How to Care for ‘Gollum’ Jade (Crassula ovata)


How to care for gollum jade succulents

Water gollum jade once every 2 to 3 weeks. Allow the soil dry out between watering. Gollum jade prefer 4 hours of direct sunlight and grow well at typical room temperature between 55°F-80°F. Plant gollum jade in well draining succulent and cacti soil to prevent root rot.

Gollum Jade succulents are very easy, low maintenance plants to care for and grow very well indoors as house plants.

Keep reading for all the best practices for growing gollum jade to keep your plant healthy…

Gollum Jade Succulent (Crassula ovata) plant profile:

Care/Requirements‘Gollum’ Jade (Crassula ovata) Care
Sun:Grows best in 4 hours or more of direct sun, survives in bright indirect light.
Water:Water with a good soak when the potting soil is dry. Typically water once every 2 weeks but this varies according to climate and conditions.
Symptoms of Over Watering:Gollum leaves turn brown or yellow with a soft mushy texture.
Symptoms of Under Watering:Leaves are less plump and turn wrinkly with some drooping.
Soil:Require, gritty, well draining succulent and cacti soil to avoid root rot.
Hardiness:Hardy to USDA zone 10. Can survive light frost but use horticultural fleece. Grows well indoors.
Pots and Containers:Grows and propagates will in pots and containers that are proportionate in size to the root ball.
Active Growing Season:Can grow all year round, grows more actively in the Spring and Fall.
Dormancy:Can be dormant in extreme heat to conserve water. Grows slower in Winter due to less light.
Preferred Temperature Range:Grows well at room temperature. Can tolerate a wide range of temperature. Avoid freezing conditions. 55°F-80°F (13°C-27°C) is consider optimal.
Feeding:Does not require much fertilizer. Larger plants can benefit from feeding once per month during active growth in Spring and Fall.
Size at Maturity:Grows very slowly but can be over 1 ft in height and width. Stays small if kept in a smaller pot or container.
Flowering:Gollum Jade can produce small white flowers in Winter in the right conditions.
Longevity:Reports of Crassula ovata species living over 100 years.

How Much Sunlight For Gollum Jade?

Gollum jade succulents are native to Southern Africa where they grow best in morning sun followed by shade in the afternoon which protects them from intense heat.

In their native habitat gollum jade often grows on rocky hillsides to avoid the full intensity of the sun all day.

This allows gollum jade to grow very well as house plants located in a sunny window and they can even grow relatively well (albeit slower) in bright indirect light.

If your gollum succulent is in too much shade the leaves turn light green and grow a leggy appearance.

The tips of gollum succulent leaves turn red or pinkish as a response to direct sunlight.

If the red coloration is extending across the whole of the leaf this can indicate stress from too much direct sunlight.

With the optimal amount of sunlight your gollum jade leaves turn red at the tips and stay in a nice compact shape rather then a leggy appearance.

How to Water Gollum Jade (Crassula ovata)

How Often to Water Gollum Succulents:

Gollum jade is a drought resistant succulent, native to South Africa that is well adapted to hot and dry conditions, in gritty, well draining soils on hillsides with infrequent rainfall.

Therefore to care for your gollum jade properly it is important to replicate the watering and typical soil moisture conditions of its native environment.

Water gollum jade with a generous soak so that water trickles from the drainage hole in the base of the pot. Allow the soil dry out completely before watering again to met the moisture requirements of gollum jade and avoid root rot.

Typically this means water your gollum jade once every 14 days or so although this varies according to the climate, and conditions in your home or garden.

How quickly the potting soil dries out, determines how often you should water your specific gollum plant.

To establish how often to water your gollum jade in your home water the soil with a generous soak and monitor the soil moisture by feeling the soil at the bottom of the pot through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

If the soil feels damp then delay watering for a few days and wait till the soil feels dry.

When the soil feels dry this is the perfect time to water your gollum succulent with a good soak.

How Much to Water Gollum Jade:

Always soak the soil with a generous amount of water (rather then a light watering) so that excess water trickles from the bottom of the pot.

This ensures that the water has infiltrated the soil and reached the roots so they can uptake the moisture the require.

Symptoms of Over watering:

Gollum Jade has adapted to living in dry climates so they are more at risk of over watering then under watering when cultivated by gardeners.

The signs of an over watered gollum jade are leaves that turn yellow or brown with a mushy texture to them. The leaves can also look somewhat droopy.

If this happens to your gollum jade then scale back the watering and allow the soil to dry out.

Replace the soil with succulent and cacti soil to ensure good drainage to avoid root rot.

(Read my article on how to revive a dying jade plant if your plant looks unhealthy)

Symptoms of Under Watering:

Wrinkled leaves are the best indication of an under watered gollum jade.

The leaves wrinkle and sometimes droop as a response to drought stress from not watering often enough or watering too lightly.

Drought stress can be exacerbated by excess air flow from draughts, air conditioning or forced air in the home which saps more moisture from the leaves and the soil dries more quickly.

The leaves also look thinner as the moisture that they are storing becomes depleted.

