The burro's tail plant, also known as the jelly bean plant due to its candy-shaped beads that form on each of the stems, goes by the botanical name Sedum morganianum. It is related to the cactus and similar succulent plants that require little maintenance (including watering) once established. This low-maintenance lifestyle makes it an ideal choice for many home growers. Creating new burro's tail plants is relatively simple and can be done at any time from your healthy plant.
Propagation of the burro's tail plant is done by taking stem cuttings. You must take cuttings from a healthy plant with no disease, mold or insect problems; any problems on the parent plant will be transferred to the newly propagated plant. Choose a stem that is at least 6 to 8 inches long and has a healthy flush of the characteristic jelly beans. Trim the stem off of the plant and leave it in a cool, dry place for a week to dry out slightly.
Fill a planting pot with cactus-specific or succulent-specific soil mix or a similar loose, quick-draining, fertile soil mix. The planting pot must have drainage holes; drainage is key for producing a healthy new burro's tail plant. Remove the jelly beans from the bottom 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the stem. Insert the bottom of the stem into the soil so that it is standing straight up or only leaning slightly. None of the beans themselves should be buried. Water the soil deeply so that excess runs from the drainage holes.
Planting the Beans
You can also plant the jelly beans themselves to propagate the burro's tail plant. Use the same type of planting pot and well-draining, fertile planting soil as if you were rooting a full stem. Remove the beans from the plant (use at least two to three beans in case one doesn't sprout) and set them in a cool, dry place on a dry plate or paper towel for a week. As they dry out, you may notice the beans begin to grow small roots as they seek out water. Once they have dried for a week, lay them on top of the soil in your planting pot and water the soil well; the beans will naturally stretch roots down into the soil to seek out the moisture and root into new plants.
Caring for Propagating Pieces
Once the pieces are in the pot, the most important thing to do is to keep them consistently moist to encourage the young new roots to spread out into the soil. Water the soil in the planting pot any time the top 1 inch of soil feels dry to the touch and water deeply, so that the soil is thoroughly soaked. Once the roots begin to grow, provide the new plants with at least five to six hours of direct or slightly filtered sunlight each day for optimal growth.