How to Grow Sedum Morganianum – Growing the Donkey Tail Succulent (with Photos!)

The donkey tail succulent is a lovely plump trailing plant that is great in containers.  Get some tips for how to grow sedum morganianum to make sure that you keep your succulent super healthy.This gorgeous succulent is called Donkey's Tail Sedum. Click through for some growing tips.

Succulents like sedum are drought smart plants that are super easy to grow and make fantastic houseplants.  Be sure to check out my tips for how to care for succulents.

Succulents are easy to grow plants that thrive on a bit of neglect. The plump leaves store water in them, enabling them to grow even if the water level is low.

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Facts about Donkey Tail Sedum

Sedum morganianum is a flowering sedum in the family crassulaceae – (stonecrops.)  The plant is native to Southern Mexico and the Honduras.

It is a member of the sedum family of succulents and is very easy care.

The succulent is also known by the common names Burro’s Tail Sedum, and Donkey Tail Cactus. The scientific name is sedum morganianum.

The plant is often confuses with sedum burrito. The traditional sedum morganianum has more pointed leaves and sedum burrito has more rounded tips. Both are great in hanging baskets and have the same growing conditions and care..

Even though sedum morganianum is known as donkey’s tail cactus, it is not a cactus, but is considered a succulent. (Not all succulents are cactus, but all cactus varieties are succulents.)tails of sedum morganianum

It is easy to see why the common names came to be when you examine the growth habit of the succulent, which has long, pendulous stems made up of green leaves.

There are several varieties of succulent that grows with the dropping tail-like habit. All have similar growing needs. Some have pointed tips and some are much more round. 

The image below is called blue tears sedum. You can see the similarities with the plump leaves and long tails. But in this plant the ends are more of a rosette, than a hanging pointed tail.Blue tears sedum

This plant is magnificent growing in containers as a hanging succulent. Read on for tips for growing sedum donkey tail.

How to Grow Sedum Morganianum

If you want to experience the joy of this gorgeous succulent, you may find yourself asking “how do you care for sedum morganianum?”

Never fear, the answer is here. Follow these tips and your sedum plant will not only grow well for you but thrive.

Sunlight needs for burro’s tail plant

This sedum variety can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It grows best in filtered bright light to bring out the leaf color.  It does not like extreme heat conditions and can easily scorch the leaves if given full sun.

Indoors it will be very happy in a south facing sunny window. My kitchen gets ample sunlight and the plant loves it here.Burros Tail Sedum likes lots of sunlight but doesn't like heat extremes.

However, if you don’t give the plant enough light, the nodes between the leaves will get longer and so those plump leaves will not be as dense on the stems, ruining the look of the donkey’s tail that is so desirable.

It loves morning sunlight and afternoon shade.  If you bring your indoor plants outside in the summer, keep this in mind to choose a good spot for it.

Keep burros tail away from drafts, although giving the plant cooler temperatures in winter may be just the boost it needs to encourage flowers to bloom in the spring.

The growing season is in spring and summer when the temperatures are hotter and the days are longer.

During the winter months, the plant is less active in growth.  Keep Donkey’s tail plant in a cool place that gets lower light and cut back even more on watering. 

When to water burro tail cactus

Water the plant when the top inch or so of the soil is dry. Keep up this watering practice all year long, except for in the winter, when you should only water infrequently.

The plant can be easily killed from too much water which can encourage root rot in succulents. It stores water in its plump leaves and this makes it very drought tolerant.

A good rule of sun is to water the plant every 10-14 days.  The plant will dry out faster in a terra cotta planter than in a plastic one and small pots also dry out more quickly.

How do you propagate burro’s tail succulents?

Propagating sedum morganianum 'burrito'

Get new plants for free by propagating sedum morganianum from leaf or stem cuttings

Take care when handling the plant, since the leaves are quite delicate and will easily break off the stem. 

If they do break, let them callous over at the end and then plant in a seed starting mixture. Roots will form in a few days and a new plant will grow easily.

Re-potting  Burros Tail Sedum

If your plant becomes pot bound it will slow down on growth of the tails. You can check the roots by taking the plant out of the pot. If you see a mass of roots, it’s time to re-pot the plant.

Re-poting burro’s tail is best done in the warm seasons. Make sure the soil is dry before you start. Gently remove the replant and knock off some of the old soil.

Plant in a new pot that is one third larger and back fill with fresh succulent soil. Leave the plant dry for the first week and then resume watering.

Cold Hardiness for Donkey’s Tail Sedum

Sedum morganianum is considered a tender succulent. It can take minimum temperatures to about 41-45 degrees.  Will generally overwinter in zones 10a to 11b.

If you are colder than these temperatures in your area, the plant is best grown as an indoor plant.

Growth habit for Sedum Morganianum

It is easy to see why the common names came to be when you examine the growth habit of the succulent. The plump leaves of the succulent look like many other sedums when it is young.

But when the plant is healthy and mature, both sedum morganianum and sedum burrito have a drooping nature that is perfect for hanging baskets. It is then that the plant looks so much like a donkey or burro’s tail.drooping growth of sedum morganianum 'burrito'

Size of Burro’s Tail Sedum

This succulent perennial plant produces trailing stems that can generally reach up to 24 inches long or even longer. It has fleshy blue green plump leaves.