If this happens to your gollum jade then increase how often you are watering the plant (always ensure that the soil dries out between bouts of watering to avoid root rot) and monitor how quickly the soil dries, adjusting your watering schedule accordingly.

Water with a generous soak and locate the gollum in an area with strong wind or excessive air currents and the plant can recover in 2 or 3 cycles of watering.

(Read my article how to water jade plants for all the best practices for watering).

Best Soil For Gollum Jade Succulents

Gollum jade succulents grow in gritty, well draining soil on rocky hill sides in their native South Africa.

Therefore this drought tolerant plant does not tolerate being grown in moisture retaining potting soil, so it is important to emulate the soil conditions of their native habitat.

Plant your gollum jade plant in a specially prepared succulent and cactus potting soil with is formulated the to mimic the soil profile of the succulents preferred conditions with a larger particle size and a well draining porous structure.

Ordinary potting soil retains too much moisture around the roots for too long, for this drought resistant plant and causes the same symptoms as over watering and can cause root rot.

Pots and Containers for Gollum Jade Succulents

To keep your gollum jade nice and compact plant it in a pot that is proportionate to the size of the root ball.

Gollum jade plants can grow very large at more then 1 ft in height and width (although very slowly) and larger pots promote more growth.

So your pot size really depends on how large you want the gollum succulent to be as it matures.

Although keep in mind that larger pots contain more soil and therefore have a greater capacity for holding moisture which can increase the risk of root rot.

It is important however to plant your gollum jade in a pot with drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to escape properly between bouts of watering.

Gollum jade can grow in any type of pot but clay or terracotta pots are considered best as they are somewhat porous which allows the soil to dry more efficiently then plastic pots.

Gollum jade is a hardy plant that can tolerate its root being somewhat pot bound, but you should re-pot your gollum to a larger pot to prevent the roots blocking drainage holes which can cause the water to drain too slowly.

Re-potting is best done in Spring but can be done successfully at any time of year.

Active growth and Seasonal Dormancy of Gollum Jade

Gollum jade succulents are capable of tolerating high temperature but can enter a state of dormancy (where the growth slows to reduce the demand for water) during the hottest period of Summer as a survival strategy to cope with hot, dry and hostile conditions in their native Southern African environment.

When temperatures exceed 80°F (27°C) in Summer for a consistent period then the gollum jade slows down growth so it can conserve its resources, particularly water.

When the succulent is in a state of dormancy it can be more susceptible to root rot as the plant has a lower demand for water.

So do not necessarily water you gollum more often in Summer if the temperature are very high.

As long as the potting soil dries out between bouts of watering then the gollum plant should be okay during its dormancy and start actively growing when the temperatures are cooler.

Gollum jade grows at a faster rate (although still very slowly) during Spring and Fall as there is often a balance between bright light and the optimal temperatures for growth.

Gollum jade often grow slower in Winter due to fewer hours of day light and a lower intensity of light which can reduce demand for moisture. Water your gollum jade once every 2 or 4 weeks in Winter.

Temperature Range and Rate of Growth

Gollum jade grows very well in typical range of room temperature of between approximately 55°F-80°F (13°C-27°C).

However gollum jade plants can tolerate a wider range of temperatures, even tolerating the occasional light frost although it is recommend that you use horticultural fleece to prevent frost damage and it can die back in freezing temperatures.

The larger and more established gollum plants can tolerate greater extremes of temperature.

In temperatures that exceed 80°F (27°C) for long periods the gollum succulent can turn dormant to conserve water and resumes growing in cooler temperatures.

Gollum jade succulents are relatively slow growers but can exceed over 1 ft in height and width in the right conditions. Gollum jade plants can also live for more then 100 years.

Gollum plants grow well in good lighting so if you want to increase the rate of growth then a grow light can be used indoors to supplement day light for more growth.

Fertilizer for Gollum Jade

Gollum succulents are adapted to growing in gritty, sandy soil which are often low in nutrients, so they are not heavy feeders and do not necessarily require additional fertilizer compared with other house plants.

However fertilizer can be used to increase growth although you should only feed succulents in the growing months of Spring and Fall, once per month for healthy growth.

I personally prefer to use a specialist succulents and cacti fertilizer (available from garden centers and Amazon) as it contains all the nutrients that zebra succulents require at the right concentrations to avoid problems with over feeding your succulents.

Avoid using fertilizer in the Winter or during high temperatures in Summer whilst the succulent is not growing as actively.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gollum jade grows in full sun or bright indirect light in gritty, well draining soil and grows well at room temperature. Water gollum jade with a generous soak and let the soil dry out between bouts watering.
  • Plant gollum jade in specially formulated succulent and cacti soil. in a pot with drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to escape so that the soil dries out to avoid root rot.
  • Too much sun can turn the leaves completely red whereas not enough sun and the leaves turn light green with a leggy appearance. Place gollum jade in an bright indirect light or ideally in morning sun followed by afternoon shade.
  • Gollum jade actively grows in the months of Spring and Fall when the temperatures are mild and there is more hours of brighter light. gollum jade succulents grow slower in Winter in response to fewer hours of light and can go dormant in Summer in high temperatures. Only water gollum drought tolerant jade when the soil is dry to prevent root rot.

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