This sedum is one handsome succulent. Mine happily resides in a large square terra cotta pot with my now 5-year-old Coleus “Dipped In Wine” (yes, they’re technically perennials) and a Golden Weeping Variegated Boxwood which I brought home from Kew Gardens as a wee cutting.
One would not think to use these 3 plants in a container together but it works for me and that’s another story. In this post, I’m going to tell you how I care for and propagate my Sedum morganianum or Burro’s Tail, Donkey’s Tail or Horse’s Tail.
If you want a real icebreaker at parties, then wear your Burro’s Tail as a necklace!
This plant eventually grows to 4′ long which will take around 6 years or so. As it grows it gets very thick with those trailing stems heavily laden with overlapping plump, juicy leaves that form a groovy braided pattern.
As you can imagine, a mature plant gets very heavy. This plant is not for a flimsy pot with a flimsy hanger. It’s best grown in a hanging basket, in a large pot like mine, in a pot that hangs against a wall or trailing out of a rock garden.
Sedum Morganianum Care
In terms of care, a Burro’s Tail couldn’t be easier. I’m going to cover that below along with propagation which is something you’ll want to know how to do because all your friends will want a cutting or two. Mine grows outdoors but I’ll also tell you what it needs if you want to grow it in your house at the end of this list.
Sedum morganianum likes bright shade or partial sun. It will burn in strong, hot sun. Mine gets morning sun which it prefers. And now, because my neighbor cut down two of his pine trees last year, it gets some afternoon sun too.
If you watch the video at the end you’ll see the stems that are getting too much sun are a pale green. This plant should ideally be a lovely blue-green. I may have to move it to a less sunny spot – I’ll watch it and see.
All those leaves store water so be sure not to overwater it. It will rot out if you do. My Burro’s Tail is well established (around 5 years old) so I water it every 10-14 days but give it a thorough drink. Watering this way also helps some of the salts (from the water and fertilizers) to flush out of the pot. The rainwater mine gets in the winter helps with that. In other words, don’t splash and go every other day.
In the growing season, when the days are warmer and longer, I water it more often every 9-11 days. As a rule, plants in clay pots will dry out faster as will larger plants in smaller pots. Adjust accordingly as well as to the weather conditions.
Like any other succulent, this one needs good drainage. The water needs to drain out of it fast so it’s best to use a mix specially formulated for cactus and succulents. I buy mine at California Cactus Center near Pasadena in case you live in that area. Or, you can add horticultural grade sand and perlite (or fine lava rock, gravel or pumice) to lighten up whatever potting soil you have.
My secret planting weapon is worm castings. Your Burro’s Tail would love a bit of that too. By the way, I top dress all the containers in my garden with compost and worm castings every Spring.
To have your Burro’s Tail flower is rare. Mine bloomed for the first time ever this year although there were only 3 clusters on that big ole plant.
Here in Santa Barbara, the average low temperature for the winter months hovers around the low 40’s. We occasionally dip into the thirties but not for more than a couple of days. Mine is up against the house and shows no signs of stress during those brief chilly spells. Our average summer temps are in the mid to high 70’s which is ideal for the Burro’s Tail.
The only pests that mine ever gets are aphids so I just hose them off every month. Burro’s Tail really isn’t susceptible to a wide range of insects. You can spray it with a mixture of 1/5 rubbing alcohol to 4/5 water if hosing off isn’t doing the trick. Neem Oil, which works on a wide range of insects, is an organic method of control that is simple and very effective.
Like most succulents, Sedum morganianum is a snap to propagate. Simply cut the stems to the length you want, peel the bottom 1/3 of the leaves off and then let those stems heal off (this is where the cut end of the stem callus over) for 2 weeks to 3 months before planting.
When you plant your cuttings, you might need to pin them down in the pot because the weight of the stems will pull them out. You can also propagate it by individual leaf cuttings which you’ll see in the picture below. Just a head’s up because the leaves break and fall off this plant very easily. If you want to know more on this subject, I’ve done an entire blog post about propagating sedums.
My Burro’s Tail cuttings are healing off.
You can also propagate it with the individual leaves. Baby plants are emerging where the leaf meets the stem. Simply lay the leaves on top of your cactus & succulent mix & they’ll root in. Keep it on the dry side.
Burro’s Tail makes a fine houseplant.
It is commonly sold as an indoor hanging plant. You can get your own burros tail here. Put it in a spot with nice, bright light but out of any windows with strong, hot sun. You might have to move it in the wintertime as the sun shifts to a place where the light is brighter.
It’s very important to not overwater this plant. Those leaves store a lot of water so don’t do it every week. Depending on the temperature and light in your home, a thorough watering once a month will probably be enough.
In the video below I am in my front yard showing you my Burro’s Tail Plant:
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First off. I’m terribly jealous of your succulents! I bought my burro tail approx. 3 weeks ago. The longest braid is maybe 6-7 in. W/ 5 more surrounding itself all about 4 in. My issue is I tried saving it from the store since its stretched itself. I’m gathering from not enough sunlight?? The braids are NOT compact like your little beauties. In fact, I considered it being a different plant. I now am sure it’s the same. Should I do anything special so it fixes itself? Add sunlight was the first thing I did. New growth is appearing!! Sorry for the novel, but I’m desperate for this to grow properly!! Thanks again!