A mature plant can grow to 4 feet long and can take about 6 years to reach this size. This can be a challenge since the leaves easily fall off if they touch surrounding objects (or your hands!), leaving bald spots in your planter.Mature burro's tail sedum

For best results, plant several of the stems in a planter to take advantage of the drooping habit of the plant.

It is a succulent perennial producing trailing stems up to 60 cm (24 in) long, with fleshy blue-green leaves and terminal pink to red flowers in summer.[1]

Sedum Morganianum Flowers

The flowers of donkey’s tail sedum come at the end of the plump full stem. It is amazing to see them on a mature plant, but even a smaller specimen has flowers worth waiting for.

The flowers range from pink and red flowers through to yellow and white and they will appear in the summer months.

Flowers of sedum morganianum

Photo credit Wikimedia commons

Is sedum morganianum poisonous?

If you are a pet owner, you don’t need to worry about toxicity.  In general, succulents can be a great choice for pets.  Donkey tail sedum is non toxic to dogs, cats and horses.

What kind of soil does Burro’s Tail Succulent like?

All succulents like well draining soil. I like to use a specialty cactus and succulent soil for best results.

Sedum morganianum likes a soil that drains well. If you don’t use special cactus or succulent soil, you can add horticultural grade sand or perlite to a regular potting soil to give it better drainage.

The ideal PH  for this plant is around 6.0 (slightly acidic). Feed the plant every other week in the growing season with a balanced succulent fertilizer.

To encourage more flowering, a 2-7-7 solution Cactus and Succulent Fertilizer is a good choice.

Diseases and Pests that like Donkey’s Tail Sedum

This plant is relatively pest free.  Aphids might decide to make a home on it so keep an eye out for them and wash them off with a spray if you find them. Neem Oil also works and is organic.

The other problem that you are likely to encounter with Burro’s Tail is root rot from over-watering. The solution is simple – just go light on the watering, allowing the plant to dry out a bit before adding more water.

Making New Tails

One of the beauties of this plant is that it is one of the trailing succulents that looks great in a hanging basket. But for this look, you will need lots of “tails.”

One of the questions that I often get asked is “Does Burros Tail plant make new tails while growing or must I propagate in order for this to happen?”Tails of sedum burrito

The answer is that the plant will develop new tails, as long as the plant is healthy and not stressed,  but this can take quite some time to happen. All succulents are relatively slow growers.

If you would like to speed up the look, then you should purchase a plant with many tails in it, or re-pot so that you have several growing together.

You can also stimulate new growth by selective pruning of sedum morganianum. Be sure to use very clean and sharp gardening shears to prune the plant.

Trim any places where bald spots have developed from leaves which have fallen off, leaving a bare stem.

If the plant is not damaged, just make cuts anywhere along the stem, being sure to leave a few inches near the base of the plant.

Allow the stem to callous over for a few days and plant in soil so that the tails are growing outward in a new area of the soil with no drooping stems.

Wait for a few days to water and then resume normal watering. The stem will develop roots and the new “tail” will become longer.

When you handle the plant, some leaves will fall off. The individual leaves can also be used to make new plants but it will take longer for the tails to form.

Where to purchase sedum morganianum

Burro’s tail sedum makes a great houseplants and are super popular right now, particularly with indoor gardeners and are available at many garden centers.  See my tips for buying succulents here.

Check your local Farmer’s market and the garden area of both Lowe’s and Home Depot. The plant is also available online.

These two links are to the variety sedum morganianum.  Many of the plants sold as burro’s tail are actually sedum morganianum ‘burrito’ with the more rounded tips.

Pin Sedum Morganianum Growing Tips for Later

Would you like a reminder of this post for how to grow donkey’s tail cactus?  Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest gardening boards so that you can easily find it later.Sedum Morganianum is also known as burros tail or donkeys tail. Click through for growing tips for this trailing succulent plant

Yield: a great basket plant

Tips for Growing Donkey Tail Plants

Tips for Growing Donkey Tail Plants

Sedum Morganianum, also known as Donkey's Tail Cactus, is a wonderful plant to grow in hanging baskets.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty moderate
Estimated Cost $5-40

Materials

  • Donkey's Tail Succulent
  • Potting Soil - Specialty Succulent Mix
  • Hanging Basket to display if the plant is large

Tools

  • Garden Gloves
  • print out this care card for growing tips for sedum

Instructions

  1. SUNLIGHT NEEDS - Full sun to partial filtered light. Does best with some afternoon shade.
  2. WATERING NEEDS - allow the plant to dry out a bit between watering
  3. SOIL - Choose a well draining cactus or succulent soil
  4. HARDINESS - Zones 10a-11b. Can take temperatures to about 41-45 degrees minimum
  5. COMMON NAMES - Burro’s Tail Sedum, Burros Tail Succulent, and Donkey Tail Cactus. Also known as sedum burrito.
  6. TOXICITY - Generally not toxic to pets.
  7. PROPAGATION - Stem or leaf cuttings. Callous over and then plant.
  8. GETTING TAILS - Plant several small plants in the same pot to get the trailing effect, or prune the tips to encourage side growth along the stems.

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