Bunny Ears Cactus Care

Opuntia microdasys

Basic Bunny Ears Cactus Care

Loved for their flat pad-like leaves, and lack of long sharp spikes, Bunny Ears Cacti make for a great houseplant. Below you will find our complete Bunny Ears Cactus Care Guide with all the tips and information you need to help your plant thrive.

Bright Direct Light

I thrive in bright areas of your home so am best placed near a window.

Water Infrequently

I can be quite sensitive to root rot so be careful not to overwater me.

Low Humidity

I grow best in pretty dry environments so don’t try and increase the humidity.

Draining Soil

I like a mix that includes peat moss and perlite as these prevent my roots from becoming water-logged.

Yellow Background Image Yellow Background Image Photo of Bunny Ears Cactus

Detailed Bunny Ears Cactus Care

Whether you're looking to make sure your Bunny Ears Cactus is in it's perfect conditions, or looking to see if one could work for your space. We've got you covered.

Bunny Ears Cacti love sunshine

The best spot for a Bunny Ears Cactus is somewhere that gets bright, direct sunlight for several hours each day. South-facing windows are the best and they may struggle in a north-facing spot. During the hottest summer days you may want to bring your cactus away from the window a little to stop it burning but otherwise, you shouldn’t have too many issues placing it in direct sunlight. 

 

Bunny Ears Cacti don't require much water

As with most cacti, your Bunny Ears Cactus doesn’t need much water at all. The roots are adapted to catch even the slightest bit of water meaning too much water can quickly lead to root rot. Use a saucer or planter to capture excess water and remove any water after about 10 minutes. This will allow the plant to soak up the right amount of water but will help to prevent the roots from sitting in puddles of water. During the growth period of spring and summer, your Bunny Ears Cactus does like to have some moisture in the soil so water a little once a week. During autumn and winter, however, we recommend only watering your Bunny Ears Cactus once a month as this is the dormant period.

Bunny Ears Cacti thrive in warmer temperatures

Although having a home that is slightly cooler doesn’t mean you could never have a Bunny Ears Cactus, remember that they do grow better, and produce flowers in warmer temperatures. This is especially important during spring and summer to encourage new healthy growth. During the autumn and winter months they appreciate slightly cooler temperatures so keep them away from radiators or heating vents as this can dry out the cactus and cause several issues. 

Good drainage is key for your Bunny Ears Cactus

Due to the danger of root rot, you want to ensure that the soil and the pot have good drainage. Use a well-draining potting mix that is especially designed for cacti. A pre-packaged cactus soil will usually work well but you can also create your own sand-based potting mix if you wish to. 

Make sure the pot has sufficient drainage holes so that excess water can run out of the pot and be poured away rather which will help reduce the risk of root rot. It’s a good idea to put some small pebbles at the bottom of the pot to prevent the drainage holes being blocked by clumps of potting mix.

Fertiliser can encourage growth and flowering in your Bunny Ears Cactus

Using a cacti-specific fertiliser, feed your Bunny Ears Cactus a couple of times throughout the growth period. This will help to encourage new pads to grow as well as flowers and fruit to develop. It’s important that you use a water-soluble fertiliser made for cacti which are low in nitrogen rather than using a generic houseplant fertiliser. 

When feeding your Bunny Ears Cactus, dilute the fertiliser more than recommended so it’s weaker than what it says on the bottle. Too much fertiliser can damage and burn the roots so it’s better to be on the safe side. You should also never fertilise your Bunny Ears Cactus in autumn or winter as this can actually kill your plant.

Repot your Bunny Ears Cactus every other year

To avoid your Bunny Ears Cactus becoming rot-bound, we recommend repotting your plant every year or two. Make sure to choose a pot only a few centimetres larger in diameter so that the plant doesn’t become unstable in its new home. Make sure to use thick gloves when repotting your Bunny Ears Cactus as the bristles can be quite painful and difficult to remove from skin.

Propagate a Bunny Ears Cactus using leaf cuttings

You can easily propagate your Bunny Ears Cactus by breaking off one of the pads and potting it a few centimetres into the soil. We have found that using tweezers to break off the pads works really well and avoids you coming into contact with the sharp bristles on the plant. Pop your pads deep into potting mix and water regularly to encourage root growth. 

Top tip: we have always found propagating Bunny Ears Cacti to be more successful when you use cuttings that have 2-3 pads on each. This helps the plant to mature faster and reduces the risk of disease.

Bunny Ears Cacti prefer dry air

As with most Cacti types, the Bunny Ear Cactus thrives in low humidity. This is because they are native to desert plains and their pads will begin to rot if in a humid environment. This makes the plants great for those who find their homes are too dry for other tropical houseplants to thrive in. You can also use a dehumidifier to prevent your Bunny Ears Cactus from rotting. 

