Bunny Ear Cactus Plant – How To Grow Bunny Ears Cactus

Cacti are the perfect plant for the novice gardener. They are also the perfect specimen for a neglectful gardener. Bunny ears cactus plant, also called angel’s wings, has ease of care combined with an original appearance. The thick pads of this plant are adorned with fuzzy glochids, or short bristles, that resemble the fur of rabbits and grow in earlike pairs. Even a beginner can learn how to grow bunny ears cactus and enjoy the soft appearance of the plant without a lot of typical houseplant fuss.

Bunny Ears Cactus Information

Bunny ears cactus (Opuntia microdasys) originated in Mexico and is a denizen of arid, desert-like areas. Growing bunny ears cactus is as simple as mimicking its native regional conditions. So if you have a dry, low humidity home and plenty of sunny exposure, bunny ears cactus plant might be the perfect plant for you.

Bunny ears forms a 2- to 3-foot tall plant with a spread of 4 to 5 feet in its native habitat. In the home, it is a slow growing plant that will likely reach 2 feet in height and have about the same width. It makes an excellent container plant with its paired 3- to 6-inch long pads, which

start out a rosy red and deepen to bright green.

An interesting bit of bunny ears cactus information is that it does not develop spines. Instead, it grows glochids, which are short whitish brown prickles. These still have the ability to bite, so caution is urged when handling the cactus. If you are lucky, the plant may produce 2-inch wide creamy yellow flowers in summer, followed by globular purple fruits.

How to Grow Bunny Ears Cactus

As with most succulents, you can start new bunny ears plants with a pad taken from the cactus. Use extreme caution when removing a leaf because the glochids dislodge easily and are very difficult to remove from the skin.

Use thick gloves or newspaper to pick up the pad. Allow the end to callus for a few days and then insert into cactus soil. Use a good cactus mix for growing bunny ears cactus, or make your own with 40 percent potting soil, 40 percent sand and 20 percent peat moss. The pad usually roots within a few weeks.

Bunny ears cactus requires a well-drained container for indoor use. An unglazed clay pot allows for evaporation of excess moisture, which is a prime killer of these plants. They can also grow outdoors but are only hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11.

Bunny Ears Cactus Care

These plants are a gardeners dream for their low maintenance and interesting appearance. Water can be the death of the plant but it does need consistent moisture during the growing season. Water the plant when the top one inch of soil is dry. Allow the water to drain out of the pot and remove any excess from the saucer. During fall and winter, water lightly only every 3 to 4 weeks.

Fertilize the plant every other water period during spring and summer with a diluted houseplant food or cactus formula.

Occasionally, the plant will be beleaguered by pests such as mealybugs and scale insects. Combat these with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.

Bunny ears cactus should be repotted every 1 to 2 years. Wait at least a week after repotting to water the plant. Other than these steps, bunny ears cactus care is limited and the plant should reward you with its abundant pads and interesting features for years.


Opuntia microdasys(bunny ear cactus), 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 (bunny ear cactus)or are thinking about getting one, keep reading for everything you need to know about this cactus species!

Difficulty Lighting Water Soil
Moderate Direct sunlight When dry Soil + sand

Bunny Ear cactus 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 (bunny ear cactus) naturally occurs in dry areas in Mexico with little water or humidity and plenty of sun.

Bunny Ear cactus 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 Bunny Ear cactus

(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, 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 soil cactus mix or make your own by mixing one part potting soil with one part per-lite or sand.
  • Be careful when re-potting 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 bunny ear cactus and want to propagate it, you can easily do so by carefully breaking off one of the pads and simply replanting it.

Watering Bunny Ear cactus

Proper watering is a very important aspect of Opuntia microdasys (bunny ear cactus) 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 Bunny Ear Cactus

You can find Bunny ear cactus at most garden stores that sell cacti. If you’ve got a cactus nursery nearby, be sure to have a look!

Succulents and Cactus #101

Opuntia microdasys albata

General Care for Opuntia microdasys albata “Bunny Ears”

Opuntia microdasys albata “Bunny Ears” is easy to care for and grows well indoors. Use caution when handling – although it is not covered in spines, the aureoles can still poke, so keep away from children and pets.


Opuntia microdasys albata “Bunny Ears” tends to need a bit less water than other succulents. It’s best to use the “soak and dry” method, and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Where to Plant

“Bunny Ears” is not cold hardy, so if you live in a zone that gets colder than 20° F (-6.7° C), it’s best to plant this succulent in a container that can be brought indoors. It does well in full to partial sun.

If growing outdoors, be sure to plant somewhere it has plenty of room – it can get as large as 6 feet (1.8 m) wide! Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day. If planting indoors, place in a room that gets a lot of sunlight, such as near a southern-facing window (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere).

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