Ogre Ear Succulent, Crassula Ovata Gollum, is an increasingly popular houseplant with people falling love with its quirky appearance and unusual leaves. As a bonus, it’s also easy to care for and will thrive in warm temperatures with little water.
Crassula Ovata Gollum has thick, fleshy leaves that are shaped like the conical ears commonly depicted in drawings of fictional ogres, hence its common name of Ogre Ears. In fact, its scientific name, Crassula Ovata Gollum, comes from the character Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
It is also now known by its new nickname, Shrek Ear Succulent, after the popular animated movie character.
In this blog post, we’re going to guide you through how to care for your Ogre Ear succulent to keep it thriving and healthy in your home or outdoor space.
Crassula ovata ‘Gollum,’ is also commonly known as Ogre Ear succulent, Shrek Ear succulent, Gollum Jade, Finger Jade or Jade Gollum.
It is a variety of jade plant (Crassula Ovata) that has been created by selectively breeding Jade plants over time to establish this particular variety.
The leaves have a rich green tint and might be white or yellow variegated. This succulent is indigenous to South Africa and thrives in rocky, arid environments.
The leaves of Ogre Ear succulent are long and tubular-shaped with a smooth, shiny surface and a reddish hue at the tips. Their shape and resemble to ogre ears, small green trumpets or fingers (although we think that last one is a bit of a stretch) give rise to their common names.
The leaves can grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and often have a small, reddish or yellowish groove along the center.
It has woody stems and takes on a tree shape with multiple branches.
How Big Do Ogre Ear Succulents Get?
Given the right conditions, an ogre ear succulent can grow up to 3 ft (90 cm) tall and 2 ft (60 cm) wide. However, it is a slow-growing plant, and they are generally a little smaller than that if grown in a container.
Does Crassula Ovata Gollum Flower?
A mature Shrek Ear succulent can flower with small, star-shaped white blooms that have a pinkish tinge in winter. The flowers appear in clusters on short stems above the leaves.
However, Ogre Ear succulent is mainly grown for its unusually shaped leaves and beautiful ‘mini-tree’ structure rather than its flowers.
Ogre Ear Succulent Care
This plant tolerates neglect and is very simple to care for.
Ogre Ear is an excellent option if you’re searching for an easy succulent. It can thrive indoors or outdoors with minimal watering. It is ideal for novices or people who don’t have much time to devote to plant maintenance.
Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your ogre ear succulent.
How Much Sun Light Does An Ogre Ear Succulent Need?
An Ogre Ear succulent likes plenty of bright light. Ideally, an ogre ear succulent should receive approximately 4 – 6 hours of bright light per day.
If possible, it is best to place the plant in an area where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. This will help prevent the leaves from burning or drying out.
The reddish tinge to the ends of the leaves may disappear if your succulent is kept in light levels that are too low.
Ogre Ear can tolerate full sun if you live in a milder climate where the sun is less intense. If you live in an area with hot, intense sun, your succulent will prefer bright, indirect light rather than direct sun, which can cause sunburn and result in brown, shriveled leaves.
If grown indoors, a sunny window is the ideal spot. Just make sure you rotate the plant every few weeks so all sides of the plant receive light evenly and it grows straight.
During the winter months, you may need to provide additional light with a grow light or fluorescent lamp.
How Much Water Does An Ogre Ear Succulent Need?
Crassula Ovata Gollum succulents are drought tolerant and only need to be watered occasionally, perhaps once every two weeks. In hot summer conditions, or if your plant is flowering, you may need to increase the frequency. In cool winters, you may need to reduce watering to only once every month.
The key to watering your Ogre Ear succulent is to wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. Water deeply and allow the soil to dry out before rewatering.
If your succulent is in a pot with drainage holes, the bottom-soaking method is preferable. Allow any excess water to drain from the holes before placing the pot back on its tray in its usual spot.
If planted outdoors or in a container with no drainage holes, water thoroughly from the top of the soil, but don’t drown the soil (as the excess water has nowhere to go).
Over-watering can lead to root rot, and Crassula Ovata Gollum is particularly susceptible to root rot. So be sure to err on the side of too little water rather than too much.
Here are a few tips for watering your Ogre Ear succulents:
- Water deeply, but less often. It’s better to give your plants a good soaking once a fortnight than to water them lightly every day. Let the water run through until it comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, then discard any additional water that has been collected in the pot’s tray.
- Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. Don’t let your succulents sit in soggy soil, as this can lead to root rot.
- If you’re unsure whether or not your succulents need water, check the soil before watering. If it’s dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
It is recommended to use terracotta or unglazed ceramic pots with drainage holes that allow rapid evaporation of moisture from the soil and ensure the plant’s roots are not sitting in soil that is soggy and waterlogged.
