Have you ever seen a cactus with bunny ears? No, not Pikachu—a cactus!
The Opuntia Microdasys is a small, round cactus that can grow up to two feet tall and wide. It has thin, long stems (or pads) that are covered in small, sharp spines.
The plant gets its nickname, “Bunny Ears cactus,” due to its pads. They are produced in pairs giving it the bunny ear look.
Each pad is made up of numerous more minor scales, which are what give the plant its velvety texture and spines.
The Opuntia Microdasys is native to Mexico, but you find it in other warm climates worldwide. It’s a popular choice for gardens and indoor plants, as it is relatively low-maintenance and easy to care for.
They normally grow in the spring and summer, but they can bloom year-round if the plant is well-cared for.
If you’re thinking about adding an Opuntia Microdasys to your collection, here are a few things to keep in mind:
The bunny ear cactus thrives in bright, direct sunshine and should be planted in the sunniest location in your house.
This cactus’s ideal amount of sun is between six and eight hours each day. Grown indoors, this plant does best in a south or west-facing window.
If you don’t have one of those, no problem! You can utilize a grow light to provide the supplemental light it needs. If grown outside, ensure the cactus is in full sunlight for at least six hours daily. The amount of light your cactus gets matters, so be sure to give it what it needs!
The Opuntia Microdasys is a drought-tolerant plant that doesn’t need much water to survive. Overwatering is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when caring for this cactus.
When you water it, give the plant a good soaking so that the water reaches the roots. Then, let the soil dry out thoroughly before watering again.
A general rule of thumb is to water once every two to three weeks, but be sure to inspect the soil first to see if it is dry. The easiest way is to stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.
If the ground is dry, it’s time to water. If it’s still moist, wait a few more days. Overwatering is a major reason for the death of cacti, so be sure to err on the side of caution!
The Opuntia Microdasys doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer to thrive. It’s best not to fertilize at all rather than risk over-fertilizing. If you decide to fertilize, use a diluted solution and only do it once a year.
Applying a cactus or succulent fertilizer in early spring will help support growth during the plant’s active growth. An unreasonable amount of fertilizer can burn the plant’s roots, so take it easy!
Pests and Diseases
The Opuntia Microdasys is generally a very tough plant and doesn’t succumb to many pests or diseases. However, mealybugs can sometimes be a problem. These pesky insects suck the juices out of the plant, causing it to weaken and eventually die.
If you see any mealybugs on your cactus, remove them immediately. The easiest method to do this is to dab them with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.
As far as diseases go, root rot is the most common problem with this cactus. It happens when the roots are constantly wet, which can happen if you overwater the plant or the pot doesn’t have good drainage.
If you feel your plant has root rot, the best thing to do is to repot it in fresh, dry soil. Remove any affected roots, as they will only continue to rot and spread the disease.
The Opuntia Microdasys grows best in a well-draining cactus mix or sandy loam soil. A common cactus or succulent potting mix is sufficient and may be found at most garden shops.
If you’re making your own mix, add extra perlite or sand to ensure good drainage.
The last thing you want for your cactus is to sit in wet, soggy soil! The soil should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings.
The Opuntia Microdasys doesn’t need to be repotted very often. It’s best to wait until the plant has outgrown its pot before repotting. It usually happens every two to three years.
When you do repot, use a pot that is only one size larger than the current pot. Any bigger and you risk the plant becoming root-bound. Always choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in water.
When repotting the plant, use gloves or tongs to hold the cactus before carefully removing it from its pot. Knock away loose soil and place the plant in its new pot.
Fill in around the plant with fresh, dry potting mix. Once the plant is potted, water it well and let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
The Opuntia Microdasys is very easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Simply cut a stem from the plant, allow it to be callous for a few days, and then plant it in a well-draining cactus mix or sandy loam soil.
Be sure to keep the cutting in a warm, sunny spot and wait patiently for it to take root. Once it does, you’ll have a brand new Opuntia Microdasys plant!
Although Opuntia Microdasys does not require pruning, it may be trimmed for aesthetic reasons. With a clean, sharp knife, snip off the undesirable paddle. Keep the area around the wound dry and clean until it has calloused over. The callous will protect the plant from infection and rot. New pads will grow to replace the ones that have been removed.
The Opuntia Microdasys (Bunny Ears) is a fun and easy plant to grow. With just a little care, it will thrive for years to come! Be sure to give it plenty of sun, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering, and you’ll have a plant that will envy all your friends!
Have you ever grown an Opuntia Microdasys? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.