Burro’s Tail Leaves Falling Off? Learn how to save your plant!

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Burro’s Tail also known as sedum morganianum is one of the most amazing and beautiful succulents you can have in your garden. I have this plant in my garden too, and always enjoy looking at its beauty and splendor. The only problem is that Burro’s Tail, despite is quite fragile, at least when compared to most other popular succulents.

If we do not treat it well, the leaves will start falling off, it will lose it’s beauty. So why burro’s tail leaves fall off so easily? Let me explain it to you. Said in very simple words (we’ll elaborate on it in a second), when this fragile plant is disturbed in any means, the leaves will fall off the stem. Another cause is over or under-watering the plant. Luckily you can control most of these things, and now I will help you understand why, and also give you a fresh perspective on this phenomenon.


Falling leaves is the very nature of every plant–burro’s tail is no exception to the rule

If you are new to growing this succulent, it might be frustrating for you to see Burro’s Tail losing most of its leaves. But you need to understand that it is a completely natural process–the cycle of nature. Leaves grow, and then they fall, so they can grow again. 

The good news is that the fallen leaves or beans can be grown into new plants. It is because you can plant those seeds and grow burro’s tail again, and perhaps surprise your friends or family with a nice gift. To make it clear: As long as the falling of leaves is infrequent, there is nothing to worry about, and you can simply enjoy growing your plants.

However, if it is more frequent and in large numbers, then probably something wrong is going on. Check the amount of water your water is getting. In this case, there are two possible reasons. The first one is under-watering. Sometimes, especially during the seasons when this plant is actively growing, it needs more water than it usually does. So you need to give it enough. Of course weather also plays the role–if it is hot and sunny, the soil can dry very quickly, even though this is a succulent.

During the dormant season, however, when the burro’s tail is not actively growing, watering should be minimal. Most over-watering incidents happen during the dormant season. People want to help their plants but in fact they hurt them with too much water. My suggestion is that always check the soil. If it is dry, apply a soak and dry watering method. This means that when watering, soak the soil completely with water and allow it to dry. Only water if the soil is already dry. This way you can save your succulent from over or under-watering. Extra care should be exercised especially when dealing with delicate plants like burro’s tail.

Burro's Tail Leaves Falling Off

How to Care for and Propagate Burro’s Tail or Sedum Morganianum

Burro’s Tail is one of the succulents that grow tall. In most cases, it can reach up to 4’ in height. It takes several years for this plant to reach its full-length potential. Like other plants, as it gets older, it also gets heavier and heavier because it gets thicker and thicker. The stems become heavy with overlapping plump with leaves that will form like a groovy braided pattern.

When growing Burro’s Tail, I suggest that you use a more resilient pot such as a hanging basket. Do not use a fragile pot because it may not be able to support the plant as it grows bigger. Unlike other succulents, growing Burro’s Tail is more challenging. Because it is a fragile succulent, it also requires special care. If you treat it well, however, you’ll get a reward in the form of an amazing beauty of this plant….  Let me elaborate now on a few things you should consider when caring for burro’s tail.


Give it some sun and some shade

Like most succulent species, Burro’s Tail loves partial sun or bright shade. It does not like hot full sun because it is fragile. It prefers morning sun–which is great for both people and plants. I suggest give it 4-5 hours a day of sun exposure in the morning.

If the Burro’s Tail is exposed to hot direct sunlight, its stem tends to become pale green. If this happens in your plant, then there’s a high tendency that the plant has exposed to the direct sun, and worst things can start to happen–such as the majority of leaves falling off. A healthy Burro’s Tail has a blue-green color. Any color that will develop in the plant might mean something, such as too much sun or lack of sun or lack of water. Observing your plant regularly, you can easily spot any problem, addressing it before it turns into something bigger.

Just the right amount of water

Overwatering is the easiest way to kill a succulent plant, and Burro’s Tail is no exception to the rule. It is not tolerant to excessive amounts of water. Its stems and leaves store water very well. Giving it too much water will certainly harm the plant, if not kill it. So be careful.

If you have newly planted or young Burro’s Tail, you need to minimize the amount of water you give. But if you have a well-established plant, for example, 4-5 years old Burro’s Tail, you can increase the amount of water and the frequency of schedule. The bigger the plant, the more water it needs, which is completely logical but some people tend to forget it.

Watering once every two weeks is a good practice. When you water, make sure to soak the soil then let it dry. This will not only help all the roots to absorb water but also help to flush all the toxins deposited in the soil. During summer or growing season, Burro’s Tail needs more water. During this period, you can give more water and more frequent watering schedule. I’d suggest watering it every 8-11 days.


Best soil for Burro’s Tail

Like other succulents, Burro’s Tail needs a fast-draining soil. A soil mix that does not store water but enough moisture is your best choice. One of my favorite products is the organic mix from Noot (* the link is an affiliate link, if you need a soil and decide to purchase this one, I’ll earn a few cents as a commission, so thank you in advance for supporting my blog 🙂).

But you can find a decent soil mix in the nearby garden supply store as well, or can even make your own succulent soil mix, if you prefer that to buying anything.


Right temperature for Burro’s Tail

Temperature does influence Burro’s Tail growth. Generally speaking, this succulent loves a temperature that varies from 40-70 degrees. But of course, this also depends on many factors. My recommendation is that observe your plant every season.

If something unusual happens to them, try to investigate what could have caused the issue–and often it can be too much heat. If the color changes, try placing your succulent in a place with more shade, so the temperature does not rise to extreme numbers during the summer.  Although some succulents are tolerant of extreme environmental conditions, not all of them could survive extreme temperatures, and Burro’s Tail definitely belongs to the more fragile mainstream succulents.

Insects and Burro’s Tail

Insects and other pathogens can really hearth succulent plants. Fortunately, Burro’s Tails are less susceptible to insects. The only common insects that attack this plant are the aphids. But you don’t have to worry about it. Aphids are easy to control. You just need to spray a mixture of alcohol and water and they will be gone. To learn more about how to kill aphids, you can read my post here.

Propagation of Burro’s Tail

Burro’s Tail is one of the easiest succulents to propagate. You just need to cut the stems you want to propagate. Then peel the bottom part of the leaves and let them callus for 2-3 weeks to several months. Make sure that the new plant has already established before planting it.

Planting Burro’s Tail is different from other succulents. It needs to be pinned in the pot to support the weight of the stems. Burro’s Tail can also be propagated using leaf cuttings. Remember that overwatering is the number one enemy of this plant. Depending on the season, adjust the amount of water and the watering schedule if necessary…

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Q: Burro’s Tail leaves are shriveling up, what should I do?

A: One of the common causes of this is overwatering. As mentioned earlier, falling leaves is normal. But if it happens more frequently and larger numbers, probably something is wrong with the plant and more often than not, excessive water is to blame here. You can fix this by minimizing the amount of water you give to your plant. Also, lessen the frequency of the watering to heal the plant.

Q: What is the best way to propagate Burro’s Tail?

In propagating burro’s tail, it is important that you allow the cutting to callous. You do this by sitting the cutting in the soil. Keep it that way. Do not bury. In a few weeks or months, roots will gradually show up. At this stage, refrain from misting too much because the cutting may develop new plants before roots start to shoot. Or, completely avoid misting those tiny developing plants until you see roots grow. Once the new roots are already established, you can then slightly bury the baby Burro’s Tail. Remember that this plant loves fast-draining soil. So don’t use compacting soil to allow the plant to gain healthy growth.

I hope this helps. For more information about succulents, read my comprehensive guide on how to grow succulents, where I summarize everything I learned while growing these plants over the years. Thank you!