Donkey tail plant care

This sedum is one handsome succulent. Mine happily resides in a large square terra cotta pot with my now 5-year-old Coleus “Dipped In Wine” (yes, they’re technically perennials) and a Golden Weeping Variegated Boxwood which I brought home from Kew Gardens as a wee cutting.

One would not think to use these 3 plants in a container together but it works for me and that’s another story. In this post, I’m going to tell you how I care for and propagate my Sedum morganianum or Burro’s Tail, Donkey’s Tail or Horse’s Tail.

If you want a real icebreaker at parties, then wear your Burro’s Tail as a necklace!

This plant eventually grows to 4′ long which will take around 6 years or so. As it grows it gets very thick with those trailing stems heavily laden with overlapping plump, juicy leaves that form a groovy braided pattern.

As you can imagine, a mature plant gets very heavy. This plant is not for a flimsy pot with a flimsy hanger. It’s best grown in a hanging basket, in a large pot like mine, in a pot that hangs against a wall or trailing out of a rock garden.

Contents

Sedum Morganianum Care

In terms of care, a Burro’s Tail couldn’t be easier. I’m going to cover that below along with propagation which is something you’ll want to know how to do because all your friends will want a cutting or two. Mine grows outdoors but I’ll also tell you what it needs if you want to grow it in your house at the end of this list.

Light

Sedum morganianum likes bright shade or partial sun. It will burn in strong, hot sun. Mine gets morning sun which it prefers. And now, because my neighbor cut down two of his pine trees last year, it gets some afternoon sun too.

If you watch the video at the end you’ll see the stems that are getting too much sun are a pale green. This plant should ideally be a lovely blue-green. I may have to move it to a less sunny spot – I’ll watch it and see.

Watering

All those leaves store water so be sure not to overwater it. It will rot out if you do. My Burro’s Tail is well established (around 5 years old) so I water it every 10-14 days but give it a thorough drink. Watering this way also helps some of the salts (from the water and fertilizers) to flush out of the pot. The rainwater mine gets in the winter helps with that. In other words, don’t splash and go every other day.

In the growing season, when the days are warmer and longer, I water it more often every 9-11 days. As a rule, plants in clay pots will dry out faster as will larger plants in smaller pots. Adjust accordingly as well as to the weather conditions.

Soil

Like any other succulent, this one needs good drainage. The water needs to drain out of it fast so it’s best to use a mix specially formulated for cactus and succulents. I buy mine at California Cactus Center near Pasadena in case you live in that area. Or, you can add horticultural grade sand and perlite (or fine lava rock, gravel or pumice) to lighten up whatever potting soil you have.

My secret planting weapon is worm castings. Your Burro’s Tail would love a bit of that too. By the way, I top dress all the containers in my garden with compost and worm castings every Spring.

To have your Burro’s Tail flower is rare. Mine bloomed for the first time ever this year although there were only 3 clusters on that big ole plant.

Temperature

Here in Santa Barbara, the average low temperature for the winter months hovers around the low 40’s. We occasionally dip into the thirties but not for more than a couple of days. Mine is up against the house and shows no signs of stress during those brief chilly spells. Our average summer temps are in the mid to high 70’s which is ideal for the Burro’s Tail.

Insects

The only pests that mine ever gets are aphids so I just hose them off every month. Burro’s Tail really isn’t susceptible to a wide range of insects. You can spray it with a mixture of 1/5 rubbing alcohol to 4/5 water if hosing off isn’t doing the trick. Neem Oil, which works on a wide range of insects, is an organic method of control that is simple and very effective.

Propagation

Like most succulents, Sedum morganianum is a snap to propagate. Simply cut the stems to the length you want, peel the bottom 1/3 of the leaves off and then let those stems heal off (this is where the cut end of the stem callus over) for 2 weeks to 3 months before planting.

When you plant your cuttings, you might need to pin them down in the pot because the weight of the stems will pull them out. You can also propagate it by individual leaf cuttings which you’ll see in the picture below. Just a head’s up because the leaves break and fall off this plant very easily. If you want to know more on this subject, I’ve done an entire blog post about propagating sedums.

My Burro’s Tail cuttings are healing off.

You can also propagate it with the individual leaves. Baby plants are emerging where the leaf meets the stem. Simply lay the leaves on top of your cactus & succulent mix & they’ll root in. Keep it on the dry side.

Burro’s Tail makes a fine houseplant.

It is commonly sold as an indoor hanging plant. You can get your own burros tail here. Put it in a spot with nice, bright light but out of any windows with strong, hot sun. You might have to move it in the wintertime as the sun shifts to a place where the light is brighter.

It’s very important to not overwater this plant. Those leaves store a lot of water so don’t do it every week. Depending on the temperature and light in your home, a thorough watering once a month will probably be enough.

In the video below I am in my front yard showing you my Burro’s Tail Plant:

Above: Tiny red flowers (or sometimes white or yellow, depending on the cultivar) appear seasonally on burro’s tail succulents. Photograph by Manuel MV via Flickr.

Some prefer pointy leaves (grains of rice) and others prefer round pearls. Both versions of Sedum morganianum grow long, lovely tails.

Above: See more of this collection of succulents at Steal This Look: An Indoor Succulent Garden, Shiny Shelving Included. Photograph by Fiona Gilsenan.

Burro’s tail is easier to grow outdoors than in if you live in a warm climate (USDA growing zones 9 to 11). Sedum morganianum is a stonecrop, a family of hardy garden succulents. You can plant it at the edge of wall or in a well-drained container, allowing the stems to spill over the side,. Make sure it’s protected from blistering hot sun and water it every month or so if necessary.

Cheat Sheet

  • Burro’s tail is a showstopper in a hanging basket, where its long, luxurious stems can drape over the side. The stems are heavy with the weight of water-filled leaves, but I’ve seen them grow as long as two feet without trouble.
  • Depending on the cultivar, foliage can range from gray-green, to true green, to blue-green.
  • Like many succulents, burro’s tail may produce a chalky white wax which protects it from sun exposure. Known as epicuticular wax, this layer also helps succulents retain moisture.

Above: A 2.5-inch Donkey’s Tail Succulent is $3.50 from Pigment.

Keep It Alive

  • Burro’s tail is drought tolerant (those pillow leaves retain water). Don’t water it more than once a month. (Soak the soil thoroughly, then make sure to let the topsoil dry out completely before watering again.)
  • For a container plant, choose a pot with a drainage hole and use potting mix suitable for cacti.
  • Perennial in USDA growing zones 9 to 11, burro’s tail is native eastern Mexico and Honduras and accordingly, it expects warm temperatures year-round in the garden.

Above Propagate by cuttings. See more at The New Sharing Economy, Plant Swap Edition.

Discovered by American botanist Eric Walther while he was traveling through Mexico in the 1930s, burro’s tail came back with him to California, where it has been cultivated ever since. For more of the fascinating story of how Mr. Walther first saw the succulent growing in a small town near Jalapa, Mexico, see a report from the Cactus and Succulent Journal of America.

