Jade is considered to be a good luck symbol, but you won’t need a lot of luck when it comes to the care of this plant. They don’t require much attention or effort to look lovely and keep them thriving. When you take care of this plant correctly, it can be stunning added to your outdoor garden or inside in a pretty container. Read on to understand how to take care of this plant below.
Gollum Jade is a pretty succulent that is very low-maintenance and easy to keep alive and thriving.
Defining Gollum Jade
Gollum Jade is a strange but fun variety of the well-known jade plant. It falls into the Tolkien group with a plant called Hobbit of Crassula ovata. It was named after the character in the Lord of the Rings, and it has green, long, tubular leaves with puckered tips that look like a trumpet. They curl up like bony, frail fingers did when Gollum looked for the ‘One Ring’. When you put it in bright light, the leaves will take on a light pink coloring at the tips. It’s also a smaller plant that will max out at three feet tall at full maturity.
The deviation of this plant from how the more traditional jade plant looks is said to be from a mutation caused by the mycoplasma bacterium. The mutation causes the flat leaves that you get on a normal jade plant to curl in on themselves and fuse together, and this gives you the distinct tubular look. You may hear this plant referred to as green coral jade or green trumpet jade.
Overview of Gollum Jade
|Common Name:||Gollum Jade, Coral Jade, Green Trumpet Jade|
|Fertilizer:||Only during the active growing season|
|Flower Color(s):||White or light pink|
|Origin:||Mozambique or South Africa|
|Pests:||Spider mites and mealybugs|
|Poisonous for Pets:||Toxic to dogs and cats|
|Propagation:||Seeds, offsets, stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings|
|Scientific Name:||Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’|
|Soil:||Well-drained loamy or sandy, succulent mix|
|Temperature:||Above 41°F if growing outdoors|
|Time to Mature Height:||10 to 15 years|
|Ultimate Height:||3 to 5 feet|
|Ultimate Spread:||1.5 to 3 feet|
Gollum Jade Growth Conditions
Gollum Jade offers a very unique mini tree-like look, and it offers oval-shaped leaves on woody stems that look a little like a bonsai tree. This plant is very appealing to have at home since it’s a low-maintenance option that is easy to care for once you understand the basics. They can get up to five feet high if you give them enough root space, or you can keep them small and compact by restricting the root space.
Gollum Jade is a wonderful indoor plant as it can live for years, and they can actually live 100 years or more if you take the time to care for them correctly. You can also grow this plant outdoors, but they’re typically kept as a houseplant. Outside, you can grow them as landscape plants if you live in an area that offers a mild, dry climate all year round. They’re prone to issues with the cold, so if you live in a region where the temperature dips by freezing in the winter, it’s best to grow them indoors. If it drops below 41°F, grow your Gollum Jade inside using the following instructions.
Feed or Fertilize
Fertilizing isn’t strictly necessary with this plant, but giving them a round of fertilizer every once in a while will give them the nutrients they need to encourage blooms and proper growth. It takes a lot of energy for your plant to produce flowers, and feeding them additional nutrients will help supplement their needs during the active flowering season. The most common recommendations for fertilizing with this plant is to fertilize during the active growing season in spring and summer.
You want to apply your fertilizer at half or quarter strength every two weeks. Don’t fertilize toward the end of the fall months or during the winter months. A balanced fertilizer blend diluted to half strength is more suitable and commonly used for Gollum Jade. You can also use fertilizers specially formulated for succulents and cacti.
This plant doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer, just like most succulents. However, a small amount in spring or summer can encourage better growth.
In the United States, Gollum Jade can survive in zones 9 and 10, so the frost tolerance is between 20°F and 40°F. It can tolerate mild frost and slightly freezing temperatures if it has to as long as it’s for a short period of time. If you live in planting zones 9 and 10, you can leave your Gollum Jade outside all year-round.
