Donkey Tail Plant Yellowing? Here’s What You Need to Know

A donkey tail or burro’s tail plant is quite popular as an indoor plant due to its aesthetic appearance and cool green hue. Sometimes, the leaves start running inexplicably yellow and ruin the beauty of the plant.

Here’s what you can do if you have a donkey tail plant turning yellow:

donkey tail plant turning yellow

Why Is My Donkey Tail Plant Turning Yellow?

Donkey tail plant or Sedum morganianum as it is known scientifically is a hardy plant that requires very little maintenance. Like all succulents, it just needs regular watering and fast-draining soil to thrive.

It is the ideal plant for amateur gardeners as it requires very little care. Though it is a very delicate plant and its leaves tend to fall off even if you look at them wrong, it is quite hardy and is unaffected by harsh environments.

If you notice the leaves of your donkey tail plant turning yellow, it is probably due to an overwatered donkey tail situation. Donkey tail succulents absorb water through their roots and store it in their leaves, which is what makes the leaves so thick and full.

When you overwater the donkey tail, the water gets absorbed faster than it is being used. This makes the leaves turn yellow and eventually mushy too. The green color might even fade away entirely, leaving the leaves translucent.

Overwatering will also cause burro’s tail leaves falling off more frequently than usual. You need to correct the situation immediately, or it will prove fatal to the plant.

Here’s What to Do

donkey tail plant turning yellow
  1. The first thing you need to do is stop watering the plant immediately. The plant has more than enough water stored in its leaves—so much that the leaves are literally bursting.
  1. Next, it is time for some damage control. Place the pot in an area where it receives a lot of sunlight. Indirect sunlight or partial sunlight for 6-8 hours a day will suffice. In most cases, the plant will recover on its own.
  1. If the overwatering has caused rotting in the roots, your donkey tail will not recover on its own and you need to intervene. Carefully extract the plant by digging up the soil around the stem.
  1. Lay the plant down on a clean surface and clear away all the dirt. Identify all the rotting parts of the roots. They will be black and you will notice a sour, rotting smell emanating from them.
  1. Cut these pieces away with a clean, sterile pair of gardening shears. Make sure all the remaining roots are healthy. Let the plant dry for a couple of days. The open wounds on the roots need to heal over.
  1. Once the cuts heal, repot the plant in a pot with a draining hole. Use succulent soil mix to help quicken the draining process.
  1. Place the pot in a spot with indirect sunlight. Sometimes too much exposure to direct sunlight can also turn the donkey tail plant leaves yellow. They start looking dry and bleached out.

Given the right conditions, your donkey tail plant should return to its usual color in a few weeks. Make sure you follow the watering schedule and do not overwater it again.

Can Yellow Leaves Turn Green Again?

green donkey tail plant

Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering of the donkey tail plant. When you stop watering it, the yellow leaves will shrivel up as the plant uses up the water stored in them. Once the leaves are dry, they will simply fall off.

There is no chance of yellow leaves turning green again. If the leaves have turned translucent, they will turn brown or black until you correct the situation, but there is nothing you can do to make them green again.

While there is no chance of burro’s tail yellow leaves turning green again, the plant can recover and produce new, healthy green leaves if the underlying issue is addressed. If the plant is in its growing season, this will happen very soon. On the contrary, if the plant is dormant, you will have to wait till next spring.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Succulents?

This depends on the extent of the damage. If the leaves are only slightly yellow, you do not need to remove them. The plant will use up the energy in the leaves and they will fall off on their own once they are drained.

However, if the leaves have turned translucent, this means that the skin of the leaves is completely stretched out. They will eventually turn brown or black and start to rot. In this case, it is better to remove these leaves to help speed up the recovery process.

How Often to Water a Donkey Tail Plant?

Since it has thicker leaves, donkey tail plants need more water than most succulents. You should water your donkey tail plant once every 15-20 days. This period can be extended up to a month if you live in a humid area.

When you water a donkey tail plant, you should flood it with water. The quick-draining soil will let all the excess water flow out through the draining hole and the donkey tail plant will have just enough water to absorb through its roots.

Do not water again until the soil is dry. Touch the soil with a finger—if the soil sticks to your skin, there is enough moisture to last a few more days.

Water again when the soil feels dry to the touch. This is a good method to develop a watering schedule that caters specifically to your donkey tail plant.