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
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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 Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know

Perhaps you’ve come across a hairy looking cactus plant with long stems that look like rat tails. Or perhaps not…

The popularity of rat tail (Aporocactus flagelliformis) cactus plant has grown more profoundly in homes than in the wild over recent years. They are actually almost termed as a threatened cactus variety in their native land of Mexico.

With the growing popularity, there is obviously a need to learn how to grow and care for them.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the rat tail cactus plant— from its origin to how to care for it. If you have one passed down from a friend who also got it from a friend, here is an opportunity to learn.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
Rat Tail Cactus growing in the street @cactinaut

Disocactus Flagelliformis—the Rat Tail Cactus

The Rat tail cactus plant is scientifically known as Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott. It belongs to the Disocactus genus of the Cactaeae family.

As far as where it’s from, the Rat tail cactus is a native of Mexico, just like many cacti. It is largely found in the southwestern and central parts of America. Learn more about the cacti community in Mexico by going here.

Rat tail cacti have a very distinctive look. The plant itself is green in color when young but turns to beige as it ages. It has long trailing stems that go as long as six feet at maturity and half an inch in diameter. Moreover, this is why they are often planted on hanging baskets or pots, kind of like this one we have in our office.

The stems have tiny reddish yellowhairy’ spines that can be trained into different forms and shapes.

Its flowers, which bloom in spring and early summer, are bright pink to red and sometimes pale pink or orange. They can grow up to two meters wide and 3 inches long. The flowers only grow and bloom for a few days and shade off. In some cases, they rarely even grow.

The stem’s grow is at a rate of about a foot every year.

In the wild, Aporocactus flagelliformis do not grow on soil. They either grow on other tree structures, rocky crevasses, and tree crotches or on top of the soil.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
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The Right Conditions for Growing Your Rat Tail Cactus

The rat tail cactus, just like other cacti plants, does not require much attention or special growing conditions. With the right soil type and climatic conditions, your rat tail cactus should thrive.

Below are conditions that rat tail cactus will thrive best in:

Light Requirements

Given that this plant is adaptable to desert conditions it thrives best under direct sunlight. Therefore place your plant where it can access full and bright sunlight. You can take it outside when the weather is sunny and warm. If your house has not enough sunlight, you can use indoor LED plant lights to supplement the small amounts of natural light it can get.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
hanging out @plantsyall

Temperature & Climate

The best temperatures for rat tail cactus are between 45° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit but it can tolerate temperatures of up to 90° degrees Fahrenheit.  During the summer, early autumn, and spring the Rat Tail cacti do great at normal room temperatures. However, during the winter time, the rat tail cactus enters its dormancy stage and therefore you will need to relocate your plant to a place with cooler settings for it to rest.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
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Best Soil to Grow the Rat Tail Cactus

The Rat tail requires rich potting soil to thrive best. Well-draining soil meant for cactus or succulents is most recommended for rat tail cactus. A perfect mixture of soil for this cactus would be four parts of loam, one part vermiculture and one part sand for drainage. Lining the pot or basket with organic materials, such as sphagnum moss, will help the cactus thrive even better.

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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How Much Water Does the Rat Tail Need?

Water your succulents regularly during their active growing season. You can then cut back on the watering as it matures. Reduce watering during Fall and don’t water at all during Winter unless you notice excessive drying of the soil. And even then, just water it very slightly-— just enough to dampen the soil.

Fertilizer Needs

Apply fertilizer onto the stems of the rat tail cactus every couple of weeks. Use a liquid fertilizer for ease of use. The liquid fertilizer should be diluted to a mild strength. Do not use any fertilizer on your cactus during the winter season!

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
family gathering @appetiteshop

How to Successfully Propagate the Rat Tail Cactus

Propagating is the easiest way to quickly grow your rat tail cactus. They can grow from any of the six-inch stems.

You can either cut an entire stem into sections of an inch each or cut off the tip of a stem if you only need to plant a single cactus. For cutting, try these shears and see how they perform. Place the cuttings out in the air to dry for at least three days before potting.