For more growing tips, see Burro’s Tail: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated Garden Design 101 guides to Succulents & Cacti. Read more:

  • Stonecrop: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design
  • 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Succulents
  • Best Houseplants: 9 Indoor Plants for Low Light
  • Now Trending: 11 Ingenious Ways Houseplants Can Make a Room Look Bigger

Burro’s Tail Care – How To Grow A Burro’s Tail Plant

Burro’s tail cactus (Sedum morganianum) is not technically a cactus but a succulent. Although all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cactus. Both do have similar requirements such as gritty soil, good drainage, sunshine and protection from extreme cold temperatures. Growing burro’s tail provides fascinating texture as a graceful houseplant or lush green exterior plant in many landscape situations.

Burro’s Tail Information

Burro’s tail is a heat and drought tolerant plant well suited for warm to temperate regions. The thick stems appear woven or plaited with leaves. The succulent is green to gray green or even blue green and may have a slight chalky look. Try a burro’s tail houseplant or use it on the patio or full sun garden bed.

Burro’s Tail Houseplant

The misnamed burro’s tail cactus produces long, sweeping stems that are arrayed with thick, fleshy green leaves.

The succulent thrives indoors in a well-drained container where bright sunlight bathes the plant. A burro’s tail houseplant will grow equally well in a mixed succulent container or as a hanging specimen. Slowly introduce the plant to full sun once purchased to allow it to acclimate first, as light conditions vary from nursery to nursery, etc.

Provide even moisture and fertilize with cactus food during the growing season.

Divide the plant when it gets too large for a container and transplant it every couple of years to provide it with fresh nutrient-rich soil.

Burro’s tail care is easy and makes it an excellent plant for the novice gardener.

Burro’s Tail Propagation

Burro’s tail features long stems laden with small, rounded leaves. The leaves fall off at the slightest touch and will litter the ground after transplanting or repotting. Gather the leaves and insert them partway into a moist soilless medium.

Burro’s tail plants can tolerate periods of drought, but the new potential plants need to be kept lightly moist until they root and establish.

Propagating burro’s tail will ensure multiple enough of this versatile plant to play with and apply to many different indoor or outdoor landscaping situations. Propagating will also make numerous starts to share with friends and family or spread around the garden.

Growing Burro’s Tail Outdoors

One of the most fun plants around, this succulent is simple to grow. Outdoor plants may need winter protection with a light layer of mulch to protect them from cold.

Plant the burro’s tail in full sun where there is shelter from drying and damaging winds.

Burro’s Tail Care and Uses

The frequent traveler or green thumb-challenged garden will find burro’s tail care ideal. Water carefully when growing burro’s tail. Keep the plant moderately and evenly moist. Excess water can cause the stems to rot and even kill the succulent.

Burro’s tail works well in a hanging basket and decorates a mixed cactus and succulent container. It will flourish in rockery cracks and makes a unique ground cover. Try planting the bushy stems in a bed with mixed seasonal color or bright flowering perennials. It is a perfect choice for large leaved plants and useful as part of a xeriscape garden.

Succulents are the best way to warm a space up with some spirit and liveliness. These exotic green plants radiate good vibes all year long. No worries if you think you are too busy and forgetful to care for a houseplant. Succulents are gaining popularity because they are “easy to care and hard to kill”.

Burro’s Tail is spreading over our lives more and more everyday. These type of succulents are beloved because of their extraordinary appearance. Burro’s Tail looks like an octopus with the stems trailing long from its pot if it is grown with proper care.

Since they grow a big community, I made a deep research about Burro’s Tail succulents; what type of plants they are and how to care for them. I tried to give answers to all the questions if you want to grow a Burro’s Tail that looks amazing.

So, here we go!

Identification: Sedum Morganianum

Origin

Sedum morganianum is a popular flowering plant species of Sedum genus from the family Crassulaceae. Perennial and evergreen plant origins from southern regions of Mexico and Honduras. These are actually desert plants that are found where the air is hot and dry.

Sedums are a large genus that contains 600 species according to what is said. Succulents from this genus differ a lot by their sizes and shapes, but they are all really hardy and tolerant plant types. The cultivators refer to them as “stonecrop” because only a stone could be easier to grow.

Description

Burro’s Tail forms tiny fat leaves arraged around the long stems. Blue-green smoked leaves are storing the water inside so that the plant could survive long periods of drought.

With the long trailing stems, Sedum Morganinum makes a great succulent for growing in hanging pots. It looks even better when the pink-red flowers appear.

Common Names

Because of the elongating body of Sedum Morganianum, these plants are known with many common names like Donkey’s Tail, Burro’s Tail, Lamb’s Tail, Horse’s Tail… The succulent-lovers recognize them with this feature that is giving the plant its name.

How Long does Burro’s Tail Grow?

When you first buy or propagate your Burro’s Tail, it may be formed by only a few little leaves around a single stem. However, your small plant will not remain so small for long.

The plant can reach the maturity in almost about 6 years. By this time a Burro’s Tail could grow up to 1.5 meters long if it is cared very well. The ones I generally see are only around 60-70 centimeters long.

How to Care for Burro’s Tail Indoors?

Burro’s Tail is an effortless plant to care whether you place them at outdoor gardens or indoor spaces.

If you do not get through freezing cold winters where you live, it is so enjoyable to grow Burro’s Tail in your outdoor garden or balcony. But the opposite way, succulents cared indoor spaces are more under control.

These succulents will thrive with a lot of sun, and it is a fact that outdoor spaces are always brighter than the indoors. Yet, you can grow very healthy and pretty succulents also in your home if you learn these few tips.

Succulents do not like sudden changes in the exterior conditions. You should avoid any extreme temperatures, especially cold weather. They are sensitive to lower temperatures while they can resist to hot weather. Burro’s Tail is not a cold hardy type of succulents.

Generally, the suggested temperature for the best looking Burro’s Tail is the room temperature. Plus, the ideal level of humidity should be around %50, same as the ideal level for a person.

Light Requirements

Sedum morganianum require plenty of bright sunlight everyday, directly or partially. Avoid displaying them at the Northern facade which will not get any direct sunshine during the daytime. Nearby a Southern facing window would be the best place for them in your house.

Also, the dramatically changing sun exposure is a stress source to your Sedums. If you are going to move your outdoor succulents to the interior places, try to move them gradually.

Good news: a Sedum morganianum that is exposed to a bright light changes color to a beautiful lilac or golden hue.

Watering Requirements

Water your Burro’s Tail generously and regularly but less frequent than other houseplants. In the wintertime, you can reduce watering even less frequent because the plant is dormant in winters and does not grow actively.

A good amount of watering only once in a while will be enough. Watering of succulents mimic the desert rain, so the leaves store all the water they need and use it for a really long period.

Watering periods will be changing by the climatic conditions of your zone and some specialties that your plant has. One way to understand when your succulent needs watering is waiting until the soil dries out completely and the leaves start to get wrinkles.

Soil Requirements

Sedum morganianum should be planted in a good draining soil. For this reason, you need to plant your Burro’s Tail in a specially prepared succulent soil.

Never use a regular potting or garden soil for the succulents. The one thing that they hate the most is sitting in a soaked soil for too long.

Succulent soils are mixed with perlite or coarse sand in order to maintain good drainage for the roots, so they do not rot. Grainy soil does not hold water in and lets the water drain through.

You can find pre-mixed succulent soils with a lot of options, or you can mix yourself just like I do. See the recipe I use here from my guide for succulent soil.

Propagation of Burro’s Tail

Burro’s Tail is a plant that is so simple to multiply with leaves or cuttings, and the success rates are so high.

