An overwatered burro’s tail is mainly identified by shriveling leaves, discoloration of the foliage, and various stages of root rot. This can be quite devastating, considering that your plant won’t be able to give your place the vibes that attracted you to it in the first place.
This article guides you through techniques that will help you to save your burro’s tail, which is also known as the donkey’s tail or Sedum morganianum.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- How Do You Troubleshoot the Cause for Overwatering on Your Burro Tail?
- How Do You Get Your Plant Back?
How Do You Troubleshoot the Cause for Overwatering on Your Burro Tail?
To troubleshoot the possible cause of overwatering on your plant, you might need to check your watering schedules, the pot, and potting soil, as well as adjustments to different seasons and environmental conditions.
Methods for increasing humidity levels around your plant may also raise its chances of getting overwatered.
– The Watering Schedules
How often you water your plant is of paramount importance when it comes to keeping your burro’s tail from overwatering. This is because watering schedules determine how long your plant ists in water. For example, too frequent watering sessions tend to cause overwatering because you are more likely to give your plant a drink when its potting soil is still damp.
We, therefore, recommend that you stick to the standard watering schedules of the burro’s tail. When this plant is at the peak of its growing season, watering it once a week works very well.
It is also crucial to note that even though watering schedules are worth following as recommended, checking the moisture of your plant’s potting soil yields better results. With this strategy, you avoid watering your plant when its soil is still moist, considering that the burro’s tail should have its next drink when the potting mix is completely dry.
If you adopt a habit of watering your plant when its potting soil is still wet, you will have to deal with overwatering at some point. Also, keep in mind that the burro’s tail is a succulent plant so it can hold water in its leaves. Therefore, it is very sensitive to very wet conditions, which ultimately makes it succumb to root rot.
– The Pot
Your plant is less likely to escape overwatering if its pot is not well-draining. A pot that is not well-draining has too few drainage holes if any. When you water your donkey’s tail in such a pot, excess water will escape slowly if there are few drainage holes and not at all when the holes are absent. The effect of this is that water will accumulate in the pot while exposing your plant to waterlogged conditions for extended periods of time.
If your plant’s pot has enough drainage holes that are blocked by the potting soil, its drainage capacity also becomes compromised. This is because excess water cannot pass through the blocked holes so overwatering will certainly result.
Some pots are naturally more porous than others. The ones that are porous, like the terracotta pots, have better drainage properties than, for example, metal ones. Therefore, the type of pot that you use to grow your plant can contribute to overwatering conditions around your plant.
– The Potting Mix
Just like the jade plant and other succulents, the burro’s tail prefers soils that are well-draining. This means that if your potting mix is not well-draining enough, the probability that your donkey tail beauty will be overwatered is quite high.
Ideally, potting soil that is well-draining is made up of equal amounts of the potting mix and perlite. Perlite helps to loosen the structure of the potting soil so that its aeration and drainage abilities are enhanced. This way, the roots of your burro’s tail plant can breathe and are not exposed to too damp conditions. Please note that you can use a pumice. Instead of perlite.
When you include more compacted components in your potting mix, the chances of overwatering increase. For example, clay soils have fine particles that stick together when water is applied. So, when you use such soil, air spaces are closed and so water cannot move freely.
– Changes in Seasons
The water needs of your burro’s tail succulent change with different seasons. Failure to take that aspect into consideration may expose your plant to the risk of overwatering. To be more precise, your plant will require more water in summer because this is its growing season.
During this season, the burro’s tail plant takes up more water from the soil, in a bid to supply its growth and development needs. In winter, the plant is relatively dormant so most of the processes that promote the growth of the plant slow down.
This means that the rate at which the plant draws water from its potting soil also reduces. Now, imagine what will happen if you use the same watering frequency as you would in summer.
Overwatering will result because your plant does not need much water at this time.
– Switches in Environmental Conditions
Burro’s tail plants may get overwatered if you fail to coordinate watering schedules based on changes in environmental conditions, like temperature, humidity, sunlight, and air currents. While these conditions are mainly influenced by seasonal changes, this is not always the case, which is why you should always be alert.
Rises in temperatures are associated with an increased loss of water from your plant’s soil and foliage. Therefore, your plants will need more water under such circumstances.
When temperatures drop, you should cut down on watering, otherwise, your plant might get overwatered. This is because transpiration and evaporation rates are lower when temperatures reduce.
The effects of temperatures on overwatering scenarios follow the same patterns as humidity and air currents. As for sunlight, the brighter it is, the wider the pores that release water from plants open, thereby releasing more water.
When the intensity of the sunlight is lower, the openings narrow down, while they completely close at night. This partly explains why excessive watering when sunlight is dim is a risk factor for overwatering, especially in indoor plants.
How Do You Get Your Plant Back?
You can get your plant back by using a few strategies such as the normal plant care procedures that you are probably familiar with, so implementing them won’t be much of a challenge. Others include revisiting your watering strategy and using the right potting mix.
– Check Your Plant
Before you can administer any intervention to recover your plant, you need to identify the cause of overwatering on your plant. This comes in handy in making the right decisions for saving your plant.