Hi Tara – I love my succulents & they do so well because I live in a climate where they grow outdoors in the conditions they love. I promise not to gloat! Burro’s Tails need a lot of light but no direct, hot sun for prolonged periods of time. All those little leaves store water so go easy with the water, maybe every 2-3 weeks depending on the conditions it’s in. It’s grows slowly at 1st, but then picks up the growth rate over time. I take cuttings of mine 3-4 times a year because it grows so thickly. Give it lots of bright light, fertilize it only once a year & keep it on the dry side – your Burro’s Tail should do just fine!
I’m interested in knowing how you would transport a Burro’s Tail on a 2-3 day trip (via car) from California to Colorado. The plant is currently doing fairly well outside in a bench-shaped, hanging planter that has the soil/moss mix covered with chicken wire. I plan on changing to a more conventional hanging pot that will look more attractive inside once we get to our new home. I’ve thought of placing it in a loosely gathered plastic trash bag to catch all the little leaves I’m going to lose. As the braids are not very long (most are missing a couple inches of leaves at the base, although some are very tight and in great shape — even flowering!), I plan on cutting the branches off and transplanting as you suggested. I intend to transplant them as you’ve shown in your “healing off” picture when we reach our destination. My biggest concern is GETTING it there! Do you have any suggestions? We will be leaving in about two weeks and I watered it 2 days ago.
Thank you for whatever help you can give me!
Hi Jo – I love my Burro’s Tail but every time I touch it, some of those leaves fall off. I would wrap soft fabric around it like flannel, fleece, or even a pillow case just to hold all the stems as tight as possible. Then, you could place the wrapped succulent in a garbage bag, sheet or box & transport it that way. You could even cut off the trails now & lay them on top of the plant just for the transport. Good news is, they propagate so easily from stem or even leaf cuttings. Hope that helps. Good luck with the move! Nell
I do hope this is where I sign up for your newsletter/blog/or whatever you call it.
My goal for this coming season is to find more varieties of sedum than are available locally. Should be interesting! I enjoyed reading the above information and loved the photos. Honor
Thank you Honor! The sign up for our monthly newsletter is at the top of our website or at the bottom of each blog post. There are so many different sedums on the market these days – you’ll have fun with them. Happy gardening, Nell
Cindy Hatten says
Just love this plant and want to follow your great advice! Cindy
Hi Cindy – I love this plant too – so easy to propagate too. I’m so glad you found the advice helpful! Nell
Am I correct in thinking that you can put the stems directly into soil to propagate and don’t need to root in water first?
Hi Joni – Yes, you are correct correct to think that. It’s best to let the stems heel over for a week or 2 (keep the cuttings out of sunlight) & then plant directly in soil. Rooting them in water will rot them out. I hope that helps, Nell
I enjoyed this post very much, I used to have one of these plants and now will have to find myself another one. Also want to find a String of Pearls. I just discovered your website yesterday and am enjoying it greatly. Thank you very much for all your helpful info
Hi! I was given a few tails off a Burro’s tail. They were given to me in a plastic cup with a little water in it. Should they be left in the water to root? If not, should I just let them sit out on a counter to “air dry” for a week or two before potting? Thanking you in advance for you advice/assistance. Have a great day!
Hi Elaine – I’m glad you enjoyed the post & that you’re finding all the info on our site helpful. Be sure to check back because we post on a regular basis. Thanks for your comment! Best, Nell
Hi John – You never want to root succulents in water because they’ll rot out. Take it out of the water & recut the ends. Let them heel over, or air dry, for at least 2 weeks before planting. Also, don’t overwater it after planting because they don’t like to stay wet at all. And, you’re most welcome! Nell
Hi Nell, Thank you SO much for sharing your wisdom and pic’s of your succulents! I have just recently purchased a burro’s tail in a 4″ nursery pot. I am wanting to transplant it into a heavier hanging pot, but as you mentioned earlier….just touching the tails the leaves fall off. I thought I might try wrapping it loosely in t-shirt fabric and then gently removing it from the container. If you have a better suggestion, I would love to hear it. I live in Oregon so growing succulents outdoors, other than hens and chicks as far as I’ve found the plants don’t do well. We just get too much rain here. So anyway, because I just love them…I’m not letting that keep me from growing them in containers! Okay, so I’m rambling!! Happy gardening!!
Vicki – You’re most welcome, & … Thank you soooo much! Yes, Oregon is way too damp for succulents & they’d rot in no time in those rainy months. They would love being outdoors in the summer (out of hot sun) if you’re able to do so. Regarding the transplanting of your Burro’s Tail, something like pantyhose or a tee shirt will help some but those leaves snap off like crazy. All I can say is be prepared to loose some leaves but the plant will grow just fine regardless. By the way, those leaves you loose won’t grow back on the stem but the plant grows so thick & dense it doesn’t really matter. Now I’m rambling! Happy Spring to you, Nell
My Mom gave me a burros tail 43 years ago. Mom just passed away a month ago and this plant is now flowering for the very first time!