Cut out a stem from your Sedum morganianum in a length you want and peel off some bottom leaves. Wait a while for the cutting to heal. After that you can replant the stem.

Be careful that you use a clean cutter to avoid infections. Water the plant before you take a cutting and leave the cutting on a dry surface for a few days before replantation. Although the best season for propagation is early spring, Sedums can grow a new plant all year long.

Repotting Burro’s Tail

Together with the succulent soil, the best drainage for Burro’s Tail is achieved also by a good draining pot. Don’t place it in a pot without the drainage holes on the bottom. I like to use a ceramic or clay planter, this way the roots of my plants stay dry and breathe air easily.

A mature plant gets heavier when the stems grow long. While your Burro’s Tail grows, you might need to replace the pot a couple of times in years. Choose a solid and steady planter for them, that can carry the load.

Be careful that the leaves of Burro’s Tail are very fragile and they tend to fall off easily with a slight bump. Handle them with care when repotting. Don’t worry, you can propagate a new succulent from the fallen leaves.

Flowers of Sedum Morganianum

Burro’s Tail does not bloom very often and it can take several years for it to start giving flowers. And even when they bloom, you might not be lucky enough to get a lot of dense flower clusters.

If your Sedums are generous, they produce little vivid pink colored flowers with yellow stamen inside. In nature, these flowers are helping to attract many insects and flies.

Is Burro’s Tail Poisonous?

Like a lot of species of Sedums, Sedum morganianum is not reported as a poisonous succulent. It is totally safe to keep your Burro’s Tail together with your children or pets at the same house.

Moreover, I found out that some types of Sedums have edible leaves and used as food.

Is Your Burro’s Tail Dying?

If you think your once gorgeous Sedum morganianum is not looking as healthy as before and it is about to die, there are three signals you will see beforehand. It is usually possible to recover Burro’s Tail with an early diagnosis.

The problem is generally either overwatering or underwatering. Also sometimes, the plant might get disturbed by some pests and insects or the burning sun. Let’s see how to save an ill Burro’s Tail.

Leaves Turning Yellow

The leaves turning a yellowish and transparent color is an early sign of overwatering succulents. After this stage, the leaves get squishy and fall off very easily when touched or shook.

In the wintertime, Burro’s Tail does not need as much watering as in the other seasons. A lot of them suffer from overwatering in winter because some of us do not know that they are dormant during this time.

Cut out the water if you see the leaves turn yellow and transparent, and wait for the plant recover itself. Continue less frequent irrigation once the plant is fully cured.

Wrinkled Leaves

Wrinkly and creasy surface of the leaves of Burro’s Tail is telling us that it needs water. If these plants lack a watering for so long, the leaves start to dry out completely and fall off one by one.

Dry succulents will recover and turn back to life quickly with one good irrigation. They are forgiving for inadequate watering, even that they hate to be overwatered.

Spotted Leaves

Black spots and dark marks on the leaves of a Sedum morganianum may be caused by very hot afternoon sun. During the summer, do not leave your plant under the direct hot sun for too long. Sunburns on the leaves are not possible to recover for succulents.

White spots on the leaves that are looking like tiny cotton balls are probably a pest infection called powdery mildew. You can treat the plant by spraying some alcohol on the leaves and clean these white spots.

Sedum morganianum is definitely a showstopper in a hanging pot. It looks perfect with the stems that are dramatically draping over the side of a pot or shelf. But be careful with the extraordinary foliage of Burro’s Tails. Leaves of these succulents tend to drop off easily. Though, I am sure you will love how they stay beautiful even you neglect them.

The donkey tail succulent is a lovely plump trailing plant that is great in containers. Get some tips for how to grow sedum morganianum to make sure that you keep your succulent super healthy.

Succulents like sedum are drought smart plants that are super easy to grow and make fantastic houseplants. Be sure to check out my tips for how to care for succulents.

Succulents are easy to grow plants that thrive on a bit of neglect. The plump leaves store water in them, enabling them to grow even if the water level is low.

This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.

Facts about Donkey Tail Sedum

Sedum morganianum is a flowering sedum in the family crassulaceae – (stonecrops.) The plant is native to Southern Mexico and the Honduras.

It is a member of the sedum family of succulents and is very easy care.

The succulent is also known by the common names Burro’s Tail Sedum, and Donkey Tail Cactus. The scientific name is sedum morganianum.

The plant is often confuses with sedum burrito. The traditional sedum morganianum has more pointed leaves and sedum burrito has more rounded tips. Both are great in hanging baskets and have the same growing conditions and care..

Even though sedum morganianum is known as donkey’s tail cactus, it is not a cactus, but is considered a succulent. (Not all succulents are cactus, but all cactus varieties are succulents.)

It is easy to see why the common names came to be when you examine the growth habit of the succulent, which has long, pendulous stems made up of green leaves.

There are several varieties of succulent that grows with the dropping tail-like habit. All have similar growing needs. Some have pointed tips and some are much more round.

The image below is called blue tears sedum. You can see the similarities with the plump leaves and long tails. But in this plant the ends are more of a rosette, than a hanging pointed tail.

This plant is magnificent growing in containers as a hanging succulent. Read on for tips for growing sedum donkey tail.

How to Grow Sedum Morganianum

If you want to experience the joy of this gorgeous succulent, you may find yourself asking “how do you care for sedum morganianum?”

Never fear, the answer is here. Follow these tips and your sedum plant will not only grow well for you but thrive.

Sunlight needs for burro’s tail plant

This sedum variety can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It grows best in filtered bright light to bring out the leaf color. It does not like extreme heat conditions and can easily scorch the leaves if given full sun.

Indoors it will be very happy in a south facing sunny window. My kitchen gets ample sunlight and the plant loves it here.

However, if you don’t give the plant enough light, the nodes between the leaves will get longer and so those plump leaves will not be as dense on the stems, ruining the look of the donkey’s tail that is so desirable.

It loves morning sunlight and afternoon shade. If you bring your indoor plants outside in the summer, keep this in mind to choose a good spot for it.

Keep burros tail away from drafts, although giving the plant cooler temperatures in winter may be just the boost it needs to encourage flowers to bloom in the spring.

The growing season is in spring and summer when the temperatures are hotter and the days are longer.

During the winter months, the plant is less active in growth. Keep Donkey’s tail plant in a cool place that gets lower light and cut back even more on watering.

When to water burro tail cactus

Water the plant when the top inch or so of the soil is dry. Keep up this watering practice all year long, except for in the winter, when you should only water infrequently.

The plant can be easily killed from too much water which can encourage root rot in succulents. It stores water in its plump leaves and this makes it very drought tolerant.

A good rule of sun is to water the plant every 10-14 days. The plant will dry out faster in a terra cotta planter than in a plastic one and small pots also dry out more quickly.

How do you propagate burro’s tail succulents?

Get new plants for free by propagating sedum morganianum from leaf or stem cuttings.

Take care when handling the plant, since the leaves are quite delicate and will easily break off the stem.

If they do break, let them callous over at the end and then plant in a seed starting mixture. Roots will form in a few days and a new plant will grow easily.

Re-potting Burros Tail Sedum

If your plant becomes pot bound it will slow down on growth of the tails. You can check the roots by taking the plant out of the pot. If you see a mass of roots, it’s time to re-pot the plant.

