What You Should Know About Dolphin Succulent

Dolphin Succulents Succulent City

One of the wonderful things about succulents is their sheer variance in shape, texture, and color. Every now and then the succulent community online stumbles upon new rare succulent species that captures the imagination of succulent enthusiasts and hobbyists.

Some of these are truly quirky. Like the bunny succulent or Monilaria Moniliformis that stole our hearts a few years ago. It was popular because when sprouting, its leaves that stemmed from the base made it look a lot like a bunny with long ears.

Another example of a botanical like animal is the octopus agave, a plant that has long leaves that twist around like octopus tentacles. Well now, succulent lovers rejoice! There’s a new plant in town: The dolphin succulent.

What are Dolphin Succulents

Senecio Peregrinus @urbanjungling

Otherwise known as flying dolphins, the dolphin necklace, or by its scientific name Senecio Peregrinus, this plant has been an instant hit in the succulent community, particularly in Japan, and it’s not very hard to see why.

The beautifully curved leaves that protrude from the stemmed vine look like they’re jumping dolphins kitted out, even, with what looks like dorsal fins. This is definitely the closest to a botanical dolphin you’ll ever get.

This unique formation is thanks to the cross-pollination of two plant variants, the Senecio Roweleyanus (string of pearls) and Senecio Articulates (hot dog or candle plant).

The dolphin succulent can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and unlike the bunny succulent, maintains its shape as it grows. Also, the longer the vine gets, it will supply you with more leaves until you have an entire ocean of jumping dolphins!

You can even expect small star like white and pink flowers during flowering season (typically in warmer months).

Where to Buy Dolphin Succulents

Last update on 2021-10-22 / Amazon

Because the dolphin succulent is a cross variety, it’s not a very common plant and can be difficult to find. A quick internet search shows that there are however specialty growers and you can get lucky on Amazon or Etsy.

Often, you will find that it is the dolphin succulent seeds for sale and not the mature plant that you will be buying. However, a good thing to keep in mind is that collectors often have rare varieties so if you stumble upon someone with a dolphin succulent, make sure to ask for a cutting.

You can use our guide on how to propagate succulents for your new dolphin succulent too!

How to Grow Dolphin Succulents

If you’re growing succulents from seed, dolphin succulents are generally easy to cultivate, just don’t forget to first soak them in warm water and then cold water in order for them to germinate. After that you can plant the seeds into a container with soil.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Cover the container with plastic (with a few holes in it for aeration) or a similar wrapping, mist your seeds quite often in order to keep the soil slightly moist. Then wait for your seedlings to sprout. Once your seedlings are established you can move them out of the plastic covered container.

If you don’t have the patience to wait for your dolphin succulent to grow from seed and you’re lucky enough to get a cutting, you can either lie your cutting sideways on the soil so it can root along these points, or you can, after a day or two (once the cut has had time to heal and has become calloused), place it in soil.

The plant will shoot out roots wherever it touches the soil. Take note that you can only propagate dolphin succulents from cuttings and not from their leaves. The leaves are likely to root, but no new leaves or stems will grow. See the differences in propagation methods with our guide here.

The dolphin succulent requires relatively low maintenance and should be an easy plant for beginners to master. Light is one of the most important growth factors and the dolphin succulent, like most succulents, requires plenty of light, but unlike most succulents prefers indirect light. So that being said, these plants make for the perfect house plant, you can perch them on a windowsill or table that gets plenty of sunlight.

Here’s 7 other beginner succulents you can grow right at home too!

When it comes to the preferred soil characteristic, dolphin succulents prefer soil that is loose with a high mineral consistency and that allows for porous movement of water. This will allow them to have a healthy root system to absorb all the nutrients necessary in order to grow beautifully.

How to Water Dolphin Succulents

If you’re looking at planters make sure they follow these requirements with easy drainage and great ventilation that won’t result water logged soil or rotting roots. Take a look at the 12 minimal planters we sourced for you.

This also means that dolphin succulents shouldn’t be watered too often. When watering, bear in mind that like most succulents, dolphin succulents are tolerant of periods of drought. So, the recommended watering allocation should be once per week during the warmer growing seasons and once a month in the colder dormant seasons. Leave the soil to dry out between watering, but be aware that if not watered enough the dolphin succulent’s leaves will begin to pucker.

If you have trouble figuring out when you should water your succulents, we’ve got you covered. This is an in depth guide in when you should water your succulents so that they grow healthily and vibrant.

Senecio Peregrinus @yymplantlover

Surprisingly, the dolphin succulent prefers cooler temperatures. Optimum temperatures in winter, when the plant experiences its dormant season, should be around 72 F (22C). In the summer, temperatures should be maintained between 50-55 F (10-13C).

Crowded conditions make the dolphin succulent happy and it will thrive jam packed in a smaller container like these ones. See how you can repot your dolphin succulents here if it’s too crowded.

If you prefer to have it displayed on its own, you’ll be rewarded with an elegant display of dolphins emerging from the waves. Or if you’d prefer to plant them alongside other plants, paired with octopus agaves, an anemone resembling Sempervivum Tectorum or a kelp like Senecio Madraliscae, you can create an entire ocean scape of colors and textures. 

We are lucky to live in an era where cute succulents are a hit and cultivators are hard at work experimenting to bring out new succulent species. The dolphin succulent is a great testament to that. Not only are they easy look after, but they’ll liven up any succulent garden. They might be tricky to find, however, if you find one they’ll make a great new addition to your collection.

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Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide. 

Ready to allow your Dolphin Succulents to swim now? Be sure to share this article with your close succulent friends and let them know that there’s succulents that are shaped like dolphins! Thanks for giving this a read!

