Bunny Ear Help Please

oddduckJuly 9, 2009


I was hoping someone could advise me on a cactus problem. I bought my mother a bunny ear cactus and everything was great. It has taken off in a very big way. My mother said that there are little skinny spines like things coming out of the pads that look like skinny greenbeans. There are so many of them that the cactus is getting top heavy and bending over. She is afraid that this is going to hurt the plant and make it cave in by the shear weight of these. It has already folded in at the top of the cacti. Do you know if she can break off the top of the cactus or support it with stakes? Or ? I would appreciate any suggestions because she received this as a mother's day present and she and I hate to see it die because of this problem. She has it inside as a houseplant if this information helps as well. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thaks in advance!

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I think I'll need a picture for this ...
How big are these "spines" (I don't think it is spines, it is more likely either rudimentary leaves or etiolitated new growth)?

Most Opuntia are robust plants that can be pruned without hurting the plant or making it look weird, so it should be ok to cut off a few pieces. But a photo would be a big help to understand what it going on.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 2:16AM
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same thing has happened to me yesterday! little new ears keep growing on top and the below main stem has just bended! I would like to send a photo of it but is it possible to send it here?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:59AM
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Maybe if you start a new thread, I have never tried. Otherwise you could upload them to a site like Photobucket, copy the URL and paste in the message.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:01AM
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I have uploaded the photos to kodak share, here is the link to the album:

if any trouble occurs - my login details are:
user name: baharryy
password: 120577

thank you so much in advance!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 7:02AM
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Did not work for me, it says that you must share the album first. Login does not work either, it wants an e-mail adress of mobile phone number as login name.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 7:30AM
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sorry to keep bothering you..I think I made it this time!
thanks a lot..

link : http://picasaweb.google.com.tr/baharryy/BunnyEarsDying?feat=directlink

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:02AM
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Here's a follow up picture of the bunny ear cactus at the following link. http://photobucket.com/oddduck314 I still need help identifying what is going on with it. Thanks again for any assistance you might be able to provide.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 11:28PM
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Oops, I forgot about this thread, I have never understood how the threads are sorted on the main page.

odduck: the "spine like things" are extremely etioliated new segments. That plant is in terrible need of more light. I would cut off all etioliated new growth and put the plant in a sunnier position.

baharryy: your plant is sick, looks like rot. It is also a little etioliated. If you really want to it might be possible to cut of the healthy segment (if the rot has not already spread to it, this can only be seen after cutting it off) and root it, but I don't think it is worth the effort except for practice.

Both plants look like Opuntia microdasys, one of the worst when it comes to handling the stems. Very irritating glochids.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 5:51AM
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thank you so much for the info! I have already cut the healthy segment - luckily there seems to be no rotting there..
I am waiting for the cut to heal-close - I will re-plant it soon..Any tips for re-rooting? I heard I shouldnt be giving water for some time - but how much time? Also how deep it should be? And does it need special soil?
And the questions kept coming :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 7:26AM
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The wound will be vulnerable to fungal disorders for a long time. Therefore, many prefer to tilt the pad and let the cut remain just above soil level. It will put out roots from the areoles in concact with the soil. Later, the plant can be potted in a more upright position. Could be worth trying, I often use it with good results. Actually it does not need to be put down into the soil, Opuntia pads usually root even if placed flat on top of the soil (but it will look funny). Some species (and many other cacti) put out roots even without soil.

I have also seen Opuntia cuttings that have been buried to half their height, so deep that the wound is positioned directly over the hole in the bottom of the pot. I have not tried that myself.

No water for some time after potting. How long depends on the species and temperature. The fast ones needs 2-3 weeks, slow Opuntia can take almost a year. I have never tried to root a microdasys, but I would not expect roots in less than 1-2 months. You can put the pad in something that is easy to remove such as cat litter, wait for a while (without watering) pour out the "soil" and check for roots. When the roots are a few mm long I give a small amount of water - just a few drops or ml depending on the size of the cutting.

The soil: When I root Opuntia I use a very airy medium that does not hold a lot of water, such as gravel and the pebbles of fired clay that is sold under many names (Hydroleca is one). Later, when the roots have almost filled the pot and the wound has healed better I repot it in a mixture of ordinary garden soil (of the loam type, not clay) and same coarse stuff I used for rooting + some coarse sand, approximately at a 3:4 ratio.

Different growers use different techniques, you will definitely see other recommendations if you search for more information. Be prepared to lose a number of pads while learning what works for you.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:14AM
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