The botanical name, Sedum morganianum, refers to the manner in which this species was introduced from Sonora, Mexico near Morgan’s Spring. The plant is also known as burro’s tail cactus, burro’s tail plant, and donkey tail.
It is a low-growing plant that produces clusters of tiny white star-shaped flowers during the summer months. The leaves are shaped like a miniature version of the common jade plant (Crassula ovata) with small fleshy blue-green leaves. The leaves can reach up to 5 inches long and 1 inch wide in a single cluster. This plant is also used as an ornamental ground cover and can be grown indoors or outdoors, depending on the climate of the region.
Origin and description of the Burro’s tail plant
The burro’s tail plant originates from arid desert regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The plant prefers dry, sunny areas, with well-drained soil. It is sensitive to frost and will die if exposed to freezing temperatures.
The burro’s tail plant needs very little care once it has been established in the desired location. The sun exposure should be an hour or two around midday and shade the remainder of the day. In hot, dry climates, the plant will benefit from being watered twice a week. The soil should be kept slightly moist and mulching with compost, straw, or pine needles will help retain moisture around the roots of this plant.
The burro’s tail plant is best grown as an annual plant in colder regions because it tends to die back at the first signs of overnight frost. In the colder regions of the United States, this plant is usually grown as a potted plant that can be brought indoors in fall or early winter before the first hard frost and will tolerate average house temperatures. The plants should not be allowed to dry out completely when kept indoors.
Burro’s tail propagation
The seeds have large amounts of stored energy and can germinate after many years of dormancy. Germination takes place over an extended period of time as the seed sends down an extremely long taproot. This is why wild plants have such a long, thick taproot.
The burro’s tail plant will send up new offsets when its central caudex is overcrowded. It is possible to divide the caudex with a sharp knife or hoe or by simply pulling it apart and replanting each piece.
General burro’s tail care information
The burro’s tail plant is a great candidate for growing in pots on benches as it produces cascading stems that look beautiful and will tolerate high temperatures. It also does well when grown outdoors in large patio containers or hanging baskets. I would feed and water regularly, but not too much, and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Burro’s tail light requirements
The burro’s tail plant prefers the sun but will grow in partial shade.
Unfortunately for the burro’s tail plant, direct sunlight soaks up the heat and can be fatal. It is best to plant it in a place where direct sunlight can reach the leaves without much problem. But at the same time, it must still be protected from too much heat.
Burrowing their roots into cracked clay soil is part of its natural environment. However, it can adapt to nearly any type of well-drained, slightly acidic, or alkaline soil. `Foliar feed’ on a monthly basis in summer or if required.
Burro’s tail watering
The burros tail plant is not fussy and only requires regular watering to keep the soil moist, not soggy. In periods of excessive heat or drought, a good soaking of the compost will help keep it healthy and blooming.
The normal range of temperature this plant is comfortable with is 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature around it goes below these levels, the leaves will wrap up and all its other functions will diminish in order to conserve its energy.
The humidity should be high around the plant. But too much of it will also end up being fatal for it. What is ideal for burro’s tail is a place where the humidity ranges from 50% to 80%.
The plant does not need any fertilizer to survive, but if you intend to keep this plant for a long time or grow it well, then feed it with 2-3 times the normal amount of fertilizer per week. Also, on top of your regular fertilizing schedule, add an extra dose each time you water it till the leaves begin to turn dark green.
You can prune this plant any time of the year. To do it, you will have to cut it as close to the root as possible. If you leave any stubs behind, they will turn into new burros tail plants.
When to repot
Repot your plant when it outgrows its current pot. But make sure to check the root system first. If you think that they have grown too dense for the pot, then repotting won’t do any good. It will just suffocate the plant even more and turn fatal for it sooner than expected.
The growth rate of the burro’s tail plant is slow. So expect it to take years before you see anything resembling a mature plant from its stock.
The hardiness zone for this plant is between 9 and 11.
Toxicity of the Burro’s tail plant
Burro’s tail is toxic to animals. So keep it away from pets and small children.
Pests and diseases
The most common pests this plant is prone to are insects and whiteflies. They suck its juices out, which can eventually kill it. It also gets infected with root rot, leaf spot, leaf rust, powdery mildew, and burr smut.