The simple and straightforward nature of burro’s tail care makes it one of the easiest succulents to own. That, coupled with it’s gorgeous chusonky trailing stems and ease of propagation, make it an excellent choice for your succulent collection!
Burro’s tail care: All about sedum morganianum
The plant is part of the crassulaceae family, sedum genus, morganianum species—meaning the scientific name for this plant is sedum morganianum. However, you’ll usually hear this succulent called burro’s tail (burro is Spanish for donkey) or donkey tail. It hails from Mexico and Honduras.
A succulent trailing perennial, the burro’s tail produces stems up to 2 feet long. The stems are 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.
Light needs for burro’s tail plants
Because burro’s tail is a succulent, it enjoys a lot of light as a house plant. 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. (Check out the cute planter my donkey tail is in here!)
How much should I water my donkey tail succulent?
The burro’s tail plant is also very 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 top few inches of soil are dry before watering. This plant does not like excess water and will not tolerate it. However, since I wait so long between watering my indoor succulents and I have them in a bright, sunny spot, I can almost guarantee that the soil will be totally dried out by the time I water it again.
If you have your burro’s tail outside for the summer, you’ll need to water it more after. Hot summer temperatures will soak up that water faster, so you may need to rely on more than just rain if your succulents are in pots. I water mine once every few days if it is very hot and we don’t expect rain.
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!
Donkey tail plant care: Soil and potting needs
Your burro’s tail will be happy in any well-draining succulent 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—it likes to be rootbound and snug in its pot.
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—this plant can be propagated easily through leaves that have fallen off the plant.
Burro’s tail propagation guide
Propagating a burro’s tail succulent is just like propagating most other similar succulents. (Check out my full post 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 picture below, you can see a few single leaves sitting in the soil. These leaves fell off when I repotted the plant, so I decided to let them sit in the pot with the plant to propagate. You can see then have their own roots and baby plants that have already sprouted! My hope is that these will root and essentially become part of the main plant.
Another way to propagate a burro’s tail succulent plant is by stem cuttings. This process hurts my heart a bit as it requires you to cut a piece several inches long off of the stem. So I obviously haven’t done that yet. You’ll need to cut the piece, remove the leaves from the bottom inch or so, and then let all of the “wounds” callus over before planting.
At this point, you can plant the stem in its own small pot with succulent soil. Keep the planted cutting slightly moist to encourage new root growth. It will soon take hold and begin growing like crazy.
Interested in plant-related DIYs? Check out my test tube propagation station, my glass jar propagation station, my midcentury plant stand, my stainless steel bowl hanging planter, and my hanging plant pot holder.