Opuntia Microdasys - Bunny ear cactus
Despite the cute name this is not a cuddly plant! With no central stem the cacti pads grow in pairs with the juvenile ones giving rise to the name.
Size: Nursery pot width 17cm Height 40cm
Light: As a desert native this plant requires a lot of light with a dormancy period in the winter which requires less.
Water: As with other cacti species water very little in the summer and not at all in the winter months, starting again early spring. A juvenile plant should be watered more in the summer than a mature specimen to ensure a strong root system is established.
Temperature: A warm room will provide a suitable temperature, avoiding draughts during the spring and summer months. The winter dormancy period requires lower temperatures (10-18 degrees)
Humidity: No, None! In fact the opposite, a dehumidifier would benefit this desert species.
Feed: A low nitrogen fertiliser in the hotter summer months can be given with this ending a month before the temperatures cool off to allow for winter dormancy.
Care tips: Apart from the obvious - don't touch! Key points with this species are in temperature and light requirements being met along with the correct watering regime. The winter dormancy period is vital to the survival of this plant.
Height & growth rate: 12 to 18 inches is expected, a slow grower as with all cacti species.
Origin: Northern Mexico & Arizona