To plant, poke the bottom end of the cuttings into the soil. Do not poke the cuttings too deeply into the soil, just about an eighth of an inch (2 cm) deep. You can use a stick to hold it firmly so that it doesn’t fall over. You should notice some root forming within two to three weeks of planting.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
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Repotting Your Rat Tail Cactus the Right Way

Since rat tail cactus grow pretty quickly, you are better off repotting them once every year but only after their active growing season and flowering.

Repotting greatly helps to replenish nutrients for a flagelliformis as it quickly uses up the nutrients. When repotting, the best basket size to use for a rat tail is a 9” – inch basket and the best pot size is a 6” – inch pot.

When the cactus overgrows the pot or the basket size, it is time to discard the overgrown plant. Before discarding though, propagate and start a new plant. You can reuse the pots you already have but you will need to thoroughly clean it first.

The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
repotting @shed_bkk

Common Pests and Diseases for Rat Tail Cactus

Rat tails have a high resistance to pests and diseases, however, they easily get attacked by red spider mites and a host of scale insects, so keep a pesticide nearby!

Spider mites are tiny almost invisible to the naked eye insects that cause damage to rat tail’s tissue. They do this by sucking up the sap from the leaves. You can easily spot them by their webbed nests. The best way to deal with spider mites is to immediately quarantine the affected plant as you treat it. Use a neem- oil- based insecticide If the infestation is heavy, otherwise just washing it under running water should suffice.

Scale insects are larger than spider mites so they can easily be spotted, as they are dome-shaped. Nevertheless, scale insects invade rat tail cactus by attaching themselves to their surface. Thus, to remove them you have to forcefully scrape them off or wipe off with a cotton swab dubbed in alcohol.

Another common concern for rat tail cactus is root rot. This is caused by overwatering or by poor drainage, so be sure you have this in check!

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The Rat Tail Cactus: Everything You Need To Know
cactus selfie @smartplantapp

There you have it, everything you need to know about the Rat Tail Cactus plant.

Before we conclude (or forget), we wanted to share this awesome opportunity from Amazon, in honor of our recent partnership with the online- giant. For a limited time, Amazon is offering a FREE 30-day trial of their famous Amazon Prime Membership! Get full access to all the perks, including FREE 2-day shipping on all eligible products, which is perfect for all the new care items you’ll be stocking up on for your Rat Tail Cactus. Click this link to learn more and sign up today!

Want to continue expanding your succulent plant knowledge? Head over to our articles How to Successfully Grow Indoor Succulents and How Long Do Succulents Live.

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.

Thanks for reading, happy planting! ?

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents

How to Grow Hens and Chicks

Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants in your garden is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming!

Hens and chicks have beautiful rosettes that come in colors like red, green, blue, and copper. They grow like nobody’s business and produce tons of baby plants cutely called chicks, so it’s likely that you’ll never have to buy more than one Hen.

Hens and chicks are easy to care for and can thrive indoors or outdoors, so they’re the perfect plant for pretty much everyone!

If you want to keep your Sempervivum tectorum looking like spring chickens, then you’re going to need our advice! Find out how to grow hens and chicks in your own garden.

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents
Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming! @joske.anoebis.goa

Hens and chicks

I bet you’re probably wondering why this plant has such a weird name! It’s called hens and chicks or hens and chickens because it produces a lot of offsets, which are also known as chicks.

In case you didn’t know, offsets are baby succulents that sprout from mature plants, in this case, called Hen. The mother plant “hatches” baby chicks just like a hen does, so that’s how it got its quirky name hens and chicks!

Binomial nomenclature Sempervivum tectorum
Other names Hens and chicks, hen and chickens, hen-and-chicks, hens-and-chickens, houseleek, roof houseleek, hen-widdies
Size They can grow up to be up to 4 inches tall
pH 6.6 to 7.5
Sun Full Sun to Part Sun
Climate Cold Hardy, Winter Vegetables
Growing Locations Throughout the US
Ground Sandy, Excellent Drainage
Water Low, Drought Tolerant

Sempervivum tectorum

Hens and chicks are also called Sempervivum tectorum. Serpevivum means “always living” in Latin. Sempervivum plants got this name because they sprout many offsets that live on after the mother plant dies.

Sempervivums are also called houseleeks because they used to be planted on thatched roofs to keep them from catching on fire during lightning storms. They store a lot of water in their leaves, so it makes sense that they would prevent fires from spreading.