Sedum Morganianum— the Burros Tail Succulent Plant

Sedum Morganianum Burros Tail

You’ll agree with me that in the recent years the popularity of succulents has grown in leaps and bounds. These little chaps are seen in almost everything, from hanging planters like the image below to boutonnieres. The succulent fandom is not only sweeping the internet, but also botanical gardens, home décor stores, and plant nurseries.

They’re not only idiosyncratic, cute little plants trending in gardens, but also being used as wedding and home décor nuggets.

The wide plethora of these unique plants leaves a succulent newbie literally spoilt for choice. From the “living pebbles” to the stoic saguaro cacti, succulents are one of the most diverse plant groups.

What if I introduced you to the world of the most sought-after and versatile succulents of our age? Ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome: Mr. Burro’s tail.

Hanging succulent planters
Hanging Succulent Planters @sassandbelle

Sedum Morganianum

The burro’s tail is a descendant of the genus Sedum, hailing from the Crassulaceae family. The scientists saw it fit to name it Sedum morganianum. It’s popularly known as the burro’s tail, horse’s tail, lamb’s tail or donkey’s tail. Burro’s tail was thus named because of its pendulous stems and overlapping leaves that resemble an animal’s tail.

This perennial succulent is native to southern Mexico and Honduras. Sedum morganianum has been cultivated since 1935, however, it’s true origin was discovered in 2008 by Mexican botanists in Tenampa, Veracruz. Best used as an indoor hanging plant, burro’s tail is extensively grown as a house plant in Northern America.

Sedum morganianum is an award-winning, ever-green, easy-to-grow succulent with trailing stems arising from the base that may grow up to 3 feet long or more. The burro’s tail scooped the Royal Horticultural Society’s award of Garden Merit in 1993 – even before it’s native origin was discovered!

This attractive succulent has long trailing stems completely covered by thick, lance-shaped leaves that are blue-green in color. Burro’s tail is best grown in suspended pots or containers so that the stems can freely cascade downwards.

Though rare, sedum morganianum produces small, unscented, star-shaped flowers that are pink, red, or lavender in color during spring and summer.

This succulent, mostly thought to be a cactus, has brittle stems with loosely attached leaves that fall off at the gentlest touch. Due to its delicate nature, it’s advisable to keep it away from disturbances.

Sedum morganianum is sometimes confused with the Myrtle Spurge or the Creeping Spurge which is at times erroneously referred to as Donkey’s Tail plant. Myrtle Spurge is a highly poisonous plant that should be handled very cautiously.

The burro’s tail provides an intriguing texture as a houseplant or captivating green exterior in outdoors and landscapes.

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Sedum morganianum burros tail
Burro’s Tail @succsgalore

What Makes the Burro’s Tail so Popular?

  • It’s trailing stems covered by fleshy, blue-green leaves overhanging a pot displays a one-of-a-kind indoor aesthetic.
  • The succulent is easy to grow with very little care needed.
  • Simple propagation technique.
  • One can grow it as a houseplant or a garden plant.
  • Sedum morganianum can be grown in a small pot as it grows vertically downwards hence little space is needed.
  • It is pet and toddler friendly.
  • It does not need a lot of water to grow.

How to Take Care of Burro’s Tail Succulent

The burro’s tail is an easy-care succulent, suiting the neglectful plant care lover or the novice gardener. Whether grown out on the garden or as an indoor plant, growing a burro’s tail is quite a snap.

The following conditions are ideal for a healthy Sedum morganianum.

Lighting for Burro’s Tail

These succulents love bright sunlight, either directly or partially. A minimum of four hours is recommended. Avoid setting them up in the very hot sun as the leaves bleach out and turn yellowish instead of the original blue-green color.

Insufficient light will cause the stem to have longer internodes thus lack of leaf compaction giving it a skimpy tail.

When you grow it indoors, place it on a sunny window to ensure absorption of maximum light. Outdoor burros should be shielded from the very hot sun during the growing season to protect them from leaf color bleaching and cringing.

Ideal Climate for Burro’s Tails

In a tropical climate, the burro’s tail can stay outdoors throughout the year. Pull them indoors during freezing winter as they can’t stand it.

Sedum morganianum will grow well in room temperatures during the growing season. Ideal winter temperatures should be anywhere between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Burros tail sedum morganianum
Sedum Morganianum @houseplantclub

Watering Burro’s Tail Succulent Plant

The burro’s tail is a succulent, which means it stores water mostly in its leaves. These plants use the stored water for its metabolic processes. They can use this water for quite some time. Therefore, the easiest way to kill a succulent would be overwatering it. Pumping a lot of water on succulents makes it more susceptible to root rot.

Use a watering tool like this to have better control of the amount of water you use.

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The best way of ensuring safe watering of the burro’s tail is by using the “soak and dry” method. This is making sure the soil dries out completely in between watering.

Give it a generous, thorough watering once in two weeks and every week while in its growing season. Reduce watering during winter as these plants are inactive and don’t grow a lot.

A sure-fire way of knowing when next to water your sedum morganianum is by investigating the leaves. Once the leaves begin to shriven, then it needs a drink – a thorough one.

Best Soil for Sedum Morganianum

Like most succulents, the burro’s tail thrives on well-drained soil specific to cacti and succulents. You can create your own well-draining soil mixture by augmenting regular soil with equal parts of pumice or perlite.

Never use pure garden soil on succulents. They hate soaked soil and it is the major cause of root rot. Instead, use grainy soil or mixed garden soil because it’s well-draining and never holds water in. Here’s a great grainy and mixed bag of soil from Bonsai Jack that is highly rated.

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To add a little bit of spice to your sedum morganianum, you can add worm castings to the soil. Burro’s tail fertilizer is really not necessary, but you can feed it twice or thrice only during its growing season. A weak solution of cactus fertilizer will get the job done.

