Bonsai: The Succulent Crassulas Gollum
Crassulas are succulent cacti that are popular because of their decorative branches and ease of maintenance. The Crassula Gollum is a hybrid that was developed as a cross of some species of Crassula plants. Its leaves are somewhat cylindrical in shape, with the ends shaped like suction cups. This look is similar to that of the character Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous book, which is how this succulent plant ended up being given the same name. Crassula Gollum plants are compact plants that form a miniature tree-like structure. These plants are easy to grow indoors and are widely cultivated as bonsai trees. You can easily propagate Crassula Gollum from a leaf or stem cutting.
Step 1 – Make a Leaf Cutting
Choose a healthy plant from which to make a leaf cutting. The leaf must be fully grown and mature. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to make a clean cut to remove the leaf from the stem. You can also remove the leaf without a knife, by giving it a gentle tug. The source plant and the cutting must be monitored for wound healing. Place the cutting in a warm dry environment until it heals. It is not advisable to plant an unhealed cutting. When healed, the cut surface will have formed a thin film of tissue over the wound that will protect it in the soil.
Step 2 – Plant the Leaf Cutting
When the cutting has healed, you can plant the leaf in a pot of well-drained soil. If you are using potting soil, you can add some sand to increase drainage. It is not advisable to add fertilizer or compost to the soil, as Crassula Gollum plants do not thrive in organic content. Bury the cut side of the leaf in the soil until it is half hidden. It will start forming roots in time. Water the plant twice a week for about a month after planting. The soil must be moist, but not too wet. These plants do well with exposure to bright light for about six hours during the day. Don't let the leaves burn due to excessive sun. If this does happen, move the plant to a partially shaded location to recover.
Step 3 – Maintain and Care for the Plant
Crassula Gollum plants need minimal water and are highly susceptible to root rot, which can occur with even small amounts of excessive watering. It is always better to give the plants too little water. If the plant shrivels or withers a bit, you can water it. However, recovery from root rot is not this easy. Be sure the soil has dried up a bit before you water the plant. Usually, watering about once a month is sufficient. Protect the plant during severe winter weather by bringing it indoors and placing it in a bright location.