How to care

Hens and chicks are native to the mountains of Europe, so they’ve adapted to cold weather and are considered a winter vegetable. Even though they’re tough and can withstand less than ideal conditions, there are still a few things you need to know to keep them healthy. Here are some of our best caretaking tips for hens and chicks.

The best soil

If you’ve read our other plant guides, you already know that you need to put your plants in well-draining soil. We talk about drainage so often because it’s super important!

If your hens and chicks get waterlogged, it may get mushy leaves, start to attract pests, or die from root rot. Nobody wants that!

Planting your succulent in cactus or succulent soil will prevent your plant from sitting in water and meeting an untimely end. Commercial succulent soil is a good choice because it contains porous materials like perlite and pumice that improve drainage and keep your plant nice and dry.

We highly recommend this soil mix as it is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, 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. We like to get a large bag as we propagate a lot of plants. It is useful to always have soil on hand for any plant project.

How to water

Watering your hens and chicks plants every two weeks is usually enough, but watch out for signs of under watering like dry, wrinkly leaves.

Fill up a watering can and douse the soil until water runs out of the pot’s drainage hole. In between these deep waterings, let the plant’s ground dry out completely.

Doing this encourages your hens and chicks to develop a healthy root system because its roots will grow deeper as it searches the soil for more water. Letting the soil dry out also prevents root rot.

Light requirements

Hens and chicks can handle anything from partial shade to full sun. Their fleshy leaves are a bit delicate and can burn during the hottest months of the year, so if you keep your succulent outdoors, watch out for signs of sunburn like brown, faded, or crispy leaves.

It’s a good idea to invest in some shade cloth to keep your outdoor succulents cooler on hot days. You should also water your plants more frequently during hot weather to cool down the soil.

Temperature and climate

Hens and chicks are cold hardy plants, which means they can survive in below-freezing temperatures. Even if the temperature drops to negative 40 degrees, your plant baby will still be ok. Sempervivum tectorum can thrive in winters thanks to their cold-hardy attributes.

A lot of plants can’t handle temps like that—the water they store in their leaves freezes from the cold and make the leaves brown and mushy. Their ability to survive in cold weather is just one of the many things that make Hens and Chicks remarkable!

Even though this succulent is cold-hardy, it grows best in mild temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. So growing hens and chicks indoors is not only possible, but also good for them as long as they get enough light.

Keep them near a bright window like the south or east-facing window for the best results.

Fertilizing

Hens and chicks can survive in nutritionally poor ground, so you don’t absolutely need to fertilize them. You probably want your plant to grow more quickly and look more vibrant, though, so you should fertilize it once every month or two during the spring and summer.

The best fertilizer for hens and chicks is a low-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Low-balanced fertilizers are milder and have less of a chance of burning the leaves of your plant. When you’re buying a fertilizer, look for one that has three small, identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8.

Even though you’re using a mild fertilizer, you should still dilute it to half strength. Hens and chicks don’t need as much fertilizer as other plants, so you don’t want to give yours as much as the package calls for. Standard fertilizers generally call for 1 tablespoon of fertilizer per gallon of water, but you should only use ½ tablespoon.

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Do Hens and Chicks Bloom?

Some succulents use up all of their resources in order to produce flowers and seeds, which leaves nothing for the rest of the plant. Succulents that die after they flower are called monocarpic succulents.

Hens and chicks flower and die after about three or four years. Your plant may flower earlier if it’s under stress from not getting enough water or sunlight. It flowers early to try and spread its seed in the hopes that the new plants will grow somewhere with better conditions. Even if you take care of your plant perfectly, though, it will eventually flower and die.

When this happens to your hens and chicks, try not to be upset! You can save the seeds from the flowers and plant them to grow brand new babies.

Plus, your main plant probably produced a lot of chicks before it died that will grow and take its place.

Growing and Propagating

Hens and Chicks have no trouble growing and propagating on their own, but if you want even more plants, you can grow them from seed. You can harvest seeds from your mature plant after it flowers or purchase them online.

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Mother plant

If you’d rather not go to the trouble of growing succulents yourself (we don’t blame you), your hens and chicks plant will do the work for you. It produces lots of offsets that you can divide from the mother plant and put in their own pots.