Following these tips will help you keep your succulents healthy and happy. Just remember that these plants are tough and resilient, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit with your watering schedule until you find the perfect balance for your plants. And remember that watering schedules can change depending on the season and the weather.
For more information, see our post on how to tell if your succulent is overwatered or underwatered.
Temperature and Humidity
Ogre ear succulent is derived from species that are native to arid regions in South Africa and Mozambique, and it is adapted to conditions that are generally warm and dry with low humidity levels.
It prefers moderate to warm temperatures and thrives in its ideal spring/summer daytime temperature range of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C), although it can cope with temperatures outside this ideal range.
It is not cold-hardy, and it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50°F (10°C). It does not like frost and should be brought inside if possible when frost or freezing temperatures are forecast.
Crassula Ovata Gollum prefers low to moderate humidity levels. It does not do well in high humidity. A relative humidity level below 50%. is ideal. If you are growing your succulent indoors, typical indoor humidity levels are usually fine.
You should not mist this plant and should avoid placing it in an area with high humidity, such as a bathroom, as this can lead to problems like fungal issues and rot.
If planting in an arrangement with other plants, make sure it is not too crowded and there is plenty of airflow around your Ogre ear succulent to allow any moisture that has collected on the foliage and stems to evaporate.
Best Soil for Ogre Ear Succulent
When it comes to choosing the right soil for your ogre ear succulent, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Soil needs to be well-draining. A poor-draining soil could lead to your plant’s roots sitting in damp soil, which can lead to root rot.
- The soil should be loose and airy. Over-compact or dense soil mixes can prevent air from circulating around the succulent’s roots and can lead to root rot.
- Choose a pot with a drainage hole to aid quick drainage.
- Ensure the pot you choose is not too big for your succulent. If the pot is too big, the excess soil will retain additional moisture and make it more difficult to get your watering balance just right.
The best soil for an Ogre Ear succulent is a succulent-specific potting mix. As the name suggests, a succulent or cactus potting mix is designed specifically for growing cacti and other succulents. It has a premixed combination of elements that work together to create a well-draining and airy soil mix.
Fertilizer Tips For Ogre Ear Succulents
Crassula ovata gollum are slow-growing plants and don’t require much fertilizer. If you choose to fertilize, use a fertilizer specifically for succulents, diluted to half the recommended strength once a month during the growing season (spring and summer).
Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions. Be sure not to overfertilize, as this can damage the roots and leaves of your plant. If you’re unsure how much fertilizer to use, err on the side of using less rather than more.
Ogre Ear succulent is a slow-growing plant, and you should not need to prune it other than to remove any dead leaves or damaged or diseased areas.
Is Ogre Ear Succulent Toxic to Cats And Other Pets?
Like most Crassula types, Ogre Ear succulent is toxic to cats, dogs and other pets if ingested.
It can cause poisoning in pets with symptoms ranging from lethargy and depression to a lack of coordination and vomiting.
It is best to keep your Crassula Ovata Gollum out of the reach of pets and children.
See our list of succulents that are safe for cats.
Ogre Ear Succulent Pests And Diseases
Ogre ear succulents are relatively hardy plants, but they can succumb to some common succulent pests and diseases.
Mealybugs are small, white insects that feed on plant sap. They can cause stunted growth and yellowing leaves.
If mealybugs infest your plant, you may notice a sticky substance on the leaves or stems. Mealybugs can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
2. Spider Mites
Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that feed on plant sap. They can cause yellowing leaves and stunted growth, and while the mites themselves are difficult to spot, they leave telltale feathery webs on the leaves and stems.
Spider mites can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
3. Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is a white powdery fungus that grows on the leaves of plants. It can cause the leaves to yellow and curl. Powdery mildew can be controlled with fungicidal spray or powder.
4. Root Rot
Root rot is caused by too much water around the plant’s roots. The roots will start to decay, and the plant will become stunted. Root rot can be controlled by improving drainage and removing dead or decaying roots.
5. Fungal Rust
A fungal disease called rust can result in brown spots on your succulent’s leaves. Rust can be controlled with fungicidal spray or powder.
Brown spots on the leaves of your ogre ear can also be caused by too much sun. The leaves become sunburnt and display brown patches.
You’ll need to determine which is causing the brown spots before treating the problem.
Your Ogre Ear succulent will need repotting when it outgrows its current pot and roots start to appear in the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
You might also consider replenishing the soil for a fresh mix every couple of years.
When repotting, use a pot that is only slightly larger than the root ball, a well-draining potting mix and select a container with drainage holes.
The easiest way to propagate an Ogre Ear succulent is from stem cuttings. You can also propagate your succulent from individual leaves, but this isn’t always as successful as stem-cutting propagation.
Make sure to choose a healthy stem or leaf free of any pests or diseases.