Hi Lenore – 43 years, now that’s longevity! I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s passing but she was certainly doing something right. Enjoy the flowering! Best, Nell
Hi Nell! My grandmother just gave me a handful of the leaves that had fallen off of her burros tail. I have them sitting on top of a pot of regular potting soil. I haven’t watered the soil and wasn’t sure if it needed to be yet or not? I’m not very good with pants, but I’m trying to exercise what little green-thumb I may have. Thank you in advance for any advice! 🙂
Hi Andy – Thumbs which are brown can slowly turn green. Besides, we all start somewhere! Oh yes, Burro’s Tail easily propagates from the leaves. If you scroll down on this post, you’ll see the 3 individual leaves with new little plants forming. Make sure you have the end which came off the plant touching or lightly pressed into the soil. That’s the end which roots. When I propagate the leaves of succulents, I lightly spray the soil twice a week. Try to avoid soaking the leaves if you can. So yes, start spraying them now. Give them nice, bright light but no direct sunlight. It takes a little while for those new plants to form so be patient. Thanks for your comment! Nell
My burro tail leaves are shribbling!!! What am I doing wrong?
I inherited the mother plant from a friend who moved. The stems
were doing well. But all of a sudden they’re shribbling up! Am I over watering? I live in Hawaii. Summer right now is hot/humid.
I water every 3 days. Am I not watering it enough?
Hi Pono – I’m assuming that shribbling means shriveling! Burro’s Tail Sedum is native to Mexico & Honduras so it does bet in a dry climate (like Santa Barbara, CA where I am). Yes, it’s being watering way too much. Some people confuse symptoms of overwatering with under watering. Hawaii is lovely but because it’s humid, you need to water even less. Let it dry out (you may need to repot it), then water every 10-14 days at the most. Hope that helps! Nell
Richard Sneed says
This site was interesting and very helpful.My dad gave me a donkey tail plant in a pot in 1966 and I still have it today. It has been through every challenge imaginable and still survives despite my lack of knowledge and care. Thanks to stumbling onto your site I now have the knowledge I need to make this plant explode. Thank you, Richard.
Hi Richard – Thank you. Donkey Tail Plant, aka Burro’s Tail, is tough indeed. With mine, the leaves just fall off & they root themselves in the ground. Give it bright light (but no hot sun) & go easy on the water & you’ll keep it going for many more years. The trails on mine are very long – yours should explode too. Thanks for the comment! Nell
Enjoyed the post, the pictures are something for me to dream about. I was wondering about burro’s tail blooming. It seems to be a rare thing as far as what I have read. I live in Montana and have had burro’s tail for years and it thrives as far as growth but never blooms. It is of course an indoor plant here but gets long hours of sun in the summer but limited hours of sun in the winter. I was currious if this may be why mine never has bloomed. If there are special conditions to help it bloom, your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Shelli – Mine grow outdoors here in Santa Barbara (coastal Southern California is an ideal climate for them) & 1 bloomed for the 1st time last year. This year, no blooms in sight but our warmest time of year is coming up. I can tell you that they VERY rarely bloom indoors so you probably won’t see any unless you move to a climate where they can grow outdoors year round. Or, if you had a greenhouse, that would definitely help! Nell
Mairi Campbell says
Hi. someone gave me a piece of a burrow’s tail a couple of years ago, said it would take root and propogate like mad, but it has done nothing! It’s not dying..it looks healthy enough…it’s in a south facing window (maybe should move to east?) and I water it occasionally. What am I missing?
Hi Nell,, I just found your site. It’s very informative,, I really like that I can ask a question concerning my donkey tail. I started from several cuttings, I have 5 ,all growing well. They are all upright 7-12 inches long with leaves upto 2 inches long. Will the stems and leaves turn downward at some point?? Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience of gardening.
Hi Mairi – Indoors they grow much slower but you should be seeing a bit of “movement” after 2 years. The light sounds fine because they like it bright indoors whereas outdoors they prefer more shade. If it’s close to or up against the glass, it may be too hot. Water it thoroughly once every 3-4 weeks at most & less in winter. You might want to feed it once (& only once!) in spring with worm castings or a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Hope that helps! Nell
Hi Dianne – You’re very welcome! They should be turning downward, especially at 12″. Mine usually start to trail at about 5″ when planted at the edge of the pot. The ones in the middle tend to grow more in a more upwards direction. That being said, I have seen a few growing upwards so it may be a varietal or even a genus difference. Identifying succulents can sometimes be confusing – Hens & chicks for instance all under 3 genus’. The Sedum Burrito trails too & the leaves are a bit smaller so I don’t think it’s that. Nell
Thank you for all the valuable advice you give about properly caring for succulents. I bought a Burro’s Tail about a month ago and I’ve noticed that all its leaves are drying out. I had it outside in a very shaded area, but moved it to a more sunny area after noticing that it is not doing well. It hasn’t improved. I live in Florida, so I think the temperature is not a problem. If you can help me with any comment or advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again. Be well. Happy succulent-ing!!!