Re-poting burro’s tail is best done in the warm seasons. Make sure the soil is dry before you start. Gently remove the replant and knock off some of the old soil.

Plant in a new pot that is one third larger and back fill with fresh succulent soil. Leave the plant dry for the first week and then resume watering.

Cold Hardiness for Donkey’s Tail Sedum

Sedum morganianum is considered a tender succulent. It can take minimum temperatures to about 41-45 degrees. Will generally overwinter in zones 10a to 11b.

If you are colder than these temperatures in your area, the plant is best grown as an indoor plant.

Growth habit for Sedum Morganianum

It is easy to see why the common names came to be when you examine the growth habit of the succulent. The plump leaves of the succulent look like many other sedums when it is young.

But when the plant is healthy and mature, both sedum morganianum and sedum burrito have a drooping nature that is perfect for hanging baskets. It is then that the plant looks so much like a donkey or burro’s tail.

Size of Burro’s Tail Sedum

This succulent perennial plant produces trailing stems that can generally reach up to 24 inches long or even longer. It has fleshy blue green plump leaves.

A mature plant can grow to 4 feet long and can take about 6 years to reach this size. This can be a challenge since the leaves easily fall off if they touch surrounding objects (or your hands!), leaving bald spots in your planter.

For best results, plant several of the stems in a planter to take advantage of the drooping habit of the plant.

It is a succulent perennial producing trailing stems up to 60 cm (24 in) long, with fleshy blue-green leaves and terminal pink to red flowers in summer.

Sedum Morganianum Flowers

The flowers of donkey’s tail sedum come at the end of the plump full stem. It is amazing to see them on a mature plant, but even a smaller specimen has flowers worth waiting for.

The flowers range from pink and red flowers through to yellow and white and they will appear in the summer months.

Photo credit Wikimedia commons

Is sedum morganianum poisonous?

If you are a pet owner, you don’t need to worry about toxicity. In general, succulents can be a great choice for pets. Donkey tail sedum is non toxic to dogs, cats and horses.

What kind of soil does Burro’s Tail Succulent like?

All succulents like well draining soil. I like to use a specialty cactus and succulent soil for best results.

Sedum morganianum likes a soil that drains well. If you don’t use special cactus or succulent soil, you can add horticultural grade sand or perlite to a regular potting soil to give it better drainage.

The ideal PH for this plant is around 6.0 (slightly acidic). Feed the plant every other week in the growing season with a balanced succulent fertilizer.

To encourage more flowering, a 2-7-7 solution Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer is a good choice.

Diseases and Pests that like Donkey’s Tail Sedum

This plant is relatively pest free. Aphids might decide to make a home on it so keep an eye out for them and wash them off with a spray if you find them. Neem Oil also works and is organic.

The other problem that you are likely to encounter with Burro’s Tail is root rot from over-watering. The solution is simple – just go light on the watering, allowing the plant to dry out a bit before adding more water.

Making New Tails

One of the beauties of this plant is that it is one of the trailing succulents that looks great in a hanging basket. But for this look, you will need lots of “tails.”

One of the questions that I often get asked is “Does Burros Tail plant make new tails while growing or must I propagate in order for this to happen?”

The answer is that the plant will develop new tails, as long as the plant is healthy and not stressed, but this can take quite some time to happen. All succulents are relatively slow growers.

If you would like to speed up the look, then you should purchase a plant with many tails in it, or re-pot so that you have several growing together.

You can also stimulate new growth by selective pruning of sedum morganianum. Be sure to use very clean and sharp gardening shears to prune the plant.

Trim any places where bald spots have developed from leaves which have fallen off, leaving a bare stem.

If the plant is not damaged, just make cuts anywhere along the stem, being sure to leave a few inches near the base of the plant.

Allow the stem to callous over for a few days and plant in soil so that the tails are growing outward in a new area of the soil with no drooping stems.

Wait for a few days to water and then resume normal watering. The stem will develop roots and the new “tail” will become longer.

When you handle the plant, some leaves will fall off. The individual leaves can also be used to make new plants but it will take longer for the tails to form.

Where to purchase sedum morganianum

Burro’s tail sedum makes a great houseplants and are super popular right now, particularly with indoor gardeners and are available at many garden centers. See my tips for buying succulents here.

Check your local Farmer’s market and the garden area of both Lowe’s and Home Depot. The plant is also available online.

  • Sedum Burro’s Tail on Amazon
  • Sedum Burro’s Tail on Etsy (cuttings)

These two links are to the variety sedum morganianum. Many of the plants sold as burro’s tail are actually sedum morganianum ‘burrito’ with the more rounded tips.

Pin Sedum Morganianum Growing Tips for Later

Would you like a reminder of this post for how to grow donkey’s tail cactus? Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest gardening boards so that you can easily find it later.

Active Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Difficulty moderate Estimated Cost $5-40

Materials

  • Donkey’s Tail Succulent
  • Potting Soil – Specialty Succulent Mix
  • Hanging Basket to display if the plant is large

Tools

  • Garden Gloves
  • print out this care card for growing tips for sedum

Instructions

  1. SUNLIGHT NEEDS – Full sun to partial filtered light. Does best with some afternoon shade.
  2. WATERING NEEDS – allow the plant to dry out a bit between watering
  3. SOIL – Choose a well draining cactus or succulent soil
  4. HARDINESS – Zones 10a-11b. Can take temperatures to about 41-45 degrees minimum
  5. COMMON NAMES – Burro’s Tail Sedum, Burros Tail Succulent, and Donkey Tail Cactus. Also known as sedum burrito.
  6. TOXICITY – Generally not toxic to pets.
  7. PROPAGATION – Stem or leaf cuttings. Callous over and then plant.
  8. GETTING TAILS – Plant several small plants in the same pot to get the trailing effect, or prune the tips to encourage side growth along the stems.

Recommended Products

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  • Donkey Tail Lambs Tail Burrito Sedum morganianum Succulent Cacti 3″-4″ cuttings
  • Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food, 4-Ounce

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Although common enough in culture, burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) was long at the center of a horticultural mystery.

A 70-year old horticultural mystery was recently solved, one I’d thought a lot about over the years. You see, I’ve been growing burro’s tail, aka donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum) for almost 40 years and remember reading in a magazine article ages ago that its origin was a mystery, that it had never been found in the wild. It just seemed so strange to me that a plant of unknown origin could be so widely available. After all, you’ll find burro’s tail in just every garden center.

Photo of hanging baskets of Sedum morganianum taken by Eric Walther at the nursery where it was found in 1935. Photo: http://www.crassulaceae.com

The trailing succulent with long pendulous stems covered with pale blue-green leaves has in fact been cultivated since at least 1935, when American botanist Eric Walther found it growing by the dozens in hanging baskets in Jardín Flottante, a small nursery in the town of Coatepec, in the center of the state of Veracruz, Mexico. He brought it back to California where his friend, Dr. Meredith Morgan, managed to get it to bloom, a necessary step in its identification, as Walther was, until then, unsure whether the plant was a sedum or an echeveria (Echeveria), but the details of the flower revealed its true identity. When Walther officially described it in 1938, he named it for Morgan… and the botanical description bore the inscription ”type locality unknown”.

