A Cactaceae plant is the rabbit ear cactus (Opuntia microdasys). It can be recognized by its segmented pads, which have bristly hairs on them known as glochids and resemble bunny ears. Native to dry regions of northern Mexico, the rabbit ear cactus matures at a height of 16 to 24 inches. The rabbit ear cactus, a relative of the prickly pear cactus, is also known as the polka-dot cactus and angel’s wings.
Can you touch bunny ear cactus?
No, touching the opuntia microdasys with bare hands is not advised. Although this cactus is not dangerous or deadly, it might irritate the skin. It is because of this that handling it requires nitrile-coated gloves, newspapers, thick towels, or tongs.
How much sunlight does a cactus bunny ear need?
You must expose the rabbit ear to direct sunshine for at least six hours if you choose to grow it outside. Never deprive it of sunshine because it requires it to make sure all the essential nutrients are there.
Give it bright light for roughly 14 hours if you’re growing it inside. You can use artificial sun substitutes if you can’t find a spot where it can get sunlight. Light bulbs and white fluorescent tube lights are a couple of examples.
Is bunny ears cactus poisonous?
No, it isn’t, but you should still avoid letting it touch your skin directly. Its glochids, which are recognizable as the cactus’s dots, are the reason it is also referred to as the polka-dot cactus. These plant pieces have the potential to penetrate you and irritate your skin if you don’t handle them with the necessary caution.
Do the bunny ears feature thorns?
The opuntia microdasys doesn’t have thorns, thus no. However, you may anticipate that they will have glochids in their spines. Getting rid of animals that might harm or eat them is one of the glochids’ primary duties.
The ability of the bunny ear to hold water is also aided by the glochids or spines. If the plant is cultivated in a very dry, sunny location, they offer enough shade. The rabbit ear cactus’ spines let the plant survive in tough, dry circumstances, even those that resemble the desert.
Is it necessary to trim the bunny ears cactus?
Yes, you need to prune this plant when its pads get too big and it starts to go down. At this time, the cactus must be pruned or trimmed in order to get rid of its pups and dead sections.
If the bunny ear cactus is already too big, you can even use a saw. When trimming the plant, don’t forget to use gloves with nitrile coating.
Is the bunny ears cactus a rare species?
Not at all, no. In actuality, it is a well-known houseplant among growers and fans of houseplants. Its low maintenance requirements are the key benefit. You can easily acquire this plant from nearby cactus nurseries as well as from internet retailers like Etsy and Plant Desert.
Are bunny ear and prickly pears the same plant?
The rabbit ear cactus, also known as Opuntia microdasys or angel’s wings, is a smaller relative of the more well-known prickly pear cactus. Despite not having many culinary applications, it is a common houseplant because of how simple it is to care for and how adorable it looks. The glochids and pads of this cactus sometimes resemble bunny ears, giving it its common name.
If you recently purchased an Opuntia microdasys or are considering purchasing one, continue reading to learn everything there is to know about this type of cactus.
Can you grow bunny ears cacti inside?
As with most succulents, a pad removed from the cactus can be used to start new rabbit ears plants. When removing a leaf, proceed with the utmost care because the glochids are prone to dislodging and are challenging to remove from the skin.
Pick up the pad with newspaper or heavy gloves. Insert into the cactus soil after allowing the end to callus for a few days. For cultivating bunny ears cactus, use a quality cactus mix or create your own by mixing potting soil, sand, and peat moss in equal parts. Usually, the pad takes a few weeks to root.
For indoor use, bunny ears cactus needs a container with good drainage. The primary killer of these plants, excess moisture, can evaporate in an unglazed clay container. Although they can also be grown outdoors, they are only hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11.
The growth rate of the bunny ear cactus.
These succulents have barbs (spines) that are finer than human hair and can separate from the pad with just the slightest pressure. These cacti grow slowly and require between 10 and 20 years to reach their full height.
Common Problems of Bunny Ears Cactus
A Bunny Ears cactus that has been overwatered will typically begin to wilt, shrink, droop downward sharply, develop brown spots, and, if left in the damp for too long, may even develop root rot. Therefore, once you realize that your Bunny Ears are already drowning from too much water, stop watering it for a bit until the soil feels fully dry.
The best thing to do is to make sure the soil you are using for your Bunny Ears drains. It’s likely that the soil can no longer drain the water quickly or effectively enough to keep water from pooling too long around your cactus.
A Bunny Ear Cactus may droop or get shriveled as a result of dehydration. But unlike a cactus that is overwatered, this one can dry out and finally die if it is not given enough water. Just keep in mind that despite being a cactus, this plant still need occasional hydration, especially if you notice that the soil is getting close to being completely dry.
