Bunny Ears Cactus Pruning Tips and Tricks Guide

Our bunny ears cactus is a beautiful plant that can be grown in any house, living room, or office. Despite the fact that this cactus requires very little care and attention, it can sometimes cause us some difficulties. The question of how to rejuvenate the bunny ears cactus, as many growers face once or twice in their lives, arouses curiosity. Only with careful observation and necessary pruning rules, we will learn together how to stimulate the growth of our sensitive friend.

The bunny ears cactus is a plant native to Mexico that became well known because of the beautiful appearance it makes when it blooms. However, the truth is that many people buy this type of cactus without knowing that it must be pruned to increase its intensity and bloom, or because they just do not know how to trim it correctly.

What is Pruning? 

Sometimes, the plants we grow aren’t exactly what we want or need. They might be too tall or too short, they might have too many branches or not enough, and there are a whole host of other issues that might make them unfit for their present situation. When this happens, it’s time to prune your plants.

While pruning can seem scary at first if you’re thinking about a plant you’ve had for years and don’t want to harm, it’s actually quite simple. It can be done for both indoor and outdoor plants, although outdoor ones are more likely to be pruned to shape rather than simply cut back. Don’t let the word “cut” fool you: no actual cutting is involved in pruning! Pruning is usually done using tools called shears that look like scissors but with much lighter blades. These blades come in different shapes and sizes depending on what you need to cut—for example, small shoots will only require very light snipping while large branches may need a more heavy-duty tool with a slightly wider blade.

Rabbit Ear Cacti Information

Opuntia microdasys is a fairly limited size racket cactus: 60 cm in height. Its chlorophyllian stems are elliptical rackets 7 to 15 cm long, dull green, flat, and dotted with cottony areoles, without needles, but full of glochids (micro-stings). 

yellow flowers

On mature plants, 4-5 cm wide yellow flowers bloom in June-July, on the tops of the rackets. They have multiple acid yellow petals, numerous stamens, and a large velvety green pistil. Its fruits are round and red.

“The bunny ears cactus has orbicular joints with green pads that are three to six inches long. These pads are green with many large, yellow glochids. These cacti are invasive and their glochids blow in the wind causing potential itching and eye irritation.”

Compound: Opu mic

Geographic Origin: Southwest Desert

Ecozone Origin: Nearctic

Biome Origin:

Natural History: The native population of the O. microdasys  is the Southwest Desert of Mexico. In Mexico you can find this specie in Coahuila, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas (2).

The rabbit-ear cactus ( Opuntia microdasys ) is native to Mexico and is an inhabitant of arid and desert areas. 

An interesting fact about the rabbit ear cactus is that it does not develop spines. Instead, it grows glochids, which are short, whitish-brown spines. 

If you’re lucky, the plant can produce 2-inch (5 cm) wide creamy-yellow flowers in summer, followed by globose purple fruits.

What are the reasons why you should prune your Bunny Ears Cactus?

Most often, pruning is carried out for two purposes: hygienic (aesthetic) or therapeutic. In the first case, the plant tilted or stretched too much, in the second, signs of disease or decay appeared. The latter can happen for various reasons: from waterlogging of the soil to lack of light.

The following signs signal problems and the need for pruning:

  • the strong inclination of the trunk;
  • growth stop;
  • the appearance of an uncharacteristic yellow tint, haze;
  • distribution of dry or wet spots;
  • decrease in turgor, wilting.
  • the pads are getting bigger and heavier than the plant base.

What Size Should the Cut Be?

And best of all, keep the proportions based on the original size of the cactus. If, for example, only 1/3 of the plant is left intact, and 2/3 is pruned and processed, the chances of further rooting in such a cactus are small. The most optimal ratio can be called 1 to 3 or 1 to 4.

After turning, the cut is sprinkled with coal powder, which will absorb the juice of the plant.