Keep your Bunny Ears Cactus away from pets

Although the cactus itself is not toxic to pets, cacti should be kept well away from them due to their glochids which can cause irritation when touched or swallowed. This is why we always recommend placing these plants high up on shelves or somewhere where children and pets can’t get to. The bristles on the Bunny Ears Cactus are actually very lose and come away even with a bit of wind so it can be really easy for yourself or any pets to get them stuck in skin if touched. 

There’s no need to prune your Bunny Ears Cactus

If your Bunny Ears Cactus is healthy, you don’t need to worry about pruning it. With some other houseplants, it can be beneficial to encourage bushier growth but the same doesn’t really apply to the Bunny Ears Cactus. You only really need to prune off unhealthy pads when you notice them turning brown or drying out. 

Bunny Ears Cactus Care Starter Kit

We've put together this great little starter kit that includes all of the equipment and information you'll need to take proper care of your Bunny Ears Cactus .

Common Problems with your Bunny Ears Cactus

Here are some common issues that you might run into. It's important to diagnose any issues early to give your plant the best chance of bouncing back.

Yellow Background Image Yellow Background Image Bunny Ears Cactus  Photograph

Stunted growth in a Bunny Ears Cactus can be caused by watering issues, either too much or too little. The best thing to do is carefully remove the plant from its pot (whilst wearing thick gloves) and inspect the potting mix. If you notice that it’s either bone dry or really clumpy and soggy then it means that watering issues is causing it to struggle. 

If the soil is very dry, slowly reintroduce watering again but avoid overcompensating and drowning your plant as this will cause a whole range of other issues. If the potting mix is quite soggy, replace it immediately rather than waiting for it to dry out as this risks more damage being done to the root system. 

A lack of growth can also simply be down to seasonal changes so don’t worry if you don’t see any new pads during autumn and winter as this is the dormant period.

Browning on your Bunny Ears Cactus can be caused by overwatering, pest infestation or a drop in temperature. Check the potting mix first as this is an easy way to see if watering has damaged the root system at all. Then inspect the pads for any signs of pests and invest in a humidity and temperature measure to keep an eye on the environment. 

White patches on your Bunny Ears Cactus is a sign that your plant is, unfortunately, being infested by mealybugs. Bown scabs on the pads of your Bunny Ears Cactus are a sign of scale insects. Treat all pests with alcohol using a cotton bud and this should keep the problem at bay. 

This is a sign that you have been overwatering your Bunny Ears Cactus. We recommend removing the parts of the pads that are brown and changing the soil out immediately to avoid any further damage. Moving forward reduce the amount you are watering your Bunny Ears Cactus and cut back on watering almost entirely during winter as they are very susceptible to leaf and root rot whilst temperatures are low. 

You may be a little concerned that the new pads growing on your Bunny Ears Cactus are red, whilst the rest of the plant is solid green. Good news, this is totally normal and nothing to worry about. The new leaves will turn green as they mature. It’s just a little quirk of the Bunny Ears Cactus! 

If your Bunny Ears Cactus is becoming unstable and parts or all of the plant is falling over then this is a sign that the roots are weakening. This is most commonly caused by overwatering which has meant the roots are rotting and are unable to keep the plant stable. Whilst wearing gloves, remove your Bunny Ears Cactus from its pot and inspect the root system. Replace any soggy soil and trim away the rotten roots. Use a plant support to help your Bunny Ears Cactus stay upright and with some time the root system should start to regrow and support your plant.

About the Bunny Ears Cactus

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant that still gives the wow-factor, then look no further than the Bunny Ears Cactus. Great for beginners and seasons plant parents, the Bunny Ears Cactus is loved for its flat oval pads that spring up in pairs. There are a lot of names given to this plant, from Polka Dot Cactus to Angle Wings, but we love Bunny Ears Cactus the most as the fuzzy bristles on the pads give it that furry look. However, although they sound cute, Bunny Ears Cacti are definitely not as cuddly as you’d like them to be. Although they don’t grow spines, they go have fuzzy glochids that grow on the pads. These are painful to touch and can be really difficult to remove from skin so make sure you wear gloves at all times when handling the plant. 

Native to the Mexican desert plains, the Bunny Ears Cactus will thrive if you replicate the native conditions. Try and find a spot in your home with low humidity levels and lots of natural sunshine. They will start to rot if placed in bathrooms or kitchens where there is naturally a higher humidity level so choose the placement carefully. 

These slow-growing houseplants can reach up to around half a metre, sometimes more when grown indoors but will grow to double that if given the right conditions outside. They will take a while to grow but are definitely worth the wait. You may sometimes see light yellow flowers grow from the tops of the most mature pads on your Bunny Ears Cactus and if you’re lucky there might even be some red or purple fruit starting to grow. Although you won’t die from eating the fruit, it usually won’t taste great so we don’t recommend giving it a try, unfortunately.

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