Feeding it once a month is enough and during winter, don’t feed at all. Sedum morganianum doesn’t need any fertilizer during winter because it’s inactive. For a more in-depth guide read our article: “Best Soil for Succulents”.

Propagating Burro’s Tails

Propagating the burro’s tail is a very facile exercise. The plant can be propagated from stem or leaf cuttings. Propagating from leaves is the easiest. Simply pluck a few leaves from the burro’s tail stem and place them in moist soil.

After a few days, the propagated leaves will start to sprout. Once the baby burro’s tails are half an inch, you can transplant them in their own individual pots.

The stem propagation is also quite straight forward. Cut your desired stem-length. Remove the leaves a few inches from the bottom. leave the stem-cutting to dry for one week until it calluses.

Slightly moisten the soil and then plant the cutting. While planting, pin down your plant deep in the soil to avoid pulling off once it becomes heavy. The most important nutrient needed to grow sedum morganianum is lots of sunlight, therefore, place the new propagates near a window.

If you don’t have much experience with propagating succulents or plants in general, be sure to check our in-depth guide on how to propagate succulents successfully.

Repotting Burro’s Tail Succulent Plants

Repotting can always be done if the burro’s tail overgrows its pot or when the pot becomes too old to support the plant. Choose a pot with draining holes to keep your plants dry and easily breathing. We recommend using terra-cotta pots like the ones below as they help with water retention.

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Before repotting, ensure the soil is dry. Gently remove the plant from the current pot. Identify the rotted roots and get rid of them together with the old soil. In case of any cuts on the plant, treat with fungicides. Put the plant in a new pot and cover with well-draining soil. Let the plant remain dry for a week. Slowly begin watering it lightly to prevent root rot.

It is not advisable to repot mature plants severally because of the brittle nature of the plant. Too much handling of the burro’s tail results in plant damage and loss of leaves as they’re very delicate.

Read more with our article: “The Art of Repotting Succulents – the Right Way”.

Burro’s Tails Pests & Problems

Pests

The burro’s tail does not get attacked by a wide range of insects. The most common pests associated with burro’s tail is mealy bugs and aphids. You can hose them off with water or spray with a mixture of 1/5 rubbing alcohol to 4/5 water. If that fails to work, go for Neem oil which is an organic pest control alternative that is simple yet effective.

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Root rot

Only caused by two things; overwatering or poor draining soil. Rotting may also graduate to the stem and crown. In case you notice such, collect the healthy leaves and stem tips and get rid of the rest of the plant.

Low light issues

Insufficient light causes the burro’s tail to have longer internodes with scanty leaves attached to the stem. Prune the weak parts and move the plant to well-lit area and ensure it receives four hours of bright sunlight every day.

Dropping leaves

Not really a problem but it’s nice to know that Sedum morganianum is very brittle and just a slight brush will cause the leaves to drop. Hanging the succulent is best done in places where objects or people can’t brush against it.

Poison Concerns

As per the ASPCA, the burro’s tail does not contain any poison and it’s therefore non-toxic to humans and pets alike. Caution should be taken however, not to confuse the plant with the poisonous Creeping Spurge or Myrtle Spurge which is erroneously referred to as the donkey’s tail.

Tips for Burro’s Tails

A healthy and mature Sedum morganianum plant will yield the longest stems, growing up to 4 feet in length. To grow your burro’s tail really long, observe the following best practices.

  • Give your burro’s tail plenty of Bright sunlight. Not “sun heat.”
  • Avoid overwatering your plant. Give a thorough watering once or twice a month.
  • Keep the plant away from places where people may brush against it.
  • Burro’s tail thrives best in room temperature and doesn’t like freeze winter. Therefore, keep it warm.
  • Use well-draining soil, preferably a commercial cactus mix or your own mixture of garden soil combined with pumice or perlite.

ALSO READ:

Sedum morganianum succulent burros tail
Burro’s Tail @shaughey04

Where to Buy Burro’s Tails

Sedum morganianum is easily available in plant nurseries and home garden centers. You can also find it online in sites such as Etsy and Amazon. Read our new article about where you can buy succulents for a full in-depth how to.

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There you have it, the Sedum Morganianum succulent plant, also known as the burro’s tail. Be sure to read our other articles if you liked this one. We have more specific articles in the works now, in the meantime, comment your favorite succulent and we’ll write in-depth about it!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

The Ultimate Guide to Beheading Succulents

Ultimate Guide to Beheading Succulents

BEHEADING!? Relax…

It’s really far from what it sounds. This post isn’t about some sort of capital punishment for succulents. Sure, it does sound gruesome and cruel, but nothing could be further from the truth. Beheading succulents isn’t as bad as you think!

You’ve probably heard of Mike who lived for a whopping 18 months without a head! Apparently, Mike was a chicken, so named by his owners after he became popular in the 1940’s for refusing to die.

Except for very weird cases like Mike’s, beheaded animals and humans always end up dead. No amount of surgery or medical antics can be employed to bring back life

However, with succulent plants, beheading is a practice for rejuvenation and life continuity. What’s not to like about a healthy long living succulent baby?

Beheading succulent plant with tweezers
Beheading a Succulent Plant @juicyplants

Beheading Succulents

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Succulents are mainly grown as indoor ornaments to add charm and beauty to the home. When these beautiful succulent plants overgrow, become elongated due to insufficient light or even get infested by pests, then it’s time to bring in the guillotine.

In a nutshell, succulent beheading is chopping off the terminal head of a succulent. This results in a stem stump and the chopped terminal mother plant, both of which are very useful. This is a practice mainly employed in plants with a pronounced stem and rosette-shaped succulents.

Beheading succulents might take a bit of courage in the beginning, but once you’ve done it, you’ll discover it’s a clever way to multiply your succulents and keep them gorgeous.

The following genera of succulents will respond well to beheading.

