The Ultimate Guide to Donkey Tail Succulent Care

Donkey Tail is a very easy succulent to grow. It's drought-tolerant, and low maintenance care makes it perfect for any home or office.
A donkey tail hanging.

Sedum morganianum, also known as the donkey’s tail, is one of the most common houseplants. The succulent has long, trailing stems covered in small, fleshy leaves. It is a very forgiving plant and requires minimal care. Despite its unique appearance and hardiness, it still needs special care to thrive.

So, how should you care for a donkey’s tail? Typically, this succulent prefers bright, indirect sunlight and warm temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). To encourage lush growth, water the succulent thoroughly when the soil is completely dry. Allow the excess water to drain away, and never let the plant sit in water. During warmer months, feed the succulent a balanced fertilizer every two weeks to encourage blooming and vigorous growth. It would be best if you also used well-draining, slightly acidic soil. A good potting mix contains peat, perlite, vermiculite, and sand. Keep in mind that over-watering is the biggest threat to your donkey tail succulent.

This article discusses everything you need to know about caring for your donkey’s tail Succulent, including light, temperature, fertilization, soil, and water requirements.

Read on to learn more.

Donkey’s Tail Succulent: A Brief Overview

The donkey’s tail succulent is a unique-looking member of the Sedum family. It has long, trailing stems covered with small fleshy leaves and bright yellow flowers when blooming.

The succulent is native to Mexico but can be found in other regions. It does best when grown indoors and is usually kept as a hanging plant.

Donkey tail in a white pot.
It has long, trailing stems covered with small fleshy leaves.

The succulent enjoys bright, indirect sunlight and warm temperatures in its natural habitat. It also grows under partial shade and requires well-draining soil.

Donkey’s Tail Care Guide

Now that you know a bit about the Donkey Tail succulent, it’s time to learn how to care for it. Here’s a quick guide on what your donkey tail needs:

1. Light Requirements

The donkey tail succulent thrives best in relatively warm, indirect sunlight. If you want to grow it indoors, position it on a reasonably sunny balcony, patio, or windowsill that gets many hours of bright indirect sunlight every day.

If you live in an area that doesn’t receive plenty of sunlight, consider using artificial lighting to help your succulents thrive.

A simple fluorescent tube light kept at a distance of about 12 inches will provide adequate lighting for the donkey’s tail. Keep the light on for at least 12-16 hours a day.

Donkey tail exposed to sunlight.
The donkey tail succulent thrives best in relatively warm, indirect sunlight.

If you want to grow the succulent outdoors, make sure you position the growing pot in an open spot that receives plenty of morning sunlight but enjoys partial shade during the afternoon. Failure to protect your donkey tail from excessive sunlight can lead to severe sunburn.

If you notice that your donkey tail is no longer vibrant with its blue-green color but instead is turning gray or dull green, it is exposed to harsh sunlight.

If you don’t take appropriate steps to protect it from excessive sunlight, it will eventually turn chalky white with a relatively waxy appearance. The succulent produces waxy as a way of protecting itself from scorching sunlight.

2. Water Requirements

Like other succulents, the donkey tail succulent doesn’t need much water. Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering sessions. When you do water, ensure that you provide enough moisture, so the entire root system is soaked.

Allow any excess water to drain away, and never let your plant sit in still water, as this can lead to it becoming water-logged, leading to rotting and eventual death.

During warmer months, you should water the succulent more frequently than during cooler seasons. You may also need to increase the amount of water given to help with growth during this period.

The watering method you use matters a lot too. Ideally, you should water the plant deeply and wait until the soil is dry before watering again.

The best time to water your plant is in the morning or evening when sunlight is relatively lower.

3. Soil Requirements

The donkey’s tail prefers slightly acidic soil with excellent drainage. A good potting mix for this succulent will contain peat, perlite or vermiculite, and sand.

Adding some organic matter like compost or manure to the soil mix is an excellent idea to help with water retention.

Top view of a donkey tail.
A good potting mix for this succulent will contain peat, perlite or vermiculite, and sand.

If you are growing your plant in a pot, make sure it has drainage holes so that excess water can easily drain away to avoid causing root rot.

