Donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum): Introduction, Discovery, Classification, Characteristics, and, Cultivation
Sedum is a genus comprising over 280 species in the northern hemisphere (North America, Europe, and Asia), and Sedum morganianum is without a doubt the most well-known and widely cultivated of the about 100 Sedum species Stephenson (1994) identified for Mexico. Sedum morganianum, also known as “Cola de borrego” or “Cola de burro” in Mexico, is also known as “Burro’s tail” or “Donkey’s tail” in English due to the long stems’ resemblance to an animal’s tail. A very popular plant for hanging baskets is the burro’s tail. Growing perfect specimens, however, may be quite a challenge because the lovely, pale green leaves fall off at the least touch. Fortunately, every removed leaf can quickly recover to create new plants. It makes an excellent basket plant for the garden, greenhouse, or windowsill thanks to its pendent habit of growth, which hangs vertically.
Donkey Tail is a Mexican native. For hanging baskets, it produces a beautiful succulent plant. The spindle-shaped leaves are formed in a silver-blue colour. Pendulous branches may reach 3 feet or more in baskets. The common name is derived from the plant’s growth pattern, which results in long, trailing stems that resemble ropes and are densely covered with leaves. It rarely blooms, but when it does, the flowers range in colour from pink to deep red. It grows nicely in a wall pot or a hanging basket and needs good drainage, some shade, and wind protection. This sedum is delicate and is frequently grown as a houseplant. This plant can be easily propagated by dropping a single leaf or a stem onto sandy soil. It only takes a few days for it to root and produce fresh “leaflets.”
Popular succulent Sedum morganianum has an interesting past. It was first cultivated in the late 1930s and quickly became known as one of the most beloved sedums. Still, its environment remained a mystery until 2008 when a group of brave (and fortunate) Mexican botanists discovered it. This significant discovery has been discussed in both Spanish (Jimeno-Sevilla et al., 2010; Cházaro et al., 2011) and English (Cházaro et al., 2011), but these studies are botanically focused and lack guidance on culture.
Eric Walther discovered Sedum morganianum for the first time in 1935 in a tiny plant nursery in Coatepec (Veracruz, Mexico). In an article that appeared in the 1936 issue of the Cactus and Succulent Journal of America, he describes his fortunate discovery: “A local street urchin dragged us inside a small nursery or plant emporium on the main street while we waited for a most ineffectual guide. He was one of the owners of the “Jardin Flotante,” which ended up being one of the highlights of our entire trip. Imagine our surprise also when we spotted a wall covered with a trailing succulent which even the species escapes us to this day. This is known locally as “Cola de burro,” which translates to “tail of the donkey” (Walther, 1936, see also Walther, 1938).
Species: S. morganianum
Scientific Name: Sedum morganianum
Common Name(s): Burro’s tail, Donkey’s tail, Cola de Borrego, Cola de burro
1. Sedum morganianum is a perennial pendent plant with many long hanging stems that can reach lengths of 90 to 100 cm.
2. Its leaves are mostly 2 cm long and 5-8 mm thick, pale glaucous green, slightly flattened, and very fleshy.
3. The reddish pink blooms are produced terminally in dangling corymbs of one to six blossoms at the tips of the longest branches.
4. Sedum is a genus of succulent, herbaceous, evergreen perennials with fleshy, flat or rounded leaves, depending on the species. The plant extends out along the ground and is often erect. The word “sedum” derives from the Latin word “sedeo,” which means “to sit,” and refers to the tendency of many sedum species to spread out across rocks.
5. Burro’s Tail, also known as Sedum morganianum, is a succulent plant that has trailing stems up to 24 inches long with juicy, blue-green leaves that have a triangular form.
6. It is a pretty plant with a hanging container that highlights the trailing stalks. The leaves are quite delicate, won’t stand up to a lot of walking, and will snap off if handled.
7. Propagation is a simple process because dropped leaves and cuttings easily and quickly take root. The plant produces terminal clusters of pink or red flowers in the summer.
8. Burro’s Tail loves bright inside spaces with dry soil, fresh air, and shallow pots, as well as windowsills with at least some sun.
9. Plants should be watered with tepid water, and winter watering should be minimised. Between waterings, let the soil dry out, and throughout the growing season, fertilise sparingly once or twice.
10. Although the plant is native to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, it can withstand temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit when cultivated outside in cooler regions.
11. Site plants for outdoor growth in well-drained soil with sun to part-sun exposure.
12. The plant quickly establishes itself and can withstand rocky and deficient soils. It can withstand dry soil and drought due to its succulent leaves.
Sedum morganianum may survive in temperate climates with a minimum temperature of 5-7 °C (41-45 °F). The trailing stems of morganianum are frequently grown as indoor plants in hanging containers so that they hang vertically.
Sedum morganianum grows in both indoor and outdoor environments with extremely good light and moderate heat. The plant grows strongest in full sunlight, which also improves the colour of the leaves. All seasons, except for winter, require regular, moderate watering; winter needs minimal watering. Rapid plant damage might result from too much water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does Donkey tail like the full sun?
Ans: Sedum morganianum grows in both indoor and outdoor environments with extremely good light and moderate heat. The plant grows strongest in full sunlight, which also improves the colour of the leaves.
Question: Are Donkey tails poisonous?
Question: How do you care for a Donkey tail plant?
Ans: Do not overwater this drought-tolerant plant because doing so will cause it to decay. However, keep in mind that mature plants require more frequent watering; make sure to check the soil frequently. Once every 14 days, it is advised to water your burro’s tail.
Question: Why is it called Burro’s tail”?
Ans: because due to the long stems’ resemblance to an animal’s tail.
Question: How often should you water a Burro’s tail plant?
Ans: All seasons, except for winter, require regular, moderate watering; winter needs minimal watering. Rapid plant damage might result from too much water.
Question: Does the Donkey tail grow fast?
Question: How do you propagate a Donkey tail?
Ans: This plant can be easily propagated by dropping a single leaf or a stem onto sandy soil. It only takes a few days for it to root and produce fresh “leaflets.”