  • Graptopetalum
  • Echeveria
  • Crassula
  • Sedum
  • Graptosedum
Echeveria imbricata succulent plant specie
Echeveria Imbricata @milicientah

Reasons for Beheading Succulents

1. Correcting Morphology

Succulents come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some look like stones, others resemble some animals while others will simply blow your mind away with their beauty. With their great variety, they make the best aesthetics for the living room or office. (I can assure you, it keeps our office vibrant).

However, your beautiful succulent plant may begin to change its appearance due to a number of reasons. If you notice your succulent growing thin, tall, and looking stretched, then etiolation is taking root. You may also note that the plant looks paler than its usual color.

With their great variety, they make the best aesthetics for the living room or office. (We can’t get enough of these modern planters).

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An etiolated plant is one that has been grown in insufficient light resulting to pale color, thin or stretched appearance. Light is an important component for photosynthesis to take place. Photosynthesis ensures the plant has enough carbohydrates or food for its growth and to perform basic metabolism. This explains why a succulent or any plant, in general, becomes weak and pale when there is insufficient light. Since plants cannot survive in insufficient light, they’ll sort of “move” and use mechanisms to get light.

 

Dying succulent plant
Dying Succulent Plant @mysuccastashwish

How do you tell if your succulent isn’t receiving enough light?

There are four sure-fire signs of detecting etiolation in your succulents. When detected early enough, it can be corrected.

  1. The lower leaves will begin to point downwards. This is the earliest sign that your succulents are craving light. This mechanism attempts to expose the surface area of each leaf to any available light, thus increasing the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. A succulent with droopy leaves doesn’t look attractive. Once you notice this, quickly move the plant to a well-lit area preferably near a large window.
  2. The plant bends to a particular direction. It will detect where the most available light is coming from and bend towards that direction. This bending is dangerous and may lead to breaking of the stem depending on the weight of the leaves.
  3. An elongated stem with scanty leaves. This shows that the stem is growing at a quicker rate than the formation of new leaves. This results in larger stem internodes. Stem elongation is also a mechanism to provide more light to the leaves for photosynthesis to take place. This lack of leaf compaction on the stem leads to an ugly, stretched plant, quite the opposite of what beautiful really is.
  4. Though rare, pale color may also be a sign that your succulents are devoid of light. The pale color is due to the plant’s inability to form chlorophyll – the stuff that gives leaves their green color.

As earlier indicated, etiolation can be corrected in its early stages. This is by exposing the plants to bright light for a minimum of four hours per day. However, bent and stretched plants can never be corrected, sadly.

Beheading is a solution to save ugly, bent, and stretched plants. Chopping off the crown of your etiolated succulent and then replanting it ensures you end up with a vigorous and beautiful succulent plant.

The quickest way to the grave for your succulents is when they can’t take up water and nutrients due to rotting roots and stems. The main culprit for root or stem decay is overwatering although cold weather may also be a factor.

2. Stem Rot and Root Decay

A succulent with a rotting stem or root can be salvaged by beheading. The beheaded crown is replanted while the rest of the plant containing the rotting parts is discarded.

Don’t drown or deprive your succulent with the right amount of water, read our full in-depth guide about when you should water your succulents in order to properly care for them.

3. Propagation

The third reason for beheading your succulent is for propagation purposes. This is simply multiplying your plants through stem or leaf cuttings. Scientists call it asexual reproduction. Unlike leaf cutting, propagation by stem cutting or beheading is quicker and has a higher success rate.

Not sure what is the best method? We have a propagation guide shared by over 2000 succulent lovers.

Beheading results in two plant parts: the crown and the stem. Both are used in propagation. The crown is replanted in a separate pot containing well-draining soil and in a few days, it takes roots and becomes established. The stump is also replanted and in a few weeks, new baby plants begin to grow from its sides Once the baby plants become bigger, carefully snip them off with a sterile knife and plant them individually.

What is the Best Time to Behead Succulents?

Timing is crucial when it comes to beheading succulents. The best time to carry out this exercise is during spring, just after winter. The reason for this is that at this time, your plants are out of their dormant state and are now starting to grow. In such a state, your succulents will develop resilience to beheading and they’ll also be less susceptible to pests or shock.

Beheading is always followed by growth, so avoid beheading your plants during the winter months as this is their dormancy period.

If you’re confused about what season a succulent plant is dormant, learn more about winter and summer succulents here.

How to Successfully Behead Succulents

Tools you’ll need

  • Sharp and sterile scissors, shears, or knife
  • A trowel (Here’s an awesome 3 piece kit).
  • Succulent and cacti soil/potting mix. 
  • Extra containers
  • Garden gloves (in case you’re dealing with spiny varieties)
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Beheading succulent plants
Succulent Beheading @juicyplants

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Step 1: Ensure you have a sharp and sterilized cutting tool. This could be a pair of scissors, shears or just a knife. You want it sharp because a blunt tool will crush the succulent making it harder for the plant to heal and develop roots.

A sharp cutting tool results in a clean, precise cut that heals quickly and roots effectively. Sterilization prevents the introduction of bacteria or fungi in the freshly cut wound of your succulent. You can quickly sterilize your tool with isopropyl alcohol. You can behead the plant while it’s still in the soil or you can pluck it out to get the right spot. Strip all the dead, dried leaves from the lower part of the stem.

Step 2: Decide on how much to cut off. Leaving an inch or two from the crown ensures that the plant will remain steady while planted and that it’ll also provide enough room for new roots to grow. Avoid jagged and diagonal cuts. Let the cut be precisely perpendicular to the stem. In case you mess up, don’t be shy to try a little higher on the stem.

Step 3: Congratulations! You just beheaded your first plant. Now leave the cuttings to dry and callous before you plant them. This is to avoid rot and bacterial infection on the freshly cut wound. Place them in a dry area with indirect sunlight and wait a week.