Again, though, saving an underwatered Bunny Ears is simpler than saving an overwatered one because you only need to give it a big drink repeatedly until it stands straight again rather than leaning.
Lack of exposure to light is another factor in the sagging, bending, or stretching out of a bunny ear cactus (or also known as etiolation).
A plant will typically start to literally stretch toward the closest light source if it doesn’t get all the light it needs each day.
Put your plant in a location where it can receive at least 6 hours of full to partial sunshine each day to prevent this from happening.
Unpleasant white spots on the cactus pads are typically a sign of bug issues. Bunny Ear is susceptible to pest infestations like mealybugs and aphids, which can cause this cactus to lose fluids, just like any other plant. If not stopped right away, these pests not only cause your plant to droop, wilt, or shrivel up, but they also have the potential to kill this cactus.
You can use rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip to remove any pests you spot and then use neem oil to spray your cactus as a remedy. Additionally, it is advisable to keep the contaminated plant separate from your other plants during this period and then simply reposition it once the pests have disappeared.
Once more, Bunny Ear cactus are not frost-tolerant and susceptible to harm from the cold, which could cause them to droop or get wilted.
Bring your cacti inside as it starts to get really chilly outside, or even before that. Just be sure to give them the daily amount of sunlight they require, and keep them away from windows that are likely to freeze.
If your Bunny Ears are in the ground, you might choose to offer protection in instead of defense. Burlap, frost blankets, or bed sheets are all options for covering it.
My rabbit ear is slipping over, why?
Regardless of breed, rabbits frequently experience ear issues. On how to identify, treat, and prevent the illness in your bunnies, veterinarian Catherine Thomas offers advice.
You already know that your bunnies have extremely delicate ears. Since their ears are so large and have so many folds of skin, even the tiniest amount of dirt can cause bacterial development and cause infection and irritation. Additionally, if untreated, ear mite infestations (which are brought on by the parasite Psoroptes Cuniculi) might result in illness.
While ear infections and ear mite infestations can affect any breed of rabbit, lop-eared varieties like the English Lop and the Dwarf Lop are more prone to infection than other rabbit breeds. According to Catherine, lop-eared rabbits have a weak spot in the canal where it folds over, causing the ear to flop down, making them more susceptible to otitis externa (an inflammation or infection of the outer ear).
She says that lop-eared rabbits frequently develop an accumulation of ear wax in their ear fold, which occasionally causes the ear canal to enlarge and form a pouch full of wax. But ear issues can affect any rabbit. Otitis media, an inflammation or infection of the middle ear, and otitis interna, an infection of the inner ear, are two more forms of ear infections.
Fortunately, by being aware of the early warning symptoms, you can ensure that your rabbits receive the proper care right soon. Read on to learn how to examine your rabbits’ ears so you may help identify and stop infections before they start.
The bunny ear cactus blooms, or not?
The majority of gardeners struggle to care for their expensive plants. The effect is that the succulents don’t thrive. The bunny ear cactus is the ideal indoor plant if you want something low maintenance that can survive neglect. It is a low-maintenance succulent that is attractive and suitable for beginners. This lovely type is a close relative of the prickly pear cactus and is indigenous to Northern Mexico. This comprehensive guide to the care and propagation of the bunny ear cactus includes repotting advice as well as other helpful information.
About Bunny Ear Cactus
Opuntia microdasys, often known as the bunny ear cactus, is a well-known species from the Cactaceae family that can reach heights of 2 to 3 feet (61-91 cm). It is distinguished by having large pads that resemble rabbit ears and are coated in small bristles. These cacti, also known as Angel’s wings or Polka-dot cacti, lack spines in favor of fluffy, whitish-brown glochids that are easily detachable from the pads. The pad-like stems can spread up to 3 inches and increase in height from 2 to 6 inches. Since they grow slowly, rabbit ear plants can take up to 20 years to reach their full height. One of the bunny-like succulents is Monilaria obconica, also known as Monilaria moniliformis. Despite having adorable nicknames, the Opuntia microdasys plant can be dangerous if safety measures are not performed. Therefore, it is best to use gloves when touching it and to plant your cactus in an area that is out of the way of your children and dogs.
Bunny Ear Cactus Flowering
Early spring is when the polka-dot cactus blooms. The plant blooms profusely once it is planted in the ground. Flowering is not frequently observed in plants cultivated in containers, though. Bunny ears produce 2 inch wide, creamy yellow flowers with a bowl shape. Red to purple fruits that are 2 inches long grow from the blossoms.
Bunny Ear Cactus Care
In arid environments with ample of sunlight and little watering, the bunny succulent thrives. Therefore, if you provide them dry, low-humidity circumstances, they will flourish magnificently.