Hi Tatiana – You are certainly welcome, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. It likes some light so it may have been too dark for it. Also, they like to be on the dry side & knowing you’re in Florida, it may have gotten too wet, especially if the mix is too heavy. Here where I live, we don’t get summer rain & the humidity is much lower. Also, Burro’s Tail doesn’t like extreme heat. Sometimes people confuse being too wet with being too dry. If one gets too much water, the damage occurs pretty quickly. How much water is it getting? Nell
Hi Nell! Your succulent looks amazing! Thank you for the great advice! I do have a question. I have a small burro’s tail and it’s growing a little faster over the summer but I’ve noticed that the top half of the succulent has the juicy leaves/buds spread out more than the other half that’s closer to the root (which are tightly together). In the top half, I can see the stem of the plant as there are gaps between the leaves. Is this a sign of something? The plant’s been in the same location in my apartment the entire time at a sunny windowsill that gets a few hours of morning sun. Does over or underwatering cause this? I just want it to look more like the leaves closer to the base of the plant where the leaves are tightly packed in with no gaps in between. Thanks so much in advance for your thoughts!! Liz
Hi Liz – First of all, a big thank you! My Burro’s Tail Sedums are looking great this year too. The leaves on these plants fall off extremely easily just by being touched or brushed. Yes, over or under watering could definitely be causing it. Indoors, it’s best to water your plant thoroughly, let all the water drain out, & then water again when the top half of the soil has dried out. This might be every 14 days in summer, depending on the temps & size of the pot. In winter, back off because the plant needs to rest. Maybe every 4 weeks. The bare stems will never fill in, but if you pinch a bit on a few stems, new growth will appear at the top. Hope that helps! Nell
Hi, Guys . . Terrific info here & in videos, Nell!!! Thx much!
Bought 6″ plastic hanging pot of burro about 10 days ago &, of course, now obsessed . . It’s growing & was looking good, but noticed a few little spots today on some leaves, panicked, & watered. Think now might be sunburn as see the same on one of your plants. Live in New Orleans northshore area & have at edge of covered porch in morning & noon sun. Still 80s- low 90s.
Hi Katie – Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, succulents do become an obsession but on the grand scale of things, they’re a healthy obsession. My Burro’s Tail in bright shade with just an hour of sun looks better than the one getting more sun. Those spots could be one of 2 things: sunburn or too much water. By the way, I water both of mine every 7-10 days in the warmer months depending on the temps. Hope that helps, Nell
Appreciate the specifics, Nel ! . . I’ll try to watch the sun move through locations for a better spot. Backyard would be great for bright shade but no protection from rain. Today, pulled up & transplanted 2 stems with roots so now have room to check dampness to mid-depth of pot. Surprised still VERY wet from water 2 days ago. Pressed a tightly rolled paper towel down the side & soaked up excess. Think soil needs less often & less amount.
Wow…have I ever been mistreating my Burro! Actually it’s not mine and that is why I am losing sleep over caring for it. I’m babysitting it for my son in law who was given it by his deceased grandmother. Having read your blog I see where I may have been going wrong but would still like some advise about transplanting. How big a pot should it be in? It is currently in a six inch clay pot and the spindly trails are about six inches long and have not grown in the year that I have had it. What mix should I use and should I fill the new pot half way and try to extracate the burro with as much of the existing soil as possible or shake it off? Will there be roots that I should be careful with? If you think I’m nervous about this, you’d be right. Thanks for your help.
H Carole – Oh the pressure of babysitting plants! Succulents can be closely planted & packed in or grow in large pots – that’s another wonderful thing about them. Be prepared to loose leaves when you transplant it – this is not due to shock but because they fall off easily. You can take cuttings from those spindly trails & replant them. You can go up to a 10″ pot or larger if you’d like. I prefer to keep the pot size in scale with the plant I’m transplanting. And, use succulent & cactus mix if it’s available in your area. The plant would appreciate having some new soil but you don’t want to loose too many leaves so tap the existing soil off gently. Hope that helps! Nell
I am from Singapore & I find it extremely difficult to grow this Burros tail succulent. I watered my Burros tail about 14days but the leaves continue to shrivel like dried raisins and eventually die. Bought another pot but it lasted only a couple of months!!!
Can advise me where did I go wrong?
Hi Susan – I visited Singapore many years ago & loved it – the orchids that grow there are so beautiful! Burro’s Tail Sedums are native to environments which are warm & dry. In some areas, they even grow in rocks. Singapore is very humid therefore the soil doesn’t dry out as fast. I think your Burro’s Tail been staying too wet. It stores water in the leaves, stems & roots so you should only water it when dry. If you’re growing it indoors, make sure it has enough light. Hope that helps! Nell
Hello, I just bought a burro’s tail plant and the guy at the store said I should not repot, but instead bury the existing plastic pot in the new pot and cover with soil. The current pot is tiny but works for now, but I’d like to re-pot before it gets too big. Do you agree one should not re-pot a burro’s tail? Thanks for all the great tips!
