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Crassula Ovata ‘Hobbit’ – Tips for Growing Hobbit Jade Plant

Crassula Ovata ‘Hobbit’ is a small shrubby tender succulent that is popular with followers of J.R.R. Tolkien. because of the shape of its leaves. Grow the Hobbit Jade plant if you enjoy succulents with an unusual look.

Crassula are a genus of succulents that are often seen at garden centers. They come in many forms and varieties. Today we’ll be exploring crassula ovata ‘hobbit’ and see how it compares to crassula ovata ‘gollum’.

The two plants are often referred to as The Tolkien Group because the names are taken from J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings.

Hobbit succulent jade plant is a trumpet-shaped, shrubby succulent that can take on a tree like form when mature. It is similar to the variety Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ in looks and growing habit.

Close up of crassula ovata hobbit

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Are you a fan of J R R Tolkien? Check out the neat succulent that gets its common name from writings. It's easy to grow and very whimsical. Click To Tweet

Facts about Crassula

For science and botany buffs, the classification of Crassula Ovata ‘Hobbit’ is:

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Crassuloideae
Genus: Crassula
Cultivar: ‘hobbit’

The plant is native to South Africa. and the cultivar was introduced in the 1970’s. In its natural habitat, the plant grows on rocky hillsides in full sun with little rainfall.

Wooden box planter with crassula ovata hobbit plant.

It is very similar in look and growing habit to Crassula Ovata ‘Gollum’.

While crassulae as a whole are known as money tree and jade plants, this fun looking plant is also known as Hobbit Fingers, Finger Jade, Organ Pipe Jade Plant and Hobbit Jade. 

Jade plants are considered “lucky plants” which attract wealth. This is because many varieties of crassula have coin shaped leaves. 

Many designers even use crassula to decorate keeping feng shui practices in mind.

For another interesting crassula plant, be sure to have a look at crassula falcata, also known as propeller plant.

How to Grow Hobbit Jade

Crassula ovata ‘hobbit’ is a slow growing succulent that is perfect for those with brown fingers. It is easy to grow and doesn’t mind a bit of neglect.

Sunlight needs for crassula hobbit: 

Crassula Hobbit can grow in both full sun and partial shade. Outdoors, give this succulent a spot that gets at least four house of sunlight a day.

Inside, grow Hobbit near a bright, sunny window. Even though the plant can grow in partial shade, the colors won’t be as vibrant, and you may find it reverts to mainly green instead of red tipped leaves.

Group hobbit jade with other succulents so they all benefit from the same window spot. This propeller plant – crassula falcata and the blue chopsticks plant – senecio vitalis all love bright sunlight, just as hobbit does.

Watering requirements for crassula ovata ‘hobbit’: 

A good way to water is the “soak and drain” method.  To do this, bring the plant to the sink and give it a good soak, allowing the water to drain out of the drain hole in the bottom of the pot.

Crassula ovata hobbit plant in a sink.

Then allow the soil to dry out down about 2 inches before watering again.

During the winter months, water the plants only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.

Soil Needs for crassula ovata ‘hobbit’:

Like all succulents, a well draining soil mix is needed for Hobbit since succulents are prone to root rot if over watered. 

You can choose a specially formulated soil for cacti and succulents, or add perlite and coarse sand to ordinary potting soil.

In general succulents like a slightly acidic soil with a pH about 6. Fertilize crassula ‘hobbit’ once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to one half the recommended strength.

Uses for Hobbit

The tree like growth habit for Hobbit Jade makes it a popular choice for growing as a bonsai plant. Since it is a slow grower, it is also a good choice for growing in dish gardens or  terrariums.

All jade plants and both crassula ovata ‘hobbit’ and crassula ovata ‘gollum’ can be trained as a bonsai tree.

Crassula ovata hobbit formed into a bonsai tree on a wooden log cut.

When grown outdoors, Hobbit makes an attractive and non invasive ground cover. Unless you live in the warmer zones, though, the plant will need to come indoors before the first frost.

Flowers and Foliage:

This succulent is shrubby in form and has an erect growing habit. The trunk of the plant is segmented and branching.  It can be shaped into bonsai forms quite easily.

The leaves are fleshy and spoon shaped. The leaf margins have a red color, particularly if the plant is grown in bright light.

Leaves of crassula ovata hobbit plant.

New growth is often red.  Flowers grow in clusters and are star like.  Colors are white or pinkish white with pink stamens. The bloom time is late fall to early winter but Hobbit will only bloom under ideal conditions.

To get your Hobbit plant to flower, it needs a period of cold before dormancy. You can mimic this by leaving the plant outdoors on an enclosed patio or porch for a few weeks. 

The shorter and cooler days will urge the plant to come into bloom.

Mature Size:

Hobbit Jade plant is fairly slow growing. It grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall and around 2 feet (60 cm) wide at maturity.  The leaves an be up to 2 inches long. The plant is dormant in the winter months.

Crassula ovata hobbit in a white pot with words "please don't die"

Hobbit Jade will become leggy over time and pruning the plant will help to keep a better shape. It is a good idea to also prune in the spring, by cutting away some of the new growth.

This will make the main stem stronger and keep the plant more compact.

Diseases and Insects:

Like most succulents, fungal diseases caused from over-watering are something to be on the look out for. This could show itself with limp leaves that easily fall off.

On the other hand, brown shriveled patches on the leaves are a sign of under-watering.

Mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale are insects that can be a problem. Mealy bugs show up as tiny white insects that have a cotton-like look to them.  They will often show up around the primary flowering time.

