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Bunny Ear Cactus Best Care Tips for Beginners

Slight negligence is never a trouble for the easy-going Bunny Ear Cactus.

However, prolonged carelessness can lead to long, skinny, and discolored plants.

Generally, Bunny Ear Cactus prefers a temperature between 70-100°F, 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, well-aerated potting mix with 10-30% humidity. Also, it requires biweekly watering, monthly low-nitrogen fertilization, repotting every one to two years, and occasional pruning.

Scroll down until the end to get tips on keeping your Bunny Ear Cactus flourishing and away from all the environmental stresses.

Overview of Bunny Ear Cactus

Bunny Ear Cactus or Golden Bristle Cactus is easily identifiable with its segmented pads, which are in pairs and resemble rabbit ears.

Moreover, the lifespan of Bunny Ear Cactus is expected to be 20-30 years.

The general overview of the bunny ear cactus is summarized below.

Scientific NameOpuntia microdasys
Common nameGolden Bristle Cactus
Polka Dot Cactus
Angel's Wings
USDA Zone9-12
Plant TypePerennial succulent
Leaf FeaturePaired flat pad-like stems with small clustered blunt spines
Plant Size2-3 feet long
4-6 feet spread
Growing seasonSpring and summer
Flowering TimeSpring
ToxicityNon-toxic to humans and pets

Bunny Ear Cactus Best Care Tips for Beginners

The primary thing to do while growing a Bunny Ear Cactus is to make the environment and soil resemble the desert.

A template containing the complete care tips of Bunny Ear Cactus
Follow the tips to make your Cactus thrive in the indoor condition

1. Light & Temperature

Being a Cactus, Bunny Ear loves direct sunlight for 6-8 hours, with temperatures ranging between 70ºF and 100ºF on summer days.

Fulfill the requirement by placing them in south or west-facing windows throughout the day. Install grow light and place the Cactus for at least 12-14 hours in case of dark rooms.

However, do not place Bunny Ear near the windows during winter as it risks fluctuating temperatures and cold drafts hitting the Cactus.

While correcting the location, consider the light requirement, as insufficient light leads to a pale and unhealthy appearance with browning and rotting of stem and roots.

As for winters, Bunny Ear does not demand much light as it is dormant, so just ensure to protect it from the cold by using frost blankets or a heating mat.

Remember, the Bunny Ear Cactus can thrive in 50-65°F temperature for the winter. So bring it indoors before first frost date.

2. Water & Humidity

A Cactus species having a succulent body type makes Bunny Ear like dry air, just like in the desert, surviving in less moisture, as it stores water on its stem.

Therefore, watering your cacti bi-weekly during the summer while ceasing watering during the winter with humidity around 10-30% is best for the Bunny Ears.

However, ensure that the soil dries out completely before the next watering, as the Cactus may undergo stem and root rot with a mushy appearance invited by overwatering.

Also, the Cactus signals intolerance to high humidity by green or black molds on the stem due to rotting.

In contrast, it becomes pale and brown and dries out when it cannot bear the low water conditions and too low humidity.

So keep the balance by using a well-draining mix aided by low-humid rooms. Wait for the top 1-inch of soil to dry before the next watering.

Use unglazed terracotta pots with drainage holes to drain the excess water, or install a dehumidifier and give occasional misting with a suitable sprayer.

3. Soil & Fertilizer

The Bunny Ear Cactus loves the desert-like sandy acidic to neutral soil (6.1-7.8), providing perfectly aerated conditions and fast drainage with richness in organic matter.

You can easily prepare an ideal mix using regular garden soil, perlite or gravel, and sand in a 3:2:3 ratio with a monthly application of low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Also, for the best option, you can incorporate 40-50% organic matter and 50-60% inorganic matter to balance the nutrients and drainage on the level.

Alternatively, you can buy soil mix readily available, like Hoffman Succulent Mix, Quarts Succulent Soil, Espoma Organic Cactus Mix, and Premium Blend.

The store-bought mixes are filled with nutrients, so you do not need to fertilize them for at least six months.

Afterward, you can use a bloom booster of a 10-30-20 ratio diluted with the irrigation water for easy absorption and availability of the feed.

However, do not try to overfertilize the Bunny Ear as it causes the base to turn yellow and stunts the overall growth of the Cactus.

4. Potting & Repotting

The best pots for planting Bunny Ear Cactus are terracotta and unglazed ceramic pots about 10% wider than the cactus’ width with 1-3 drainage holes.

You can also use plastic and cemented pots, but glass and metal pots are not advisable for growing cacti, as they trap water and leads to temperature fluctuation.

Choosing the right pot is vital for Bunny Ear as small-sized pots become root-bound very fast, depriving cacti’s proper growth, and a large pot holds more water than required.

However, after a year or two, you must repot them naturally in summer as the roots start poking out from the drainage hole, the soil gets tighter, and water logs and growth slow down.

So start by loosening the soil with a blunt knife, remove the Bunny Ear Cactus from the old pot, and untangle the roots to cut off excess roots and damaged rootballs.

Now, place a layer of porous material like a coffee filter to cover the drainage hole and prevent soil leakage while filling.

Then, fill the pot with some fresh potting mix and place the Bunny Ear at the center. Lastly, water it and place it in a bright light area.

While repotting, choose at least one to two inches wider pot than the old ones.