Hi Jen – You’re welcome! I’ve always taken Burro’s Tails out of their pots when transplanting. Here are 2 reasons why I think the guy in the store told you this: 1) the plant is small & the roots have not fully formed &/or 2) the leaves of this plant fall off so easily that if you’re not careful, that small plant will be almost stripped of foliage. I remove the pots, but either way, it should be fine. If you take it out of the pot, just be very careful not to loose too many leaves. If you decided to leave it in the pot, I’d cut the bottom off so the roots can grow out. Hope that helps! Nell
Ann Bennett says
I have been growing Burro’s Tails for years with some success, and some failures! The current pots are in a Florida pool porch, out of the sunlight, but near enough. The current tails are about 3′ long.
I bought another potted pot and put on another porch, out of sunshine, but near the screened window. I water all of them no more than every three weeks. But the new one, suddently lost many of the leaves. I think the wind got too much for it while I was not at home.
Question: Why does it loose leaves without reason? Why does a healthy, not over watered, version begin to fall apart?
Thanks for your blog… looking forward to reading more!
Hi Ann – Glad you found us! Here are the most common reasons (including 1 you mentioned) that leaves fall off of a Burro’s Tail Sedum: 1) mechanical damage – a person or animal has brushed them. 2) the wind – the leaves fall off these plants rather easily so a strong wind can do it. 3) over watering or under watering – either will cause it. Even when I’m cutting the tails to give them away or propagate them, some of the leaves fall off. If they’re happy in their spot & happy with how you’re taking care of them, the tails can get 6′ long! Hope that helps, Nell
Melissa veyta says
Hello! I bought my burros tail on a website about 2 months ago and it arrived all healthy and well, it was so beautiful.
Since then the leaves started falling out and it’s drying up by the bottom of the stems, it’s not the same plant I bought it got a few tails left. I made sure not to give it a lot of water and it gets enough sunshine. What could I be doing wrong?
Hi Melissa – When fleshy succulents loose leaves, it’s usually 1 of 3 things: mechanical damage, light (not enough or too much hot sun) or watering (usually too much). The soil needs to have excellent drainage. Just know that Burro’s Tail leaves fall off very easily & I loose quite a few of them when I transplant. Sounds like it might have gotten too wet at some point. Hope that helps, Nell
Your video was amazing. If I tried to pick up one of those “tails” on my Donkey’s (Burro in Spanish) Tail that I’ve had for 10+ years I am afraid more than half of the “leaves” would fall off. I’ve grown mine indoors (live in a cold climate) and some of the tails are (were) 5 feet long until my husband accidentally knocked it over. I need to transplant what is left of the plant but I’m afraid when I do, that all the leaves will fall off.
Thank you Barbara-Jean! Burro’s Tail Leaves fall off so easily & I usually loose quite a few when transplanting. There’s no real trick to doing it but just be as gentle as you can when handling the plant. Try to handle the root ball more than the plant if you can. Just know you’re not the only 1 that experiences this! Nell
Do donkey tail produce pups? Or do the leaves fall off and produce new plants in the planter? How do you get multiple strings out of a planter naturally without growing new cuttings?
Hi Herb – When a leaf falls off or you propagate it, a new little plantlet will start to form close to the root end. Burros’s Tails just spread on their own over time. New growth appears out of an older stem & that’s how they spread. All 3 of mine have a lot of trails on them. They will appear, maybe just slower than you wish! Nell
Hi Nell , I am wanting to plant Burro’s tail in a collar container in a large pot which has a tall silk tree. The goal is for the Burro,s tail to drape over the container, hoping this will give the silk a more natural and soft look. It will get plenty of light. Is this possible, or am I wasting my time. Darlene from Sacramento Ca.
My Burro’s Tails both grow in pots with larger plants & they’re doing fine. They don’t root too deep. The only concern might be the plenty of light – if it’s strong, hot afternoon sun, they could very well burn. Nell
Jane B. says
Hi! Love your blog, so informative. I have a question about my indoor Burro’s Tail that appears to be shriveling in some areas. It is in a 6″ unglazed clay pot with drainage and sits in my window sill during the day in full morning sun. I remove it from the window at night because the weather has been kind of wacky here lately. I have been watering once per week with a “full drink”. Am I overwatering or under watering? I can’t figure it out. The soil seems to be good draining soil, the top has rocks/shards on it so it makes it difficult to stick my finger in and check the soil. Any help appreciated! 🙂
Hi Jane – From what you’ve told me, I’d say it’s over watering. If it’s top dressed with rocks, that keeps the soil moisture in. The top few inches of soil may be dry but staying moist down below where the majority of roots are. In the cooler months indoor succulents need watering every 2-6 weeks, depending on the pot size & type & environment of your home. Back off on the watering, maybe every 2-3 weeks. You can increase it if needed as the weather warms. Hope that helps! Nell
I found your wonderful site today while searching for info on propagating my string of pearls. I have donkey tails as well and sure enough you had easy answers for both. I wish I had known it was this easy all along! I would have started sooner! Now that I have your direction, I’m not so afraid to snip my plants.
On a side note – please tell me what the gorgeous green succulent is that is creeping around the rock in your first photo. I am about to re-landscape a small courtyard off the entry of our home and would love to fill in some areas like this.
