Donkey’s Tail Plant

About

A Donkey’s Tail plant (Sedum Morganianum), sometimes called a Burro’s Tail Sedum, Donkey Tail Cactus , or Lamb’s Tail, is an easy-care succulent plant native to southern Mexico and Honduras. It is part of the Crassulaceae (Stonecrop) family and a relative of the jade plant and the kalanchoe. A Donkey’s Tail plant is very fragile and the small, swollen leaves easily fall off if the plant is disturbed. The good news is that these leaves root quickly and easily to produce new plants. The plant does best in a hanging basket where the stems have lots of room to cascade down and  no one can bump into it. Like most succulent plants, a Donkey’s Tail plant grows well both as an outside and indoor plant if you provide plenty of very bright light and protect the plant from temperatures below 40°F (4.4C)

Description

This very attractive and unique looking plant has long 2-3ft  (60cm – 91.4 cm) trailing stems covered in plump, tear drop shaped, blue-green leaves that overlap like the hairs on an animal’s tail.  The stems look almost braided since  the leaves surround them completely. When the soil is very dry, the leaves may flatten out and become wrinkled. The stems start out growing upright, but eventually drape down as they become heavy with water filled leaves. During the summer, a mature Donkey’s Tail plant sometimes produces small, star-shaped, pink, red,white, or yellow flowers  in terminal clusters at the ends of the stems. Baby Burro plant or the “Burrito” plant, sometimes referred to as a hybrid or a cultivar of the Donkey’s tail plant, has shorter leaves and stems, and smaller, rounder, lime green leaves.s

    

Quick Care Tips for a Donkey’s Tail Plant

Very bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. and some direct sun

Over watering is the reason main reason the plant dies

Feed in spring and summer only

Donkey Tail’s plant likes warm temperatures 65°-75°F (18.3°-23.9°C)

Keep the plant root-bound in a small pot

Propagate using stem and leaf cuttings

Cool temperatures, 50°-60°F (10°-15.6°C)  in winter, help the plant flower in summer

Easily propagated using leaf and Stem CuttingsLearn how to propagate plants using stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, cane cuttings, and branch cuttings.

Donkey’s Tail Plant Problems

Leaves far apart on stem – plant needs more bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.

Leaves falling off  – plant is over watered

Yellow bleached leaves – plant is getting too much direct sun

Wilting or soft leaves – soil is staying wet too long

Conclusion

A Donkey’s Tail plant is a perfect plant for someone who wants a unique looking hanging plant that requires very little care. Be careful not to confuse it with Creeping Spurge or Myrtle Spurge which are sometimes incorrectly referred to as Donkey’s Tail plant. Myrtle Spurge is a poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants plant and should be kept it away from small children and pets.  A Donkey’s Tail plant is non- toxic and safe to have around children and pets.

 

FAQ

How Do I Get a Donkey’s Tail Plant to Flower?

Here are a few suggestions for how to get a Donkey’s Tail plant to flower, although I can’t promise they will work. Hang your Donkey’s Tail plant in a very bright location where the temperature is between 65°-75° in the spring, summer, & fall. During the winter, allow the Donkey’s Tail plant to rest in a cooler location, give it less water than you usually would, and don’t fertilize at all. In the spring start your usual care routine again. Be patient!

Can You Tell Me, What Are the White, Sticky, Cottony Looking Things on My Donkey’s Tail Plant?

The white, sticky, cottony looking things on your Donkey’s Tail Plant is Mealy Bugs. Your Donkey’s Tail Plant needs to be sprayed with the “ green solution.” The entire plant needs to be sprayed including all sides of the leaves. Move the leaves gently and carefully when you spray, because the leaves of a Donkey’s Tail Plant fall off very easily when moved around.

Is a Lamb’s Tail Plant the Same as a Donkey’s Tail Plant?

Yes and no. There is a Lamb’s Tail plant with the scientific name Umbilicus oppositifolius which is totally different from the Sedum Morganianum we are talking about. That said, Donkey’s Tail plant has picked up several nicknames including Lamb’s Tail plant, Burro’s Tail plant, and Horse’s Tail plant.

Why Are the Leaves on My Donkey’s Tail Plant Are Getting Further Apart on the Stem?

The leaves on the stem of your Donkey’s Tail plant are getting farther apart because the plant is not getting enough bright light. A Donkey’s Tail plant needs to be near very bright or direct morning sun for a large part of the day. Donkey’s Tail plants do not do well in lower light.

My Mom Told Me That My Donkey’s Tailplant Is Very Poisonous & I Should Keep It Away From My Cat. Is This True?

Your Mom is thinking of Euphorbia myrsinites (creeping splurge) sometimes mistakenly called a Donkey’s Tail Plant. Creeping Splurge is highly toxic, Donkey’s Tail Plant is a non- poisonous houseplant.