Opuntia Microdasys has the appearance of a shrub, and spreads out to cover between 2-5 feet of ground as a mature plant. The thick pads of this plant are adorned with fuzzy glochids, or short bristles, that resemble the fur of rabbits and grow in ear like pairs. Named for its visual appearance, the Bunny Ear Cactus, also called the Polka-Dot Cactus.
The plant has no central stem or leaves. The individual segments which constitute the cactus body are oval shaped pads from which additional segments form. These new segments always grow in pairs, giving new growth areas the appearance of bunny ears. Newest segments grow in as a red color, and mature to dark green as they grow. Flowers will always sprout from the terminal ends of segment pads. The flowers are up to 2 inches across and have broad, yellow tepals, yellow anthers, and dark green stigma lobes. The flowers are followed by round to egg-shaped, up to 2 inches long, red to purplish, spineless but glochid-dotted fruits.
Demands full light growing for most of the year, except during the winter cycle. For the plant's health, light should be reduced to partial sun during this time.
The Polka-dot Cactus is a desert species. Cactus are a gardeners dream for their low maintenance and interesting appearance. Water can be the death of the plant but it does need consistent moisture during the growing season. Water the plant when the top one inch of soil is dry. Allow the water to drain out of the pot and remove any excess from the saucer. During fall and winter, water lightly only every 2- 3 weeks. Like most cacti, this specimen demands sandy soil-bases that drain easily
Feed Cactus monthly with low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilization should stop one month before the planned winter cycle for the plant's health.
Makes an attractive landscape plant .It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small.
For watering cacti, the golden rule is to make sure the soil is completely dry before watering! This will stop the roots from rotting. It is advised to always use a pot with a drainage hole so that excess water can get drained out. If kept in a sunny area, you will need to water it once every week. If it is in a semi shaded or filtered light area, you might need to water it once in 2 weeks.
Cacti like soil that is well aerated and fast draining. You can fertilise the cactus in the summer months when it is in its growing season. During the winters it is best to cut back on any fertiliser and let the plant rest.
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