Step 4: Now it’s time to replant the cuttings. Stack some grainy soil in a pot and stick the beheaded crown in the soil. You can leave the stump as it is or replant it in new soil.

Step 5: Place them in an area that’s shaded, away from direct sunlight. At this point, you might be tempted to water it, please don’t. That’s a recipe for failure. The beheaded top doesn’t need water right now for two reasons; one, it has enough water stored in its leaves, and two, it has not yet developed any roots to take up water from the soil.

Watering your plant immediately after planting your beheaded succulents is not only unnecessary, but also dangerous as it may result in plant rot.

Beheaded succulent plant
Beheaded Succulent Leaves @juicyplants

What’s next?

You may be wondering… so how will you know when to start watering your plants?

The simple answer is either, as soon as roots form or when the stored water in the leaves is depleted. To check whether the roots have formed, gently tug the plant and check for resistance. Give it at least three weeks before you tug it.

To find out whether your plant has depleted its water reserves, simply check for signs of wrinkling. The amount of time taken for your plant to drain out its water storage will most likely be equal to the time taken for rooting to take place.

Once you notice any of these signs, then start watering your plant like any other succulent. Give it a good drench and wait for the soil to dry out before doing so again.

After the plant is established, gradually introduce it to direct sunlight but be careful not to subject it to sunburn. (Yes, even succulents get sunburn).

It will take between 4 to 6 weeks for the stump to develop baby plants as well as the beheaded top to be well-rooted.

 

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Enjoyed learning about Beheading Succulents? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about Replanting Practices to Keep Your Succulents Safe. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

There you have it! How to behead succulents the right way, that wasn’t so scary, was it? Let us know how your succulents are growing after beheading here on our exclusive facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge.

Everything about the Crown of Thorns Succulent

Crown of Thorns— Euphorbia Milii

This is probably the umpteenth time you’re telling yourself that you won’t buy another succulent. In fact, your friends have heard you say it ad nauseam. But then, you take a look at your succulent corner or window sill, and there’s an irresistible urge to add just one more of these green pretties. I know. We do it all the time. Succulent obsession? You bet!

With succulents, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose from the wide variety. They come in quirky and bizarre colors, shapes and sizes. Oh, and names too!

From the mother-in-law’s tongue known as Sansevieria Trifasciata to the pig’s ear known as the Cotyledon Orbiculata. What about the burro’s tail? (Who thought of these names?) Without a doubt, deciding on your next succulent gets more interesting by the day.

Crown of Thorns— Euphorbia Milii

crown of thorns succulent plant
@katzes_plants_and_vinyl

A great deal of plants are usually referred to as ever blooming, yet, when you take them home, the hard truth hits you. You expectantly watch the plant daily but you get disappointed. Some don’t bloom for weeks and others even for months!

If you’re anything like me, you like your office or living room teaming with color punctuated with a feel of nature. Look no further – the crown of thorns got you covered. This tenacious, award-winning succulent is an all-time bloomer producing conspicuous red bracts with little yellow flowers centrally located. It’s a hard to kill plant that can be passed on as a gift for years while maintaining its blooms all through as it grow.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name for the crown of thorns is Euphorbia milii. It traces its scientific genealogy from the spurge (Euphorbiaceae) family. Its species name milii, is used in honor of Baron Milius, who introduced it into cultivation in France in 1821 and was once a Governor of Bourbon Island.

Euphorbia milii’s common names include, crown of thorns, Christ thorn and Christ plant. Latin Americans call it corona de Cristo.

Origin

This sprawling succulent is native to Madagascar and does well in the tropics. The crown of thorns is a popular indoor ornamental grown all over the world due to its all-year blooms. It’s an easy care plant – a close fit both for the neglectful plant lovers and the brown thumbs.

Due to its outstanding characteristics, Euphorbia milii received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Description

Euphorbia milii is a slow growing, evergreen succulent mainly characterized by its large, sharp inch-long thorns that randomly cover the stem. The thick stems have water-storage capacity making the plant drought-resistant. This woody shrub consists of sparsely arranged, fleshy leaves which are thick and bright-green in color. Euphorbia milii, a salt tolerant succulent, only brings forth leaves on newer stems or the youngest parts of the plant.

The narrow, obovate, smooth-edged leaves that are spirally arranged on the stem naturally drop off as the plant gets older. This gives a scrawny appearance in older plants – an awesome vintage aesthetic for your living room or office.

Euphorbia milii is recognized for its eye-catching blooms, which are not real flowers in the real sense, but spathaceous red bracts conveniently situated at the shoot tips. These conspicuous, saucer-shaped bracts surround the real yellow flowers.

Blooming mostly occurs between spring and late summer. However, when conditions are conducive, the crown of thorns plant can produce flowers tirelessly throughout the year.

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7 Reasons to have a Crown of Thorn

crown of thorns plant
@rockinmarvin
  1. It stands out as a rich ornamental in living rooms due to its showy, brilliant red bracts, thus adding charm and color to your home.
  2. The crown of Thorns is a pretty forgiving plant. It will not yell at you for forgetting to water it once in a while.
  3. It can be grown indoors and even outdoors if the area has frost-free winters.
  4. In good conditions, Euphorbia milii will bloom throughout the year.
  5. A very easy maintenance plant due to its slow growing nature.
  6. The crown of thorns plant is not soil picky. It can grow on the poorest soils as long as it’s well draining.
  7. Simple to propagate by cuttings.

How to take care of Euphorbia Milii Succulents

Euphorbia milii is a tough plant that will tolerate the most extreme climatic conditions and still look very good. This makes it pretty easy to grow and even the most inexperienced gardener can have a pleasant time cultivating it.

What is the ideal temperature to grow in for Crown of Thorns?