Multiple Searches

Since 1935, Veracruz has been visited by many botanists, all of whom have hoped to solve the mystery, which is very well-known in botanical circles. As they looked, the different botanists made plenty of other discoveries, including more than 40 other new species endemic to the state of Veracruz, but none of them found S. morganianum.

Sedum morganianum growing in the wild in Mayatla canyon.

In 2008, however, Mexican botanists David Jimeno-Sevilla and Amparo Alvalat-Botana, under the supervision of Miguel Cházaro, who had himself searched in vain for the plant in the wild over many years, were carrying out floristic studies in Tenampa, Veracruz, some 50 km south of Coatepec. They ran into Carlos Ros, the owner of the ranch where they were working, Rancho Bellreguard de Sochiapa, and he said he had seen the plant on his property about 2 months previously. And it turned out to be true! He was able to show them the plant in situ, on vertical cliffs of igneous rock in two different ravines, Mayatla and Ixcacotitla. Seeing the plant was one thing; climbing up after it, quite another, but they were nevertheless able to bring specimens back to Universidad Verzcruzana where the plant’s identity was confirmed.

Popular

Its mysterious origin didn’t prevent the burro’s tail (from the Spanish “cola de burro”) from becoming popular. By the 1950s, barely 10 years after it was described, it was being commonly grown throughout the New World as well as in Europe and Australia.

A single leaf deposited in a pot will produce a new plant.

This is almost certainly because it is so easy to share: all you need is a single leaf to start a new plant. Just drop it into on a pot of growing mix and it will (slowly) produce roots and then a stem and leaves, forming a new plant.

It actually turns out that this method of reproduction is the one that it most often uses in the wild as well. A leaf is knocked from its stem by the wind or an animal becomes lodged in a crevasse… and there you go: a new plant is born!

In tropical countries, notably ones with arid climates, burro’s tail is widely used as an outdoor plant and can be seen dripping from hanging baskets everywhere. In temperate regions, it’s grown as a houseplant in hanging baskets or wall pots. It’s a tough plant that grows well even when thoroughly neglected.

Like all sedums, burro’s tail prefers full sun, but will tolerate more moderate light, such as an east window.

It’s adaptable when it comes to potting soil and any mix, whether rich or poor, alkaline or acid, will be suitable, provided it drains well. It does like to its soil to dry out a bit before you water it again, especially during the winter, when it’s subject to rot under the deadly combination of short winter days and soggy soil.

It’s extremely tolerant of summer heat, but not winter cold and will tolerate no frost whatsoever. Aim for a minimum temperature of 55˚F (13˚C).

Burro’s tail grows slowly even under the best conditions and doesn’t require much fertilizer. In fact, even if you never fertilize it, it will still grow perfectly well.

Sedum morganianum in bloom

Burro’s tail only blooms sporadically when grown indoors, although it may bloom annually when it’s outdoors in the tropics where the sun is more intense. At any rate, the purplish pink star-shaped flowers are less attractive than the plant’s overall appearance, what with its long trailing stems (they can exceed 3 feet/1 m in length!) covered with pointed succulent leaves that take on an attractive pale blue-green coloration because of the bloom (whitish wax) that covers them. Most gardeners don’t much mind if their burro’s tails never bloom!

You’re not going to want to move your plant around much, since it loses leaves at the slightest touch. Hang it up somewhere you or guests are not likely to bump into it, or that will leave a shower of fallen leaves on the floor and sections of bare stem in the plant. This is one of the rare succulent houseplants that I don’t put outside for the summer: moving it indoors and out simply causes too much damage.

When your plant has lost too many leaves, it will be less attractive. At this point, it’s best to start a new plant from leaf or stem cuttings. Since transplanting this plant is likely to damage it, may I suggest you start your new plants directly in the hanging basket or wall pot in which you’ll be displaying it. About 10 or so leaves dropped on the potting mix will create a nicely full plant… many months later (it remains a very slow grower).

Two Imposters

There are two other plants that can easily be mistaken for S. morganianum: S. burrito and X Sedeveria ‘Harry Butterfield’ (as well as other X Sedeveria varieties).

Sedum burrito

Sedum burrito

S. burrito is often called baby burro’s tail or baby donkey’s tail, although the plant is not really any smaller, it’s just that it’s leaves that are shorter.

S. burrito stems (note the rice grain-shaped leaves) with one stem of Sedum morganianum (in the red rectangle) with banana-shaped leaves.

This plant looks so much like S. morganianum that many people confuse the two. In fact, in the trade you often you see a mixture of the two in the same pot as in the photo above! Both plants have an identical growth habit, with the same pendent stems, plus the same purplish pink flowers, but S. burrito’s shorter leaves are bluer in color, borne more horizontally and densely and have a rounded tip rather than pointed tip of S. morganianum. Think of it this way: if the leaves are shaped like a grain of rice, you’re looking at baby burro’s tail (S. burrito); if they look like little bananas, it’s a burro’s tail (S. morganianum). When you see the plants side by side, as in the photo above, they actually look quite distinct.

I also find S. burrito better holds onto to its leaves when you move it, though it will drop them if given a hard enough knock.

Oddly enough, S. burrito has a similar history to S. morganianum. It was also discovered, not in the wild, but in a nursery in the town of Coatepec, but four decades later. That’s where botanist Reid Moran spotted it in 1975 before bringing the plant back to the United States from where it too conquered the world.

To this day its location in the wild remains unknown… and again it is presumed that it’s growing somewhere on a cliff in the state of Vercruz. So if you’re ever interested in a bit of plant exploration…

S. burrito has been officially described as a species, but many botanists feel it would be best described as a variety of S. morganianum: S. morganianum burrito.

X Sedeveria

X Sedeveria ‘Harry Butterfield’ has much longer leaves than S. morganianum.

Another plant you could confuse with S. morganianum is the intergeneric hybrid (i.e. a cross between plants of two different genera), X Sedeveria ‘Harry Butterfield’ (and similar hybrids). It comes from a cross between S. morganianum and Echeveria derenbergii and is usually called, for good reason, giant burro’s tail, for its succulent leaves are distinctly longer than those of S. morganianum. Other differences are its shorter stems (they rarely reach more than 20 inches/50 cm in length) and its yellowish to orange flowers compared to S. morganianum’s purplish pink blooms. Its leaves, on the other hand, are just as fragile as those of S. morganianum and therefore the plant should be handled with care.

You can multiply both “imposters” just like S. morganianum, by leaf or stem cuttings.

And there you go: one plant mystery is solved, one remains intact… and there are now three very attractive hanging succulents you might want to grow in your home!

Toxic and Non-Toxic Succulents for Pets

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If you love both succulents and pets, you probably at one point worry if those two can coexist happily in your house. Will your cats or dogs attack your succulents, and if so, what are the chances of your plants being poisonous to your pets? This article will provide a list of some toxic and non-toxic succulents for pets.

Non-Toxic Succulents for Pets

Below are some of the most common succulents that are non-toxic to pets:

Sempervivum (Hens and chicks)

Sempervivum collections |

Sempervivum are succulent perennials that form mats of beautiful compact rosettes. They offset readily and are perfect as a groundcover. Sempervivum plants are easy to grow succulents because they can thrive in both cold or hot temperatures with either low or strong level of light.

