Burro’s tail (sedum morganianum), also commonly known as donkey tail succulent, lamb’s tail, horse’s tail or monkey’s tail, is a succulent plant belonging to the stonecrop or Crassulaceae family.
The name burro’s tail comes from the word “burro”, meaning donkey in Spanish. Native to Honduras and Mexico, this lush succulent with its blue-green tear-drop-shaped fleshy leaves and overhanging stems makes them stunning indoor or outdoor plants.
Although these plants grow and thrive outdoors in warm climates (USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11), they grow well indoors all year round and grow best in large pots or hanging baskets.
The plant may bloom outdoors and grow small red, lavender, pink, white or yellow flowers that may appear in late summer; however, when planted indoors, the plant rarely blooms. In this article, we’ll take a close look at how to care for your donkey tail succulent plants.
How Do You Care for a Donkey Tail Succulent Plant?
The donkey tail succulent grows and thrives best in the presence of warm sunlight. If you want to place it indoors, then put the plant in a sunny balcony, windowsill or patio that gets many hours of sunlight every day.
If you want to grow the plant outdoors, then place the pot with the plant in a spot that receives plenty of morning sunlight but has partial shade during the hottest times of the day, to prevent the leaves of the plant from getting burned.
If you notice that your donkey tail plant is not its regular vibrant blue-green color and is turning dull green or gray, it means that it is being exposed to very harsh light. And, often, when the plant is exposed to too much harsh sunlight, it may turn chalky white, with a waxy appearance. This is quite normal and the plant produces epicuticular wax to protect itself from the sunlight.
Once the plant is established, the donkey tail plant is drought resistant and needs to be watered frequently during the growing season, i.e., spring and summer. Pull back on the watering during the winter and fall months. If your plant is indoors, then water it heavily every month; however, if it is outdoors, then you can increase the watering to once in around 2-3 weeks.
It is better to water your donkey tail plant less than overwater it because the plant retains water in its leaves and can tolerate drought well. Also, make sure that the soil in the container dries out completely before you water it the next time. Choose a pot or container that drains well to ensure that there is no waterlogging.
The donkey tail plant grows best in sandy, well-draining soil. And, whether you plan to plant your donkey tail succulent outdoors or keep it indoors in a container, choose a soil mixture that is gritty and is suitable for cacti or succulents or you can make your own well-draining soil mixture by combining potting soil along with pumice or perlite.
If you’re planning to plant the donkey tail succulent in the garden along with other plants, then make sure that the spot you choose where the water does not settle for long and drains well, because if the soil retains water, then the plant may die because of too much water. It may be a good idea to mix sand into the soil to enhance the drainage.
Temperature and Humidity
Donkey tail succulents do well and remain healthy outdoors all around the year in places with a tropical climate. Although the plant prefers warm weather, it thrives quite well even in cooler temperatures compared to other types of succulents.
However, it is recommended to maintain the temperature between 65°F to 75°F, both outdoors as well as indoors, for the plant to do its best. The donkey tail succulent can withstand colder temperatures as low as 40°F; however, only for a very short time and thus, it is a good idea to bring the plant indoors before the frost or keep it away from the windows during the winter months.
The donkey tail succulent does quite well at moderate levels of humidity. However, if the humidity increases, then the plant may start to rot. So, it is best to avoid keeping the donkey tail plant in your bathroom, where the environment is quite humid.
The donkey tail succulent does not require fertilizing to grow and thrive; however, fertilizing the plant will not do any harm and only can help to add nutrients to the plant. When using fertilizer, it is recommended that you do it at the start of the growing season, i.e., in spring. It is best to opt for a controlled-release fertilizer that contains phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium in equal parts i.e., in a 20-20-20 combination.
More mature plants may need just 1/4th strength of the fertilizer, whereas the younger succulents may require a fertilizer containing less nitrogen. In addition, the donkey tail succulent may do well with additional enrichment by adding compost or worm castings to the soil.
Donkey tail succulents do best in hanging pots or in tall containers that allow the long, braided stems of the plant to trail down the sides and show off their beauty the best. Pots or containers made of unglazed ceramic or terracotta are the best that help to wick the moisture from the plant’s roots, thus preventing it from getting oversaturated.
When choosing a pot, make sure that it has drainage holes at the bottom to enable the excess water to drain out. Or, layer the container with 1-2 inches of rocks or gravel to prevent the root of the plant from sitting in the water.
How Fast Do Donkey Tail Succulents Grow?
Donkey tail succulents grow very slowly and steadily and the plant usually reaches maturity in around 6 years, during which, the plant can grow up to 4 feet in length if taken care of properly. However, on average, the donkey tail plant grows up to 24 inches in length.
Why Is My Donkey Tail Succulent Losing Leaves?
The donkey tail succulent is quite fragile and leaf loss is the most common problem. The plant must be handled with extra care because the beaded leaves can break off even at the slightest touch. So, it is best to place the plant and forget it and avoid handling it repeatedly.
Avoid moving the plant often and disturbing it and always water it wherever you have placed it. Ideally, place your donkey tail plant in a place such as a windowsill or hanging pot in the corner, where it won’t be disturbed. Avoid repotting the succulent as long as it is possible and keep it out of reach of kids and pets.
In conclusion, the donkey tail or burro’s tail succulent are super-popular houseplants loved by most indoor gardeners. Easy to grow and maintain, these gorgeous grey-green long, trailing succulents are sure to add beauty to any corner of your home.