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How to grow and take care of Bunny Ears Cactus

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How to grow and take care of Bunny Ears Cactus

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Popular for its flat pad-like leaves, lack of long sharp spikes, and easy-to-please nature, Bunny Ears Cactus definitely makes a wonderful addition to any collection! Plus, they are neglect-tolerant, making these adorable cacti a great companion and choice, especially for someone who loves to travel a lot or even busy office workers.


And to make it even simpler, below are all the tips and details you need to ensure that they keep on thriving and happy

Description


Opuntia Microdasys, or also known as Bunny Ears or Angel’s Wings Cactus is a unique-looking plant that originated in northern Mexico. This cactus forms thick, oval-shaped pads with fuzzy, white, or yellow glochids that are designed to detach with a simple touch, and grows in dense shrubs, spreading out to cover about 2 to 5 feet of the ground as it mature and can also reach up to 15 to 24-inches tall.



Watering Needs


Compared to other succulents or cacti, Bunny Ears can tolerate longer periods of drought, thanks to its pads! But during the first season of your Bunny Ears to its new growing environment or container, it will need some extra love and care, just until it develops a strong and healthy root system.


You can help your Bunny Ears adjust quicker by making sure that the soil is constantly damp. Do this by giving this cactus a good soak of water (allowing it to flow down from the pot's drainage hole), letting the first inch of the soil dry out before giving it another drink.


Read our other posts “Succulent Watering Tips” to learn more about watering your succulents.



Light Requirements


Like any other cacti, Bunny Ears are sun-loving plants. They need to get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to keep them happy and grow to their full potential. So whether you are growing yours indoors or outdoors, place this cactus in a spot where it can get as much sunlight exposure it can during the day, especially in areas facing south.

Angel Wing Cactus Opuntia Microdasys

In case you don't get much natural light in your area, you can place this cactus about 6-inches to 1 foot below a grow light with a white fluorescent tube for at least 14 to 16 hours a day to help supplement its lighting requirements, especially during dark, rainy days.



Temperature


Bunny Ears are heat-loving cactus and can be grown outdoors without worries in USDA zones 9a to 11b. In other words, this cactus can tolerate summer temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, especially while it's actively growing. Now, if you want to see this cactus bloom, you just have to make sure that it gets a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit during Winter.


From late Autumn to early Spring, on the other hand, provide this cactus with mid-cool temperatures ranging from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and should be kept away from heat sources.



Pot and Soil


Like any other succulents, Bunny Ears are also prone to root rot when left sitting in wet for too long. So make sure to use a clay pot that's slightly larger and deeper than this cactus root system and should have drainage holes as well, or else proper watering is not possible.



You should also use soil that drains quickly and sandy or loose enough for the roots to spread properly. Either a commercial cactus or succulent potting mix will do for your Bunny Ears. You can also blend your own potting mix with 40% soil to give nutrients to your cactus, 40% sand to loosen up the potting mix, and 20% peat moss to help retain moisture after every watering.



Propagating Bunny Ears


If you want to share the joy of growing this cactus with either one of your family members or friends, then you're in luck as Bunny Ears is very simple to propagate through its flatty pads!


To do this, all you need is to break off or detach a segment from the mother plant. Don't forget to wear gloves to protect your skin when handling this cactus.

Bunny Ear Cactus

Allow the pads to dry out and callus over for a few days before burying it for at least an inch deep in a pot filled with fresh cacti and succulent potting soil or with your own homemade mix.


Once you have planted your baby cactus, place the pot in a bright location and water it regularly to promote a healthy root system.


Note: Bunny Ears and other cacti have a higher success rate when propagated in early Summer.




Common Problems of Bunny Ears Cactus



  • Overwatered

  • An overwatered Bunny Ears will usually start to fall over, shrivel, droop downward severely, gets brown spots, and can even cause root rot as well, which will most likely kill this cactus if left sitting in the wet for too long. So once you notice you are already drowning your Bunny Ears from too much water, stop giving it water for a while until the soil feels completely dry.


    It is also best to check if the soil that you are using for your Bunny Ears drains. Chances are, the soil can no longer drain the water fast or well enough to prevent water from sitting around your cactus for too long.



  • Underwatered

  • Dehydration can also lead to a drooping or shriveling Bunny Ear Cactus. But unlike with an overwatered one, unwatering can cause this cactus to dry out as well and eventually die. Just remember that even though this plant is a cactus, they still need a good drink of water every now and then, especially when you feel that the soil has almost completely dry.


    But again, it is easier to save an underwatered Bunny Ears compared to an overwatered one, as all you have to do is to consistently give it a good drink until it perks up again instead of leaning.



  • Etiolation

  • Lack of light exposure is also one of the reasons why a Bunny Ear Cactus droops, bends or stretches out (or also known as etiolation).

    Bunny Ear Cactus

    Usually, when a plant doesn't get enough light it needs per day, it will begin to literally stretch towards the nearest light source to get as much as it can.


    To avoid this from happening, you should place your plant in a spot where it can get at least 6 hours of full to partial sunlight a day.



  • Pests

  • Displeasing white marks on the cactus pads usually indicates that you have pest problems. Like any other plant, Bunny Ear is prone to pest infestations like mealybugs and aphids, which can drain fluids out of this cactus. These pests will not only lead your plant to droop, wilt or shrivel up but can also destroy this cactus if not prevent quickly.


    As a solution, you can apply some rubbing alcohol in a q-tip to remove any pests you see and spray your cactus with some neem oil. Also, it is best to keep the infected plant away from your other plants during this time and just place it back once the pests are gone.



  • Frost Damage

  • Again, Bunny Ear cactus are not frost-tolerant and can get frost damage, which may lead them to droop or become wilted.


    So once the weather gets really cold for your cactus or even before then, bring them inside your home. Just make sure to provide them with enough sunlight they need a day and to also avoid placing them in spots near a frozen window.



    You can also opt in to provide protection instead, especially if your Bunny Ears are in the ground. You can either put burlap, frost blankets, or bed sheets over it.

    Check out this quick video to see How to care for Bunny Ears Cactus



    In Conclusion

    Bunny Ears are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice to grow in any outdoor garden setting or even inside your home planted in a lovely container. Plus, they are very captivating to look at due to their distinctive appearance.

    See more about our collection of beautiful cacti. They are easy to grow, incredibly adaptable, relatively pest-free, and are low maintenance - ideal for any home, office, or garden to make a perfect green space.

    Check out this Cactus Care Guide 101 to ensure years of enjoyment.

    Want to learn more about Key reminders to grow succulents in full sun

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