Do Not Forget to Dry the Cactus

With the basic pruning of the cactus completed, it is time to dry the cutting. This may sound intimidating, but do not worry! It is not a difficult process and will have a beneficial effect on future growth.

The first thing to do is remove the cactus from its growing medium and place it on a flat plate or newspaper. The goal here is to expose as much surface area to air as possible. The cactus will dry out, but do not worry—it may look shriveled or discolored, but this will return to normal in a few days!

After 7-10 days, re-pot your cactus into its final (permanent) home. Fill the new container with well-draining potting soil and place it in an area where there will be bright but indirect sunlight for 12-14 hours per day.

What Are the Tools You Can Use for Pruning?

Tools for Pruning

Pruning is done with special tools, such as 

  • the pruning shears,
  • the pruner,
  •  the saw, 
  • the ax.

Pruning is an essential maintenance task in order to maintain a healthy garden. However, pruning bunny ear cacti requires special experience. Pruning is not an easy job; you cannot just barge into it. Pruning requires special skills and knowledge of how to do it right. It is best if the pruning is done by experienced people who have been engaged in gardening for years and have gained the desired experience.

 The use of sharp tools for pruning is of particular importance. Pruning causes pain to trees, so in order to avoid this, the tools should be very sharp. This will allow a clean-cut, and prevent disease transmission from one tree to another. The pruning cuts should always be at an angle of 45 °

When to Prune Bunny Ears?

The best time to prune your bunny ears is after the flowering season when they have gone through their winter rest period. You should also make sure that they are completely dried before doing so to avoid any damage to the plant.

How To Care For Pruned Bunny Ears?

When you have pruned your bunny ears cactus, ensure that you don’t leave any of it behind as this can cause problems later on such as rotting roots. Make sure that you clear out all of it from the pot after trimming and cleaning.

How to Prune Bunny Ears Cactus?

Prune Bunny Ears Cactus

This will help your bunny ears cactus grow fuller and more quickly than if you left it alone. Pruning may seem like a tedious task, but it is necessary for a happy plant!

Before you prune a plant, wear gloves to keep from getting cuts, and wear clothes that cover your skin from getting scraped. Clean the pruning shears by washing off any old dirt around the edges, then sharpen them so they make clean cuts.

Like a cactus, bunny ears have their points where they can develop new pads and those that are already developed should be pruned to maintain their beauty.

In order to help you with the pruning of bunny ears, below are some steps that you can follow:

First, select the more oversized pads than they should and those that take too much space and make a clean cut at the branching point with an appropriate size of pruning shears or knives.

Next, look for any damaged, diseased, and dead pads, then remove them. Ensure that you won’t leave any damaged plant to prevent problems in the future.

 If you notice that a branch is growing in the wrong direction, prune it away from the main plant to prevent problems later on. 

To help prolong the life of your bunny ears cactus, pay close attention to pruning. Prune out dead leaves, flowers, or stems that have fallen off. Remove any damaged areas of the cactus if you find them. 

Each new pad has access to light and air, instead of being buried under layers and layers of other pads. As pads grow, they sometimes grow too close to each other. If that happens, it is hard for them to get enough sun. You should cut the part that is blocking the sun for them to grow more.

Check the base of your plant and look for pads that have grown too much in one direction and are curling around.

Avoid watering the wound or the cut surfaces of the pruned plant. 

After you cut a cactus, it should dry for a couple of days. If you want, you can put powder on the cut to help keep it from being infected by fungus.

When you grow bunny ears cactus at home, you can pull the pads off. You can use cinnamon for sealing the cut holes.

A Bunny Ears Cactus can be a nice gift for your friend. You can take off a pad to give it to your friend.


It is a good idea to prune to preserve your cactus and make it more attractive. Pruning should not be done in summer when the plants are in the growing season. If you cut off a branch at an incorrect angle, then it could leave a stem wound and make the plant rot. You should also avoid pruning of these plants during the coldest months in winter because the wounds can stay on the plant for a long time even after spring arrives.




Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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