Burro’s Tail Care

sedum morganianum

The Burro’s Tail is easy to grow and easy on the eyes. The long, trailing stems feature plump leaves, giving this easy-care houseplant a charming and unique appearance. Like all succulents, this plant is very hands-off and prefers to be mostly left alone. Here’s what you need to know about Burro’s Tail care.

Plant Details

This plant is part of the Crassulaceae family, which also includes Echeveria and Kalanchoe. Formally known as Sedum morganianum, this plant hails from southern Mexico and Honduras. The name Burro’s Tail is due to the plant’s resemblance to an animal’s tail. Burro is the Spanish word for donkey. Donkey’s tail, horse’s tail, and lamb’s tail are other names that further dwell on the tail-like appearance.

Stems can reach four feet long, but houseplants often reach two feet in length. Thick, lance-shaped, blueish-green leaves that come to a rounded point cover the stems. The foliage grows close together and slightly overlaps, creating a scale-like pattern resembling a thick braid. The stems can be delicate or brittle, so this plant is best admired from afar. Resist the urge to unnecessarily handle the plant and locate it in a spot where it will not be disturbed. Accidentally bumping into this one can knock individual leaves or the entire stem loose.

Donkey's Tail

Burro’s Tail Light Needs

A sunny south-facing window sill is a good spot for Burro’s Tail. This succulent can handle direct light, but too much direct sunlight will make the leaves appear washed out and more yellow than green. Donkey’s Tail can grow in medium light, but the plants will become leggy, and the foliage will not be as densely packed. Bright, indirect sunlight supports the plant without negatively impacting growth.

How Often to Water Burro’s Tail

The Burro’s Tail is a drought-tolerant succulent, so let the soil dry out before giving it a drink. Water roughly every two to four weeks during the summer, and plan to water once every other month during the winter. Sunlight and humidity impact how often the plant needs water, so always check the soil before watering.

Drench the soil until water drains through the container when it is time to water. It’s best to give the plant infrequent deep drinks of water. The plant stores water in its thick leaves and needs to work through that reserve before it’s ready for more water. Shrivled, wrinkled leaves indicate the plant is too dry.

Soil Requirements

Drainage is the most critical trait for soil as far as the Burro’s Tail is concerned. Well-draining soil in a container with drainage holes is vital. This plant hails from arid environments, and damp soil is a problem. A ready-made succulent mix will support growth.

sedum morganianum

Temperature for Donkey’s Tail

Burro’s Tail needs warm temperatures, although it can handle cooler weather better than many other succulents. Temperatures between 65° to 75° F are preferred.

Burro’s Tail Humidity Needs

Although this plant can live in average humidity, low humidity works well for Burro’s Tail care. High humidity can be slightly problematic and cause root rot, so keep the plant away from humid areas and humidifiers.

Donkey’s Tail Fertilizer

Succulents are not heavy feeders, but giving a Burro’s Tail an annual feeding will help it grow. Time fertilizing to the spring, at the start of the growing season. Use a balanced plant food with ratios of 20-20-20 or something similar so the plant receives even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Dilute the fertilizer to half- or quarter-strength to not overwhelm the plant. Use a water-soluble fertilizer or water the plant before feeding to prevent fertilizer burn.

Does Burro’s Tail Bloom?

Burro’s Tail plants bloom and feature star-shaped red or pink flowers on pedicels that hang down from the end of the stems. Flowers bloom in late summer, but only on mature plants. Plants exclusively kept indoors seldom bloom. Encourage plants to set flowers by moving them outdoors in the summer and keeping them in a cool environment with temperatures between 50° to 60° F during the winter.

Burro’s Tail Care

Pruning Tips

Pruning is a matter of preference and depends on how you want your plant to look. A full, trailing plant can be left alone and does not need any pruning. You can trim a tail that is missing a lot of leaves and has significant amounts of exposed stem sections. Save cuttings and leaves to propagate.

When to Repot Burro’s Tail 

This plant loves being rootbound, so don’t rush to upgrade the container and soil every year. Repotting is often necessary to give the plant fresh soil, but Donkey’s Tail plants can live in low-quality potting mix, so a soil refresh isn’t always necessary. Plan to repot Burro’s Tail every few years.

Repotting is possibly the most challenging part of caring for a Donkey’s Tail because the stems are so delicate, so be careful and know that you can always propagate loose leaves.

Burro’s Tail Propagation

Expand your collection or find a use for any leaves that fall off through propagation. Propagate Burro’s Tail from individual leaves or stem cuttings. Place loose leaves on top of potting mix and let them sit. Roots and new plants will grow from the base of the leaf, and eventually, the leaf will die, but the new plant will carry on. New plants can take a few months to emerge, so be patient.

Propagating Burro’s Tail succulents through stem cuttings is just as easy but requires cutting into a long, trailing stem. Stem cuttings are a good idea if you have a plant that has lost a lot of leaves and the ‘tail’ is looking sparse. Cut a stem section that measures at least several inches long. Remove the lower leaves and let the exposed wounds on the stem dry out or callous over. Place the cut end of the stem in a container filled with succulent mix after a few days. Keep the soil slightly moist for a few weeks until the new roots take hold.

Is Burro’s Tail Pet Safe?

Burro’s Tail is pet-safe and non-toxic. Your dog or cat will not become ill or sick after eating or chewing on any part of the plant. Overeating can cause an upset stomach, so your pet may be uncomfortable, but they will not become seriously ill after eating a Donkey’s Tail plant.

Burro’s Tail Care

Burro’s Tail Styling Tips

Burro’s Tail is the perfect plant for hanging baskets. A hanging basket allows the stems to hang down so they can be admired. A high perch also keeps the plant out of easy reach, which protects the delicate stems.

A terra-cotta pot suspended in a macrame hanger complements the plant’s natural good looks while also ensuring the soil can completely dry out and the foliage is protected.

Burro’s Tail Care Tips

Reaching, trailing stems covered in tear-drop-shaped leaves give the Burro’s Tail its unique look. This easy-care succulent thrives in a hanger near a sunny window and prefers to be mostly left alone. The stems can be delicate, so it’s best to admire this beauty from a distance.