Who doesn’t like cute little bunny ears sprouting around their house? Despite the cuddly and cute appearance of bunny ears cactus, you still have to be careful around them as their presentation is quite the opposite of how they actually feel.
Bunny ears cactus are covered with prickly thorny hairs that can irritate the skin when touched. This is the built-in defense system that protects them from harm or being devoured by animals.
But their excellent appearance makes up for all their prickliness, and what is even better is that they are extremely easy to propagate.
So, keep reading to learn the best techniques to propagate bunny ears cacti and why it is so important to do so.
Why Should You Propagate Bunny Ears Cacti?
For starters, it is an excellent method of expanding your urban jungle without the need to spend additional money.
Even if you are short on space to propagate your cacti, they can make excellent presents for family and friends.
Propagating your cactus is also necessary if it starts to wilt and die.
While it is important that you understand what is causing problems in your plant and try to fix it; however, if nothing seems to help it, your only choice is to propagate it.
But before propagating, make sure the pads are still in good condition.
Since plant clippings are young and more susceptible to bacteria and diseases, the issue causing problems with the parent plant will transfer to the clipping and most likely kill it quickly.
Propagating Bunny Ears Cactus
The bunny ears cactus is a popular household and garden plant because of its easy maintenance and care.
It is also fairly easy to propagate these, and we will be sharing a common and easy technique with you so that you can easily do so at home.
The primary method of propagating bunny ears cacti is extremely simple and best for beginners.
As the bunny ears cactus grows, it develops pads in pairs, just like bunny ears (hence the name). These pads can be cut out and planted in separate pots to propagate them.
However, this method necessitates that your plant is mature enough and has several bunny ears because if it is new and has only 2 or 3 pairs, it might harm the growth of the parent plant.
Before you start propagating your cactus, make sure it is at least a year old. Now head on over to read the step-by-step guide.
Prior to starting the propagating process, make sure you have all the equipment and tools you will need:
- Mature and healthy bunny ear cactus parent plant
- Sharp shears/scissors/tweezers
- Gloves for gardening
- Extra pots
- Water and soil
- Plastic sheets or newspaper for propagating inside
Step-by-Step Instructions and Care
Summertime is the best for propagating bunny ears cactus as it gives the baby plant enough time to develop roots to survive the cold winter months.
Take a few fully grown pads from the parent plant. Wear gloves and use tweezers to avoid being pricked by the cactus’ spiky hair.
- Every individual pad has the potential to produce a new parent plant. Before you cut out a pad from the parent plant, make sure it is healthy and will be able to propagate successfully. If you notice any signs of pests, leaf rot, or disease on the pad, propagating it will only magnify these issues in your new plant.
- You could also try to propagate bunny ears that have fallen off naturally; however, fresh leaf bad cuttings will likely yield better results.
Allow the clippings to callus and dry over a few days before planting them into the soil.
- It is recommended to use clean utensils so that no disease is passed on to the clipping. Additionally, gardening gloves and tweezers are also essential, so you don’t end up harming yourself.
- We suggest clipping off several pads and letting them callous together for better results.
Transfer the clippings into a pot. Make sure you plant the clipping an inch deep into a cactus garden soil mix.
- After 24 hours or more of letting the pads callous and dry, you can transfer them into a pot.
- Make sure you use a high-quality potting mix that contains ingredients like perlite, which aids in ventilation and drainage. This is critical because they are susceptible to roots and leaves rot caused by wet soil.
- This process requires you to wear gardening gloves. Prepare your soil mixture and plant the pad until the soil covers 1/3rd of the pad completely till it’s stable.
Once you have planted the clipping successfully into the soil, leave the plant in plenty of sunshine for a few days for it to develop a healthy root system.
- Plenty of sunlight and adequate water will encourage healthy root formation.
- Your baby bunny ears cactus will need plenty of direct sunlight, approximately 6-8 hours every day.
Provide the new plant with sufficient water so that it can grow healthily and strong during its first year. However, be careful not to overwater it as it can lead to rot and decay of the roots.
- While the bunny ears cactus doesn’t require a lot of water, the baby plant will still need to be watered more than the parent plant. This is so that it can easily grow a healthy root system.
Patience is a virtue. Since it is not a magical spell, it might take several weeks to several months for the roots to start developing.
- After transferring the clippings to a pot, all that’s left to do is wait. Water it on a regular basis and check the clippings for signs of decay or infection.
- What you should NOT do is try to inspect the roots by pulling out the pad every now and then. This will only cause unnecessary stress and lead to the sad demise of your new plant.
After a lot of patience, you will eventually start seeing some growth. It may not be much, but as long as your pad clipping is still healthy, it suggests that the propagation method was successful.
Before you know it, you will soon have a plethora of cute but spiky bunny ears to look after.
Repotting your Bunny Ears Cactus
An important thing to remember is that the bunny ears cactus needs to be repotted every two to three years. This is to ensure healthy growth and keep it safe from pests, decay, and fungus.
Follow these steps to easily repot your plant without damaging it.
First, make sure you have good quality gardening gloves on hand; they have to be thick so that the spikes don’t pierce through and hurt your hand.
Tongs or tweezers can also be used to avoid touching the cactus with your hands.
Holding the bunny ears cactus in place using tongs or gloves, slowly wobble the root system out from the old container and try to eliminate most of the old soil from the roots.
But be careful during this process so as to not harm the roots. Once you have shaken out most of the old soil, transfer the cactus into a new container with fresh, clean soil, patting it down firmly around the roots.
Problems you can Face While Propagating a Bunny Ears Cactus
Although the process is fairly easy, it can still be challenging since each of the pads need to develop individual and entirely new root systems.
However, even if some issues arise, don’t assume your propagation has failed.
If you detect the issues at an earlier stage, you will most likely successfully save your clipping and restore it back to good health.
Sometimes the root system doesn’t develop due to the surrounding temperatures being too cold.
However, you can fix this by introducing some heat under your clippings to accelerate the process.
Another common issue faced by gardeners is clippings becoming mushy and lumpy.
This, most often than not, leads to the propagation method failing; however, you can easily avoid this by cutting down on the water.
You can still save your clipping by trimming away the lumpy and mushy parts.
Another thing you will notice when you propagate for the very first time is that the first few bunny ears are very small.
This is natural and happens because the roots aren’t strong enough to transport enough nutrients, energy, and moisture to the plant.
As time passes and the roots become stronger, your bunny ears will also grow larger.
That is all you have to know about how to propagate a bunny ears cactus. The most important thing to be aware of is root rotting.
Once the plant starts to rot, it is next to impossible to revive it. You can tell when this happens by its discolored soggy roots and stem.
The only way to keep your bunny ears cactus safe is by taking a clipping of the healthy pads and propagating them in a separate soil, but this time be careful not to overwater it as excessive moisture kills the cactus.
Remember that each time you propagate your bunny ears cactus, you will have a unique experience. Since each plant is unique in its health, capabilities, requirements, pad size, and maturity, they will all have a different growing process.
Moreover, the external environment for each pad will be different, and therefore, so will your results.
With the proper attention, care, and surroundings, your fresh clippings will propagate successfully into healthy and happy plants.