Opuntia microdasys, also known as the bunny ear cactus or angel’s wings, is a small cousin of the more commonly known prickly pear cactus. Though it isn’t known for its culinary uses, it’s a popular houseplant due to its easy care and cute appearance: the pads can resemble bunny ears and the glochids look like fur, hence the common name.
If you just bought your own Opuntia microdasys or are thinking about getting one, keep reading for everything you need to know about this cactus species!
|Moderate||Direct sunlight||When dry||Soil + sand|
Opuntia microdasys care
As with most houseplants, the easiest way to figure out what type of care is needed is to look at the natural environment it grows in and imitate this as best as possible. Opuntia microdasys naturally occurs in dry areas in Mexico with little water or humidity and plenty of sun.
Opuntia microdasys location and temperature
Like many cacti, this plant has a preference for high light areas in your home. Direct sunlight is not a problem and actually appreciated. During summer, the normal temperature in your home is likely perfect for your Opuntia microdasys!
During winter, when these plants go into a resting period, you can move them to a slightly cooler spot with a bit less direct sun. If provided with this, your bunny ear cactus may reward you with a few yellow flowers once it matures.
Planting Opuntia microdasys
(Re)planting your bunny ear cactus is similar to planting other cacti. Imitating the natural environment is the easiest way to make sure you’re potting them correctly.
- The most important thing to keep in mind is drainage: this plant is designed to survive in very dry areas and won’t appreciate its roots being wet all the time!
- Unglazed clay pots with a drainage hole in the bottom, such as these, are perfect for planting Opuntia microdasys as the porous material helps excess water to evaporate.
- To further enhance drainage, don’t just use a normal potting soil for this cactus! Use a special cactus soil mix or make your own by mixing one part potting soil with one part perlite or sand.
- Be careful when repotting this cactus. It lacks sharp spines but has nasty glochids that easily get stuck in your hands or fingers and can cause massive irritation. Wear gloves when potting this plant or at least wet your hands to soften the spines.
If you already have an Opuntia microdasys cactus and want to propagate it, you can easily do so by carefully breaking off one of the pads and simply replanting it.
Watering Opuntia microdasys
Proper watering is a very important aspect of Opuntia microdasys care. Contrary to what many new cactus keepers think, these desert plants do require regular watering, at least during the summer. Just water when the soil has dried out and then allow it to dry out again before giving more water. Although it’s better to under-water than over-water, both are dangerous to the plant so be sure to keep a close eye on it!
During the winter period, less water is needed and a little bit once a month should be enough to last it until Spring rolls around.
When it’s time to water your Opuntia microdasys, be sure not to give it just a few drops. It needs a good splash so that the soil is thoroughly soaked and water comes out of the drainage holes. Let the water drain until it stops dribbling out of the pot and then leave the cactus until it has had time to fully dry. During summer, you can add some cactus fertilizer once every other watering.
Buying Opuntia microdasys
You can find Opuntia microdasys at most garden stores that sell cacti. If you’ve got a cactus nursery nearby, be sure to have a look! If you don’t want to leave your lazy chair, you can also easily order Opuntia microdasys online.
If you still have questions about Opuntia microdasys or want to share your own experiences with this bunny-eared cactus, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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