Growing from Seeds

Grab a pot or planting tray and fill it up with some succulent or cactus soil.

With clean hands, take the seeds of hens and chicks and place them on top of the soil. Since the seeds are so tiny, it can be hard to see where you’re putting them, so just do your best to space them out a little.

After they’re in the soil, make sure you remember to mist them with some water. Keep them moist over the next few weeks until they germinate. Give them access to plenty of sunlight and keep them in a warm room that’s between 70 and 75 degrees if you can.

It’s unlikely that all of your seeds will germinate, so keep that in mind. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time… keep trying!

Dividing Offsets

Hens and chicks seeds don’t always produce new plants that look like the mature plant they came from. If you want your chicks to retain the characteristics of your hen, the best way to do that is by dividing offsets.

Most hens and chicks varieties grow offsets from a stem that’s attached to the mother plant. That stem is called a stolon. It’s best to wait until the stolon withers to replant these offsets. By the time the stolon withers, the offsets will have developed root systems of their own and have the best chance of surviving.

To separate this kind of offset, break or cut the stolon and carefully loosen the soil around the chick. Lift it up out of the soil and transplant it to a pot filled with succulent soil or a new spot in your garden. Wait a few days to water them so that they get a chance to adjust to their new environment.

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There you have it! Those are all the things you need to know to become an expert hens and chicks gardener.

If you’d like this guide 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.

Even if you think you have a black thumb, don’t chicken out! Go buy yourself one. We know you’ll do a great job taking care of it. Happy planting!

How to Grow Aloe Vera (Beginner’s Guide)

How to Grow Aloe Vera

Ever wondered if there is a plant version of beauty and brains? Or probably beauty and purpose? A plant that adds glamour to your living room or office while still possessing a horde of benefits and uses? Good news – there is!

Here at succulent city, we’re always pulling out all the stops to keep your window sill or garden looking aesthetically appealing and keeping it that way. So much so, to bring you the good old Aloe vera, a succulent that brightens up your living room and can be used as a medicine.

This ubiquitous succulent is a popular household companion due to its low maintenance requirement. Aloe vera can survive the negligence and abuse of wannabe gardeners. Not only is Aloe vera grown commercially as a houseplant, but also for its use as medicine, cosmetics and food. Yeah, food!

Aloe Vera— Aloe Babardensis Miller

Aloe Vera is an almost stemless, perennial succulent that grows to 1 meter in height while spreading offsets. This mid-sized, herbaceous plant grows in a rosette form with leaves surrounding each other in layers.

Often green or grey-green in color, the leaves are fleshy and thick, emanating from the center of the plant. Aloe’s leaves are lanceolate with pointed ends and may be adorned with white flecks in some varieties. The edges of the leaves are serrated and have teeny baby spines.

Aloe Vera is a quick grower when grown outdoors but generally slow growing as a houseplant. These plants are a bit hard on flowering, but when they do, they produce showy inflorescence containing pendulous flowers, bright yellow, red or orange in color. The blooms, quite conspicuous, appear in summer and are usually attached to a spike that may be up to 35 inches tall.

With proper care, Aloe Vera has an incredibly long life span and can live up to 100 years. Aloe vera contains approximately 200 nutrients and a bunch of healing qualities. This explains why lots of products in health stores and pharmacies contains extracts of this succulent.

 

Aloe vera in black planter and saucer
@team.jost

Scientific Classification

Closely related to the lilies, Aloe Vera is botanically classified under the genus Aloe and the Asphodelaceae (liliaceae) family. Although the official scientific name of Aloe is Aloe Babardensis Miller, other names such as Aloe Vera, Aloe Indica and Aloe vulagris are also used to refer to the same plant.

So broad is the aloe family such that there are about 250 different species of aloe in botany. They differ a huge deal in color and dimension.

Though not popular, some of the common names for aloe include; Healing plant, first-aid plant, African aloe, true Aloe and miracle plant.

Origin

This dainty succulent has been proved to originate from the Arabian Peninsula although there’s evidence that some of the species are native to Northern Africa. Additionally, 130 species are exclusive to South Africa – the land of awesome succulents.

The popularity of Aloe has grown in leaps and bounds, finding its way to households all over the world.