For those that live in an area with more extreme conditions during the winter, the best way to grow your Gollum Jade is in a container. This way, you can easily bring them inside during the winter or when you have snow or frost in the forecast. If you can’t bring your plants inside, you can take steps to protect them from freezing outside. You can set up a mini greenhouse or get frost cloths to help them survive during the colder weather.
Put your plant in a bright location inside, anywhere you have plenty of natural light. One good place to try is an east-facing window, or a west or south-facing window could work. This plant will turn a deeper shade of green when you keep it in partial or full shade, and it turns a lighter color with more pronounced red tips when you expose it to the sun.
If your Gollum Jade starts to decline due to lack of light, you want to shift it to a brighter area. You will be able to tell by how your plant starts growing whether or not it’s getting enough sun. If it starts to become leggy or stretched out, this means that it’s not getting enough light to be happy, and this is a process called etiolation. The plant is seeking more light, and this will cause stunted and weak growth if you don’t address it. To keep this plant happy, you need to give it between four and six hours of bright sunlight each day.
This plant won’t tolerate poor lighting for an extended period of time. If your indoor space doesn’t have good enough light no matter where you position your plant, you can consider getting grow lights. Grow lights can supplement the plants’ lighting requirements during those dark, long winters.
Ideally, you’ll put your Gollum Jade in an area that gets full sun to light shade. It does best planted or put in spaces that get partial, bright light. It can tolerate full sun too but you need to acclimate it to full sun to help prevent scorching or burning. The plant will take on a bright, lime green coloring with more light exposure. When you keep it in shade, it stays dark green. The red tips also show more with sun exposure.
Before you move it outside and increase how much sunlight it gets each day, you want to gradually acclimate the plant by increasing the amount of light it gets until it’s fully acclimated to more intense sun conditions. Generally, it tolerates morning sunlight better than afternoon as it’s not as intense. You can start by slowly exposing the plant to direct morning sun and gradually transitioning it to more intense light and heat in the afternoon hours.
Use furniture or taller plants for protection or shade. You can also get sunshades to protect your plants from the scorching summer sun during a heatwave or the summer, as your plant can still get a burn, even if it’s accustomed to getting full sun.
Like any succulent you have, Gollum Jade needs a very well-draining soil to be happy. The right type of soil will go hand in hand with good watering practices. One simple mixture that can work well for this plant is a cactus potting mix combined with perlite to increase the drainage. You want roughly a 2:1 solution of gritty cactus mix to perlite. You can also make a sandy soil to increase the drainage and add it to the mix. You get this by mixing cactus soil or potting soil with coarse sand at a 2:1 ratio. You can also go 1:1:1 for the mix using coarse sand, perlite, and cactus mix.
Even though this plant can tolerate mild frost, it’s not cold-hardy and won’t survive if the temperature dips below 28°F. They’re also not a very heat-tolerant plant, and they will burn if you leave them out in the intense afternoon sun. For the best results, put your Gollum Jade in temperatures between 45°F and 80°F. It also prefers lower to average room humidity levels, and you want to avoid misting and keep them in areas with good air circulation.
Just like most succulents, Gollum Jade is very sensitive when it comes to watering. They need less water compared to other types of succulents. So, overwatering can be a huge issue with this plant, especially for new gardeners. To avoid killing your plant due to too much water, you should always double-check the soil to ensure it’s dry an inch down before you water your plant to make sure it’s 100% dry. If it’s completely dry, it’s time to water. If it’s damp, don’t water it. You can also get a soil moisture meter to remove any guesswork.
When it’s time to water your Gollum Jade plant, you should try to use distilled or filtered water as this plant is very sensitive to the salt in the tap water. Also, avoid getting the leaves wet or splashing your plant because this can lead to rot in humid environments.
You want to be very careful when it comes to watering your plant so you don’t overwater it as this can lead to root rot or mold issues.