This desert plant will thrive in warm conditions as it’s well adapted for that. Temperatures above 18°C are optimal for the crown of thorns plant though it will also tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C.

Very cold temperatures will cause the plant to slow down its growth and be dormant. Euphorbia milii can thrive in any humidity level.

It’s absolutely allergic to frosts, cold drafts or freezing conditions especially while it’s young. You’ll want to avoid these as plague, unless you want to kill your Euphorbia.

How much Light does a Euphorbia Milii need?

This sun lover loves to bask in bright and direct sunlight for at least four hours a day. The better the sun exposure it gets, the more it blooms.  Euphorbia milii can also tolerate shade, however, its blooms while growing under a shade will not impress you.

If growing it outdoors, aim at placing it in a spot where it will receive full sun. For you houseplant champions, place your crown of thorns in a west or south-facing window and ensure it receives maximum sunlight.

Read more about how much sunlight your succulent needs in order to grow healthy and vibrant.

Euphorbia milii succulent plant
@missecheveriapvn

Soil & Fertilizing Requirements

Euphorbia milii will do well in a well-drained, grainy potting substrate. This is paramount to ensure that the plant doesn’t sit on damp soil for long.

You can use about a third of pumice or perlite and mix it with two thirds of regular soil to make an ideal potting mix for the crown of thorns plant. Read the best soil mixes here.

As for fertilizers, the Euphorbia milii will do just fine and remain robust even without fertilizers, a bit of liquid fertilizer sprinkled occasionally will go a long way in helping it to bloom. Use a dilute solution of balanced fertilizer during spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing the dry substrate as this will burn the roots.

The crown of thorns is a slow growing plant, so be careful not to over fertilize it as this will lead to fewer flowers and thin, stretched-looking shoots.

Euphorbia milii is very sensitive to micronutrients and especially Boron, so be careful when using fertilizers that are loaded with large amounts of micronutrients.

Watering Crown of Thorns— Euphorbia Milii

The crown of thorns plant is reserved and less demanding when it comes to water. Its thick, spiny stems store water which keeps it hydrated for many days.

Give it a thorough watering once a week and let the surface soil (about one inch deep) to dry out before watering it again. Flood your Euphorbia milii but drain off the excess water. If the root ball sits in moist soil for an extended period of time, a dangerous fungal disease known as root rot will plague the plant.

Water your crown of thorns with less water than usual during cold seasons or when the temperature drops below 10°C.

Pests with Euphorbia Milii

The crown of thorns is rarely invaded by pests. When it happens, mealy bugs, scales, spider mites and thrips are the usual culprits. You can take care of these buddies by dipping a cotton swab in soapy water and using it to rub them off.

Euphorbia milii will only be susceptible to diseases as a result of too much water either in the substrate or on the foliage. To prevent this, avoid overwatering your plant.

Is the Euphorbia Milii Succulent Poisonous?

Typical of other Euphorbias, the crown of thorn’s sticky, white latex is toxic and can cause dermatitis and even partial blindness if a lot of it finds its way to the eyes. All parts are poisonous when ingested. Therefore, keep it away from pets and toddlers. Also watch out for the sharp thorns.

pink flowering crown of thorns succulent plant
@photowbin

How to Propagate Crown of Thorns Succulent

Propagating crown of thorns is easy and the success rate high. This exercise is carried out through stem cuttings.

Simply snip off a younger branch using a sharp and sterilized blade or knife at the intersection where the trunk and the branch meet. After the cut, some white latex will start dripping from the cuts. You can curb this “bleeding” by dipping the cuts in warm water to prevent the sap from running excessively.

Place your cuttings in a dry area, preferably on a newspaper or a paper towel to allow them to dry and callus the cuts. This should take two to three days.

Get a small pot and fill it with well drained potting mix. An ideal option is the cacti commercial mix. Make it slightly moist. If the substrate is too dry the cuttings won’t develop roots and if it’s overly wet, then they’ll rot. You want to avoid both extremes.

If you want quicker rooting, you can dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone though they’ll do just fine even without the catalyst.

Stick your cutting in the moist potting mix and place them in a warm place with loads of bright, indirect sunlight. Do not water it at all for several weeks.

Now wait.

After a couple of weeks, the cuttings will start developing roots. You can know this by gently tugging the plants and checking for some resistance.

In about a month’s time, the plant will be fully established and it will show signs of growth. You can now start watering your plant albeit lightly.

Repotting the Crown of Thorns Succulents

2 Crown of thorn succulent plants in terra cotta pots
@rockinmarvin

Repot immediately after purchase since most commercial plants are sold with conventional flowering soil that may be injurious to Euphorbia milii. Repot it to a well-draining substrate fortified with a little composted manure as a nutrient source.

After this, only repot once the plant outgrows its current container. Make sure the new pot is only slightly larger than the previous one. If the pot is too big, the plant will focus on growing new roots rather flowering.

Terra cotta pots are great for the crown of thorns. But be sure to use a pot that is correct in size for optimal growth.

Where can I buy a Euphorbia Milii Succulent?

Euphorbia milii is widely available in green houses and local garden centers, especially during spring. In case you fail to find it there, check out online stores such as Etsy and Amazon. Read more on where you can buy other succulents here.


Was that enough Crown of Thorns information? We’d hope so! If you found any value in this article please be sure to comment what you liked best about it and how it helped you. (We love feedback).

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Everything You Need to Know About the Snake Plant

Sansevieria Trifasciata— Snake Plant

Many succulents are short and squat because they’ve adapted to grow in arid climates, but not the snake plant! It’s a tropical plant that’s known for its beautiful tall leaves and color variations. Some varieties have leaves with thick, buttery yellow edges, while others have striking dark green stripes. Interior designers love this plant, and so do we―it compliments pretty much any style of decor and looks great in arrangements!