Thanks so much for your advice and for sharing your love of plants.
Thank you Bridget – glad you found the site! I just moved to a new home & brought quite a few succulent cuttings with me so I’ll be doing a video of that little planting project soon. The plant you’re commenting on is Hens & Chicks, a prolific grower. Here’s a post & video I did on it for you: https://www.joyusgarden.com/hens-and-chicks-succulent/ Happy gardening! Nell
Hi Nell, I have a sad (acquired one without knowing what it was called or how to care for it) Burros tail. I will now look after it properly. Thank you. Silly question. When propagating, after cutting the stems to the required length and peeling the bottom 1/3 of the leaves off where do you leave the stems to heal before planting and how do you care for them in this state. Sorry if this sounds daft but I’m a real newby at this. Many thanks in advance. So appreciate your enthusiasm.
Hi Romilla – No question is too silly – we all start somewhere after all! While the stems are healing off, you want to keep them in bright light but not in direct sunlight. Also, it’s best to not keep them anyplace hot. I moved to AZ from CA about a week ago & took lots of Burro’s Tail cuttings so mine are healing off as we “speak”. Thanks for stopping by! Nell
Barry Helfferich says
Hi Nell, I recently purchased a sedum morganianum on-line and it arrived very healthy and in a 6″ pot. Since I have never owned a donkey tail before, can you tell me if I should repot this plant into a larger pot before or starts to trail? If yes, what type of soil should I use? Thanks in advance for your information.
Hi Barry – There’s probably no need to repot it yet as succulents are fine being tight in their pots. I’ve seen Burro’s Tails in fairly small pots with 3′ trails & they were doing fine. You want to use succulent & cacti mix because they need to have excellent drainage. Hope that helps, Nell
Hi Nell. Yours look absolutely gorgeous! I have a donkey’s tail(but it doesn’t have the pointy ends) and it almost died because I didn’t water it enough and I kept it in the basement(Oops). I finally repotted it and moved it upstairs and now that it’s getting some sun and water, it’s plump again! The problem is, it’s elongated so the distance between the leaves are quite long. Maybe about 1/4 in? It used to look short, dense, and fat but now it’s longer and plump(getting there) but spotty. I’ve read that when succulents don’t get enough sun, they elongate, but I don’t want them to burn. Any suggestions? I’m so jealous of your succulent garden by the way! I live in Ohio and winters are cold so I can’t even imagine having one. 🙁
Hi Aaron – I recently moved from Santa Barbara & left my succulent garden behind. I took lots of cuttings though! I have a new home in Tucson & now have the challenge of growing them in the desert. So far so good! Yes, any plant will elongate in low & get “sparser” in lower than ideal light conditions. You can put them in as high light as possible but just keep them out of hot sun. Be sure to rotate the plant so it gets light evenly. The other thing you can do (if you’re brave enough!) is cut the trails back to about 2-5″ & rejuvenate the plant so it grows back to its original state. Hope that helps! Nell
Carrie Taylor says
I live 70 miles north of Santa Barbara and have had both of my donkey tails for 31 years. They are pretty massive and I keep it trimmed by giving cuttings (or making new pots of donkey tail plants) to give away (it hangs about 4-5 feet long in a protected area under a east-facing eave. My question: It has started developing black mold (sooty mold maybe from what I read). First time I’ve ever had any problems associated with it (and it flowers all the time!) how do I get rid of the mold?
Hi Carrie – If it’s sooty mold, it’s not particularly harmful to the plant – that’s why it’s still flowering. Black sooty mold spores are attracted by insects which secrete a sugary honeydew like aphids, scale & mealy bugs. Get rid of the insects & the mold will go also. A spray with diluted mild dish soap usually does the trick. Just make sure the black isn’t caused by overwatering. Hope that helps! Nell
Joanni Mullican says
Hi I just bought 2 small 2″ burro tails yesterday so this article was right on time on my care search. I live in the hi desert (Victor Valley ) of California and it is just now cooling down for fall…Should I keep my new friends indoors until spring or will they be okay outside under a covered porch/patio ? I have small grow light tubes for light in house Thank You Joanni
Hi Joanni – I’m not familiar with VV winter temps but I can tell you that my Burro’s Tails lived outdoors year round in Santa Barbara. Winter lows were generally around 40 degrees but it could dip into the high 30’s. I’ve moved to Tucson & I’m going to try keeping them outdoors year round also – I’ll have to watch the temps. As long as you don’t dip below 40, your Burro’s Tail should be fine especially if it’s in a protected area. Otherwise, take it indoors for those couple of cold months – just back way off on the watering. Hope that helps! Nell
Kathy Gatton says
Wondering if my plant, I will call pork n’bean will survive over our winter here in Olympia, Wa. We get a lot of rain and will get some snow but it looks so good now I hate to disturb it.
Don’t know the proper name but it has little tube like leaves that turn red on the tips in the summer sun.
Thanks for any help.