Scale insects are found on the stems of succulents and are quite hard. They can be scraped off with a fingernail.

Cold Hardiness for Crassula Ovata Jade:

In colder climates, grow Hobbit Jade as an indoor plant.  This is a tender succulent that will only over winter outdoors in zones 9a to 11. The plant can be moved outside in the summer months and will benefit from this.

Get some ideas for succulent containers for your Hobbit plant. You’ll be amazed at some common household items that can be used.

How to propagate Crassula ovata ‘hobbit’

Get new plants for free by propagating this succulent from leaf and stem cuttings. In its natural habitat, Crassula Hobbit will drop leaves and new plants will form over time. You can do this, too!

To grow new plants from leaves, gently twist a leaf from the stem, trying to get a very clean break. Allow the leaf to callous over for a few days and then either lay on top of the soil, or insert gently into the soil.  

Plant pot, rooting powder, plant tag and leaf of finger jade.

Roots will form on the calloused end and a new plant will start growing in a few weeks. A hormone rooting powder will speed up this process.

Stem cuttings also need to have the end callous over.  Because of their size, they will form new plants more quickly.

Toxicity for Jade Plants:

Plants of the crassula family are considered toxic to dogs, cats and horses by the ASPCA and the University of California, Davis. Crassula ovata, which is commonly known as Jade plant is toxic to pets.

If ingested, the plant can cause vomiting and a slowed heart rate.  The plant can also cause depression and a lack of coordination. Most cases of crassula poisoning are mild but in rare cases, the ingestion of the  plant has caused more serious effects such as convulsions. 

I cannot find research that shows the variety Hobbit specifically mentioned as being toxic, but since the genus crassula is, I assume Hobbit Jade is as well.

As far as humans are concerned, crassula plants are only mildly toxic to humans if eaten, resulting in minor health issues like diarrhea and vomiting.

Crassula ‘Hobbit’ vs ‘Gollum’ crassula

It is easy to see why people get confused with these two varieties of crassula. They have a very similar look to their tubular leaves and are both shrubby and a similar size.

The difference comes in the curling of the leaves and the leaf tips.

Crassula ovatum 'gollum' vs crassula ovata 'hobbit' in a collage.

In Gollum, the leaves are elongated and very nearly tubular and appear to be tipped with circular suction cups, reminding us of the J.R.R. Tolkien character of the same name. .

In the cultivar ‘Hobbit’, the spoon-shaped leaves are curled backwards around themselves and downward from the sides. Hobbit’s leaves are more open and scooped shape. The leaves of Hobbit are more fleshy and fatter

Both leaves can have red tips depending on the amount of sunlight that they receive.

Tips of crassula ovata hobbit plants.

Where to purchase Crassula Ovata ‘Hobbit’

Check the garden center of both Lowe’s and Home Depot. I found my plant at a small local garden center.  The Farmer’s market is also a great place to purchase succulents. The plant is also available online:

Be sure to check out my tips for buying succulents. This gives information on what to look for both locally and when buying online.

Pin these Hobbit Crassula Growing Tips for Later

Would you like a reminder of this post for how to grow Hobbit Jade?  Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest succulent boards so that you can easily find it later.

Bonsai crassula plant with text reading Growing crassula ovata hobbit.

Admin note: this post for growing crassula ovata hobbit first appeared on the blog in June of 2019. I have updated the post to add all new photos, a printable growing tips card, and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 1 Happy Hobbit Jade Plant

How to Grow Crassula Ovata 'Hobbit'

Hobbit jade care card

Crassula Ovata 'Hobbit' is also known as Hobbit Jade. It has interestingly shaped leaves and is easy to grow.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $5-$10

Materials

  • Hobbit Jade Plant
  • Cactus soil
  • All purpose cactus fertilizer

Tools

  • rooting powder

Instructions

  1. Plant Hobbit Jade in well draining soil
  2. Give 4 hours of sunlight a day.
  3. Water well in the sink when the soil is dry and allow to drain.
  4. Useful in dish gardens, as a bonsai, or in terrariums
  5. Only cold hardy in zones 9a to 11.
  6. Fertilize once during the growing season at half strength.
  7. Propagate from leaf and stem cuttings.

Notes

All crassula varieties are toxic to dogs, cats and horses, and mildly toxic to humans

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Bucky

Tuesday 27th of July 2021

Great article! Though, it should be noted that some of the images you have here are of the “Gollum” species.

Crassula Hobbit vs Gollum You can distinguish the two of them by looking at their leaves. Hobbits have curled leaves while Gollum's leaves are almost tubular. Crassula ovata Hobbit has much larger leaves (nearly the size of normal Crassula ovata) and they are folded in on themselves, not completely tubular and flat-topped as is Gollum.

Also, the reddish tint at the tips will occur in most of the Crassulaceae, and is relative to the amount of sun they get — the more sun, the more chance of red — as well as the nutrition in the soil — the less nutrition (sandy or low in fertilizer), the more chance of the red.

I hope that helps!

Bucky

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Wow, so much effort to correct this for your readers ... you’re great, Carol!

Carol Speake

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Thanks for the information and your follow up email. The photos that I used were from a plant that I purchased which was labeled Crassula Ovata Hobbit. It is possible that I purchased a mislabeled specimen since crassula ovata 'gollum' and crassula ovata 'hobbit' look so much alike. I had my fact checkers look into it and have edited the photos as appropriate.

Thomas

Monday 20th of July 2020

Very informative. Easy to read and understand. I appreciate the time you took to put this together. Thanks

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