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    How to Grow and Care For Burro’s Tail: A Complete Guide

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    Burro's Tail in  black hanging pot

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    The Burro’s tail plant is one of the most stunning and fascinating succulents with its distinctive and evergreen foliage. It produces eye-catching trailing, pendent stems that reach a mature height of 2 to 4 feet in a time of six years.
    The trailing stems are laden with small, triangular-shaped, and juicy leaves packed in a fashionable manner. The foliage color varies from gray-green to green and pale green with a shade of blue ( more common in Sedum burrito).
    This long-lived plant is native to Mexico and is easier to grow and maintain as an indoor houseplant and outdoors. Its unique stems and tightly packed leaves offer highly ornamental value and joy for beginners and expert gardeners. It is because these succulent plants are low-maintenance houseplants with an attractive appearance.
    With its pendent stems, Burro’s tail plants have many common names, such as Donkey’s tail, Baby donkey’s tail, Horse’s tail, and lamb’s tail
    Keep reading because this guide will cover all the information about Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum), its propagation, and care for indoor and outdoor succulent gardens.

    What is a Burro’s Tail Plant?

    Burro’s tail or Donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum) is a herbaceous perennial of the genus Sedum and the family Crassulaceae or stonecrop. The genus Sedum is a large group of diverse species, almost 300 plants with fleshy and round leaves(succulents, herbaceous, perennials, evergreen). Its genus name comes from the Latin word ‘sedeo,’ meaning to sit in, which refers to the sedum plant's growth habit and indirectly to its common name.
    At first, the stem grows upright and then spreads along the ground (or becomes pendulous), thus creating a unique and attention-grabbing appearance of the donkey’s tail. These drooping stems are covered with juicy, smooth textured, and lance-shaped leaves in a spiraling manner, giving a braided appearance. 
    Burro’s tail leaves are small and of blue-green, gray-green, and true green colors. These short, delicate, and green leaves become very plump when plants are well watered and shriveled when underwatered. 
    Burro’s tail plant is native to the tropical regions of southern Mexico and Honduras. In the wild, it grows over rocks or along the walls under bright to full sun. When grown indoors, this plant makes the perfect houseplant in hanging baskets or large decorative containers (where its stems can trail down over its sides). This plant is so beautiful and fascinating that it has won the Garden Merit Award by the Royal Horticultural Society.
    This plant grows perfectly fine indoors and lives for many years by outshining the other succulent collection with its delicate texture. However, the donkey’s tail needs extra care and protection from strong winds when outside. 
    Note Icon
    What gives Burro's Tail Plant its name?
    The common name is burro’s tail because trailing stems resemble an animal’s tail. These trailing stems can be heavy with all the weight of succulent evergreen leaves.
    Whether you choose Sedum morganianum and Sedum burrito for your indoor succulent garden, both plants make the perfect additions, except for differences in their foliage color and shape.
    The Sedum morganianum has slightly flat, pointy leaves like rice grains, while the Sedumburrito features blue-green foliage with rounded tips.

    Burro’s Tail Plant Care Guide

    Burro’s tail, donkey’s tail (also the common name of Euphorbia myrsinites), baby donkey’s tail
    Sedum morganianum, Sedum burrito
    Crassulaceae (Stonecrop family)
    Succulent trailing perennial
    2 to 4 feet long with densely packed leaves
    Medium
    Low
    Creeping
    Tropical regions of Southern Mexico, Honduras
    9 to 11
    Bright, direct light to partial shade
    Dry, well-draining, and sandy soil
    Moderate
    65-75 °F
    Monthly dose of NPK in 20-20-20 ratio
    Summer
    Red, pink, lavender, gold/yellow, red/burgundy, orange
    Houseplants, hanging baskets, mass plantings, recreational play areas
    Drought, deers
    Non-toxic 
    Slugs & snails, wilting, root rot, aphids, mealybugs
    Common name
    Scientific name
    Family
    Plant type
    Mature plant
    Growth rate
    Maintenance
    Growth habit
    Native region
    USDA hardiness zones
    Sunlight
    Soil
    Water
    Temperature
    Fertilizer
    Bloom time
    Flower color
    Uses
    Tolerates
    Toxicity
    Pests and Diseases
    Where to buy
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    How to Care for Burro’s Tail

    Bamboo flower pot with succulent plant burro's tail against a yellow painted wall.
    Image Source:Photo by brytta on Getty ImagesBamboo flower pot with succulent plant burro's tail against a yellow painted wall.

    Donkey’s tail makes the best additions to outdoor and indoor succulent collection with its uniquely shaped and packed leaves and trailing stems. This succulent plant decorates interior spaces year-round as a houseplant under ideal growing conditions, while outdoors, it only survives warm temperatures and below freezing. So, a good burro’s tail care means bright light, well-draining, dry, and sandy soil with an optimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Pro Tip Icon
    Handle Burro's Tail With Care
    One of the most crucial factors to consider in the care of an indoor donkey’s tail plants is their delicacy. These plants have brittle stems and foliage that break off easily with the slightest rub against them. Choose the best spot in your home where it will not get any damage from passing people.

