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)
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 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 cuttings
Donkey’s Tail Plant Problems
Leaves far apart on stem – plant needs more bright 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
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 poisonous 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.
A Donkey’s Tail plant needs at least four hours of sun or very bright light every day. In low light, the new growth is small, pale, and weak.
Succulent plants need to dry out before you water, and a Donkey’s Tail plant is no exception. Water well and then don’t water again until the soil has almost completely dried out. Over-watering a Donkey’s Tail plant or any succulent plant is the easiest way to kill it. The leaves of the plant become flat and even a little wrinkled when it needs water. Keep the soil even drier in the winter when the plant is dormant.
Feed monthly from March through September, diluting the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength. Never fertilize a Donkey’s Tail plant during the winter when the plant is resting.
A Donkey’s Tail plant grows best when the temperature is between 65°-75°F (18.3°-23.9°C). During the winter, when the plant is dormant, lower the temperature by 10°, keep the plant out of drafts, and away from cold doors & windows.
Basic household humidity enough to keep the plant leaves looking healthy.
When allowed to rest in a cool area during the winter, a Donkey’s Tail plant may produce star- shaped flowers in pink, red, white or yellow during the summer.
Mealy bugs are the main plant pest to look out for. You can read how to identify and treat mealy bugs in the Glossary of the website.
The main and most serious plant disease that can kill a Donkey’s Tail plant is root-rot due to over watering.
Use a loose and fast draining soil for a Donkey’s tail plant. A cactus or succulent mix is a good choice.
Do not rush to move the plant to a larger pot. A Donkey’s Tail plant like to be root-bound.
If the leaves on a stem fall off or are knocked off, it’s a good idea to remove the entire stem.
A Donkey’s Tail plant is easily propagated using leaf or stem cuttings. Read more about how to propagate houseplants in the Glossary of the website.
Move a Donkey’s Tail plant to a cool, low light area and keep the soil dry during the winter the winter when it’s resting.
Poisonous Plant Info
Donkey’s Tail plant is the common name for Sedum Morganianum and is a non-poisonous houseplant.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.