Donkey See, Donkey Do

A few years ago I took a cutting from a friend’s sedum morganianum (donkey tail plant). It was cute and it grew fast, but boy did I grow to hate that thing. The fat, pointy-little leaves (what do you call the leaf-like parts of a succulent?) would fall off at the slightest touch and make a mess. I threw the plant away at the beginning of this season, but kept one stem rooted in a mixed planting.

On Saturday afternoon, we visited Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY. Among all the grand, formal gardens at this 90-acre estate, the plant that really spoke to me was a donkey tail. The focal point in a border of hostas and astilbes, it was potted in a tall urn, with long stems that cascaded down the sides. Ah, that’s what a donkey tail plant is supposed to look like!

The donkey tail plant (sedum morganianum) looking regal in an urn outside the Venetian Theater at Caramoor.

The next morning I just happened to be in a Home Goods store, where they happened to have a tall “Gardener’s Eden” fiberglass urn on sale for $14.99. I grabbed it and potted it up (in 1/3 each topsoil, vermiculite, perlite) with the donkey tail. After top-dressing it with some black river stones, I stuffed in a few of the leafy things, pretty confident that they’ll root and trail down the sides just like the one at Caramoor. Stay tuned. Yes, I will make sure it gets at least four hours of sun daily, I’ll let the soil dry out between waterings, and not handle it!

My donkey tail rooted cutting, planted Sunday morning. Let's see what it looks like in a few months.

About writedesigner

Graphic designer, writer, and gardener Ellen Shapiro is based in Irvington, New York. A frequent contributor to design blogs and magazines including Print, Imprint,, Communication Arts, and Etapes, she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.
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1 Response to Donkey See, Donkey Do

  1. Pingback: Gone to Pot |

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