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The Care and Growth of
for low water
gardens. These plants are
easy to grow in hot dry areas and also make great houseplants.
Their care is similar to cactus (without the thorns).
Succulent Spoon Jade or Gollum Jade
One of my
favorite succulent plants is named Crassula portulacea, commonly called
Horseshoe or Spoon Jade.
Recently they've been called Shrek Plant, Gollum
Fingers, ET Fingers or Hobbit Plant because their dark green leaves
fingers with reddish tips.
These plants can take full sun to
light shade. They are happy indoors as houseplants or outdoors for dry
These water-wise succulent plants like heat and sun whether you grow
indoors, in containers or in the garden.
Crassula portulacea are just as easy to care for as
their cousin, crassula ovata.
Both plants can take up to 6 hours of sun a day, have similar growth
habits and look interesting grouped together in the garden.
If your jade
yellow or brown spots on the leaves, it is either stress or
sunburn. If they are in a pot, try moving the plant to an area
sun. If they're outdoors, try giving them a nice soak and they
should perk up. During heat waves you might want to try giving
them some temporary shade with a shade cloth or umbrella.
Plants in Containers
In plant pots Crassula portulacea will remain
often used for bonsai to take to look of old trees or shrubs.
slowly and can be trimmed
into the shape of trees with interesting trunks. In the ground
they will eventually reach
a height of 4 to 5 feet tall.
Older plants take on a unique
gnarled look and can add an underwater look to your garden.
Gollum Jade is great if you don't have time to fuss over a demanding
Crassula happily oblige and even produce blooms in late winter.
This increases their value as a landscape plant in my book as winter
blooming plants are uncommon.
Shrek Plants produce flower clusters that
look like tiny bouquets of daisies. Bloom color can range from
light to dark pink, some have a salmon or coral tint. The plant I
started as a small cutting two years ago is blooming for the first time
this year. Established plants should bloom reliably each year.
These shrubs are called succulent plants because they store their water
their trunks and leaves. This allows them to get by with little
water. All that stored water can make them susceptible to rot if
they sit in a pool of wet dirt. Let the soil dry out between
watering to keep them happy.
Crassula Plant Problems
Rot will show up as warped trunks, sometimes with
them. The mushy insides eventually dissolves, leaving a brown
outer crust. This material will not come back, so throw it on the
Crassula are best grown in USDA
Zones 9b – 11. Every year, mine are able to take a light frost
for a few hours. But I'd give them overhead protection in winter
if you are in a cold area.
Light frost damage will show up
as tiny brown spots, kind of like
freckles or scabs. Although unattractive, your plant should be
fine, but the spots won't go away. Sometimes entire leaves will
freeze and fall off.
A bad case of frost damage
will freeze the plant solid, when it thaws it looks mushy and soft,
like rot. Anything that is still solid should come back.
Take off the
green mush and toss that into the compost pile. Any parts of the
plant that are not mushy and are still green have to potential to
resprout. Just resist the temptation to water them!
drought tolerant cactus and succulents has become
popular out here in the southwest where we sometimes have water
rationing and shortages.
Crassula Portulacea plants add a
touch and are an easy and reliable addition to any
For tips on how to expand your collection of plants with
stem or leaf cuttings, visit my Succulent Plant