Opuntia Microdasys (Bunny ears cactus)

The Opuntia Microdasys  commonly known as bunny ears due to its peculiar rounded and fun appearance.

This plant original from central Mexico.

The opuntia microdasys most notable features are its small size not exceeding 15-20 centimeters and its abundant branch.

This is definitely a miniature cactus.

Also, its areolas generate very friendly and colorful cotton spines.

What makes it a perfect plant for indoor cultivation, and even a ideal variety to have inside a small jar, terrarium or desert in miniature.

Opuntia microdasys is undoubtedly the most versatile ornamental mini cactus and curious that it is known.

Being the preferred choice of lovers of miniature bananas and flashy things. That is why it has earned the badge of the most unique indoor plant known.

This cactus can survive long seasons without irrigation, so it is ideal if you connsider your self to be  a person with little experience in caring for these types of plants.

However, whether you are an expert or a nooby these plants are perfect to have inside your homes, given its beauty its impressive and imposing presence and easy handling.

This plants are almost immortal.

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Tips to take care of the Opuntia Microdasys 

The main characteristic of this plant is its great resistance.

But like the rest of succulents of the style, cultivating an opuntia microdasys It requires a very specific process but nothing complex.

Soil

The best substrate for opuntia microdasys, will be the one that does not contain virtually organic material.

Being mainly mineral and sandy.

This feature will allow you not to retain excess water, avoiding plant rot.

I recommend you purchase a specific cactus substrate that has the properties that this plant needs.

Temperature

This cactus enjoys temperatures ranging from 70-100°F (21-37°C), but demands cooler temperatures during the winter months. Starting in the late fall, this cactus should be kept between 50-65°F (10-18°C), and away from central heating vents.

The cooler spell is demanded throughout the entire winter, during which time the segments of cactus will turn a light gray color.

Failure to provide these controlled winter conditions will result in plant death the following spring.

Watering

To water an opuntia microdasys you will have to check the humidity of the soil.

Ensuring that it remains continuously moist, but not wet or waterlogged, to prevent root rot.

Remember the great ability to accumulate water that these succulent plants have is impressive.

It can stand long periods of drought without problems.

Humidity:

Prefers low humidity conditions. Consider running a dehumidifier in the room where the cactus lives to provide it with the most ideal conditions possible.

Fertilizer

I recommend paying opuntia microdasys once every 2 or 3 weeks.

Use a specific cactus fertilizer. Perform this process during flowering of the plant, to take advantage of its full potential.

Growth

Growth is very slow but steady, so you will have to be attentive to transplant if you want to allow the plant to grow naturally.

Flowers

After ripening, if you have taken good care of the plant, in spring, it is succulent

It will generate small, subtle flowers of a pale yellow color.

Tthey will grow at the end of their sections and their size and shape will depend greatly measure of the chosen variety.

The flowering of opuntia microdasys is a show worthy of admiration.

Propagation

Like its sisters, the propagation of opuntia microdasys can be made by cuttings or seeds.

Although the seed method is much more complete and beautiful, I recommend you to carry out this process through cuttings, given that you will get replicas the same as the mother and the probability of failure is almost zero.

To reproduce this plant through this method you will have to separate one of the leaves of the plant when it has reached the maturity.

Remove it, let the wound dry for 24 hours and plant it in a pot with a specific and clean substrate, giving it as normal.

If you opt for seed reproduction, keep in mind that this is a slower but much nicer process.

Opuntia microdasys gives seeds during the months of March-April.

To succeed in this task,prepare pots with a mixture of the earth for cactus and vermiculite in a proportion 2-1.

Then we will submerge the pots in water until the earth It is soaked well.

After this, we will introduce the seeds to a depth no greater than 1-5 centimeters.

Then you will cover the pots with transparent film paper  and you will try to water it with a sprayer every time the soil is dry.

Opening the plastic once a day to remove the condensation water.

After 1 or 2 months you will have a newly germinated opuntia microdasys babies and ready for a new life.

Wait until these small plants reach a sufficient size to be manipulated, before transplanting them to the pot definitive.

Other tips

Fungus

When it comes to growing an opuntia microdasys you have to be careful with certain vital aspects such as irrigation and the type of substrate to avoid the most common evil.

The fungus usually, with an excess of irrigation, the stem can be rotten. Endowing to the floor looking wrinkled and straight.

Unfortunately, if there are already symptoms of rot on the stem, there is not much to do.

For what I recommend you to be cautious with the watering.

Trust your plant, she can take care of herself almost alone.

If your opuntia microdasys does not bloom, do not worry.

Depending on the variety that you have, this plant will bloom periodically or not. And only when you have received the adequate nutrients.

Succulents are plants that usually need some space to grow.

By that if your opuntia microdasys does not grow, it will be sending you signals to do a pot transplants.

Do not worry, as soon as you do and give it the enough fertilizer, it will grow like never before.

Where to plant

The best way to know how to grow a microdasys is to remember its origin.

In this case, this plant is an indoor plant. So these are the four basic tips.

Adult plants place in a full sun  and the young ones on semi shade.

It is a plant that does not need much maintenance

They do not need to prune.

Conclusion 

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.

This paddle cactus is a favorite among indoor and outdoor succulent growers.

The green pads of this cacti form shrubs.

The pads are not covered in spines, but white or yellow aureoles that look like tufts of cotton