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My Donkey’s Tail is Messed Up!

I brought in a couple of my hanging basket succulents for the winter and then totally neglected them.  They’ve been sitting quietly in a window in the upstairs of my house, out of sight, out of mind.  Terrible plant mom behavior, I know.  However, today I had decided I’d better check on them just to discover they are pretty distressed, see pictures.

This plant’s common name is Donkey’s Tail (or Burro’s Tail); species name is Sedum morganianum.  See this article from Oklahoma State University Extension if you’d like a picture of what a healthy, well cared for plant should look like:

So, upon inspection, I discovered these annoying white fuzzy clusters have invaded. 


These are Mealybugs.  It’s not good news.  They are not that easy to control.  Step one, quarantine the plant. Step two, prune out the majorly invested areas. Step three, clean the pruners so as not to spread the infestation. Step four, take a cotton ball dipped in alcohol and wipe off the rest of the invaders.  Step five, treat with a pyrethrin.   Step six, wait and watch and probably have to retreat with pyrethrin.

Here’s the likely, but hopefully not, outcome. A few weeks will go by, I’ll go back to neglecting the plant again and a whole new batch of mealybugs will hatch.  In this case, I can repeat the process over or I can save a few leaves to propagate a new Donkey’s Tail and start again.  If you’re a better plant mom than I am, you will stay vigilant and continue to treat your plant and become the victor over the Mealybugs.  Here is a very helpful article from Michigan State University regarding Mealybugs: A common pest of indoor plants which I used for reference:,make%20sure%20it%20is%20labeled%20for%20indoor%20use


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