Burro’s Tail Leaves Falling Off: 3 Causes and Solution

Burro’s tail (also known as the donkey tail succulent) is a flowering succulent native to Mexico. It is a favorite among homeowners as it looks gorgeous in hanging gardens and is quite hardy too. However, the leaves of the burro’s tail are extremely delicate.

Here’s everything you need to know about burro’s tail leaves falling off:

burro's tail leaves falling off

Reasons Why Burro’s Tail Leaves Fall Off

Sedum morganianum or burro’s tail is a hardy yet delicate plant. Known as the drama queen of the succulent family, burro’s tail leaves can fall off at the slightest touch. While the plant is easy to keep alive, the bald patches on its vines upset many plant parents.

The biggest reason for burro’s tail leaves falling off is that it is just a very fragile plant by nature. It is completely normal for this plant to shed its leaves at the slightest provocation.

Although, sometimes there might be a different cause behind the falling leaves that needs your attention. Here are all the reasons why burro’s tail leaves fall off:

1. Overwatering

Like all succulents, the burro’s tail does not need much water. This makes it prone to overwatering.

The easiest way to figure out if you are overwatering your burro’s tail is to observe the leaves. If the leaves shrivel up before they fall off, you are probably overwatering the plant.

2. Rotting

Root rot is a very prevalent problem with succulents. If the plant was not repotted properly or the roots are treading water for a long time, the burro’s tail develops root rot.

This damages the plant and makes the leaves fall off more easily. You need to check the roots of the burro’s tail to determine if it is suffering from root rot.

burro's tail leaves falling off

3. New Leaves

Sometimes burro’s tail leaves fall off because there is new growth forming at the top of the plant. However, you have nothing to worry about because the fallen leaves will be replaced very soon.

If you see tiny offsets when the leaves of the burro’s tail fall off, it just means that the plant is active and growing.

What to Do When Burro’s Tail Is Losing Leaves

If your burro’s tail leaves are falling off, you should try to find out why this is happening. Is it just due to the plant’s fragile nature or because of a deeper issue?

Burro’s tail is a drought-resistant plant. It also goes through a dormant period in the winter where it doesn’t need water at all. Before you water your plant, check if the soil is dry all the way.

If you water a burro’s tail when the soil is still wet from the last watering, you are overwatering the plant, making its leaves fall off. To rectify the situation, cut back on watering and make sure the draining hole is not blocked.

The other thing you need to be cautious about is root rot. Root rot often accompanies overwatering as excess moisture breeds harmful bacteria that trigger rot in the plant’s roots and leaves.

Check if the soil takes too long to dry after you water it. This means that the soil is not draining properly. To make sure, you need to dig a little and examine the roots manually.

If they are turning brown, the burro’s tail is suffering from root rot. To salvage the plant, you need to extract the plant and carefully cut away all the rotting parts.

Let calluses form over the roots by letting them dry for a few days. Lastly, repot the plant in a good, fast-draining soil mix.

How to Prevent Burro’s Tail Leaves from Falling Off

how to prevent burro’s tail leaves from falling off

There isn’t anything you can do to prevent the natural shedding of leaves. However, taking good care of the burro’s tail will help reduce the shedding and prevent common diseases like root or stem rot.

Here’s how to properly care for burro’s tail plant:

  1. Overwatering is the root cause of many problems faced by the burro’s tail. Correcting your watering schedule will help prevent these problems.

    Water your burro’s tail once every 20 days or once a month depending on the weather in your area. A good rule of thumb is to only water the plant when the soil is completely dry.

    Slightly increase the frequency of watering during its growing period in the summer. You can water it once every 10-15 days to help with growth. Avoid watering it during the winters when it stays dormant.
  1. Make sure you use the appropriate potting mix for your burro’s tail. A good succulent soil mix drains quickly but retains enough moisture for the plant to absorb.
  1. It is not recommended to expose the burro’s tail to full sunlight. It is too delicate for the hot summer sun. Partial shade or direct morning sunlight is enough to keep the plant thriving.

    If you see the leaves turning pale before they shed, you need to reduce the plant’s sun exposure.
  1. Luckily, the burro’s tail doesn’t attract any pests. It is susceptible to an aphid infestation, which can be easily wiped out with a good insecticide. Observe the plant closely so that you can take prompt action in case of an aphid attack.

Will Burro’s Tail Leaves Grow Back?

If your burro’s tail leaves fell off when you touched them or moved the plant in any way, they will most probably grow back. It is possible that new offsets start forming a day or two after the shedding of leaves.

Burro’s tail sheds a lot of leaves naturally, but it also grows them back pretty soon. You can even use the fallen leaves to propagate new burro’s tail plants.

However, if the shedding is caused by root rot or overwatering, the leaves may not grow back unless you resolve the problem.

Overwatering is easily fixed, you just need to cut back on the frequency of watering until you find the right watering schedule for your plant. In case of stem rot, all the rotting root needs to be cut away and the entire plant needs to be repotted.

Either way, the problem is easily fixable. Burro’s tails are quite hardy and we’re sure you’ll get them back to their former glory in no time.