Burro’s Tail

Sedum Burrito – Donkey’s Tail |

Sedum Burrito, also known as Burro’s Tail or Donkey’s Tail Succulent, is native to Mexico. It is an easy-to-grow perennial succulent and can tolerate any types of soil with good drainage. It has rounded and fleshy silver-green leaves that are densely packed on hanging stems.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus |

Christmas cactus is also known as Thanksgiving cactus or Easter cactus. This plant blooms beautiful red-pink flowers during the holiday season. This popular, winter-flowering houseplant makes a great addition to nearly any indoor setting. Christmas cactus is not only easy to care for but propagates easily too, making it an exceptional candidate for holiday gift giving.

Zebra Haworthia

Haworthia Zebra Plant |

Haworthia Fasciata ‘Zebra Haworthia” is one of the most popular Haworthia species. Its leaves are thin, and dark green with horizontal white ridges that resemble zebra striping. Zebra Haworthia is often grown as an indoor plant because of its attractive appearance and low maintenance. It produces offsets freely, and the offsets can be propagated easily.

Echeveria

Echeveria Species |

Echeveria is a family of rose-shaped succulents native to the semi-desert regions of Central America. Echeverias are one of the most popular succulents thanks to its charming rosettes with gorgeous water-storing leaves. Echeveria succulents come in a variety of beautiful colors and usually produce stunning flowers. They are super easy to care for, grow quickly, and can tolerate drought.

Opuntia Species

Opuntia Angel Wing Cactus |

Opuntia Monacantha (Joseph’s Coat Cactus) |

Opuntia species, also known as the cactus pear or the paddle cactus, have oval, flat leaves or “paddles” that are covered with small spines. The leaves and egg-shaped fruits of most Opuntia species are edible.

Toxic Succulents for Pets

The more important thing is to know which succulents to avoid if you have pets in your household. The plants below are known to cause dogs/cats to get sick if ingested, although they don’t lead to any serious illnesses.

Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)

Jade Plant (Crassula Argentea)

Jade plants, also known as Crassula ovata, are very popular succulent houseplants. They have a miniature tree-like appearance and glossy oval-shaped leaves, which look super appealing—and your pets might think so too. But you should keep your dogs or cats away from jade plants because they can cause symptoms of toxicity such as vomiting, lethargy, incoordination and a low heart rate.

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe (Aloe Vera)

Aloe is a common houseplant known for its multiple health benefits. However, it is toxic to cats and dogs if ingested due to a substance called aloin that pulls extra water into the pet’s colon. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, change in urine color or tremors.

Fiddle Leaf (Philodendron bipennifolium)

Fiddle Leaf Philodendron

The Fiddle Leaf Philodendron, also known as Panda Plant, is a popular low-maintenance houseplant. All parts of this plant contain insoluble calcium oxalates crystal, an irritant to the tissues. Signs of toxicity include mouth irritation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plant is an easy-care houseplant that can adapt to a wide variety of growing conditions. But the plant contains saponins, which can cause mild toxicity, with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for your pets if ingested.

Kalanchoe species

Kalanchoe Species

The Kalanchoe genus includes tropical, succulent flowering plants that bloom even in the coldest months of winter. They are easy to care for and very drought tolerant. But Kalanchoe plants contain cardiac glycosides which can cause lethargy, increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Kalanchoe can be a dangerous toxin if a large amount is ingested, causing irregular heartbeats, elevated heart rate, labored breathing, severe weakness and collapse, or even death.

What to Do If Your Pet Eats a Succulent

If your pet eats a succulent, you need to immediately identify the plant and call your local veterinarian when there is a chance that the plant is poisonous. However, if your vet is not familiar with houseplants or succulents, you might want to contact a poison control center. These two poison control centers for animals below are available 24/7 and they both charge a small fee for a consultation.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – (888) 426-4435

Pet Poison Helpline – (855) 764-7661

Keep Your Pets Safe from Poisonous Succulents

Make sure your succulents are out of reach of your pets. Refrain from buying plants that are potentially toxic to them. If you still decide to purchase those plants, you need to keep them in an inaccessible area. If your pets accidentally chew on your succulent, call your vet or an animal poison control center to determine if any treatment is needed.

Learn How To Keep Your Pets Away From Your Succulents!

to get all the details.

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UConn Home & Garden Education Center

Houseplants: Safe and Toxic Varieties

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Many homes contain houseplants or other natural materials to add beauty and interest to the décor. Not only are they attractive but many varieties of houseplants serve as indoor air cleaners as well. Lovely and functional as they may be, some houseplants may present a hazard especially if young children or pets share the household.

A toxic plant is one that contains a chemical substance which produces a harmful reaction in the body of humans or animals when taken in small or moderate amounts. A harmful reaction could include allergic reactions, dermatitis or skin irritation, of internal poisoning. Allergic reactions are not always classified as poisoning and will not be treated as such here. This is because there is a wide range of plants that can cause allergic reactions, and sensitivity to a plant varies among individuals. Also, individuals can react in different ways after contact with a toxic plant depending on their sensitivity level.
It is important that houseplant owners be aware of the potential problems that plants with toxic properties might cause.

  • Be aware of the identity of your houseplants and learn if they pose potential threats to children and pets.

  • If you cannot identify a houseplant, call your local Extension Center or the Home and Garden Education Center for assistance.

  • It is also important to realize that many plants need to be consumed in considerable quantities for poisoning to occur. Often toxic plants taste bitter or acrid and children and pets may not ingest large amounts.

  • Young children, especially, should be taught not to put unknown plants or plant parts in their mouths.

  • Any plant may cause a reaction in certain people.

  • If a plant is eaten, remove the rest from the mouth and rinse the mouth with water.

  • If a houseplant or natural decoration is ingested by children or pets and poisoning is suspected, call your family doctor, nearest emergency room or veterinarian immediately.

  • The number for the National Poison Center is (800) 222-1222. They can tell you if a plant is toxic and what symptoms might be expected with a particular toxin. You will need to provide them with the identity of the plant, however.

The following is a list of plants considered toxic.
Remember that plants may contain a variety of poisons. They may cause symptoms ranging from a mild stomach ache to serious heart and kidney problems.

Common Name

Latin Name

Amaryllis

Hippeastrum spp.

Anthurium

Anthurium spp.

Apricot kernels

Prunus armeniaca

Azaleas

Rhododendron spp

Caladium

Caladium bicolor

Calla Lily

Calla palustrus

Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema spp.

Colchicum

Colcicum autumnale

Daffodil

Narcissus spp.

Dumb Cane

Dieffenbachia spp.

Elephant’s Ear

Colocasia antiquorum

English Ivy

Hedera helix

Fishtail Palm

Caryota spp.

Holly Berries

Ilex spp.

Hyacinth

Hyacinthus orientalis

Jerusalem Cherry

Solanum pseudocapsicum

Lantana

Lantana camara

Mistletoe

Phoradendron villosum

Mountain laurel
(holiday greens)

Kalmia spp.

Oleander

Nerium oleander

Philodendron

Philodendron spp.

Ranunculus

Ranunculus spp.

Rosary Pea

Abrus precatorius

Schefflera

Schefflera actinophylla

Spathiphyllum

Spathiphyllum spp.

Yew (holiday greens)

Taxus spp.

ZZ Plant Zamioculcas zamifolia

Plants listed below are considered safe and not toxic.
Although eating or touching these plants is unlikely to cause illness, any plant might cause a reaction in certain sensitive individuals.

