How Much Sun does a Bunny Ear Cactus need?

How Much Sun does a Bunny Ear Cactus need?

If you get a bunny ear cactus as a gift and you’re thinking about how to care for it, there are two things you need to consider: where to put it, and how much sun it needs.

The cactus is native to Mexico and thrives in dry, hot areas. So, if you live in the desert or somewhere with a lot of heat, it’s a good option for you. However, if you live somewhere with normal temperatures and enough sunlight during the day, the bunny ear will do just fine.

You don’t want to keep your cactus too far away from direct sunlight, however. The plant likes full and bright sunlight. 

Therefore, it is best to keep it in a spot that receives full sun throughout the day. That way, it can get all the light it needs. Generally, Bunny Ear Cactus requires 14 hours of full sunlight to thrive. And, it is recommended to give your plant at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Bunny Ears Cactus is native to northern Mexico and desert regions stretching into Arizona. This plant will grow 2-3 feet tall and spread 4-6 feet as a mature plant. It needs full sun in the summer months and should be grown in a pot with cactus potting soil to prevent root rot. In the winter months, it requires cooler temperatures of 50-65 degrees F, very little water, and partial sun conditions. It may bloom if these conditions are met or it may die if they are not…..Opuntia microdasys

Problems Due to Lack of Sunlight

If your plant is receiving too little sunlight, it will exhibit a number of symptoms. The most common symptom is a pale or unhealthy-looking appearance, which is caused by the chlorophyll in leaves break down. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives leaves their green color and serves as a light-trapping mechanism for the plant. If too little sunlight is present, the chlorophyll breaks down and the outer portions of the leaf turn yellow or brown and start to fall off.

Browning or rotting symptoms are also common in stems and roots as they begin to rot. This can happen if the plant’s water supply isn’t sufficient, which also affects its ability to maintain the freshness of its cells. If there is not enough water, leaves will wilt and begin to die of dehydration, leading to premature rotting.

Another symptom associated with lack of sunlight is stunted growth or unusually long growth of pads toward the light source. Without enough light, plants don’t have the energy to produce flowers or fruit, so they focus their energy on growing upward toward sunlight instead.

Tips to Provide Adequate Light and Location

  • Placing your cacti in a South or West-facing window is an important tip to provide adequate light and location. Sunlight is essential to your cacti’s growth, so you must make sure it receives enough light throughout the day.
  • Avoid placing your cacti in high humid rooms like the kitchen or bathroom; even if their windows face a sunny area, their proximity to showers or sinks can make it difficult for them to get enough light.
  • Place your cactus 6 to 12 inches below cool white Fluorescent lights (grow lights) for 12 to 16 hours to compensate for the plant’s light requirements.
  • It is true that winter days are shorter than summer days. In winter, the bunny ear doesn’t need full direct sunlight as in summer; hence can be placed in a spot receiving bright indirect light. And, it’s recommended that you keep the potted plant indoors during the winter. 
  • However, if you live in places with cold and dry winters, it’s a good idea to move this plant out of the cold into a warmer and humid environment for one or two months each year. If your house is quite warm, don’t worry about this—just keep watering your bunny ear as usual and it will be happy.

 University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science website says  “If you just don’t have enough light, you can supplement it with artificial lighting.  Be careful of the spot-type plant lights, as they may get too hot and burn the plants if closer than 6 inches or so.  Many use tube plant lights, or simply daylight or natural light fluorescent tubes, hung 6 inches or so over plant tops.  Use plant lighting, on timers, for 12 to 16 hours a day”.


Why Is My Bunny Ear  Cactus Leaning Away from the Sun?

It’s possible that the source of your trouble lies in the temperature of the room where your plant is located. It should be kept at an average temperature between 50-65 degrees F. At temperatures above 80°F (27°C), the humidity in the air will decrease, which can cause your bunny ear cactus to lean away from the sun.

Why Is My Bunny Ear Cactus Leaning Over?

The problem with this cactus is when it needs more light it becomes etiolated, which means that it stretches towards the nearest light source. 

If you’re having trouble with your bunny ear cactus leaning over or drooping, here are some things you can try:

1.)  Move your Bunny Ear Cactus to a brighter spot. The ideal location would be by south or west-facing window where there’s plenty of sunlight (but not direct sun). You could also place it near another plant that is getting lots of light (or use grow lights). When there’s sufficient light exposure, the cactus will stop leaning towards you for its fix of light.

2.)  Keep pinching off the new shoots at the base of your Bunny Ear Cactus. This will fix the leaning over the issue also.

Should I Rotate My Cactus?

What I’ve noticed, is the idea of rotating your cactus is that it allows the plant to grow evenly in all directions. It’s supposed to be easy—you just flip your cactus upside down, reshape its soil, and water it. The problem is that cacti tend to be slow-growing, and they will probably die if you rotate them too often. They also get easily burned by the sun when they are not rotated.

“Maintain the temperature during the growth period (usually spring and summer) at 60 degrees (F) at night and 10 to 15 degrees warmer during the day. During the dormant period (usually fall and winter), reduce the temperature to 45 to 55 degrees.  If most of your rooms are warmer than this, then place your cacti near a window (but not touching it) where the temperature may be five to 10 degrees cooler than in the middle of the room.”

How Long Does It Take a Bunny Ear Cactus to Grow?

A bunny ear cactus makes an excellent gift for the person you’re trying to impress, but you may want to wait at least a decade before giving it to them. Bunny ear cacti are slow-growing succulent with quills (barbs) that can detach from their pads at the lightest touch. The quills on this unique plant are finer than human hair and can remain attached to clothing, pets, or skin until they work themselves free.

Why Is My Bunny Ear Cactus Growing Long and Skinny?

This is a question I’ve been asked by both strangers and my closest friends. And honestly, it’s a bit of a puzzler. Even though the bunny ear cactus is native to the high Andes of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, you’d think it would be able to handle some indoor light.

 But no, for some reason these cacti are very light-sensitive and need at least six hours of full sun each day or they start to look elongated and skinny. If you don’t have a bright window in which to put your bunny ear cactus, it might be time to take it outside until the fall.

Should I Cut My Etiolated Bunny Ear  Cactus?

When you first bring your cactus home, they’re usually pretty sprightly and upright. But if yours starts to look like a question mark or an L, chances are good that it needs some help getting back up and growing straight again. The good news is that by trimming the ends off of your cactus, you can help it along and get your plant back on track (and looking healthy) in no time!

One important thing to note: If you’re keeping your etiolated cactus inside (as I am), you may want to put him outside in the bright sunlight.


Unlike many other cacti, Bunny Ear Cactus can take full Sun. They are native to Brazil and naturally live under the intense sun. In fact, they need a great amount of sunlight to grow healthy and strong. If you gave them less than the recommended amount, your plant will fail to thrive properly and might even refuse to bloom.

If you can’t give your plant full sunlight throughout the day, at least make sure it gets some indirect sunlight. These plants need special care, and they won’t do well if they get too much or too little light. So, be sure to check your Bunny Ear Cactus regularly to see how much light it’s getting.

So, if you want to keep this plant to yourself, then place it near a window that receives full sunlight throughout the day. This way, it will receive a sufficient and accurate amount of light to stay healthy and continue growing. Another option is to use grow lights in order to receive enough light.

After all, Bunny Ear Cactus is a very exquisite cactus. It can decorate your room at the home, office, or any other place. 


Anwar Hossain

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

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