Succulents are known for being hardy, and snake plants are no exception. They’re one of the easiest types of succulents to care for, so we love to recommend them to new gardeners and people with black thumbs.

Even if you forget to water your snake plant for a month, you probably won’t kill it, so don’t let your lack of gardening prowess stop you from owning this wonderful plant!

Even though snake plants are tough, you’re still going to need our advice to keep your plant looking its best. In this article, we’ll give you lots of helpful care taking tips with some fun snake plant facts thrown in for good measure, so keep reading!

Snake plants in white planters sansevieria trifasciata
@succsandpups

Sansevieria Trifasciata— the Snake Plant

History and Origin

Snake plants are native to tropical West Africa and are an important part of African culture. Nigerians believe that the plant provides spiritual protection. They use it in a ritual to remove the evil eye, a malevolent stare that casts a curse on its victims. This succulent is also associated with several African gods, including the god of war.

The Chinese also think that this plant brings good luck like the jade plant. They believe that the gods will bestow the eight virtues, which include long life and prosperity, onto its caretakers. Even if this succulent didn’t bring us good luck, we’d still keep it around because it’s so pretty!

Sansevieria Trifasciata

Snake plants are a type of Sansevieria, which is a genus made up of seventy different flowering plants. These plants are grouped together because they all have shared characteristics like narrow, upright leaves and short, thick roots.

Because the snake plant belongs to the genus Sansevieria, its full scientific name is Sansevieria Trifasciata. The second word in its name, Trifasciata, comes from Latin. It means “marked with three bands.” Several snake plant varieties are variegated, which is just a fancy way of saying that their leaves have different colored streaks. These colorful markings are why snake plants got the name Trifasciata.

In addition to its scientific name, the snake plant has a few nicknames. It’s often called mother-in-law’s tongue because of its sharp, pointed leaves. If you ever buy this succulent for your mother-in-law, don’t tell her what it’s called!

Snake plants are also known as viper’s bowstring hemp because they have strong fibers that were once used to make bowstrings.

Snake plant in black planter
@perryscorners1855

How to Care for Snake Plants

Best Soil for Snake Plants

Snake plants are sensitive to water and prone to root rot, so it’s important to plant them in soil that drains well. Commercial succulent or cactus soil is great for them because it has added sand that helps with drainage. Read our best soil article to understand what the best soil mix is for your succulents.

You can also make your own succulent soil from scratch. You’ll save some money and get to control exactly what goes into it, so try it out if you can. There are lots of homemade soil recipes floating around on the Internet, but we like to use three parts of potting soil, two parts of coarse sand like builder’s sand, and one part of pumice.

We won’t lie, though―as much as we love a good DIY, we usually use commercial succulent soil because it’s more convenient.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Repotting Snake Plants

Unlike other succulents, snake plants prefer to be a little squished in their pots. You don’t have to repot these guys until they’re busting out. Wait until you see obvious signs of overgrowth, like excessive top heaviness that makes your plant topple over or roots that stick out of the drainage hole. You can expect to repot your snake plants every three to six years.

Here’s some nifty geometric planters in case you want to get fancy.

Repotting a snake plant is pretty easy, but there are still a few things you need to know. Snake plants like to be root bound, so each time you repot yours, choose a pot that’s only a few inches larger than the old one. The pot you pick should definitely have a drainage hole because snake plants can rot if they sit in any water.

When you’re ready to repot, get your succulent soil and fill the new pot about a third of the way full. Support your succulent by placing your hand on top of the soil and gently turn the pot over. Your plant should pop right out, but if it doesn’t, try tapping on the sides of the pot a little. If it just doesn’t want to come out no matter what you do (we’ve all been there), try watering it. Soaking the soil will loosen the roots and make it easier for you to get your plant out. 

Now, place your plant in the new pot and see where it sits. If your plant sits one to two inches below the pot’s rim, you’re good to go! If not, add or remove soil until it’s positioned properly. Allow your succulent some time to adjust to its new pot before you water it―a few days is usually enough.

Hold off on fertilizing it for a few weeks, too, so that you don’t damage its unestablished roots.

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Snake plants in modern planters
@my_green_home_and_me

How Much Water Does a Snake Plant Need?

Succulents need a lot less water than other kinds of plants, and they also need a different watering schedule. Succulents do best when you let their soil dry out completely between waterings, which usually takes about a week.

Snake plants require a bit less water than other succulents, so you may want to water yours every week and a half to two weeks instead of every week.

How to Water a Snake Plant

To water your snake plant, fill up a watering can and pour water onto the soil until it starts to run out of the drainage hole of the pot. Make sure that your succulent doesn’t sit in any water―if you keep your pot on a saucer, lift up the pot once or twice a day and drain any excess water. Make sure that the soil is dry to the touch before you water your succulent again.

Considering that succulents need less water than other plants, it sounds a little strange to flood your snake plant with water every other week. But trust us―this watering schedule works!

If you’re still unsure how much water you’ll need, read our complete watering guide for succulents here. (It’s helped over 2000 succulent lovers to date!)

Snake Plant Light Requirements

Snake plants love indirect sunlight, but they’re pretty adaptable and can survive in full sun and low light conditions. Because they only need indirect sunlight to thrive, they make great houseplants like these.

To keep your snake plant healthy and happy, try placing it near an east facing window. These windows provide a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning and indirect sunlight for the rest of the day, which is perfect for this plant. If you want to keep it close to a brighter south or west facing window, just make sure that you shield it from the sun’s rays by closing the blinds a little. Too much direct sunlight will burn the leaves of your snake plant.