Common Name

Latin name

African daisy

Dimorphotheca aurantiaca

African Violet

Saintpaulia ionantha

Aluminum Plant

Pilea spp.

Baby’s Tears

Soleiria soleirolii

Bamboo, Golden

Phyllostachys aurea

Bird of Paradise

Strelitzia reginae

Bird’s Nest Fern

Asplenium nidus

Boston Fern

Nephrolepis exaltata

Camellia

Camellia sinensis

Cast Iron Plant

Aspidistra elatior

Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera bridgesii

Coleus

Coleus hybridus

Corn Plant

Dracaena sp.

Donkey’s tail

Sedum morganianum

Dracaena

Dracaena spp.

Echeveria

Echeveria spp.

Figs; Weeping & Fiddleleaf**

Ficus spp.

Geraniums

Pelargonium spp.

Goldfish Plant

Columnea spp.

Impatiens

Impatiens wallerana

Jade Plant

Crassula argentea

Japanese Aralia

Fatsia japonica

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe spp.

Lipstick Plant

Aeschynanthus spp.

Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum spp.

Nerve Plant

Fittonia spp.

Orchids

Cattleya, Epidendrum, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum spp.

Norfolk Island Pine

Araucaria heterophylla

Palms

Palmae
(most non-toxic except
Fishtail Palm, Caryota spp. )

Peperomia

Peperomia spp.

Piggyback plant**

Tolmiea mensziesii

Poinsettia**

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Prayer Plant

Maranta leuconeura

Purple Passion Plant

Gynura aurantiaca

Sensitive Plant

Mimosa puddica

Surinam Cherry

Eugenia uniflora

Swedish Ivy

Plectranthus spp.

Wandering Jew

Tradescantia spp.

Wax Plant

Hoya carmosa

Zebra Plant

Aphelandra squarrosa

A Guide to House Plant Poisoning, Prevention and Treatment, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City Utah, 2000.http://uuhsc.utah.edu/pated/handouts/handout.cfm?id=2167
Barkley, Shelley. Poisonous House Plants, Government of Alberta Canada, 2005. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/webdoc1376

Revised by UConn Home and Garden Education Center 2016.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Dean of the College, Cooperative Extension System, University of Connecticut, Storrs. The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System is an equal opportunity employer and program provider. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, Stop Code 9410, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964.

Donkeys Tail Succulent

A Donkey’s Tail succulent (Sedum Morganianum), sometimes called Burro’s Tail plant, is a popular and easy to grow trailing succulent. It is native to Mexico. This unique looking plant has long hanging stems. That are covered with thick rows of fleshy blue-green, tear dropped shaped leaves that overlap like the hair on a donkey’s tail. The stems can reach lengths of over 3 feet long. It is happiest when grown in hanging baskets or up high so that it has room to flow down and no one can accidentally bump into it. A Donkey’s Tail plant is very fragile and the stems break and the leaves easily detach and fall off of if disturbed. Donkey Tail needs careful handling.

Under the right conditions, a Donkey’s Tail plant may produce star-shaped flowers of pink or red. They may appear on the tips of the leaves during summer. This plant needs at least four hours of sun or a very bright light if you are growing indoors. Keep it shaded from hot afternoon sun. It can sunburn easily. If it gets insufficient light, the new growth will be small and pale.

As with all succulents, Donkey’s Tail needs to have dry soil before they are watered. Water them well and then do not water again until the soil has thoroughly dried out. Winter is its dormant period and needs even less water. If the leaves appear to be shriveled it may be under watered. The soil should be loose and fast draining such as a cactus or succulent mix.

It can handle average humidity. It can tolerate dry air but keep it out of drafts. Donkey’s Tail likes to be fertilized monthly from March through September. Never during winter while it is dormant. The only pests that seem to bother this plant is Mealy bugs.

It likes to be root bound in smaller pots. If the leaves are knocked of a stem trim the stem off. And keep those leaves to propagate this plant. Because you can use stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Take 2-3 inch stem tip cutting in spring. Remove the lower leaves to expose the stem and insert it into soil. Keep the soil moist and be patient. It could take months before roots form. I normally just lay the leave cuttings on top of the soil until they start to grow roots.

This is not a poisonous plant. However this plant can be confused with a creeping Spurge or Myrtle Spurge. Myrtle Spurge is poisonous. You are supposed to take care when handling.

This plant eventually grows to 4′ long which will take around 6 years or so. As it grows it gets very thick with those trailing stems heavily laden with overlapping plump, juicy leaves which form a groovy braided pattern. As you can imagine, a mature plant gets very heavy. This plant is not for a flimsy pot with a flimsy hanger. It’s best grown in a hanging basket, in a large pot like mine, in a pot that hangs against a wall or trailing out of a rock garden.

In terms of care, a Burro’s Tail couldn’t be easier. I’m going to cover that below along with propagation which is something you’ll want to know how to do because all your friends will want a cutting or two. Mine grows outdoors but I’ll also tell you what it needs if you want to grow it in your house at the end of this list.

Light: Sedum morganianum likes bright shade or partial sun. It will burn in strong, hot sun. Mine gets morning sun which it prefers. And now, because my neighbor cut down two of his pine trees last year, it gets some afternoon sun too. If you watch the video at the end you’ll see the stems that are getting too much sun are a pale green. This plant should ideally be a lovely blue-green. I may have to move it to a less sunny spot – I’ll watch it and see.

Watering: All those leaves store water so be sure not to overwater it. It will rot out if you do. My Burro’s Tail is well established (around 5 years old) so I water it every 10-14 days but give it a thorough drink. Watering this way also helps some of the salts (from the water and fertilizers) to flush out of the pot. The rainwater mine gets in the winter helps with that. In other words, don’t splash and go every other day. In the growing season, when the days are warmer and longer, I water it more often every 9-11 days. As a rule, plants in clay pots will dry out faster as will larger plants in smaller pots. Adjust accordingly as well as to the weather conditions.

Soil: Like any other succulent, this one needs good drainage. The water needs to drain out of it fast so it’s best to use a mix especially formulated for cactus and succulents. I buy mine at California Cactus Center near Pasadena in case you live in that area. Or, you can add horticultural grade sand and perlite (or fine lava rock, gravel or pumice) to lighten up whatever potting soil you have. My secret planting weapon is worm castings. Your Burro’s Tail would love a bit of that too. By the way, I top dress all the containers in my garden with compost and worm castings every Spring.

The Burro’s Tail Plant (Sedum morganianum) is a small succulent known by several other names besides “Burro’s tail.”

  • Donkey tail plant
  • Lamb’s tail plant
  • Monkey tail plant
  • Horse’s tail plant

I’ve always called it Burro’s tail.

Related: Growing Succulent Plants Outdoors

Sedum morganianum is native to Mexico and is one of approximately 600 species in the genus, Sedum, which is a member of the Crassulaceae (stonecrop) family.

Attractive Burro Tail basket

These small, succulent plants native to most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, are popular as both landscape and container plants.

In this article, we will share growing, care and use information on the Burro’s Tail. Read on to learn more.

What Does The Burros Tail Look Like?

Unlike most other members of this group, Sedum morganianum has long, pendulous stems, which inspired its common name – Burro’s Tail. By the way, it is a succulent not as cactus as some think.

