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Burro’s Tail Care: Growing This Unique Succulent

Learn all about the simple and straightforward nature of burro’s tail care.

All about sedum morganianum, aka the burro’s tail succulent

Today we’re talking about the gorgeous trailing succulent sedum morganianum, aka the burro’s tail (burro is Spanish for donkey) or donkey tail succulent. It hails from Central and South America.

The burro’s tail produces stems covered in densely packed light green leaves that look like little knobs. In healthy plants, the leaves grow very close together, even overlapping in spots. In its natural habitat, it grows down ravines and rocky cliffs. In your home, it looks lovely in a hanging planter or pot up on a shelf.

Burro’s tail succulent care overview

  • Burro’s tail, or Sedum morganianum, is a succulent with trailing stems and densely packed light green leaves.
  • Thrives in bright sunlight, suitable for indoor settings near sunny windows or outdoors in a mix of sun and shade.
  • Flourishes in well-draining succulent soil.
  • Water when the soil is nearly dry; burro’s tail is drought-tolerant, storing water in its leaves.
  • Adapts well to a range of normal household temperatures and prefers lower humidity levels.
  • Known for fragile leaves that easily detach; repotting is a delicate task.
  • Propagate through leaf or stem cuttings.
woman in pink holding a burro's tail succulent

How much light does it need?

Burro’s tail enjoys a lot of light. I have mine hanging in a small planter directly in front of one of the sunniest windows in my house. After I had the plant for only a month, it began sprouting 3 new stems from the base of the single original stem. So I’d say it’s happy with the light there.

If you want to move your burro’s tail outside for the summer or if you live somewhere with a year-round growing season, position your burro’s tail succulent in a spot that gets sun and some shade. Work your way up to larger amounts of sun to avoid burning the leaves.

burro's tail succulent on a hanging planter

How much should I water my burro’s tail?

The burro’s tail plant is also much like many other succulents in that it is drought-tolerant. It stores large amounts of water in its leaves to help see it through dry spells. I water my indoor succulents about once every week and a half during the late spring, summer, and early fall. 

I always check to make sure the soil has dried out almost completely before watering again. This plant does not like excess water and will not tolerate it. It will lead to root rot.

If you have your burro’s tail outside for the summer, you’ll need to water it more often. Hot summer temperatures will soak up that water faster, especially if it’s in a container. So you may need to rely on more than just rain. I water mine once every few days if it is very hot and we don’t expect rain. 

burro's tail care

Temperature and humidity needs

If you live in USDA zones 9, 10, or 11, you can keep your burro’s tail succulent out all year long. However, I don’t—so I have chosen to just keep mine inside all year. This plant tolerates the whole range of normal household temperatures and goes dormant in the winter when it’s cooler. 

The burro’s tail succulent also thrives in lower humidity, making it another excellent choice for an indoor plant. Getting higher humidity levels for certain plants can often be a challenge indoors (looking at you, calathea), so it’s nice to not have to worry about this one! 

What is the best soil?

Your burro’s tail will be happy in any well-draining succulent or cactus soil mixture. I usually buy a bag from my local nursery or make my own using a DIY succulent soil recipe. Don’t worry too much about repotting this plant too often—it likes to be rootbound and snug in its pot. 

And that’s a good thing, because the leaves are incredibly fragile! They fall off with even the slightest bump, so repotting this plant can be challenging. Never fear, though—burro’s tail can be propagated easily through leaves that have fallen off the plant.

beautiful burro's tail succulent

Burro’s tail propagation guide

Propagating a burro’s tail succulent is just like propagating most other similar succulents. (Check out my full guide on propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings.) There are two ways to propagate a burro’s tail succulent: through individual leaves and through cuttings.

In the first picture below, you’ll see just a small number of leaves that fell off of my big burro’s tail plant when my cat knocked it over. I gave a bunch away and decided to propagate some more. A few I just threw back into the plant’s pot so let them do their thing.

I hung the plant back up on my patio and let mother nature do her thing. After about a month, the leaves had roots and little bud-like leaves sprouting. You can leave them in the soil, and they’ll eventually take root. Or you can put them into their own container to continue rooting.

burro's tail leaves
burro's tail leaves with buds sprouting
burro's tail leaf sprouting growth to propagate

Another way to propagate a burro’s tail succulent plant is by stem cuttings. To do this, you’ll need to cut a piece off at the stem and remove a few of the bottom-most sets of leaves. Then let the cutting callus over for a day or so. This will help regulate water intake when you plant it.

Plant in a small pot with fresh well-draining succulent soil and water. Water roughly weekly to keep the soil slightly more moist than you would with an established plant. When you see new growth, the plant has rooted.

burro's tail care guide

In conclusion…

The burro’s tail, or Sedum morganianum, is an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners due to its simple care requirements and cool look. Its ability to thrive in bright sunlight, coupled with its drought-tolerant nature, makes it a versatile plant for various indoor and outdoor settings. 

Do you have any special tips or stories to share about this unique succulent? Feel free to comment below with your insights or questions. Happy planting!

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Here is a link to the Dropbox folder with the guide!

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