Otherwise, you might waste time-solving the wrong problems, while the health of your plant continues to deteriorate. You can use the information that we provided in the previous section to guide your troubleshooting procedure.
You also need to assess the extent of damage that has already been caused by the overwatering situation. If the damage is still slight, simply changing your watering schedules might be all you need to save your plant. Generally, the more damage, the more robust the interventions should be.
If your plant has been attacked by root rot due to its continuous stay in waterlogged conditions, you should also evaluate its severity. If only a few roots have been affected, you can simply remove them, repot your plant, and give proper care to your plant.
In the event that the rooting system of your plant is completely destroyed, propagation would be the best possible option. The recovery of your overwatered plant will take some time, so you need to follow all the steps and be patient!
– Revisit Your Watering Schedules
The burro’s tail needs to be watered once every 10 days in summer. In winter, the water needs of the plant reduce so giving it a drink after every two weeks works well. These schedules will keep your plant relatively safe from overwatering.
However, we recommend that you adopt the habit of checking the moisture levels of the potting soil before each watering session. Ideally, you should water your plant when its soil is completely dry. By dipping a chopstick into the potting mix, you can easily determine if it’s still moist or not.
If there is still damp soil clinging to the chopstick when you pull it out, refrain from watering. You can even use your finger to assess the wetness of the soil. Another effective strategy for evaluating your potting mix’s moisture levels is by employing the moisture meter.
This tool is more effective in precisely determining whether you should water your plant or not. Moreover, the moisture meter is less prone to human error.
– Using the Right Potting Mix
The potting mix of the burro’s tail should be well-draining. Slightly sandy soils are better because their gritty nature gives the potting soil the structure and texture that promotes good drainage properties. Please note that the term “structure” refers to the arrangement of soil particles while “texture” describes the size of the particles.
Avoid the temptation to use regular potting soil when growing the burro’s tail. This is because the water-retaining capacity of such soils is a bit higher than what your plant needs. That’s why supplementing with components such as sand, perlite, or pumice is of paramount importance.
Remember, the burro’s tail is succulent so it holds water in its leaves. A little more that is absorbed by its roots upon watering is enough. This partly explains why the plant does not need water-retaining soils. Also, you should pay attention if the plant’s leaves are turning brown because it might be a sign that it is overwatered.
– Repot the Plant
Repotting your plant might come in handy in saving your plant. This is especially true if you have been using the potting soil and would like to change it. You could simply add new potting soil to a new pot and then repot your burro’s tail beauty. The same applies if you realize that the potting soil that you have been using has poor drainage properties.
We also recommend that you also repot your plant in the case of root rot. Gently pull out your plant from its current potting mix. Clean off any soil that is attached to the roots so that it doesn’t interfere with your assessment of the extent of the damage that might have been caused by root rot.
Please note that the roots that appear mushy and brown are rotten, while those that are white are still healthy. Use sterilized shears for cutting off the damaged roots. You can use isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to further disinfect the rooting system before repotting.
You can also consider dipping the roots in a rooting hormone to expedite the development of new roots once you have repotted your plant. Don’t forget to change the potting soil when you repot your burro’s tail beauty.
– Propagate Your Plant
If the rooting system of your plant has been severely damaged, the likelihood that your plant will survive is low. However, you can still recover your burro’s tail through propagation. The donkey’s tail can be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings. The best time to propagate the plant would be in summer or spring when its growth is at its peak.
If you decide to use leaves for propagation, pluck a few from the stem of the burro’s tail. Prepare a moist potting mix and plant the leaves. Wait for a few days before the sprouts begin to appear. You can transplant the sprouts as soon as they reach a height of half an inch.
For stem propagation, cut apart from the stem of your burro’s tail. Remove the leaves from the stem, place it on a flat surface, and allow it to callus and heal, which can take approximately two weeks. Prepare your potting mix, create a hole, and then insert your stem cutting. Expose the cuttings to bright, indirect sunlight and refrain from watering for about three days.
With the information that you have learned from this article, you can confidently take care of your overwatered burro’s tail plant.
Here are a few take-home points to note:
- Root rot is the main effect of overwatering on your burro’s tail.
- Some of the risk factors of overwatering are failure to follow proper waiting schedules, using a potting mix that is not well-draining, and disregarding changes in season and environmental conditions.
- Some of the interventions that you can consider in saving your plant include allowing the potting mix to dry before watering your plant again.
- Repotting or propagating your plant may save the day when your plant has been affected by root rot.
The theoretical information on how to save your burro’s tail plant is now in your hands so it’s time for practical implementation. Enjoy the process!
- Ambily Elizabath. Different Types of Succulents and Cactus. Academia.
Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/40817147/Different_Types_of_Succulents_and_Cactus
- Susan Mahr. Burro’s Tail, Sedum morganianum. University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Retrieved from https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/burros-tail-sedum-morganianum/
- (Jun 7, 2021). How to Propagate Burro’s Tail: 5 Burro’s Tail Care Tips. MasterClass.
Retrieved from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/burros-tail-care-tips