The stems are heavily leaved and do look rather like a donkey’s tail (if it were green). Healthy, mature specimens can produce large numbers of donkey tails reaching a length of three or four feet!

If you don’t have room for a plant sporting up to a hundred, four-foot-long tails, you can opt for the smaller version of the plant, Baby Donkey Tail (Sedum burrito).

This is a dwarf version of the original, and it only grows to be about half as big.

The leaves are between a quarter and a half inch long, and the tails reach a maximum of about a foot and a half.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could choose Giant Burro’s Tail (Sedeveria), which is a cross between Burro’s Tail (Sedum. morganianum) and the different varieties of Echeveria plants.

This plant has very large, pointed leaves. It grows both hanging tails and upright stalks.

No matter which variety you choose, this plant seldom produces flowers, and when it does they are small, star-shaped and unscented in shades of pink and red.

The real drawing card for this plant is its plump, interesting leaves. These hang from the stem in an overlapping pattern to create the “tail” illusion.

Leaves are pale green and dusted with a waxy, pale blue powder. When you handle the plant, this powder rubs off, but fear not, it will develop again shortly.

Recommended Reading:

  • How To Grow and Care For Hens and Chicks – Sempervivum
  • Rat Rail Cactus Growing and Care
  • String Of Pearls Plant Growing And Care

What Is The Best Use Of Burro’s Tail?

All versions of the burro’s tail succulent are good choices for sunny settings.

These hardy plants do well as indoor house container plants in a sunny window, a balcony setting, on a patio or near your pool.

Smaller versions (sedum burrito) make lovely hanging baskets with their “tails” trailing over the edge.

It’s best to place the containers in an out-of-the way location as the leaves tend to fall off easily when disturbed.

Hanging Burro’s Tail Succulent

Donkey Tail Plant Care

A plant for the neglectful plant lover is one of the best ways to describe caring for a Burro’s tail succulent. They can be quite happy growing in sandy soil with a little sun in the morning.

However, below are some care and growing guidelines.

Donkey Tail Cactus Light Requirements

These plants love very bright light with a minimum of four hours daily. Some who grow the donkey tail recommend full sun but I’ve noticed the plants become “yellow” when grown in the blazing full sun in summer.

What Temperature Does The Donkey Tail Succulent Like?

In tropical climates, Lamb’s Tail plants can stay outdoors year-round. In areas where it freezes in winter, bring this succulent plant indoors during the winter months.

Wintertime temperatures should be between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the growing season, comfortable room temperature or warmer is fine.

Tips On Burro’s Tail Watering

Unlike many succulents, these plants need quite a bit of water to keep the many leaves plump and attractive. Water deeply and regularly throughout the growing season.

You should give the plant a very thorough watering and then wait for the soil to dry before watering again.

Be sure to check the soil often. Very large, mature plants may need to be watered more frequently.

Reduce Watering In The Wintertime – Your goal should be just to prevent shriveling leaves. If you see the leaves begin to shrivel, it is a sure sign you need to water.

If this does happen, don’t get upset. They will plump back up again, and if they don’t, you can always pluck them off. More will grow soon.

Sedum Morganianum Care: Fertilizing

Fertilizer your Burro’s tail is not essential, but you can feed a weak solution of cactus fertilizer two or three times during the growing season.

Don’t feed more than once a month. In winter, don’t feed at all.

What Is The Best Soil For A Sedum Or Succulent?

A commercial cactus mix is ideal. You can also make your own well-draining soil mixture by combining equal parts potting soil and perlite or pumice.

More on: How To Make The Best Soil For Cactus

Repotting The Burro’s Tail Plant

When repotting repot gradually, as needed, up to about a six or eight-inch pot or hanging basket. After that, just supplement existing soil with fresh soil occasionally.

It is not a good idea to completely repot or transplant mature plants as it is very difficult to avoid damaging the plant.

The donkey tail is a delicate and brittle succulent. They easily break up when handled.

TIP: Before repotting do a little preplanning and preparation. Stop watering the plant for several weeks and allow the leaves to crinkle slowly. This allows the plant to be more flexible when handling the repotting and transplanting.

Propagating, rooting and starting the burro’s tail and sedum plants, in general, could not be easier.

The reason the leaves fall off easily is that in nature they simply fall to the ground, take root and grow up tas brand-new plants.

If you keep your Burro’s Tail plant among a group of other potted plants, you will soon see little “tails” shooting up in the soil of the plant’s neighbors.

Simple leaf propagation involves plucking off a fat, healthy leaf (or picking up one that has fallen) and dropping it onto the surface of a small pot of well-draining soil. Cactus soil is ideal.

Plain perlite, coco coir or sand will also work.

Keep the soil slightly moist (use a spray bottle) and place the pot in a warm setting with bright, indirect lighting.

Before you know it, a little plant will begin to grow from the base of the leaf.

When the baby plant is about a half inch across, it is ready to be transplanted to its own small pot.

It’s best to begin with a one-inch pot and repot as needed. These plants do well and look pretty in classic terra cotta.

Decorated, Mexican ceramic pots also look lovely when planted with Burro’s Tail succulent.

If you want to get complicated, you can also propagate these plants from stem cuttings.

Trim off the last 2 or 3 inches of a stem and remove the leaves from the lower part of the stem.

Allow the stem to dry or harden up for a couple of days and then plant it in a half-inch pot of cactus soil.

Keep the soil lightly moist and set the pot in a bright, warm setting. Your plant should put out roots shortly. When it shows significant growth, repot as needed.

Burro’s Tail Pests And Problems

As with most succulents, mealybugs can sometimes be a problem and the donkey’s tail is no different.

Mealy Bugs

If your plant seems stunted and just isn’t thriving, check the leaf axils for mealy bugs. They can be hard to detect because they hide in the folds of the plant.

If you see them, treat the plant right away with a commercial pesticide or a Neem oil solution. Be sure to drench the soil as well because mealybugs also like to feed on roots and hide there in the soil.

Root Rot

Overwatered plants or ones growing in soil that does not drain correctly can develop root rot and or rot in the stems and crown.

When this happens, it’s best to collect healthy leaves and stem tips and discard the rest of the plant.

Start over with the parts of the plant you’ve been able to salvage, and be sure to use a good quality, light, airy, well-draining soil. Don’t overwater and provide ample light!

Low Light Problems

If your plant’s stems seem stretched and the leaves are pale and falling off excessively, you are not providing enough light.

Prune back spindly parts and move your plant to a setting where it will receive at least four hours of bright sunlight daily.

Falling or Dropping Leaves

The slightest touch of the leaves on the sedum donkey tail succulent can cause the leaves to fall off. Keep or hang the plant where people of objects cannot brush up against it.

Is the Burros Tail Toxic To Dogs and/or Cats?

According to the ASPCA the burro’s tail, horse’s tail, donkey’s tail and lamb’s tail are NON-TOXIC to dogs, cats, and horses.

Where To Buy Donkey’s Tail?

These plants are easy to find in nurseries and home garden centers growing in hanging baskets.

They are also frequently available at local plant sales or gifted by a friend or acquaintance.

Or you can scavenge fallen leaves from your local garden center as this video suggests!

All varieties of Burros Tail are an excellent choice for a novice gardener because they are very easy to care for.

Individual plants live a very long time, and you are sure to have plenty of baby plants standing by to take the place of the parent.

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