Sunlight is good for growing angel’s wings. Place your plant in a west or south-facing window if it is being cultivated indoors. A grow light with a white fluorescent tube can also be used for 14 to 16 hours per day. When growing succulents outside, make sure they receive 6 to 8 hours per day of bright, direct sunlight. The plant prefers a little bit of shade during the winter.
The drought-tolerant bunny ear cactus is adapted to receive less rainfall. The plant prefers routine irrigation while it is developing in the spring and summer. Between waterings, let the soil completely dry out. Overwatering can cause root rot.
Planting these cacti requires sandy, well-draining soil. A commercial cactus potting mix is an option. The suggested soil mixture aids in the plant’s ability to expel extra water. Furthermore, you can create your own soil mix by mixing normal potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand.
Temperature and Humidity
Succulent plants called bunny ears prefer warm, dry environments. It cannot tolerate frost and needs lower humidity levels to survive. This plant requires humidity levels between 10% and 30% and is hardy in zones 9a to 11b. Make sure the pot has drainage holes so you can drain any extra moisture. Make sure your cactus is growing actively in a temperature range of 70 to 100F. In addition, it can withstand temperatures as low as 50 to 65F.
Frequently fertilizing the Opuntia microdasys plant is not necessary. For the plant to grow quickly, fertilizer additions made once a year during the growing season are sufficient. Be careful not to fertilize too frequently or during the dormant period.
When the Bunny plant stops blooming at the end of the summer, you can repot it. Every one to two years, repotting should be done. Repotting your cactus should be done in a pot that is one to two inches larger than the previous one. In addition, handling the succulent is best done with covered hands or a piece of old fabric because the glochids can be painful. Give your plant a week to recover after repotting, then begin watering and position in direct sunlight. For a month, refrain from using fertilizer.
Do I need to prune my rabbit ear cactus?
The dry deserts of Mexico and Arizona are where bunny ears cactus were first discovered. They prefer these circumstances to be recreated when it comes to humidity and won’t thrive in areas with a lot of prevailing wetness.
Houseplants that enjoy wetness should be kept away from your cactus because they demand extremely different humidity levels. Using a dehumidifier in your “cactus room” can be a good idea if your house tends to get extremely humid.
Only during the growing season do you need to fertilize your bunny ears cactus. To feed your plant, dilute a cactus fertilizer in the water every other time you water it.
Your bunny ears cactus needs very little water, and the roots can be very delicate.
I advise utilizing liquid fertilizer that has been diluted to half or a fourth of the advised strength. Fertilizer accumulation in the soil from infrequent watering can burn the roots.
Don’t fertilize your bunny ears cactus throughout the winter or for a month following repotting.
The bunny ears cactus grows slowly in general. To promote fresh growth, they just require repottering every few years. When the bloom has faded by late summer, repot the cactus.
Repotting them is simple, but you should handle the pads with extra caution. To avoid touching the sharp needles, wrap the pads with many sheets of newspaper or heavy gardening gloves.
Never water right away after repotting (totally counter-intuitive, I know). The ideal time to water for the first time should be after around a week.
To avoid overwhelming the root system, repot into a container that is only marginally bigger than the original. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes and is filled with a sand-heavy soil mixture.
No pruning is necessary if your bunny ears cactus is still in good health. Rarely, excessive watering may cause the base stem to develop some mushy areas. It will be impossible to prune the damage away because it is the base.
Instead, you can save the plant by removing all of the sound, completely developed pads so they can grow into new plants.
Make sure to follow along since growing bunny ears cactus differs greatly from growing other types of indoor plants. Any completely developed pad can be multiplied and ought to have its ends trimmed off in the summer.
To avoid touching the pad directly, cover it with a newspaper or a pair of thick gardening gloves.
The first step is to cut away a pad from the cactus using a sharp, clean knife. Clean up your cut so the plant will heal quickly.
For a few days, until the wound has healed, leave the pad you just removed in a bright location on a clean surface, such as a plate or newspaper.
The next step is to place the cactus pad into the proper cactus potting mix and bury the end approximately 1 inch deep. The pad should develop roots and get established in its new container over the coming weeks.
If you put numerous cuttings in the same pot, the success rate of propagating pads will be increased. To promote a strong root system, give the plant a week to rest before watering regularly for the first year.
Rarely, a bunny ears cactus will begin to produce buds in the late spring from the tips of completely developed pads.
These buds will blossom into stunning 2-inch creamy flowers in the early summer. A spherical, purple fruit will replace it once it blooms. The fruit looks like a prickly pear but has far less sugar, making it tasteless.