Outside, the best place to put your snake plants is in the shade. While they can be planted in areas that get full sun, we don’t really recommend it. In full sun they’re much more likely to develop symptoms of sun damage, like dark brown spots on their leaves. You’ll also have to water them more often because the heat from the sun causes the soil to dry out faster. If you’re not always great at remembering to water your plants, keep them in the shade!

If you’re dying to plant this gorgeous succulent in a sunny spot in your garden, we get it! We think it would look fab out there too. Just make sure you keep a close eye on it and have shade cloth on hand in case it starts to burn.

Snake plant Sansevieria Trifasciata
@plantsandcindy

Snake Plant Temperature Requirements

Just like real snakes, snake plants don’t like the cold! They can’t tolerate temperatures below 40°F. If you leave them outside in freezing temperatures, the water inside their cells can freeze, expand, and burst their cell walls.

This will cause tissue damage and make the leaves look brown and mushy in certain spots. Your plant can even die if it’s left outside in the cold for too long! If temperatures in your area drop to forty degrees, make sure you bring your outdoor snake plant inside or put some frost cloth over it to keep it as warm as possible.

If you keep your plant inside, that’s ideal. Snake plants do best in temperatures between seventy and ninety degrees, so indoor environments are perfect for them. They’ll reward you for keeping them indoors by purifying the air you breathe. They remove toxins like formaldehyde from the air and release lots of oxygen, improving the air circulation in your home.

Best Fertilizer for Snake Plants

Fertilizer can encourage your snake plants to flower and help them grow faster. You can fertilize them as often as once per month during the spring and summer months.

To get the best results, use a balanced fertilizer. You can tell that a fertilizer is balanced if it has three identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8. These numbers indicate that the fertilizer contains equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the three main nutrients in fertilizer. We recommend that you pick up an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 formula and dilute it to half strength before applying it to your succulent.

Pests

Succulents can sometimes get infested with pests like mealybugs. Plants that are kept outdoors and ones that are overwatered are more susceptible to infestations, but any plant can become infected.

The two main pests you need to watch out for are mealybugs and spider mites. They stymie your plant’s growth and suck the sap from its leaves, wounding them in the process. If they’re left on your plant long enough, they can even kill it. That’s why it’s so important to get rid of these nasty little critters as soon as you spot them!

Mealybugs are often mistaken for mold because they’re white and fuzzy. If you see lots of white, fuzzy spots on your plant, grab some isopropyl alcohol and put it in a spray bottle or on a q-tip. Spray or wipe the affected areas with the alcohol. Do this as many times as it takes to get rid of all the mealybugs.

Because they’re so small, you probably won’t be able to see the spider mites on your plant, but you will be able to see the damage. Spider mite damage appears as small yellow and brown spots on your plant’s leaves. These mites are related to spiders, so they’ll also leave webbing on your plant that looks similar to a spider web. If you see any of these warning signs, start spraying your succulent’s leaves, especially the undersides, with water and insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Propagating Snake Plants

One of the reasons why we love succulents is because you can get baby plants from them for free through a process called propagation.

Division is one of the most popular ways to propagate snake plants because it preserves the variegation patterns of the mother plant. If you want your new snake plant’s leaves to have the same thick yellow borders as your old plant, then don’t propagate it with leaf cuttings or rhizomes―divide your plant instead.

Propagating Leaf Cuttings

To take a leaf cutting, grab a sharp knife or a pair of shears and cut a leaf off of your plant. You want to make the cut pretty close to the bottom of the plant.

Now, take that leaf and cut it up again into a few different sections. As you’re cutting, make sure that you note which end of each section is the bottom. The “bottom” of each cutting is the side that was closest to the roots of the main plant when it was still attached.

If you plant the top sides of the cuttings in soil, they won’t root, so that’s why this step is so important. We like to take a non-toxic sharpie or pen and mark which sides we need to plant so that we don’t get confused.

Leave these cuttings to dry out for a few days. Then, fill a planting tray or pot with succulent soil and plant the cuttings bottom side down in the soil. You should keep them in bright, indirect sunlight and mist them with a spray bottle once a day to keep them moist.

Propagating succulents from leaves isn’t an exact science, and not every leaf will take, but you should see some roots and buds after a few weeks. Once your baby succulent grows a bit larger, you can water it the same way you water your mature snake plants.

3 snake plants in modern white planters
@philodendro

Propagating Rhizome Cuttings

Propagating rhizome cuttings is pretty much the same process as propagating leaves. If you’re not familiar with rhizomes, they’re kind of like roots, except they grow horizontally. Plants that have them use them to store nutrients. Rhizomes sometimes sprout up through the soil near your main plant and grow new leaves. They can be cut and used to grow new succulents.

It’s important to wait until a rhizome sprouts a leaf before you cut it. Once that happens, take a sharp garden knife and cut the rhizome as close to the bottom as you can. Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days, and then plant it in soil, cut side down. Water this cutting the same way you watered the leaves.

Dividing Snake Plants

You can also cut your snake plant in half with a sharp knife to gain a brand new plant. Like we mentioned earlier, division is the best way to ensure that your new plant will have the same variegation as your main plant.

Cut your plant and its root structure in half right down the middle. Plant each half in its own pot with some succulent soil. Allow these plants to take root for a few days before you water them, and then water them as normal.


By now you’re probably dying to run to your local garden center and pick up one of these plants. We don’t blame you! Snake plants are beautiful, low maintenance houseplants that anyone can grow and enjoy regardless of their gardening skill level.

We love their gorgeous tall leaves, color variations, and greenish white flowers. We hope that this guide has helped you figure out how to take care of a snake plant once you get it home from the nursery, whether or not you have a green thumb!

Last update on 2021-10-22 / Amazon

Leave a comment below about what you enjoyed learning about in this article, we’re curious! And if you have a new snake plant after this, let us know the progress of your succulent baby, happy planting!

Enjoyed learning about Snake Plants? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.