Aloe Vera Fun Facts

  • The word, Aloe, is an Arabic derivative of “Alloeh” which means shining bitter substance.
  • The suffix, Vera, is actually Latin and means true or real.
  • ONLY 4 out of 300+ species of Aloe can be used as a medicine.
  • Aloe Vera was used as deodorant by African hunters.
  • Aloe Vera was regarded as a universal Panacea by Greek scientists 2000 years ago.
  • Egyptians referred the succulent as the plant of immortality.
  • Aloe was considered a source of beauty by Egyptian Queens while Pharaohs carried Aloe vera for use in their afterlife. (I’m just as shocked).
Aloe vera gel
@munskincare

How to Take Care of Aloe Vera

Growing and taking care of an Aloe plant is quite a breeze. This is among those succulents that thrive on neglect. You’ve probably heard ‘em say that, if you can’t sustain an Aloe, then just buy plastic plants.”

No, seriously, it’s that easy to grow and keep your Aloe succulent alive.

Still don’t believe us? For the sake of thoroughness, however, the following conditions favor robust growth for Aloe vera.

Ideal Climate Conditions

Cold temperatures don’t go well with Aloe vera (just like other succulents) as it’s not cold hardy. If you live in zones that experience temperatures below 44°F or 6.7°C, you’ll do well to plant Aloe vera in a pot so that you can bring it in during freezing winter.

It cherishes room temperatures and will do just fine even where there’s a lot of warmth. Aloe vera, just like other succulents do not care about humidity or lack of it. Aloe vera can thrive even in the driest of air.

Light Requirements for Aloe Vera

This sun lover will grow healthy if exposed to bright sunlight a few hours every day. Aloe vera also does well in shades while receiving bits of indirect sunlight. If growing it indoors, place it near a south or west-facing window to ensure Aloe vera receives adequate sunlight. Rotate your plant every six months to ensure that all its parts are getting sunlight.

Outdoor aloes can do just fine with two or three hours of sunlight every day. Insufficient light will lead to droopy leaves and a pale green color on the leaves, essentially etiolating or stretching. Conversely, if you subject your Aloe to lots of direct sunlight especially during summer, it will get stressed. This might be evidenced by a scraggly appearance on the plant.

Watering Conditions for Aloe Vera

See those thick, elongated, plump leaves? They contain water and gel.  Even the roots store water too. Therefore, it’s no brainer that overwatering this plant will send it to an early grave. Depending on the climate of your area, you want to water Aloe vera once in 2-4 weeks.

Drench your Aloe vera thoroughly ensuring that the water drains out completely. This can easily be accomplished by drain holes on your container. If they are missing, simply tilt the pot and drain out the excess water.

Water again only when the soil dries out. You’ll need to water frequently if you have a smaller pot or if you live in a hot or dry area. As is the norm with most succulents, water sparingly during winter.

With Aloe Vera, you’d rather underwater it than water it more often. This is because root rot is real and once your aloe starts producing a strange smell, rotting has just begun. If you also notice dark transparent spots on the leaves, then cut back on watering your plant.

Read our article on watering succulents if you want to be well equipped for watering your Aloe Vera plant.

Aloe vera succulent plant in white planter
@crazyplantguy

How to Propagate Aloe Vera

Propagating an Aloe vera can’t get any easier. They are propagated by division or offsets produced by the mother plant. It is much more difficult to carry out the propagation of Aloes via stem cuttings.

To propagate using offsets (learn what offsets are here), simply identify and remove the offsets from the parent plant. These offsets, or pups normally grow at the base of the plant. Aloe vera will occasionally grow offsets when given enough light so be sure to treat your plants with enough lighting. Propagating via offsets is only recommended if the pups are mature. This can be determined by checking if they have grown their own roots.

Carefully remove the mother plant from its pot for an easier time in separating the offsets. Shake off as much dirt as possible from the roots. Be careful not to injure the delicate offset roots, do it gently. Cut the pups from the parent plant using a sharp knife or scissors. Carefully untangle the offset roots from the mother plant.

Once you’ve fully separated the offsets from their mother, slide the parent plant back to its pot. You can fill it up with fresh potting mix for a revamp in the nutrients.

As for the junior aloes, plant them in their own pots using well-draining soil. While planting the offsets, keep the soil slightly moist and do not water for several weeks. Once the plants start showing signs of growth, then you can start watering them albeit infrequently.

