Why is my Bunny Ear Cactus turning yellow? Causes and Solutions

Last Updated: January 30, 2022

Probably one of the cutest houseplant names, the Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia microdasys), is loved globally for its flat and relatively non-prickly pads. Like most Cacti types, however, they are quite prone to developing yellow leaves, whether that develops as small yellow spots or patches across the plant. Yellow leaves signal that something isn’t quite right but luckily diagnosing the issue is actually quite simple as there are only two real main causes. One will lead to the pads feeling and looking quite soft, the other will lead to crispy, dry leaves. Below you’ll find a full explanation on both of the causes so you can figure out which is leading to the yellowing of your beloved Bunny Ear Cactus. 

Overwatering can cause yellowing in Bunny Ears Cacti

As with any other Cactus type, Bunny Ear Cacti are super sensitive to overwatering and really don’t need much moisture to thrive. They like coarse and dry potting mix otherwise their roots will begin to rot. If the potting mix is too soggy, it can cause yellowing throughout your Bunny Ear Cactus. One way to tell whether it is too much water is if the pads are very droopy and soft. 

If you’re still unsure whether or not overwatering is the cause of your Bunny Ear Cactus developing yellow leaves, remove your plant out of the pot to check the moisture in the potting mix. Replace the potting mix if waterlogged. You don’t want to wait for it to naturally dry out as this can cause more damage to the root system. Trim away all of the rotten roots and soft yellow leaves to encourage new growth. 

Moving forward, you want to be very careful with how much you water your Bunny Ear Cactus as you want to avoid this problem reoccurring and causing more yellow foliage.

Sunburn is another cause of yellow leaves for Bunny Ears Cacti

If the yellowing on your Bunny Ear Cactus’s leaves is at the top or the side which is facing the window, then this may be caused by too much sunlight which has burnt the leaves. Whilst Bunny Ear Cacti do like bright light but there is still a thing as too much. This usually happens in summer when the sun is a lot more intense. You can tell if the yellowing is caused by sunburn as the yellow areas will feel and look very dry. 

Although you won’t be able to bring the yellow patches back to green, too much sunlight is an easier problem to solve. All you need to do is find a better spot for your plant so that it doesn’t get as much direct sunlight.

Should I cut away my Bunny Ear Cactus’s yellow leaves?

We get this question a lot when it comes to yellow houseplant leaves. You may be wondering if it is beneficial or damaging to your plant in any way to get rid of them. We always recommend trimming off the leaves. Not only will it make your Bunny Ear Cactus look better and healthier, but it will stop it from wasting any precious energy trying to revive parts that are too far gone. By carefully slicing off the yellow pads, your Bunny Ear Cactus can focus on producing new healthy green growth!

To learn more about how to best care for your Cactus and avoid any more problems developing, take a look through our Bunny Ear Cactus care guide. 

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