Gollum Jade Dormancy
During the winter and fall months, this plant will go dormant. This dormancy period causes the plant to stop their growth entirely or slow down drastically. So, you want to cut back on the watering as they don’t need nearly as much as they do during the winter or spring months. To make it simple, you should only water them once or twice through the dormancy period and wait for the soil to dry out between watering sessions.
Gollum Jade Propagation
You can propagate your Gollum Jade plant using leaf or stem cuttings. The easiest way to do this is using stem cuttings. When you use the leaves on this plant, it’s better to pick a few to start because not all of them will survive the process.
- To start this process, you’ll gently pull a leaf out, making sure you get the whole leaf, including the base. Give the leaf a small twist to remove it from the plant. Try to find a nice rounded leaf that looks healthy. It also helps to use more than one leaf because not all of them will propagate successfully.
- HappyDIYHome Tip: Dip the cut ends into rooting hormones as this can help to speed up the propagation process, especially when you use leaves.
- Wait for your leaves to dry out for a day or two, and make sure that you put them in a dry location away from any direct sunlight exposure.
- Prepare your well-draining potting mix. One the leaves are dry, lay them flat on the soil or stick the cut ends down into the soil mixture.
- The leaves should start putting out roots in a week or two. In a few weeks, you’ll see a baby Gollum Jade plant emerging from the soil, and the entire process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month.
- It takes longer to propagate your plants from leaves than it does from stem cuttings. The success rate is also much higher for stem cuttings than it is for leaf cuttings, so keep this in mind when you’re trying to propagate the plant.
Stem Cutting Propagation
- Get a cutting and allow it to dry out for a day or two. Allow the cut ends to dry and form a callus or seal. You only want to take cuttings from healthy-looking plants with plump leaves, and avoid stressed or dehydrated plants.
- HappyDIYHome Tip: Dip the cut ends into rooting hormones as this can help to speed up the propagation process.
- Once you allow the cut to heal and dry, you can then stick it into a well-draining potting soil mix. Keep it away from the direct sunlight and water or mist the soil every few days when it feels dry to the touch.
- You’ll notice new roots start to grow in roughly a week or two.
- After four to six weeks or more, your cuttings should be fully rooted, and you should start to notice new growth developing along the sides and top of the stem.
- Once the plant is fully rooted, you can cut back on misting the plant and switch to watering it regularly around once a week or so. Increase the sunlight exposure as the plant matures.
Cultivating your Gollum Jade plant is a relatively easy process, so you can easily get a host of these plants from one main plant.
Pruning Gollum Jade Plant
If you think that your Gollum Jade needs a little pruning, you can prune it at any time during the year. However, it’s best to save this project for spring or summer so your plant can recover. If you spot any dying or dead leaves, feel free to remove them. Also, to prune them, you:
- Don’t take more than 20 cuts at a time when you prune.
- Ensure that you use a pair of sharp, clean pruning scissors or shears
- Know that the plant will grow two new stems in any area you prune, and this can lead to having a much bushier plant. If you don’t want this, prune the new growth.
- Look for leaves with brown rings or brown rings on the stem
Tips for Caring for Gollum Jade
Generally speaking, Gollum Jade is a low-maintenance plant, but there are a few tips you can use to make sure it grows and thrives. They include:
- Encourage Flowering – Encourage your mature plant to produce the pretty, pinkish-white, star-shaped flowers in a few steps. You want to make a point to not overwater them as this can lead to root rot. Give the plant enough light, and ideally, this is bright but indirect morning light. Finally, overwinter your Gollum Jade by keeping them in a dry, cool place during the winter.
- Mind the Sunlight Exposure – Gollum Jade requires at least four hours of sunlight in the morning hours, but too much bright light can cause the leaves to burn. If your plant’s leaves develop brown or yellow spots, move it to a spot that gets less light.
- Water Sparingly – This is a succulent plant that doesn’t need much water to be happy. You want to carefully water your plant when the soil is very dry. Overwatering can hurt the plant and lead to root rot. During the dormancy period each year, this plant needs very little water. You should water it twice over the winter months, and this is plenty.