4. Temperature and Humidity

This succulent prefers relatively warm weather to thrive. However, it can withstand somewhat cooler temperatures quite well.

Averagely, try maintaining temperatures between 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your succulent happy. This temperature range is ideal for both indoor and outdoor donkey’s tails.

The succulent can survive in a temperature as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit but only if the exposure is brief.

Therefore, bringing your outdoor donkey’s tail plant indoors is critical before the first frost forms. Alternatively, remove your plant from drafty windows during cold winter.

A donkey tail cactus exposed to sunlight.
it can withstand somewhat cooler temperatures quite well.

When it comes to humidity, this succulent has no special needs. It tends to thrive in average humidity levels. Exposure to high humidity levels can be catastrophic since it becomes highly susceptible to rot.

Avoid misting the leaves regularly if you are not watering the plant. You should also keep it away from the relatively humid parts of your house, such as the bathroom.

5. Growing Container

The donkey tail succulent does best in hanging pots or relatively tall containers that allow its long, braided stems to trail down the sides and show off its beauty.

When choosing a pot, opt for ceramic and terracotta pots with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape and prevent root rot.

You can modify the container further by layering it 1-2 inches of gravel or rocks to prevent the succulent from sitting in water for too long.

Make sure the pot offers enough room for growth since this succulent can grow quickly.

6. Fertilizer Requirements

The donkey’s tail succulent doesn’t require frequent fertilization. Feed the plant once every two months with a balanced liquid fertilizer to ensure healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing as this can lead to nutrient burn.

Focus on feeding your donkey tail at the beginning of the active growth season (early spring). Use a controlled-release, balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer containing equal parts of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.

However, a mature donkey’s tail succulent may prefer the fertilizer at one-quarter strength as opposed to young plants that like it with less nitrogen.

7. Propagation Requirements

The donkey’s tail succulent is relatively easy to propagate. It can be propagated from stem cuttings or by separating the offsets, also called ‘pups.’

To propagate from stem cuttings, snip off a section of the stem and plant it in moist soil. The cutting should be about 3 inches long and have at least a few leaves.

Donkey tail in a pot.
It can be propagated from stem cuttings or by separating the offsets, also called ‘pups.

Place the cutting in indirect sunlight for about three weeks and then gradually introduce it to direct sunlight.

To propagate by offsets, carefully break off the pups from the main plant, ensuring that some roots remain attached. Plant each pup in its pot and keep the soil consistently moist. The succulent should root within a month.

8. Managing Pests and Diseases

The succulent stays free of pests and diseases provided it is grown in the right conditions. However, it can be prone to mealybugs, aphids, scale insects, and occasional root rot when over-watered.

Mealybugs can be treated by wiping them off with a damp cloth or spraying the plant with an insecticidal soap solution. Scale insects can be treated with neem oil.

Root rot can be prevented by allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions and checking for drainage before planting. If root rot does occur, treat it immediately with a fungicide formulated for succulents.

9. Potting and Repotting

The donkey’s tail succulent does not have strict potting requirements. However, it is a good idea to repot the plant every few years to refresh the soil and prevent nutrient deficiencies.

When repotting, use a slightly bigger container with a fresh, well-drained cactus mix or succulent soil for best results. Remember that this succulent does not like to be disturbed, so handle it carefully.

Water the plant thoroughly after repotting and continue watering as usual. Avoid misting the leaves for a few days after potting or repotting to allow the roots to settle.

The succulent is highly fragile, and great care should be taken when potting or repotting to avoid causing damage.

Ensure the potting mix is completely dry before repotting the plant to reduce the risk of shock. Add some slow-release fertilizer when potting or repotting to ensure healthy growth.

Conclusion

The donkey’s tail succulent is an interesting and relatively easy-to-care-for plant that can add charm to your home.

However, it requires specific conditions to thrive. An essential part of caring for this plant is ensuring that it gets enough sunlight and water, has good soil drainage, and is not exposed to too much humidity or cold temperatures.

It’s also important to remember to fertilize the plant regularly and only let it sit in waterlogged soil for a short time. With proper care, you can enjoy your donkey tail succulent for many years!

Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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