How Do You Take Care Of An Opuntia Microdasys?

How Do You Take Care Of An Opuntia Microdasys?

Opuntia Microdasys (angel’s wings, bunny ears cactus, bunny cactus, or polka-dot cactus) is a flowering plant native to and unique to central and northern Mexico.

Opuntia Microdasys grows into a thick shrub 40-60 cm tall, sometimes taller, with pad-like stems 6-15 cm long and 4-12 cm broad.

Instead of spines, it contains thick clusters of white or yellow glochids 2-3 mm long.

They are barbed and thinner than the finest human hairs and detach in enormous numbers when touched.

They will cause significant skin irritation if not removed, thus, the plants must be handled with care.

Microdasys is a Latin term that means “small and hairy.” Yellow flowers come relatively infrequently. Despite this, it is a popular cactus in cultivation, thanks in part to the young plant’s amusing resemblance to a rabbit’s head.

Opuntia Microdasys needs the following top to thrive well;

Sunlight Requirements

Bunny Ears cactus prefer bright light. They, like other cacti, thrive in a bright setting with lots of full sunshine for the majority of the year. When growing them inside, plant them in a south-facing or west-facing window.

If you can’t offer enough natural light for your Bunny Ears cacti, these light-feeders can thrive for at least 14 hours under a white fluorescent bulb.

Remember to relocate these cacti to a location with partial sunshine during the winter.

Water Requirements

Water adult rabbit ears cactus when the top 1 inch of soil is dry. Water it well, and then wait until the soil is dry before watering again.

A pot with drainage holes is recommended; otherwise, excess water might become trapped in the container, causing root rot.

Water every 7-14 days throughout the summer months, depending on how hot it gets and the humidity in your location.

Many people recommend not watering your bunny ears over the winter.

The rule is to water your cactus just once every three to four weeks, just enough to saturate the root portion of the plant.

This will ensure that your adult bunny ears have enough moisture over the winter but not so much that they rot.

Soil Requirements

Bunny ears cactus needed a certain potting soil mix for its root system to develop properly.

You may either buy one that has already been pre-mixed to fulfill the cactus specifications or make your own.

The most important thing to remember is that the potting soil mix must drain effectively and be sandy or loose in order for the roots to spread correctly.

Don’t just use regular potting soil for this cactus to improve drainage (or any succulent for that matter).

Make your own cactus soil by combining one part of potting soil with one part of perlite or sand.

The nutrients will be supplied by the potting soil, the sand will make the potting soil loose, and the peat moss will assist retain moisture after each watering.

Fertilization Requirements

Monthly feeding of low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilization should stop one month before the planned winter cycle for the plant’s health.

Fertilizing the Bunny Ear Cactus is unnecessary but can be done if desired. You can apply a weak liquid fertilizer every month during the growing season (March to September).

However, be sure to avoid over-fertilizing, as this can damage or kill the cactus.

Temperature Requirements

They thrive in warm to somewhat hot climates in their natural environment.

Bunny Ears’ cactus-like temperatures range from 70 to 100°F (21 to 37°C), although they require milder temps in the winter.

Provide these cacti with mid-cool temperatures ranging from 50 to 65°F (10-18°C) from late autumn to early spring and keep them away from heat sources.

If the temperature requirements of your Bunny Ears cactus are not reached, they will die off the next spring.

The colder spell is required during the winter, at which time the cactus segments will develop a pale gray tint. The plants will die next spring if these regulated winter conditions are not provided.

Repotting Requirements

Re-potting should be done in the summer after the blooming season has ended. Remember to water the plant on a regular basis to encourage the development of a strong root system during its first year in the new container.

Place your cactus in a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the current container.

Use a mix of one part potting soil, one part sand, and one part peat moss.

Plant the Bunny Ears Cactus so that it sits just below the surface of the soil. Pack the soil around it and water thoroughly until excess water begins draining from the pot’s bottom.

Humidity Requirements

Prefers low humidity levels. Consider running a dehumidifier in the room where the cactus resides to give it the best possible environment.

A Bunny Ears cactus can be kept in any area where temperatures do not exceed 100°F( 30°C), and humidity does not exceed 50-60%.

Is It An Indoor Or Outdoor Plant?

