Bunny ears cactus is a popular cactus variety that many enthusiasts and succulent collectors like to grow. It’s the perfect specimen to plant in a pot for keeping either outdoors or inside near a bright, sunny window.
This species of cactus requires minimal care except for the occasional watering. There are a number of cultivars and varieties of this species that you might also be interested in.
Opuntia microdasys “albata”
This is a nursery-selected cultivar of the bunny ears cactus. The fleshy pads are covered with a huge number of tiny barbed glochids that are creamy white. This makes the plant look very much like a soft, fluffy bunny. Don’t be tempted to touch it though, because the glochids can detach easily and get lodged in the skin. These can be quite painful and difficult to remove.
This type grows to about 24 inches tall and can spread to around 5 feet wide if given the opportunity.
Opuntia microdasys var. albispina (Angel wings)
This is a variety of the main species. It’s very similar to the “albata” cultivar with green, fleshy pads and spiny white glochids. When it flowers, this variety has lemon yellow flowers that are followed by red fruits.
Opuntia microdasys cv. ‘Caress’
This is a nursery-produced cultivar that lacks the spiny glochids so it’s safe to touch. It displays the same growth habit as other bunny ears species with fleshy green pads that have numerous areoles. These areoles are small and look like brown felt. There are no glochids growing from these areoles.
When it flowers, this species produces lovely pale yellow flowers that appear almost translucent. These are followed by red fruits.
Opuntia microdasys “contorta”
“Contorta” is another nursery-produced cultivar that has an interesting growth pattern. Instead of producing ovate fleshy pads, the pads on this plant are curled and twisted. This gives the plant a very unique shape.
The pads are covered with many bright yellow glochids that are less than a tenth of an inch long and quite prickly. When it flowers, this Opuntia produces lemon yellow blooms that are followed by red fruits.
Opuntia microdasys var. pallida (Polka dot cactus)
This variety of Opuntia has a similar growth pattern to the main species with fleshy green pads that are covered with fine yellow glochids in dense clusters. It only grows to about 16 to 24 inches tall so it’s the perfect specimen for growing in a nice terracotta pot.
Like most of the bunny ears cactus varieties, this one produces lemon yellow flowers and red-purplish round fruits.
Opuntia microdasys var. pallida f. cristata (Funny bunny, Monstrose bunny ears, or Crested bunny ears)
This is another interesting variety that has twisting stems or pads similar to “contorta”. The pads are segmented, flattened and rounded. They are covered with yellow areoles and bristly glochids.
The flowers of this variety are yellow with a red tinge and measure around 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.
Opuntia microdasys subsp. rufida (Cinnamon bunny ears or Blind prickly pear)
Opuntia rufida has a more branching growth habit when compared to the standard Opuntia microdasys. This cactus can form a dense shrub that can grow up to 5 feet tall. Each pad has numerous reddish-brown glochids.
The flowers on this species are yellow to orange-red and can reach up to 3 inches in diameter. These are followed by round, fleshy fruits that ripen to a red color.
Check our blog for more types of cactus to grow.