5. Occasional Pruning

Generally, the Bunny Ear Cactus does not demand much pruning as they are slow growers and lack leaves.

However, due to improper humidity and watering, the plant pads can become a host for diseases and pests that might demand pruning to maintain healthy growth.

The most common pests include mealybugs and scales that lead to white patches on the plant body with yellow or brown spots.

If they are small in numbers, pick them out and use rubbing alcohol to wipe off the pests from the stem but spray neem oil when the infestation is high.

Meanwhile, the commonly occurring disease in the Bunny Ears is anthracnose and bacterial rot, making the plant turn brown with black spots and giving out a mushy appearance.

Stop watering as soon as you notice the symptoms, isolate the affected Cactus from the group, and prune off the damaged part.

In extreme root rot, reviving the Bunny Ear is impossible. So, cut the unaffected stem and plant it in a new pot, discarding the old Cactus.

Bunny Ear Cactus: All About Growth Habits

Bunny Ear cactus is a slow-growing shrub with an erect growth habit that can attain a height of 2-3 feet and a spread of 4-6 feet.

The plant lacks a central stem, but the pads (modified stem and leaves) grow in pairs, giving a rabbits-ear-like appearance, and is 6–15cm long and 4-12cm wide.

Further, when young, the pads are oblong to circular and bright green, which becomes pale green on maturity.

Besides, the Polka Dot Cactus don’t have spines. Instead, the pads have small bumps on the surface with numerous white or yellow hair-like prickles in clusters.
A small cactus is growing in a pot containing soil till the rim.
The pads of Bunny Ear give rise to other small columnar pads.

Meanwhile, it rarely blooms indoors, but once it does, you can enjoy the solitary yellow flower of Bunny Ear that is 3-5 cm in diameter.

However, Bunny Ear needs all year-round, ideal conditions to bloom in spring which develops to give out edible fruits.

The fruits are fleshy, spherical, and red to purple, extending up to 3 cm in diameter.

Propagation Methods for Bunny Ear Cactus

Propagating Bunny Ear Cactus with its stem or pads during the summer is the most used and easy method.

Summertime propagation gives Cactus enough time to develop a root system before it undergoes dormancy in winter.

Moreover, the pads of the bunny ear can produce roots within 3-4 weeks if provided with a favorable environment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Propagate Bunny Ear Cactus

  • Select some pads from the old plant that are matured and dark green for propagation.
  • Use thick gloves to prevent pricking by glochids (hair-like spine).
  • Cut off 3-4 matured pads from the Cactus by making a straight, clean cut at the pad’s base with a sharp knife.
  • Slice off a large portion of the head if it’s a columnar Cactus.
  • For rotten bases, use the same method: slice off the healthy portion to keep and discard the rest.
  • Then expose the pads to air for 24 hours allowing the callus formation on the wound.
  • Now plant the pad on a new pot with fresh well-draining potting mix.
  • Place it in a location that receives at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Water the plant regularly to help your cacti develop a robust rooting system in the first year of planting.

Besides cutting, Bunny Ear Cactus can also be propagated with seeds.

However, seeds are rarely found as the Cactus is known to produce seeds only in Australian deserts and is very tiny to be collected easily.

Bunny Ear Cactus Toxicity

Bunny Ear Cactus are not toxic to humans and animals. Instead, the pads and fruits are considered edible.

However, do not try to stroke the Cactus, as it invites the problem, as the spines over the pads can irritate your skin. They can easily detach and fly in the air to get in your eyes.

Also, if your pets try to chew on the rabbits-ear-like pads, they may feel discomfort in the stomach due to the glochids.

So, removing the fine spines with tweezers when placed indoors is advisable to prevent mishaps.

Furthermore, you can use the pads of Polka Dot Cactus as an ingredient for BBQ or eat the fruits raw but remember to remove the spines.

Bunny Ear Cactus For Sale

After being wary of all the care tips, you are set to bring and foster the cute Bunny Ear home.

So look at the site to get the Bunny Ear Cactus reasonably priced.

ShopsExpected Shipping Time
Amazon2-3 business days
Succulent Box3-5 business days

Bunny Ear Cactus vs. Prickly Pear Cactus

The topmost similarity between Bunny Ear Cactus and Prickly Pear Cactus is that the fruits of both plants are edible.

The pads of the Bunny Ear Cactus grow in pairs, like rabbits’ ears-like appearance, while the pads of the Prickly Pear Cactus are ovate to oblong in shape.

Both the Cactus have essential health benefits like anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective effects.

FAQs About Bunny Ear Cactus

What happens if you touch a Bunny Ear Cactus?

Beware of the cute-looking Bunny Cactus, as the spines on the dots can irritate the skin and sting like a needle once you stroke over it.

However, they are not poisonous, so you can enjoy their presence indoors even if you have pets and children.

Can I put my Bunny Ear Cactus outside?

The Bunny Ear belonging to the Cactaceae family can endure direct light for 6-8 hours so that you can place it as a decorative in the rock gardens.

But protect it from scorching light and too high temperature (>100ºF), as the condition can burn the stems and pads.

From Editorial Team


Bunny ear cactus can be a cute addition to your cactus collection that can be your friend for more than ten years going up to twenty if provided with ideal conditions.

Moreover, given the low maintenance benefits and easy care, it can be the best option for novice gardeners and those with limited free time.

However, the Cactus may show drooping symptoms if there are any inconsistencies in care requirements.

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