    🏡 Growing Outdoors

    Burro’s tail plants grow best in warm climates (USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11), while in colder regions, move the containers outdoors in summer. When growing these trailing perennials outdoors, plant them in containers or well-draining soils. Be sure to plant in bright and full sun because these succulents establish quickly in ideal lighting conditions.
    They tolerate poor, rocky soil conditions and flourish along the ground. Outdoors, burro’s tail plants take temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and produce stunning, star-shaped blooms in pink and pure white color with yellow stamens. When indoors, these fascinating plants rarely bloom.
    Note Icon
    Temperature changes seasonally encourage blooms
    The warm summer and cool winter temperatures encourage flowering in outdoor potted burro’s tail plants.

    💧 Water

    One of the best ways to water your burro’s tail plant is the soak and dry method just to mimic its natural environment. When the soil is dry, give your succulent plant a thorough watering. Then wait for the soil to dry completely, which will take one or two weeks, before watering again.
    Water less often these succulents during the dormant state (summer) compared to the growing season (winter and spring) when your plant needs water every two weeks. The young mule’s tail plants need less water (in quantity) with more frequent applications.
    Avoid overwatering because these drought-tolerant succulents can bear the dry and poor soil conditions but will not withstand the soggy soils.
    Plant them in well-draining soils and pots with suitable drainage holes. Plant pots with optimum drainage increase the life of an indoor potted donkey’s tail. Unglazed ceramic or terracotta pots will work best for indoor plants as they absorb the excess water, preventing the soil from being saturated.

    ☀️ Sunlight

    Like all succulent plants, the donkey’s tail prefers bright light to grow and produce small triangular leaves. Place the indoor containers on the sunnier windowsill where it receives the full sun in the morning for at least six hours to the shade in the afternoon. 
    Avoid exposing this succulent plant to the too intense sun because it will scorch its foliage. Also, it will force the plant to produce heavier coats of epicuticular wax to protect itself from heat and moisture loss. On the other hand, the donkey’s tail will turn its foliage pale yellow in low light with few leaves on trailing stems.

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    Burro’s tail plants grow best in the USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, and gardeners in these growing zones can grow them outdoors all year round. Their ideal temperatures range 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above in summers, while 40 °F in winters and spring. The temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit will lead plants into a dormant state. 
    Unlike many tropical plants, they grow best in low humidity levels and make the ideal indoor plants in hanging baskets.

    🌱 Best Soil for Burro’s Tail

    Like all succulent plants, the donkey’s tail requires a well-draining, dry, and sandy soil mixture for maximum growth. So, providing your succulent plants with cactus soil or a traditional potting medium with additions of perlite, pumice, and baked clay granules will work best for them. This growing medium will encourage healthy growth with appropriate aeration and well-drained soil.

    🌻 Fertilizer

    Burro’s tail plant has little fertilizer requirements during the growing season. To fulfill that need, apply slow-release fertilizers in a balanced combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (20-20-20) only once in the spring. 

    😎 Pruning and Maintenance

    Burro’s tail does not need pruning and maintenance except for proper watering and suitable pots (terracotta or unglazed ceramic). Also, take extra care when choosing the plant pot if you use it as a hanging basket.
    The placement of the donkey’s tail pot is also critical. It should be situated in jostling-free areas, without exposure to too many winds.

    How to Propagate Burro’s Tail from Stem Cuttings or Leaf Cuttings

    Beautiful Burro's Tail in Claypot
    Image Source:Photo by Moonstone Images on Getty ImagesBeautiful Burro's Tail in Claypot
    There are two ways to propagate the baby donkey’s tail plant: leaf cuttings and stem cuttings.

    Leaf Propagation

    • When taking leaves for propagation, carefully twist the three to four leaves from the stem.
    • Put the leaves aside for three to four days until the skin develops over the wound (callous).
    • Be sure to remove the leaves with a full clean (no part of the removed leaves is attached to the stem).
    • Now bury the leaves up to a half inch into the potting soil of the burro’s tail plant.
    • Keep the soil continuously moist, and you’ll notice that individual leaves will develop new roots and ‘tails.’

    Stem Cutting Propagation 

    • Clip off a five to six inches long stem section with a sharp scissor.
    • Remove the bottom leaves and let the stem form callous and rest.
    • Prepare the pot by filling it with potting medium up to the top rim of the pot. Create a hole in the middle of the potting soil, and insert the cutting into the hole.
    • Position the pot in bright sunlight to a partial sun location.
    • After three to five days of planting, water your plant with a weekly watering schedule. Within a month, you’ll notice the transformation of your new stem cutting into a small plant. Allow your new plant to continue to grow and flourish by providing it with ideal lighting and watering.

