Pruning and Propagating A Burro’s Tail Succulent

Sedum morganianum is best known as the Burro’s Tail succulent or Donkey’s Tail plant. It’s an excellent addition to any home as a houseplant if you have bright natural light and don’t water it too often. I grow mine in my garden year-round, which looks great too.

It’s such a beautiful and versatile plant that it can go in a large pot with other beautiful succulents or in my case, a large 3-headed Ponytail Palm. When it comes time to propagate Burro’s Tail succulent you’ll find it simple to do.

One of the greatest things about the Burro’s Tail is how easy it is to propagate. The only thing tricky is the fact that the leaves fall off like crazy when you touch or prune it. If you’re repotting it, I’ve shared a trick for that which minimizes the leaf drop. 

Pruning and Propagating Burro’s Tail Succulent

Pruning and Propagation Tools

Before you can prune and propagate your Burro’s Tail, it’s best to gather your equipment. This plant grows by trailing stems with overlapping juicy leaves. I prefer to use a pot that’s taller than wider which will anchor those somewhat heavy stems down in the light mix. This is especially true if the cuttings you take are longer.


The ones I took were about 16″ long but I cut them down to about 10″.

Container Pot

I used a 4″ grow pot with taller sides.

Succulent and Cactus Mix

This is a succulent plant. It’s best to use succulent & cactus mix so that the drainage is ample and light enough for those emerging roots to easily push out. I now make my own succulent & cactus mix but this is a good online option. If your mix is on the heavier side, you may want to up the ante on the drainage factor by adding some pumice or perlite.

I don’t add any compost or worm compost at this point. I save that for when the cuttings are rooted and I transplant them.


These are great for creating holes to stick the somewhat soft stems into. I normally use chopsticks but this time it was a popsicle stick. Whatever works and you have close on hand!

Floral Pins

While not necessary, these are very effective to use when propagating thinner, top-heavy cuttings like this. They’ll keep the cuttings in place while the roots develop. These aren’t a 1-time wonder – you can reuse them for years.

Fiskars Snippers

These are my go to’s for more delicate pruning jobs like this. I’ve used them for years and they have a place right beside my trusty Felcos.

3 burro's tail succulent cuttings floral pins a popsicle stick & a pot with succulent & cactus mix sit on a piece of white paper

The materials; minus the Fiskar snippers.

Procedure to Propagate a Burro’s Tail Succulent

One of the greatest things about Burro’s Tail is how easy it is to propagate. Once fully grown, which can take about six years, they can grow to around 4’+ long.

My Burro’s Tail, which I brought from Santa Barbara to Tucson as small cuttings, was growing long and quite a few of the stems were bare in the middle. Time to prune and propagate!

a large 3-headed ponytail palm underplanted with burro's tail succulents grows in a large blue pot on a pedestall

The Burro’s Tail before the pruning. A few of the stems would have hit the ground by summer. Plus, I wanted to get rid of the majority of those bare middle stems.

Step One:

Start by cutting the stems to the desired length using your Fiskars clippers or a similar tool. You want to make sure they’re clean & sharp. Once you cut the stem to length, peel off the bottom 1/3 of the leaves. These leaves can also be used to propagate new plants.

Allow the stems to heal off so the cut ends callus over for up to 5 days. It’s hot in Tucson now so I only needed to heal mine over for 1 day.

Step Two:

After the stems have healed off, it’s time to plant. Prepare the pot by adding in your succulent & cactus mix.  With smaller stemmed cuttings like these, I usually fill the pot to 1/4″ below the top rim.

Step Three:

After you have the pot and mix ready, use a chopstick, pencil, or popsicle stick to poke a hole in the mix. These are great to use when working with thinner stemmed cuttings. Stick the cuttings into the newly created hole and fill in back in with the mix. Pin the stem down with the floral pins. The weight of the stems may pull them out if not anchored down.

Step Four:

Put the pot in bright light out of any direct sun. Let the cuttings and the mix stay dry for 1-3 days. Then, water the mix thoroughly.

10 burro's tail donkey's tail succulent cuttings are lined up on a beige patio cushion

The cuttings all in a row & ready to be planted

How To Maintain Your Cuttings

I place cuttings in my utility room which has a skylight. The light is bright but there’s no direct sun. You don’t want to overwater them as that’ll cause the stems to rot out. Just keep the soil lightly moist until the roots are established.

