‘ET’s Fingers’, ‘Jade Fingers’, ‘Skinny Fingers’
Scientific Binomial Name
Crassula ovata cv. ‘Gollum’ or the synonym Crassula portulacea cv. ‘Gollum’.
Description of ‘ET’s Fingers’, Crassula ovata cv. ‘Gollum’
The ‘ET’s Fingers’ is a very unique shrubby compact succulent. There is some debate about its origin, but most believe it is a hybrid of the Jade Plant, Crassula ovata and another cultivar ‘Gollum’.
Have you seen the movie “ET the Extra-Terrestrial”? That is how this plant got its name. The “leaves” are light green, skinny and tubular with red tinged suction cup like tips. As the leaves grow larger they often become more oval shaped like pads and look slightly similar to the true Jade Plant leaves.
‘ET’s Fingers’ is also sometimes called ‘Jade Fingers’ or ‘Skinny Fingers’ and is a larger sized ‘Gollum’. How can you tell the difference between ‘Gollum’ and ‘ET’s Fingers’? The leaves of ‘ET’s Fingers’ have slender tips while the leaves on the ‘Gollum’ are a more pronounced flared suction cup shape.
Mature Size: Height = 2-3 feet; Spread = 1-2 feet
Uses: Some call ‘ET’s Fingers’ one of the easiest to grow of all succulents. It can be placed indoors as a houseplant as long as there is sufficient light. Although not as popular as the Jade Plant or the Dwarf Jade Plant, the ‘ET’s fingers’ are also shaped into beautiful bonsai trees. The gnarly trunk and branches give it that great bonsai tree look. Outdoors this succulent is an excellent landscape plant especially in rock gardens or for your patio.
Growing Conditions for ‘ET’s Fingers’, Crassula ovata cv. ‘Gollum’
Light: The ‘ET’s Fingers’ need at least partial sun and do well next to windows. Outdoor plants seem to need more sun than indoor ones. With too much shade the limbs may start sagging or completely breaking off. Without enough sun they are essentially too weak to grow properly.
Temperature: Best growing temperature is 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5-24 Celsius). Will not tolerate even brief frosts.
Humidity: ‘ET’s Fingers’ do not seem too sensitive to high or low humidity. You may occasionally mist the plant if conditions are too dry. Never mist too much. However, or your plant may develop fungal problems or mildew.
Soil: Any commercial pre-mixed cactus and succulent soil will be great for your plant. ‘ET’s Fingers’ like a neutral pH when possible. Outdoor plants prefer soil with some sand or rock in it but primarily it needs to be well draining.
Flowers: With good growing conditions ‘ET’s Fingers’ may produce star shaped white flowers in the winter. Some plants even with great growing conditions may simply never produce flowers.
Hardiness Zones: 9-11
General Care for ‘ET’s Fingers’, Crassula ovata cv. ‘Gollum’
Water: Provide well-draining soil and be careful that water does not stay on the bottom of the pot. The soil should be completely dry before you water again. ‘ET’s Fingers’ will thrive outdoors with just a little rainfall. If your plant is outside you may need to cover it sometimes if it is getting too much rain. Too much water will stunt the growth and foliage will not be as thick.
Fertilizer: Many growers never fertilize ‘ET’s Fingers’ at all. If there is a need to fertilize it is best to sparingly use a ½ diluted succulent fertilizer.
General Care: ‘ET’s Fingers’ are called slow growers by some. The truth is that there is a wide variety of results depending on the growing environment and the plant itself. Some newer plants have been known to double in volume within one year. Other’s report it takes years for their plant to grow that much.
Pests and Diseases: The ‘ET’s Fingers’ succulents seem to be very resistant to the common plant diseases.
Pruning: Pruning can be done often without any bad side effects. Some people prune weekly to guide their ‘ET’s Fingers’ into a bonsai shape. ‘ET’s Fingers’ will do fine whether you prune a little or a lot.
Propagation: Propagation is simple and will usually be successful. Take stem or leaf cuttings and allow them to dry out for a few days and callous. Next, place them into a good quality cactus and succulent potting soil mix. Be patient because it can take 3 weeks or even more for the roots to start growing.
Repotting: ‘ET’s Fingers’ do not seem to mind being a little root bound. When it is necessary to repot to replenish the soil, it is best to do it the spring or summer.
Signs of Stress and Poor Health
If the leaves start to fall off more than normal it is usually a sign that you are watering it too much. Do not overwater since that is the most common reason for ‘ET’s Fingers’ dying.
Medicinal and Other Uses
‘ET’s Fingers’ are often top-heavy as they grow larger so use a heavy container or pot. So many succulent growers have fallen in love with the ‘ET’s Fingers’, Crassula ovata cv. ‘Gollum’. It is a versatile succulent that looks great indoors or outside. It is distinctive and unique growing by itself or mixed in with other succulents.