Getting Gollum Jade to Bloom
This plant will produce star-shaped flowers that are light pink or white in color. While it’s always a good thing when your succulents bloom, keep in mind that not all Gollum Jade plants are ready to flower, and some may not produce flowers at all. A lot of this depends on environmental factors, but there are a few things you can do to encourage your plant to flower. They include:
Overwintering is an important part of Gollum Jade care, especially if you want this plant to bloom. You can achieve it by putting your plant in a relatively dry and cool spot during the winter months. Keep them cool during the winter months in an area with temperatures just above freezing, between 35-degrees F to 44-degrees F. If you keep them indoors during the winter, put them in a non-heated room and keep the temperatures low to give them the cold winter period they need.
Make sure that your Gollum Jade is mature enough. When the plant blooms, this means that it’s ready to reproduce. If the plant is too young, this means that it’s not ready to reproduce and it wont’ bloom. You’ll have to give your plant some time. Usually, if the plant is three years old or above, it will mature enough to create flowers.
Plenty of Light
You want to make sure that your plants are getting enough sunlight throughout the year and you keep them in a bright location, even during the dormant winter period.
You’ll have to provide the proper temperatures to keep your plant happy. They need distinctly different temperatures during the day and night, as well as during the winter and summer months. Succulents like cooler temperatures at night between 50-degrees F and 55-degrees F. Indoors, these temperatures range between 60-degrees F and 65-degrees F at night. These temperature swings in the morning and night mimic your succulent’s natural habitat, and the cooler night temperatures are a critical part of your plant’s growth cycle.
Common Gollum Jade Problems
Golllum Jade is usually an easy going succulent, but it can face some issues that other succulents have too.
A few of the biggest ones include:
Black Mold on Leaves
When black mold forms on your plant leaves, this is a symptom that the humidity levels are far too high. Wipe off the mold using soapy water and put your plant in a dry spot where the humidity levels are lower and it gets more light.
Leaves Falling Off
If you notice that your plant is starting to drop leaves, this is usually due to poor lighting conditions. If you have put your Gollum Jade in a very dark corner that gets little light, the plant will start to shed the leaves. In this case, you want to move the plant to a brighter area in partial shade or in a spot that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight.
Generally, this plant isn’t susceptible to attacks by pests, but these bugs can present a problem. They form cottony, white patches at the leaf joints and feed on the plant’s sap. These bugs secrete a substance that is very sticky and called honeydew. Some insecticidal soap and chemical solutions can be too harsh on your plant’s leaves, but you can wipe them off with cotton balls or rubbing alcohol on the leaves.
White or Gray Mold on the Soil
Gray or white mold will develop on the top layer of your plant’s soil because of over-fertilization or overwatering. You can manually remove the mold and adjust your fertilizing or watering schedule to match your plant’s needs.
If you notice your plant leaves are getting less plump and they’re starting to wrinkle, it’s probably due to the fact that the plant isn’t getting enough water. Underwatering is less common when it comes to issues compared to overwatering, but it can happen if you neglect your plant.
The leaves will then start to droop due to drought stress, and they become wrinkled and thin. Wrinkled leaves will become crisp and eventually fall off. Maintain a regular watering schedule for your plant and check the soil before you water. If the soil is complete dry, water your plant.
Yellowing or Blackening of Leaves
If the leaves on your plant start to look black or yellow, it’s a sign that you’re watering too much. This is the most common issue with Gollum Jade. Overwatering causes your leaves to turn soft, yellow, and mushy before eventually killing the plant. Let the soil dry 100% before you water it again, and check that it has well-draining soil.
Now you know how to grow Gollum Jade and keep it healthy and thriving. This pretty succulent will give you an interesting look for years if you get the growth conditions correct, and it’s a low-maintenance plant to add to your collection.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.