Not too wet or too dry. I’ll water mine every 5-7 days because it’s very warm here in July. You may need to water less often depending on your temps, amounts of humidity, and the mix.

burro's tail succulent cuttings in a black pot sit on an aqua patio table a grey tabby cat sleeps on a loveseat nearby

The cuttings after being planted. Looks a little like a baby octopus to me. Riley cat doesn’t seem too impressed at all!

Good To Know

Spring and summer are the best times to propagate a Burro’s Tail succulent.

There is another Sedum very similar to this one called Burrito or Baby Burro’s Tail. It has smaller, tighter, rounder leaves. You propagate it the same way you do a Burro’s Tail.

Want to learn more about how to care for succulents indoors? Check out these guides!

many small pots of sedum burrito succulent cuttings are lined up in rows

Here are Sedum morganium “Burrito” cuttings waiting to grow so they can be sold. You can see the difference in the leaves.

A Few Things About The Burro’s Tail Succulent

Be prepared! The leaves fall off this plant even if you just give it a gentle touch. Read how to work with succulents without all the leaves falling off.

Once the leaves have fallen off the stems, new leaves won’t grow back on the bare sections. A reader asked me this question and I wanted to share this info in case you were wondering too.

That’s why I cut my Burro’s Tail stems off at the tops of the bare areas – you’ll see me doing this in the video in case you don’t understand.

I prune my Burro’s Tail plants every 2-3 years to rejuvenate and stimulate new growth at the top.

Once the Burro’s Tail cuttings take root and you’ve transplanted them, you can top your new plant with worm castings and compost every spring to enrich the soil if you’d like.

Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here. I give most of my houseplants and outdoor container plants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring.

Once fully grown, which can take about six years, Burro’s Tails can grow to 6′ long. The longest mine have gotten is about 4′.

close up of a burro's tail succulent trailing out of a large blue pot on a pedestal

The Burro’s Tail after the pruning. There are still a few bare stems & I’ll eventually cut them off. New growth is emerging at the top & that’s what this pruning will encourage.

Burro’s Tail Cuttings

Be sure to let your cuttings heal over for 1-5 days before planting.

After 2 months have passed, your cuttings should be rooted.

Stem cuttings aren’t the only thing that can be used to propagate Burro’s Tail succulent. You can also use the leaves that have fallen off to create new plants.

Unlike with clippings, you don’t have to let them heal off so long. Instead, you can plant them in the mix right away. Keep the mix moist by misting until the leaves take root. You’ll eventually see baby plants appearing where the leaves were attached to the stems.

2 string of bananas & string of pearls plants sit on top of a fence

More hanging succulents in the works. Here is the String Of Bananas & String Of Pearls cuttings which I planted in 1 of my hanging pots after I filmed this video.

Propagating a Burro’s Tails succulent is simple and you can grow new plants without much hassle at all.

More succulent posts & videos here.

I love the way this plant looks – the unique way the leaves lay is so interesting. I’ve even worn along stem as a living necklace. It was quite the conversation piece!

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster


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  1. What do you mean let the stems heal ? Do I just kept them on a table for a few days ?

  2. Yes Nancy; it’s healing over just like when we get a wound. It’s best to expose the stems to air (out of direct hot sun) so they don’t rot out. Nell

  3. You can propagate them Sue. Just know it’s a slow process because takes a while for a plant to form from a single leaf. Nell

  4. I’m not sure what conditions you have it growing in Marianne. Mine has flowered a few times but not on the regular. Nell

  5. How long does it take for a plant to develop from a leaf? I have about 8-10 of them which broke about a month ago from a newly bought plant. They have just developed purple roots and very tiny green leaves. They’re still sitting on top of the mud of my burrito plant pot.

  6. Hi – It takes quite a while for a substantial plant to form. It varies a bit depending on the conditions. Roots will appear & then baby plants form near the roots. Nell

  7. I’ve had a burrows tail for about 2 years now and the thing is more than a foot long already 1.5 feet! In your blog you mentioned that leaves never grow back, and I’m unsure if you’ve observed this but my stem grew another burrows tail, three to be exact. The stem lost almost all leaves at the bottom and now its growing new burrows tails. My question is have you see that before, should I cut them while they’re still young and propagate them?

  8. Hi Katelyn – Yes, I’ve had that happen. Stems can grow off of stems, especially when pruned. You can propagate them if you’d like or leave them. Spring & summer are the best times for propagation. Nell

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