It may be used as an interior houseplant, although it is most clearly an outdoor plant.

This cactus is well-known for its capacity to thrive in dry and severe settings.

It can survive and flourish inside if its native environment is replicated. It is one of the plants that beginners like since it is simple to cultivate and requires little care.

When grown outdoors, it forms a thick shrub that can reach a height of 16 to 24 inches (40 to 60 cm), occasionally more.

Is Opuntia Microdasys Cold Hardy?

According to experts, hundreds of cacti may survive the winter if sufficient drainage is given in the soil.

It has been shown that the majority of cactus deaths during the winter months are caused by rotting from excessive moisture.

Our cute bunny ears cactus companion can survive temperatures ranging from 50 to 65°F (10 to 18°C).

Because the cactus drains extra water before winter so that it does not freeze during the cold months, it is critical that you do not water it during this period.

You must protect this plant from frost by covering it with burlap, frost blankets, or bed sheets.

Place a structure to hold the cover in place if it comes into contact with the plant.

This is typically done in the late afternoon by those who have rabbit ears as part of their landscaping.

How Do You Propagate Opuntia Microdasys?

Bunny Ears cactus spread easily because of their flattened pads.

Remember that spreading Bunny Ears (and other cacti) is preferable in early summer.

Any adult Bunny cactus will generate an increasing number of healthy pads that are readily separated from the mother plant.

However, their glochids are extremely clinging to your skin and should be handled with extreme caution.

Remember to wear gardening gloves to protect your skin. If you don’t have any, use whatever impermeable material you have on hand, such as a newspaper or a piece of fabric, to grasp the stems.

This is how can propagate this plant.

  • Select a mature pad to detach from the mother plant. For greater survival prospects, arrange your cuttings in groups of three or more.
  • Break the pads off using a tweezer. Others would handle this area with a rolled-up newspaper or very thick gloves.
  • Allow a few days for the cuttings or pads to callus before planting.
  • Apply rooting hormone to the pads. While rooting hormones are not required, they can assist speed up the rooting and propagation process.
  • Meanwhile, prepare your potting mix. You may buy pre-mixed cactus potting soil or make your own at your local gardening store (see Soil Requirements above for the recipe).
  • Use a non-glazed clay container that is somewhat larger than the pads/cuttings you intend to re-pot. The clay container allows excess water to escape and reduces the likelihood of root rot.
  • After your cuttings have callused, put them one inch deep in the soil. This is deep enough to offer strength while being shallow enough to let the roots grow correctly and avoid rot.
  • Place it in a place with lots of sunshine.
  • Allow it to establish its roots for a few days. If you are unsure whether the roots have formed, give the cactus a little wiggle. If there is opposition, congratulations are in order. You can now go on to the next stage.
  • Finally, water it on a regular basis during the first year. This will aid in the healthy development and dissemination of the roots.

Is Opuntia Microdasys Toxic?

Although Opuntia Microdasys is non-toxic in the strictest sense, this does not make fully safe to be near. When the glochids (the white polka dots) are touched, they might cause skin discomfort. Pet owners must exercise caution.

It truly doesn’t matter. This plant should be kept away from cats, dogs, children, and even your own ungloved hands.

Even a single glochids lodged in your tongue may cause severe discomfort, so an animal pawing at or eating this plant might be in big danger.

How Big Do Opuntia Microdasys Get?

Opuntia Microdasys grows into a thick shrub 40-60 cm tall, sometimes taller, with pad-like stems 6-15 cm long and 4-12 cm broad.

Instead of spines, it contains thick clusters of white or yellow glochids 2-3 mm long.

They are barbed and thinner than the finest human hairs and detach in enormous numbers when touched.

They will cause significant skin irritation if not removed, thus, the plants must be handled with care.

Where Is Opuntia Microdasys Native To?

Mexico native, naturalized in Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania.  One explanation for O. Microdasys success in desert settings, both at home and as an introduction, is its effective fog gathering abilities.

The spines and hairs have the ideal structure and microstructure for capturing and directing fog.

Opuntia rufida, is a closely similar species, with reddish-brown glochids. It can also be found in northern Mexico and western Texas. Some botanists consider the two to be the same species.


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