Hi Kathy – Sounds like you have a pork n beans sedum or Sedum rubrotinctum. I’m not sure what zone you are but I can tell you this: it’s hardy in zones 9 & 10. The coldest it can take is to around 25 F. Nell
I have a donkey tail that is about 15 years old in a large pot that is about 5 inches deep. It blooms often and is in a secluded spot where it doesn’t get direct sun and since it is windy here in Fairfield California it is protected. Some of the branches are about 24 to 30 inches long. However, they are losing the little buds near the pot and I have bare branches for about 3 or 4 inches from the pot. I would like to repot it but any little touch sends the buds falling – Don’t know whether to leave it alone or start again – I hate to destroy this plant
Hi Virginia – Burro’s Tail grows like crazy but it can be tricky to work with. I always loose a fair amount of the leaves when repotting this plant. If they get too “stemmy” I always cut them off, shorten & replant. Nell
You’re welcome. Nell
I just bought a Burro’s Tail plant today and made my own hanging planter!! I am very excited about my new plant addition to my home! I was wondering how you prefer to water yours? I was told when I bought it to never water them from above. I was told to set the pot in a pan of water and let the plant soak up water from the bottom. I was wondering if this is what you do as well. Ive also heard of just misting succulents to avoid over watering. What is your opinion?
Hi Kelsey – I always water my succulents in pots from above. The nursery probably told you that because many Burro’s Tail grows very densely & if you water the foliage repeatedly, they could rot out. Don’t water it too often & try to avoid wetting the foliage too much. Hope that helps! Nell
Hello thank you for the advice you’ve provided! I was wondering if you could help me with my Burro’s tail that I just bought. It had a lot of white spots that were spreading, some of them were bumpy. I thought they may be a fungus or from bugs and online it said to wipe it off with alcohol. Most came off that way, but I worry that that is too strong, and the white spots are still spreading. I was hoping to propagate it but I don’t know if it’s okay to do with those spots. When I was doing this, one of the leaves was red inside. Do you know if that from the fungus or bugs? Or is it normal? There was only one that way from the many I broke off. Thank you for your help again!
Hi Obi – If the white spots are coming off, then they’re most likely mealy bugs. This pest quite commonly feeds on Burro’s Tail. You’ll probably need to spray your plant (with a non-toxic option) because mealy bugs love to hide out in the nodes of plants, under the leaves & can spread fast. I’ve never seen or heard of a BT leaf turning red inside. Nell
Sam Baker says
Hi Nell! I got my Burro’s Tail about a month ago, and I’ve only watered it once and have kept it in indirect sunlight but the part of the stem once it comes out of the dirt is drying up, yet the rest of the plant looks completely fine and healthy. Is this normal once it starts to hang off?
Hi Sam – No it’s not, the stems usually stay nice & plump. As the plant grows & gets fuller, you can get an occasional stem doing that. The plant could have been over watered (or under watered) at 1 time. Physical damage can do that too. Nell
Love this plant just wondering if it is safe for babies, in case they get hold of it and eat it? I know string of pearls are and have removed them for safety reasons although I love the plant, so need a replacement.
Hi Sara – I know for certain that it’s not toxic to cats & dogs. As for humans, I’m not 100% sure but I think I remember reading somewhere that it’s safe. I’d recommend you do a little more digging around to confirm this. Nell
Hi! Ive had one of these for about two years. I neglected it for a bit but really started taking care of it back in April. The lady that sold it to me said to give it a small amount of water every 4 days so thats what I did, and it started growing nice and plump again. But I left it with my mom for about a month and gave her the same directions. when I got it back, one of the stems had some yellow leaves which I assumed it was overwatered. So I decided to start giving it water only once a week. I started putting it by a skylight window where it gets lots of sun all day. But now the leaves are all starting to shrivel. They are still green but are starting to look like raisins. I’m not sure if this means its underwatered, overwatered, or getting too hot of sun. I don’t want it to die because its like my pet now lol do you have any advice?
Hi Joelle – A lot depends on the temps & size pot it’s in. I water my Burro’s Tail here in Tucson every 5 days in the hot weather. In winter, maybe every 2-3 weeks. They live outdoors year round. Shriveled leaves generally mean a plant is lacking water. Nell
I’m having an issue with my burro’s tail and im not quite sure whats going on. At first I thought it was underwatering, but the issue persisted, then I thought it might be overwatering, and the issue STILL persisted. The leaves aren’t falling off or yellowing or anything, they’re fine in colour, but they’re soft and wrinkled. There’s a bunch of healthy looking new growth starting all over the pot, but the established plant isn’t doing well at all! For a little while some of them had white spots on the leaves, but I cut off all stems that seemed affected and there are none left. Any idea what this is or how to fix it?
Hi Sarah – I now live in the Arizona desert & my Burro’s Tail looks much more “shriveled” in the summer heat than the other months due to the heat. Plants can recover easier from under watering as opposed to over watering (especially with succulents). A few reasons for the white spots: mealybugs, sunburn, fertilizer burn or physical damage. I’d just encourage the new growth & let the plant grow & rejuvenate. Nell
I really enjoy reading your blog! I brought back some cuttings of burro’s Tail from West Bengal, India last April. They’re also indegenous to that region. They reach 4-6 feet long there and are so beautiful! Anyway…i followed your instructions for propagating, they did well, but as soon as I’ve planted them, nothings happened and it looks as if they’re dying. I’ve followed your instruction on water, sunlight…etc… i live in central Germany and it is rainy and humid. I keep it indoors. Is there any way I can send you a photo so you can see them and maybe give me a rough diagnosis? Thanks do much!!!
