Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 06:30 am
Table of Contents
- Ogre ears and Gollum jade are varieties of the Crassula ovata species with key differences in size and foliage.
- Ogre ears generally grow larger, with leaves flaring outwards from the stems.
- Gollum jade tends to stay more compact, with tight, closed bunches of leaves.
- Both are easy to care for succulents that require similar growing conditions.
- Properly differentiating between the two varieties is important.
Ogre ears (Crassula ovata ‘Ogre Ears’) and Gollum jade (Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’) are among the most popular varieties of jade plants kept in home gardens and plant collections. Though they belong to the same Crassula ovata species, they have been carefully cultivated over generations to develop distinct features setting them apart from standard jade plants.
These unique succulents make excellent houseplants. Their sculptural forms and jewel-toned leaves have captivated many indoor gardeners. However, telling these two jade plant varieties apart can be tricky for those not familiar with their subtle differences.
This article will clarify how to differentiate Ogre ears from Gollum jade based on the size and foliage of each variety. Correctly identifying them allows proper care based on their respective characteristics.
The most noticeable difference between mature specimens of Ogre ears and Gollum jade is their size:
- Ogre Ears – Can reach up to 3 feet (1 m) tall with a spread of up to 5 feet (1.5 m). Leaves can grow over 2 inches (5 cm) long. Overall, it is a larger plant than Gollum jade.
- Gollum Jade – Typically tops out at 1 foot (30 cm) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide. The thick, tubular leaves stay under 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Much more compact than Ogre ears.
So if you’re looking for a statement floor plant, Ogre is likely the better choice. For a petite potted succulent, go for Gollum jade.
Beyond size, the shapes and positioning of the leaves differ noticeably:
- Leaves flare out from stems in various directions
- Gives the plant a more open, airy look
- Rosettes tend to be loose and relaxed
- Leaves remain tightly bunched along stems
- Foliage stays dense and compact overall
- Rosettes have a narrow, almost tubular shape
The following images showcase the foliage differences well:
Ogre Ears Foliage
Gollum Jade Foliage
So in summary, Ogre ears present larger, flared leaves in loose rosettes while Gollum jade displays much tighter bunches of smaller, cylindrical leaves all along the stems.
Ogre ears and Gollum jade showcase unique plant forms within the Crassula ovata species:
- Ogre Ears: Open, spreading rosettes on upright stems
- Gollum Jade: Compact, dense clumps stacked along stems
- Ogre Ears: Smooth, woody stems
- Gollum Jade: Knobby stems with a bumpy texture
- Ogre Ears: Up to 1 m tall x 1.5 m wide
- Gollum Jade: Up to 30 cm tall x 60 cm wide
So in summary, Ogre Ears presents much larger yet elegant leaves and an airy, spreading structure contrasting Gollum Jade’s miniature, gnarled appearance.
- Both: Thrive in bright, indirect sunlight – south or west exposure
- Ogre : Can tolerate more direct light if acclimatized
- Gollum: Prone to scorching in direct sunlight
- Both: Allow soil to dry between waterings
- Ogre Ears: Requires slightly more water as it grows larger
- Gollum: Prefers less water due to compact size
- Ogre Ears: Needs room to expand – up to 1.5 m width
- Gollum: Compact size suits smaller spaces
Overall, these plants share preferences for bright light and infrequent watering. But Ogre Ears needs more generous space to stretch as it expands while Gollum Jade remains petite.
Care + Cultivation
- Both: Fast-draining cactus/succulent soil mix
- Ogre Ears: Larger pot (8″+) needed for a mature plant
- Gollum: Shallower pots (4″-6″) work well
- Both: Diluted balanced fertilizer during the growing season
- Ogre: Benefits from occasional nitrogen fertilization
- Gollum: Too much fertilizer may diminish compact size
- Both: Remove spent leaves/stems for tidiness
- Ogre: Can prune leggy growths to encourage bushing
- Gollum: Avoid over-pruning or shaping tightly stacked stems
- Both: Easily propagated via stem cuttings during active growth
- Ogre: Cut larger strips for successful rooting
- Gollum: Use a sharp, sterile blade to take cuttings
With some adjustments based on mature dimensions, both plants are easily cultivated indoors.
Native Habitat & Adaptations
Ogre Ears originally comes from Southern Africa. This habitat helped it evolve:
- Tolerance of heat, humidity, and rainfall
- Larger, winged leaves to capture more light under forest canopies
Gollum Jade arises from the arid grasslands and hillsides of South Africa and Mozambique with adaptations like:
- Compact, stacked stems and leaves to reduce water loss
- Tubular, densely packed foliage to protect from harsh sun
These adaptations equip each variety for success in distinct environments.
Taxonomy + Classification
Both plants belong to the same family and genus:
- Family: Crassulaceae
- Genus: Crassula
- Species: ovata
But they have different variety classifications:
- Ogre Ears: Crassula ovata var. ogre ears
- Gollum Jade: Crassula ovata var. gollum
This shows their close relation as cultivated variants of the same Crassula ovata species.
Uses in Horticulture
Ogre Ears makes an excellent:
- Accent or statement plant
- Larger houseplant
- Focal point solo specimen
Gollum Jade thrives as:
- Compact potted succulent
- Windowsill or dish garden accent
- Outdoor fairy garden plant
So while Ogre stands out as a bold companion, Gollum Jade mixes well in petite gardens needing pops of color.
- Heat Tolerance – Ogre Ears better withstands hot, humid conditions
- Drought Tolerance – Gollum Jade retains more water in arid environments
- Pest/Disease Resistance – Both demonstrate good immunity to common issues
- Indoor/Outdoor Versatility – Both suit outdoor gardens year-round where temperatures permit
So Ogre adapts better in steamy garden beds while Gollum Jade resists outdoor droughts well. Both serve wonderfully as durable indoor succulents too.
Beyond plant collectors and specialty growers, Ogre ears and Gollum jade are often confused with one another. Some reasons for this include:
- Similar scientific names
- Overlapping physical attributes
- Interchangeable usage in trade
- Challenging to differentiate when juveniles
However, properly identifying these distinct Crassula ovata varieties remains important for providing each plant with suitable growing conditions and space to showcase its mature form.
When acquiring new specimens, be sure to double-check labels and descriptions to ensure you know exactly which type you have. Over time, the key differences highlighted here will develop.
Though they have a shared lineage and care needs, Ogre and Gollum jade offer unique aesthetic forms. Ogre ears become the larger, stretching succulent statement piece while Gollum jade remains petite and dense. Recognizing the key differences in their size and foliage helps appreciate their individual charms.
If you acquire either of these Crassula ovata varieties, give them the bright, dry conditions they crave and enjoy their sculptural rosettes and jewel-toned colors. Just be sure to give Ogre ears ample room to unfurl into its dramatic mature form. With the basics covered here, you’re ready to add these intriguing succulents to your indoor garden collection!
Gardening is my passion and growing plants indoors has always been a stress relief for me. Grow a banana tree in my apartment once (although failed to produce bananas).