Repotting Your Aloe Vera Succulent

This succulent can grow heavy and leggy and so it might be necessary to repot it once it outgrows its current pot. This can be done any time of the year but please avoid winter if you can.

An aloe produces more pups when it’s pot bound so avoid extra-large pots. A good indication that your plant needs repotting is when it becomes top-heavy or when roots start peeping out of the drainage hole. Otherwise, repotting Aloe vera every 2-4 years will just be fine.

Aloe vera succulent plant in green planter
@helloglowblog

Pests & Problems

Pests

This tenacious succulent isn’t susceptible to many pests apart from mealy bugs and houseplant scale. You can easily hose these off using a jet of water. Alternatively, you can opt for neem oil or 70% isopropyl alcohol which works wonders on these bad boys.

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Mushy stem

If you notice that your aloe has a mushy stem, chances are that it’s overwatered. If you catch it early, cut off the part just above the rotted section and propagate the plant. This is the only way to save the plant before the rot spreads any further.

Brown, red or yellow leaves

This is none other than environmental stress. Mostly due to a lot of sunlight leading to sunburn, very little water or extremely low temperatures. This commonly affects outdoor aloes.

Typical Uses of Aloe Vera

  • Relieving sun burn.
  • Used to create Aloe Vera juice that can lower blood sugar.
  • Combatting heartburn.
  • Aloe Vera’s late substance on its peel can be used to treat constipation.
  • The gel of Aloe Vera can be used to treat acne and gastrointestinal issues.

Where can I buy aloe vera?

Let’s be honest, almost everybody and their mom has an Aloe Vera on their windowsill or just above the sink. Ok, probably you don’t have one but you sure do know tons of friends who can give you one for free.

If buying is the only option, you can get them just about anywhere. Every plant nursery or local garden center stocks some aloe. You can still find them online on Succulents Box, Etsy or Mountain crest garden. Read our where to buy succulents guide if you want to find a laundry list of places to buy.

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Enjoyed learning about Aloe Vera? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about Essential Tools for Planting the Best Succulents. 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.

Now that we’ve exhausted all information about how amazing the Aloe Vera succulent plant is, what do you think? Do you think you can take care of this baby and use its gel for lotion? Let us know! (Share with your succulent friend too).

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus (What You Need to Know)

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus

If you are a sucker for succulent plants or cacti plants in general, then this piece will most definitely tickle your fancy. Succulents are a class of plants characteristically known to have water-filled thick leaves and branches and most famously for their resilience to survive harsh climatic conditions. A majority of people do prefer having such plants as house plants for the fact that they need little care to survive. Especially if you have a busy schedule that has you moving from place to place.

Known by its scientific name Hildewintera Colademononis, the Soft Monkey Tail cactus belongs to the cactus family of plants. Its origin can be traced back to the Bolivian countryside in Santa Cruz. It is of epilithic nature, meaning in its natural habitat it is most commonly found growing on or between steep rocks hanging above a jungle below.

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
soft monkey tail garden @_plantsmith_

Characteristics of the Monkey Tail Cactus

This plant probably owes its name to the appearance of its stems, which take up the shape and look of a monkey’s tail. Some might argue that some species of rats do take up a similar appearance, therefore also known as The Rat Tail Cactus. The stems are greenish-yellow and on them are protruding downward-facing hair-like soft white spines that cover the entire stem. To the eye, it may seem like they are safe to touch, but don’t be fooled!

A single plant can have three to five stems, which branch at the bottom. The plant grows upright for a few feet then the stems become pendant and droop. They produce bright, red flowers that are particularly very decorative. They bloom for a few days then turn to fruits with a brief life span. Apart from its natural habitat, the Monkey Tail Cactus does well as a house plant too. Preferably best grown as hanging plants due to its unique drooping stems.

Also, check out “9 Types of Cacti” for a list of buddies for your new Soft Monkey Tail Cactus!

