Sumo Gardener

Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia Microdasys) Grow & Care Guide

Whether you are a beginner gardener or have experience growing your plants, the bunny ear cactus is loved by many. Not only is it one of the easier plants to own and grow, but it is also very cute and doesn’t require a lot of care in the long run. 

If you are looking for a new plant to add to your family, the bunny ear cactus can be a great option. If you have questions though, look no further.

This guide will help you out every step of the way so you can grow your bunny ear cactus in no time!


Interesting Facts About the Bunny Ear Cactus

How to Grow Bunny Ear Cactus
  • While everyone knows it by this name, the Bunny Ear Cactus’ name is actually “Opuntia microdasys”.
  • The Microdasys part of their name means “small and hairy” in Latin.
  • Another name frequently associated with the Bunny Ear Cactus is the Polka-Dot Cactus.
  • This green bunny can grow into a shrub and spread out to cover up to 2-5 feet as a mature plant.
  • There are many subspecies and forms of this variety of cacti and they are native to central and northern Mexico as well as Arizona.
  • Their Bunny Ears are called succulent pads and they help them go through a long period without water. This makes them outlive a lot of other varieties of cacti and succulents.
  • The Bunny Ear Cacti produce flowers and even fruit! The flowers are a light yellow and bloom from early spring to early summer. These then turn into two-inch-long fruits which vary between red and purple shades.

    They are not edible but at the same time non-toxic to humans and their pets. 
  • The spines that cover the cactus can very easily be removed from its body with tweezers. This can make it safer to keep around pets and children.

How to Grow Bunny Ear Cactus

One of the things that define Bunny Ear cacti is their love for sunlight. This is something you need to consider early on as you will need to find a spot that gets plenty of sunlight during the day.

If you will not be keeping your cacti outdoors, a window ledge is probably the perfect spot for these little guys. They usually require at least 14 hours of light every single day. 

This can be a bit of an issue during the winter months where sunlight is often scarce. If your cactus is not placed near a direct source of sunlight, it will grow and stretch towards the closest source of light.

This will potentially cause its characteristic Bunny Ear shape to deform. Your next best option is getting white fluorescent lights that will help make up for the lack of sunlight.

These will keep your plant healthy throughout the entire year. In addition to that, these green bunnies thrive in low humidity conditions and should stay out of a greenhouse. 

If your area is known for its humidity, Bunny Ear cacti might not be the perfect plant for you. These plants are meant to grow and thrive in very low water conditions so the humidity might not allow them to thrive.

Should You keep Your Bunny Ear Cactus Indoors or Outdoors?

Should You keep Your Bunny Ear Cactus Indoors or Outdoors

A very important thing to remember about the Bunny Ear cacti is that they are intolerant to frost. They will quickly wither if exposed to low temperatures and this is often why most people choose to keep them indoors, which is a perfect addition to an indoor cactus garden

The best thing to do is ensure that the temperature never dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the area you live in tends to experience cold winters, keeping your Bunny Ear cacti outside is probably not the best option.

They are especially not tolerant to frost and can get damaged from it. This means that your precious little green bunnies might not make it through the winter if left outdoors.

A way to overcome this is by keeping your cacti in a pot that you can bring indoors during the winter. This way your cacti will get all the sun they need during the summer and survive the cold winter too.

The one thing to remember though is to keep them from touching the surface of the windows. They can become frozen during the night and therefore once again harm your cactus.

Additionally, you can invest in some protective gear for your plants that will help them during the colder months. If you have placed the pots on the ground, you can use frost blankets and burlap to protect them from the low temperatures.

Choosing the Right Pot and Soil for Opuntia Microdasys

Something important to keep in mind when it comes to cacti is that the right pot can make a difference in your plant’s survival. The best pot option for a Bunny Ears Cactus is a clay one.

These types of pots are more porous and allow for more water to evaporate. Your pot should also have plenty of drainage holes so your precious cactus only keeps the water it needs.

One additional thing you should remember is that cacti need to be repotted every one to two years. Their roots tend to outgrow their pots very quickly, especially when compared to other plants.

This is a common characteristic of these plants as they need to be able to locate water in dry areas. Therefore, investing in a new, bigger pot every other year will be a good idea.

