Sedum morganianum (Donkey Tail Plant)

sedum morganianum

The sedum morganianum, also known as donkey tail plant, burro’s tail succulent, donkey’s tail succulent, or just burro’s tail plant, is one of the most popular and versatile succulents among gardeners, thanks to its ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions and environments.

Like most succulents, sedum morganianum is drought-tolerant and requires little water or maintenance; you can either let it grow as an indoor plant or place it outside during summertime without worrying that it won’t make it through the season.

Donkey tail plant is a very popular ground cover because of its easy care requirements and because it’s also quite attractive in its own right.

The plant comes in both green-leaved and variegated forms, the latter being much more expensive than the former since it’s rarer and harder to grow; both types of donkey tail plant produce the same flower, though.

Sedum morganianum is an extremely hardy succulent that can survive in any soil, even poor soil, and requires little water or sunlight to thrive. These hardy plants are native to Europe and northern Africa, but today can be found all over the world as indoor houseplants.

Origin and distribution

Donkey tail is native to South Africa, but it has become established throughout much of southern and central Africa, Madagascar, Australia, California, Texas, and Hawaii. It’s invasive in some areas; in California it can be found throughout coastal sage scrub habitats from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

It thrives in hot and dry conditions with full sun. It doesn’t like wet feet so needs well-drained soil. It needs to be watered sparingly during the summer months when grown outdoors and kept on the dry side during winter months when grown indoors as a houseplant. Burro’s tail succulent plants are not frost tolerant!

Sedum morganianum propagation

sedum morganianum

Burro’s tail succulent are very easy to propagate. To do so, take a piece of leaf off and plant it in potting soil. Be sure to keep its leaves intact and pointed upward.

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Over time, it will sprout roots and grow into its own plant. Don’t throw away your old plants just yet though! If you let them dry out, then store them in an area with low humidity for a few weeks, they can be used as cuttings too.

With some burro’s tail succulents, all you need is to break the ends of the stem off, leaving two-three pairs of leaves on each cutting. The easiest way to do this is by using clean scissors. Pot up the new cutting immediately or leave it on top of moistened vermiculite or sand until ready to use.

A sheet of newspaper laid on top of the vermiculite or sand will help to prevent it from drying out. Take care not to overwater these plants as rot is common when overwatered and stems may rot if constantly wet.

A quick check should tell you if it needs water; if the surface feels gritty rather than slippery, wait until the next watering before adding more water.

Sedum morganianum care information

sedum morganianum

Sedum morganianum care is relatively easy. The plant needs to be watered thoroughly and occasionally, with a light trimming done about once a year. Donkey’s tail succulent care also requires good drainage, so water as infrequently as possible but be sure that the soil does not dry out completely.

Light requirement

Sedum morganianum or donkey tail plant is a succulent native to Mexico. It is part of a larger family of succulents, which have an affinity for dry conditions and show off special adaptations that help them preserve water. The donkey tail plant grows best in full sun to partial shade.

Ideally, it needs 5 or 6 hours of direct sunlight per day but will also thrive if given some afternoon light. Although you can grow it indoors with artificial light, it will require more frequent watering than if grown outside.

Soil/potting mix

Soil or potting mix should be loose, fast-draining, and high in organic matter. The easiest way to provide these conditions is to choose a cactus/succulent potting mix.

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A good basic formula for sedum morganianum consists of 2 parts sharp sand, 1 part pumice, 1 part perlite or vermiculite, and one part compost. Any succulent/cactus soil will work as long as it has these same components.

Watering

Don’t let your sedum morganianum sit in a glass of water. The roots cannot take up any nutrients if they are under water, and they will rot. If you see a glass of water with your plant, simply scoop it out and make sure that it is sitting in an inch or two of good quality potting soil.

Once the topsoil becomes moist from the watering, add more potting soil until the level reaches 1-2 inches from the surface.

If you are struggling to find time to water your burro’s tail plant, consider getting a rain barrel for collecting rainwater for this purpose.

Fertilizer

Feed burro’s tail plant once a month during its growing season with water-soluble balanced fertilizer diluted to half of its recommended strength. Use one tablespoon per gallon of water.