    How to Repot Burro’s Tail

    Burro's Tail in small plant containers
    Image Source:Photo by AHPhotoswpg on Getty ImagesBurro's Tail in small plant containers
    Unlike their propagation ( more manageable), repotting a donkey’s tail is a bit tricky due to its fragile stems and foliage. Its foliage is highly susceptible to drooping and may lose many leaves during repotting and handling. However, if your burro’s tail plant grows too big, its roots outgrow the current pot. Then, you must repot your succulent with utmost care in a terracotta pot with drainage holes and well-draining soil. 
    Gently remove the plant from the container when its soil is dry and check it for root rots. Trim off the rotten and unruly roots. Fill the container (one size bigger than the previous) with fresh cactus soil and pumice mix. Make a hole in the center of the growth medium and plant the burro’s tail in the spot and backfill it to cover the roots.
    After repotting, situate the plant in bright light and let it rest for one week before giving it the watering.
    Note Icon
    Repot when root bound!
    Repot the burro’s tail only when it fills the plant pot, as this delicate plant prefers to be root bound. The best time to repot your plant is in the spring before the growing season. Before repotting, prepare your brittle plant by reducing watering for several weeks. This way, the juicy leaves will wrinkle, making the plant easier to handle.
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    Common Burro’s Tail Diseases

    Hanging Burro Tail Sedum Succulent Plant Clos up photo
    Image Source:Photo by SundeepGoel on Getty ImagesHanging Burro Tail Sedum Succulent Plant Clos up photo

    Root Rot

    Overwatering and poor drainage will bring the monster (root rot) to your succulent houseplants. Root rot turns the entire healthy plant brown, mushy, and black due to a lack of nutrients and healthy roots. 
    Plucking off the only healthy leaves and stem tips for propagation is the best way to prevent your plant. While discarding the rest plant, reviving the severely damaged and almost wilted plants is challenging. However, if you are lucky to identify the root decay early, immediately uproot the plant, cut out the rotten roots, and repot it in a fresh potting mix.

    Common Burro’s Tail Pests

    Burro's Tail in hanging basket outdoors
    Image Source:Photo by SundeepGoel on Getty ImagesBurro's Tail in hanging basket outdoors

    Burro’s tail plants remain pest-free for most of their life cycle, but in early spring, they may get infestations of mealybugs and aphids.

    Mealybugs

    The juicy leaves of the burro’s tail plant with abundant new growths are the primary source of attraction for the sap feeders. Mealybugs infest the young leaves and feed on plant nutrients while remaining hidden in the folds of the plant (therefore, they go unnoticed). Their heavy numbers can lead to the defoliation and death of the burro’s plant.
    Regularly monitor your succulent plant; if you find any tiny bugs on the underside of leaves, knock them off with neem oil, insecticidal soap, and rubbing alcohol sprays. 

    Aphids

    These little pear-shaped bugs infest your succulent plant and suck the nutrients from its leaves. Aphids also excrete sugary substances (honeydew) on the infested leaves while feeding.
    Thus, attracting the infestations of secondary pests (ants and black sooty mold fungus).
    Apply neem oil, insecticidal soap, and horticultural oil sprays to deter aphids and their nymphs. Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around the plant base to puncture the soft bodies of adult and wingless aphids.

    📚 Burro’s Tail Care Tips

    Burro’s tail is grown year-round as a houseplant for its beautiful foliage and trailing stems. The best burro’s tail care tips are
    1. Do not overwater the burro’s tail plant; follow a watering schedule. Water the indoor houseplant once a month and every two weeks outdoors.
    2. Allow the soil to dry between each watering; otherwise, saturated soils harm healthy plant growth. 
    3. Place burro’s tail in bright light to the full sun because improper light will lead to longer internodes with less dense foliage.
    4. Provide the burro’s tail plant with a well-draining potting mix (cactus soil mixed with pumice and clay granules). 
    5. Place the burro’s tail in an indoor area where it will not get any jostling by passing people.

    Where to Buy Burro’s Tail?

    Burro’s tail is a beautiful succulent plant; every plant parent should have at least two or three in their succulent garden collection. Their trailing stems with bead-shaped leaves add fascinating texture to interior spaces. Buy this delicate and gorgeous succulent from Neverland with expert care tips.

    FAQs on Burro’s Tail


    How fast do Burro’s Tail grow?
    Burro’s tail is a slow growing herbaceous perennial that reaches a mature growth of 4 feet in six years. However, in ideal growing conditions indoors and outdoors, this succulent thrives for decades.
    What’s the difference between a donkey's tail and a burro’s tail?
    The donkey’s tail is the dwarf version of the original burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) with small, rounded, and blue-green leaves. In comparison, the burro’s tail has pointy leaves like the grain of rice with a grey-green or pale green appearance. The baby donkey’s tail is more suited to limited space than the Sedum morganianum, which is perfect for spacious areas.
    Burro’s Tail temperature tolerance?
    The ideal growth temperature for this succulent plant is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 ºF. Then move your plant indoors when nighttime temperatures are consistently below 40 ºF to prevent the freezing damage.
    How do you get Burro’s tail to flower?
    This succulent plant rarely blooms indoors but produces small, star-shaped flowers when grown outdoors. To encourage blooming, allow your burro’s tail plant to spend summer outdoors at 75 degrees Fahrenheit and then move them to indoor spaces in winters with cool temperatures between 50 ºF and 60 ºF. This slight temperature stressing will induce flowering in the donkey’s tail.
    Is Epsom salt good for succulents?
    Epsom salt serves as food for succulents and promotes their lush green foliage growth and beautiful flowering due to its magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen contents.

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