Hi Stacey – Thank you – glad you found the blog! They do best planted in a succulent & cactus mix so it might have gotten too wet at 1 time & stayed that way, especially with the humidity. They need a lot of light when growing indoors, so that could another cause … or a combo. Nell
Thanks for sharing.
You are certainly welcome Ravi. Nell
Hey Nell!! I am desperate to rescue our beloved burro’s tail plant. We have about ten very long strands coming out of a hanging basket indoors but my stems look nothing like yours. They are brown and dry I am afraid we gave it too much sun this summer when we took it outside. Some of the leaves are plump and healthy looking but others are dried and shriveled to microscopic size. I bought a new hanging basket with succulent soil mix and I’m trying to figure out the best way to bring this lovely plant back to life. Can the stems be restored or would I be best off taking some of the leaves and putting them into my new pot and starting over. I would also like to save the original plant if possible because it belonged to my late sister in law. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
Nell Foster says
Hi Lauren – My Burro’s Tail, that you see in this post, grew in part shade in Santa Barbara & did well. When I moved to Tucson over a year ago, I gave the plant away & took cuttings. The cuttings have turned into a plant & grow in full shade here but looks a bit “funky” in the summer heat. You can see them here: https://www.joyusgarden.com/how-to-transplant-a-large-ponytail-palm/ Burro’s Tail doesn’t like full sun. the stems can’t be restored. Cut the stems off, let them heal over for a few days & plant in the new pot. Cut the stems down to 2-3″ on the mother plant. You should see new growth emerging. Nell
Great info! I just purchased a small burros tail plant and I have a history of under watering and over watering my succulents. I live in Canada so it will be a houseplant, do you think it would be ok in a west facing window or is that too much direct light?
Nell Foster says
Hi Rachel –
This plant burns in direct sun. If it’s 5-10′ away from the west window it would be fine.
In the winter when you have less sun up north, it would be fine.
Just don’t let it touch hot or cold glass.
Loved this article. I received two clippings from a friend that have rooted and grown really well, but it is only two tails. To get more Tales growing do I have to propagate more, or will more tails start to grow? The ones I have now are about 4 inches long, so how long would I wait to take a clipping?
Thank you for your advice!
Nell Foster says
Hi Jennifer – I take Burro’s Tail cuttings which are at least 4-5″ long. I do it when they’re getting too long or when I want to stimulate new growth at the top. New tails will grow out of the top but taking cuttings stimulates that even more. I’ll b doing an updated post & video on this within the next couple of months. Nell
A year ago i bought one it had just 2 little tails, it hasn’t grown at all, Is it an slow growing plant? I put it inside under a dome where’s good light all day, but the leaves started to dry out. I moved it now to the garden but now I’m afraid it will get to much sun hahaha. How can I help it grow? I really look forward to get it like yours they are beautiful!
Nell Foster says
Hi Ireri – If growing in the right conditions, BTs are moderate growers. Give it bright light but no direct afternoon sun. Sounds like the light might be the issue. Nell
Joyce Andersen says
I have a burro’s tail that i got from a friend.. some cuttings.. a full year and a half later and they still have not rooted in the succulent soil I bought. they haven’t grown any either. the leaves some times wrinkle up and then drop.. the stems that I put into the soil are hard and dry when I tried to repot. I live in Saskatchewan and they were inside all the time for the first year, I put them out doors this summer and still nothing changed. they simply are not growing anything that looks like roots… and getting any moisture they are living on from the humidity from the soil. I have tried to let the soil dry out and then the leaves shrivel and drop. Ready to throw the things out.
is there someone i could email a picture of my burro’s tail and you could give me suggestions, i have had it for at least 4 years and havent done anything with it i feel bad because my house is full of plants and they all get full attention but this poor thing has been neglected it is still doing good, a few vines, they are probably 30 inches long lol maybe a bigger pot? it hangs pot is about 7 inches across and about 5 inches deep, any help would be greatly appreciated thank you 🙂
Nell Foster says
Hi Shaun – I had to cut my Burro’s Tail Back last fall because it was getting rangy. You may have to do the same in the spring & give it fresh succulent & cactus mix. Nell
Nell Foster says
Joyce – Burro’s Tails can be tricky to grow. I’ve found that they’re 1 fleshy succulent which prefers a certain environment. Other succulents are much more flexible. Nell
Hi nell! I just got my first burrows tail, however my leaves are rounded, not pointed so maybe it’s a baby burros tail? Anyway, I want to transplant it, and currently it’s in about 6” wide pot. If I put it in a wider pot, will it spread? Will more tails pop up around the edges or only if I propagate? Thanks for all the advice!
Nell Foster says
Hi Janelle – You’re welcome! Sounds like you have the Burrito or Baby’s Burro’s Tail. They like to grow a bit tight in their pots. I tip prune to force some new growth at the top. Nell