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
soft monkey tail cactus @_plantsmith_

Best Growth Conditions for the Monkey Tail Cactus

The Soft Monkey Tail cactus seeds are black and are very easy to germinate if provided with the right conditions. The soil has to be light, well aerated and one that drains quickly. Meaning sandy and loamy soils are ideal for its growth. 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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The watering of this plant should be done exclusively during the summer and spring seasons and only when the ground feels dry. The warmer the air, the more frequent the watering. Otherwise, over-watering may cause the rotting of the stems and roots. During the cold and winter season, the watering halts as this may result in the frosting of the plant which will kill it.

The Rat’s Tail Cactus is one of the few species of the cactus plant that can survive temperatures lower than the freezing point. This happens to be its dormant stage. It becomes active and grows faster to produce flowers in the spring and summer. It does well in both a shady or a direct sunlight environment.

Be sure to also read about The Burro’s Tail Succulent for an additional cascading succulent that will surely complement your Soft Monkey Tail Cactus.

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
soft monkey tail hanging @mcl_cacti_and_succs

Perfect Propagation Techniques for the Monkey Tail Cactus

In the natural habitat, nature has a way of taking care of its own, but if you decide to have this plant as part of your garden, then a few rules need to be followed. Otherwise, the plants won’t do well.

As mentioned above, the seeds of a Soft Monkey Tail Cactus are very easy to germinate, but cuttings can also be used in propagation as well. The cuttings are most productive during the spring and summer seasons where growth is most vigorous. The cuttings must be allowed to grow callouts and left out to dry for a few days before placing them into the soil. Check out these shears for your propagating needs.

During its active and growth periods of summer, you should apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer properly incorporated with the soil around the plant. The best application is by diluting the fertilizer with water and administer it as a liquid. Just one application is enough for a whole year’s supply!

Check out also “How to Propagate Your Succulents Successfully” for more tips on propagating techniques.

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
soft monkey tail perfect decoration @cactus.man

How to Control Pests on Your Monkey Tail Cactus

This type of cacti is particularly prone to pest infestation too. Spider mites, scales, and mealybugs are the common culprit pests. Most of these bugs are quite a nuisance but are quite easy to control. In the case of mealybugs, you spray your plant with a pressurized water hose to wash them off. A simple shower is guaranteed to spray the buggers away— check out our article on How to Get Rid of Mealybugs for further advisement. Another simple way to wade the bugs away is to rub alcohol; isopropyl, with a soft cotton swab. And rinsing off the alcohol with water before returning the plant to its spot.

Mites are by far the most annoying pests when it comes to cacti. This is because one is unable to notice their presence until they have damaged the plant to disfigurement. Their control isn’t as easy as the mealybugs and does require a keen eye. So one is inclined to monitor the plant carefully, and if you notice brown patches, then your plant is infected by these buggers. Proper watering and constant fogging by pumping up the humidity will chase these pests away.

Scales, on the other hand, do require hands-on control measures. These pests usually clamp upon the leaves’ surface and hide under an impervious shell. Meaning, spraying them away won’t be as effective as desired. Therefore, one is advised to physically rub alcohol on the affected leaves and remove the scales. One should also pay keen attention to catch the infestation before it is too late. In the case of the Monkey Tail Cacti, the use of a soft toothbrush dipped in alcohol will be of great effect. Because if you use a cotton swab, most of it will remain stuck on the spikes.

Be sure to also read “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix it?” for tips on how to maintain your succulents out of any rotting.

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
soft monkey tail by the window @james_tebbutt

Repotting the Monkey Tail Cactus

Repotting of the Soft Monkey Tail cactus is best done once a year. This is because it grows vigorously and at a speedy rate. The re-potting is ideal after the growing and flowering season is complete. If the plant is fully matured, be sure to use a bigger pot with a new soil mix. The new soil mix must contain fertilizer and should be well aerated as new cuttings need a lot of nutrients to flourish.

The growing and taking care of the Monkey Tail cactus has never been more natural than this. This unique looking plant will most definitely give your front yard a sight to behold.

Enjoyed learning about The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus? If so, you’ll really enjoy our ebook about The Right Way to Propagating Your 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.

The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus
monkey tail hanging out front @lu.cy8329

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After reading about the Soft Monkey Tail Cactus, is it on your wish list? It sure is on ours!

If you think this succulent will make a great addition to your indoor garden check out our articles, How to Successfully Grow indoor Succulents, or How to Care for Succulents in the Winter to make sure you’re fully prepared!

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Happy planting!! ?

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