Repeat applications monthly until your plant has stopped actively growing in fall, at which point reduce feeding to every other month. Be careful not to overfeed; burro’s tail is sensitive to fertilizer burn, which will turn its leaves yellow and cause them to fall off.

Temperature

Sedum morganianum is a succulent, so it can withstand temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, during cold months, you’ll want to keep it at temperatures of 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

In terms of water, donkey tail succulents need to be watered once every two weeks or so in the winter and spring; you’ll want to increase that frequency during the hot summer months, watering about once a week.

Humidity

In order to keep your donkey tail succulent happy, it’s important to maintain a moderate level of humidity. If you live in an area with higher levels of humidity, you can use a humidifier or place your plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water so that water drips onto its leaves. Be sure to empty out any leftover water after 24 hours.

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The ideal humidity range for sedum morganianum is between 40-50%. You should know when the air around your donkey’s tail succulent is too dry if the leaves start to curl up. You should know when the air around your burro’s tail plant is too moist if the surface starts to become slimy or if water droplets form on the surface.

Pruning

Sedum morganianum are relatively low-maintenance but do need to be pruned back about once per year, depending on how frequently they bloom. Cut them back to within an inch of their base and discard any dead leaves or stems.

It may seem counterintuitive to cut down on something that seems so full and lush, but overgrown plants often become stressed and develop fungus or pest problems. These problems will only get worse if left unchecked.

When to repot

When repotting sedum morganianum, you want to make sure that its root system is tightly packed in its pot. A good way to check is to squeeze or lightly press on top of it. If you see a lot of soil fall out, it’s time for another repot.

Also, consider how large your plant has grown: if it’s doubled in size from when you bought it, then again it’s time for another transplant!

You can also count the number of times the leaves are growing around the plant and this will give you an idea of how long it’s been since it was last transplanted. As with most plants, be sure to use fresh potting mix and water thoroughly after replanting.

Dormancy/Winter rest

In order to maintain donkey tail plants’ health during winter or dormancy, simply keep it in a shaded area that receives about two hours of sun every day. Water sparingly, only when soil is completely dry.

When re-potting for spring, be sure to use fresh and sterile soil, as well as a pot that is at least one size larger than what it currently lives in. If you have enough sunlight, move the plant outside for the summer months so that it can get enough light to remain healthy. The plant prefers full sun, but will still grow well with partial shade.

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Sedum morganianum flower & fragrance

sedum morganianum

The vibrant red flowers of Sedum morganianum are a welcome addition to any garden. Gardeners often favor plants with fragrant blooms.

In fact, they smell so good that they can draw in pollinators from up to one-half mile away! But don’t stop there…the fragrance isn’t limited to just bloom time. The leaves of Sedum morganianum have a pleasant lemon scent as well – you’ll be sure to love it!

Growth rate

Sedum morganianum is a slow-growing plant. It will not outgrow its container in one year, but if you transplant it regularly you can keep it from outgrowing its space for about three years.

The biggest benefit of donkey tail is that it requires little water and sunlight to survive, making it perfect for desert or arid environments. Although some varieties thrive in partial shade, full sun provides optimal growth for most varieties.

Toxicity

Sedum morganianum has no known toxic effects and is therefore considered safe around pets and small children.

USDA hardiness zones

Sedum morganianum thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 3-10. It is typically used as a ground cover, though it can also be planted in rock gardens or as an edging plant. It needs well-drained soil and sun or partial shade.

Pests and diseases

When it comes to pests and diseases, sedum morganianum is pretty low-maintenance. As with most succulents, however, you can treat it for pests if you want; just make sure to be gentle when spraying.

Donkey tail is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. To get rid of them, use an insecticidal soap spray in late spring or early summer, don’t use pesticides because they will damage other plants. If a disease occurs, such as powdery mildew, start off by pruning the plant back by one-third.

Next, clean the leaves using a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol then apply neem oil on the leaves until all signs of disease are gone. If that doesn’t work, try something stronger like sulfur or cacti cleaner