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Spoon Jade, Shrek Plant or ET Fingers: Care and Growing of Crassula Portulacea

Updated on September 28, 2014

Crassula Portulacea plants are known by many names, like its cousin Crassula Ovata, it is easy to grow and care for

Succulent Jade plants are great choices for dry gardens. Water wise succulent plants like heat and sun whether you grow them indoors or in the garden. They are just as easy to care for as their cousin, crassula ovata. Both plants can take up to 6 hours of sun a day. Their care is similar to cactus (without the thorns). Outdoors, Jade plants are easy to grow and care for in hot dry areas. Try them if you don't have a lot of time to spend on needy plants or plants that need a lot of water. Gollum Jade also makes a great houseplant as long as they get enough light. Find out how to keep your Shrek Plant happy -- and how many movie characters is this plant named after anyway?

Crassula portulacea, Horseshoe or Spoon Jade

Yes, even ET Fingers and Shrek Plant too!

One of my favorite succulent plants is named Crassula portulacea, commonly called Horseshoe or Spoon Jade. Recently they've been called Gollum Fingers, ET Fingers or Hobbit Plant because their dark green leaves look like fingers with reddish tips.

These plants can take full sun to light shade. They are happy indoors as houseplants or outdoors for dry gardens.

If your jade plants develop 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 with less sun. If they're outdoors, try giving them a nice soak and they should perk up.

Grown in containers, crassula portulacea will remain small and are often used for bonsai. They grow slowly and can be trimmed into the shape of trees. In the ground they will eventually reach a height of 4 to 5 feet tall. Older plants take on a unique gnarled look.

Gollum Jade is great if you don't have time to fuss over a plant. Crassula happily oblige and even produce blooms in later winter. This increases their value as a landscape plant in my book as winter blooming plants are uncommon.

They 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.

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More About Growing Crassulas and Succulent Plants

They are called succulent plants because they store their water in 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.

Rot will show up as warped trunks, sometimes with bubbles on them. The mushy insides eventually dissolves, leaving a brown outer crust. This material will not come back, so throw it on the compost pile.

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 spotssucculent plant gollum fingers have rolled leaves, kind of like freckles or scabs. Although unattractive, your plant should be fine, but the spots won't go away. 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, the green mush can go to the compost.

Xeriscaping with 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 dramatic touch and look like some sort of sea plant or coral.

Crassula are an easy and reliable addition to any water-wise garden.

Many Names for One Unique Plant

Crassula Portulacea has been called various names all based on those unique leaves:

Horseshoe Plant - Because the tip of the leaf looks like a horseshoe.

ET Fingers - Because the red tips look like the glowing red tip of ET's finger

Gollum Jade - Because the tips could also look like suction cups mistakenly believed to be at the tip of Gollum's fingers

Lipstick Plant - The leaves are reminiscent of a green tube of red lipstick.

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    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      Great lens! I LOVE jades and am thinking of making my own lens about these lovely succulents. I keep my jades outside in the summer months and they thrive. :)