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Cactus SucculentConservatory Greenhouse

Opuntia microdasys
  • RHS AGM

bunny ears cactus

O. microdasys is a bushy, perennial cactus with flattened, segmented, oval to round, light to mid-green stems; densely spotted with white areoles, each bearing minute white, yellow or reddish-brown bristle-like spines. Yellow, bowl-shaped flowers to 4-5cm across are borne in summer

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
10–20 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green White
Summer Green White Yellow
Autumn Green White
Winter Green White
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H2
Botanical details
Family
Cactaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Opuntia can be creeping, bushy or tree-like cacti, usually with flattened, pad-like stem segments bearing spines and barbed bristles, and with funnel-shaped flowers followed by spiny, fleshy fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
C & N Mexico

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How to grow

Cultivation

Under glass grow in sharply-draining loam based compost (JI No2) with added sharp sand or perlite, or a proprietary cactus compost. Provide full light at all times and allow compost to dry before watering during growth period in spring, summer and early autumn and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser three or four times. Withhold water and fertiliser in winter when dormant. See houseplant cacti and succulent cultivation for further advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed in spring. Sow after pre-soaking and keep at 21°C for germination. Root stem segments in summer. Handle segments with folded newspaper to avoid touching spines

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

May be susceptible to scale insects and mealybugs

Diseases

Generally disease-free although in poorly drained, or wet soil, can be susceptible to root rots

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