To propagate your Ogre Ear succulent from a stem cutting, cut your chosen stem off at the base of the plant using a sharp, sterile knife or pair of scissors. Allow the cut end of the stem to callus over for a few days before planting it in well-draining succulent soil.
Once the cutting has been placed in the soil, water it lightly and place it in a bright, warm location.
Allow the cutting to form roots over several weeks before watering it more heavily. Don’t replant into a larger pot until the plant has rooted and begun to grow.
If propagating from a leaf, choose a healthy, plump leaf and twist it gently to separate it from the stem. Allow the end to dry and callous over, and then follow the same steps as above for a stem cutting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is An Ogre Ear Succulent A Jade Plant?
Yes, Crassula Ovata Gollum, Ogre Ear Succulent, is a cultivated variety of Jade plant (Crassula Ovata) that has been produced by selectively breeding Jade plants over time to establish this particular jade type.
Why Is My Ogre Ear Shriveling and Wrinkly?
You may find the plump leaves of your Ogre Ear plant starting to shrivel and wrinkle.
The two main reasons for shriveling and wrinkling in an Ogre Ear succulent are:
- over-exposure to direct, intense sun
- dehydration from underwatering
If you live in a climate with hot, intense sun, and your Crassula Ovata Gollum is placed in direct sunlight for long periods of time, the leaves may start to shrivel and curl to try to reduce the surface area exposed to the sun.
They may also get sunburn spots, which appear as brown patches on the leaves.
If you suspect too much sun exposure as the reason for the shriveling, move your plant to a shadier area or provide a shade cover.
Dehydration is another reason for leaf shriveling. If the plant is not getting enough water, the leaves will start to shrivel and wrinkle.
Water the plant deeply, allowing water to soak through the soil and escape through drainage holes in the pot (if there are any). Allow the soil t0 dry completely before watering again, but don’t leave the soil dry for too long before watering. Monitor your plant carefully until the leaves become plump again.
Why Is My Crassula Ovata Gollum Turning Black? (Or Yellow or Brown)
Black stems and leaves on your Ogre Ear Succulent are usually a sign of fungal rot or a pest infestation.
Root rot, in its advanced stages, can cause the stems and leaves to start rotting. They turn yellow, then brown and eventually black as the plant decays.
Root rot is caused by overwatering, resulting in the plant’s roots sitting in damp soil. This encourages fungal and bacterial growth on the roots, causing decay and rot.
Pests, such as mealybugs, aphids and scale, secrete a sticky substance called honeydew onto the leaves of any plant they infest. This can give rise to black sooty mold growth on the leaves and stems.
Why Does My Ogre Ear Have Brown Spots On The Leaves?
Brown spots on the leaves of your ogre ear can be a sign of
- Sunburn caused by exposure to too much direct, intense sun. Move your plant to a shadier spot.
- Fungal disease called rust. Rust can be controlled with fungicidal spray or powder.
- Root rot. As the root rot becomes more advanced, the rot with spread to the above-soil part of the plant, which will turn yellow and brown
Yellowing leaves can be caused by several factors, including:
- too much water
- too much sun
- nutrient deficiencies
If you notice that the leaves of your plant are starting to yellow, check the soil to see if it is too wet or dry. You may also need to adjust the amount of sun your plant is getting.
Yellowing leaves can also be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. If you think your plant is not getting enough nutrients, you can fertilize it with a succulent fertilizer.
Why Is Ogre Ear Succulent Dropping Leaves?
If the leaves of your succulent are dropping off, it could be caused by too much water, too little light, or nutrient deficiencies.
Check the soil to see if it is too wet or dry. Adjust the amount of sun your plant is getting. If you think your plant is not getting enough nutrients, you can fertilize it with a succulent fertilizer.
Why Is My Ogre Ear Stretching And Leaning
If your plant starts to stretch and lean, it means it isn’t getting enough light. Your succulent will grow towards to light to try and maximise the light falling onto its leaves. If the light source is above, it will grow tall and stretched-out to try to get closer to the light.
Try to move your plant to a brighter location or use a grow light.
If the light source is from one side, your plant will lean towards where the light is coming from, and its stem will start to bend. To prevent this, rotate your plant regularly every few weeks to ensure it receives light evenly on all sides.
Where To Buy Crassula Ovata Gollum
Due to its popularity, Ogre Ear succulents are usually readily available in local plant nursery stores or online plant nurseries.
Ogre ear succulents are easy to care for and make great houseplants.
They can tolerate some neglect and can go long periods without water. However, they will appreciate being watered when the soil has dried out completely. These plants also need bright light but can tolerate some partial shade.
With proper care, Crassula Ovata Gollum can thrive for many years. These easy-to-care-for succulents make a great addition to any indoor or outdoor space.
And for the Shrek Fans out there – here is a Shrek Ear Plant with a Donkey’s Tail plant!
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