Cacti do not require a lot of water by nature and you will need to find soil that will help with this issue too. The best idea is to find soil that mimics the texture of sand.

This is important as it can keep the necessary amount of water for the plant. The rest of the water will be drained and you will not have to worry about overwatering your cactus. 

How to Water Bunny Ear Cactus

How to Water Bunny Ear Cactus

Like most cacti, the Bunny Ear variety does not need to be watered very frequently. Too much water can damage your cacti as they are made to grow in conditions where water is not frequently present. 

The best watering plan to follow is to water them once every month, around the same time. You will need to purchase a low nitrogen houseplant fertilizer and dilute that with water.

When it is their season to bloom, you can also increase the amount of fertilizer. This will help the cactus bloom with more ease.

For the rest of the year, keeping the volume of fertilizer steady is important, except for during the winter. This will help keep the Bunny Ear’s growth at a steady level and avoid misshapen “Ear” pads. 

When your Bunny Ear cactus is also freshly potted, you might want to skip the fertilizer for the first couple of watering sessions. This makes it an ideal, convenient plant for students who spend hours working on academic papers and want to get a small, inconspicuous plant.

Students who buy essays from reliable paper writing services and want to get an important writing assignment done on time need some greenery around them.

With Bunny Ear Cacti, that’s entirely possible, as it will help lighten their mood and refresh their study space considerably. A great tip you can follow to make sure it is time to water your cactus is to let the soil dry in between watering. 

A general rule you can follow is checking that the top inch of the soil is completely dry before watering. This will help you make sure there is no excess moisture left before you give your plant more water. 

If moisture is left inside the pot for long the roots of your plant will start to rot and your plant will suffer. During the colder months, you should also only lightly water your cacti every three to four weeks.

Repotting Bunny Ear Cactus

Repotting Bunny Ear Cactus

One of the main characteristics of cacti is that they need to be repotted relatively frequently. This can be an easy process that will help your plant grow healthy if done correctly.

You need to know when to start repotting and how to care for your plant after. Choosing to plant your cactus in a bigger pot from the beginning can help you avoid doing this process too frequently.

The best season to repot your Bunny Ear cacti is during the summer months where the weather is much warmer. In addition, you should make sure that your plant has finished blooming for the year before moving it to a bigger pot. 

Depending on how frequently you wish to re-pot your cactus, you need to keep watering them more frequently during the first year. This will ensure that they will grow their roots properly in the new pot and stay healthy.

How to Propagate Bunny Ear Cactus and Keep Them Healthy

How to Propagate Bunny Ear Cactus

Another thing many plant owners are interested in is learning how to propagate their beloved green friends. This is another process that is best done during the summer months as the heat and sunlight allow them to grow the healthiest.

The Bunny Ear pads of the cactus can very easily be broken off from its body. When removing those, you need to make sure that you have cut one off cleanly to repot it.

You will need at least two to three pads planted in one pot to make sure the propagation is successful. Another thing to remember when planting the new pads is to plant them about an inch deep in the soil. 

This means that working with smaller pads might not be as effective. Just like with repotting your plant, make sure to water them frequently and on a schedule during the first year.

This is important for their roots to grow effectively and keep the new plant healthy.

Common Bunny Ear Cactus Pests

When it comes to pests, no plant can completely avoid the occasional insect. Cacti of this species tend to become beleaguered by mealybugs and scale insects.

These can affect your cactus by draining its fluid and slowly killing it from the inside out. They need to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. While these might seem like a big problem, there is an easy way to get rid of them quickly. 

The best and easiest solution is to soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and remove them directly. This will effectively remove them and make sure they do not continue to grow. 

After you have removed all the pets, make sure to spray the areas with some needed oil. While you treat your infected cactus, it is a good idea to keep it away from the rest of your plants.

This will ensure the pests won’t infect other cacti and the infestation will be stopped there. 

Enjoy Growing Your Bunny Ear Cactus

Cacti are always a great option if you need a low-maintenance plant to decorate your space. They are also perfect for beginners since they don’t need to be watered frequently or demand any special care.

If you like to grow another cactus with your bunny ear cactus, check out our Pencil cactusChristmas cactus and Moon cactus growing guides. 

The Bunny Ear Cactus is an adorable option for people of all ages. Along with that, it will put a smile on your face every time you see it around your house.

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

Leave a Comment: