Bunny Ear Cactus Drooping [Causes & What to Do]

Why exactly is your bunny ear cactus drooping? It can be hard to isolate the key reasons why the succulent is behaving this way. You must first ask yourself if you’re providing the plant with the ideal environment with adequate sunlight, water, and temperature. In some cases, it could be a combination of the above factors.

While it’s true that bunny ear cacti are hardy succulents, you should never take their resilience for granted. We’ve identified key reasons why your bunny ear cactus may droop.

Reasons Why Your Bunny Ear Cactus is DroopingSolution
Inadequate temperatureKeep the temp between 70 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Pest infestationUse isopropyl alcohol to kill visible pests and spray with neem oil to discourage further infestation
DiseaseQuarantine the plant and remove affected foliage to help it recover
Frost damageBring the plant indoors
Inadequate lightPosition the plant in a south-facing window or use a growing light
OverwateringProvide drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out
UnderwaterWater the plant once every two weeks in the summer months

Inadequate Watering Frequency

A common reason bunny ear cactus may be drooping is that it’s not receiving enough water. This can leave the plant feeling dehydrated and cause it to shrivel up. Even though it’s a drought-tolerant plant that can handle dry spells, you should never test its limit.

It is easy to determine if the plant needs more water by checking the topsoil. Insert your finger into the first two inches of the soil. If the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water it. If it feels moist, you should wait a little longer before watering the plant.

Do not overwater the bunny ear cactus to prevent root rot and fungal problems that could cause it to droop. As is true for any plant, overwatering can do more damage than urinating because of the risk of root rot.

Most experts agree that you should water the bunny ear cactus once every week in the spring and summer months to maximize its growth rate. Provide it with enough water, so any excess drains out from the bottom. Reduce the watering frequency to once every three to four weeks in the fall and winter months.

The Cactus is Not Receiving Enough Sunlight

A common reason your bunny ear cactus is wilting and drooping is that it’s not receiving enough sunlight. The desert dweller prefers to live in bright sunny spots.

Lack of light causes the plant to stretch and lean in a process known as etiolation. This means the cactus will change and stretch to seek the nearest light source to receive more light. If you don’t fix this probably sooner than later, the cactus may develop permanently stretched foliage.

You can prevent this by moving the cactus to a south-facing window with plenty of sunlight. Like most succulents, the bunny ear cactus will respond poorly to inadequate light and begin drooping.

Here’s a quick test to determine if your plant is not receiving enough light: one side of the plant is steeper than the other. You can fix this quickly by rotating the plant so that it receives enough sunlight.

If the plant has dropped excessively and is no longer upright, you can support it with a small pot or a stake so that it can regain its strength. If the area where you live fails to provide the plant with adequate sunlight, consider investing in a grow bulb to avoid this issue.

Try to provide your home’s brightest, sunniest spot to help your bunny ear cactus grow. You may reduce the light exposure to the partial sun during the winter months when the plant enters its dormancy period. You can do this by relocating the plant to another location that receives less light or by placing it behind another plant to shade out the light.

Pests

Like any other houseplant, pests are a common enemy of your bunny ear cactus. A pest infestation will cause the plant to droop, lean, or wilt. The worst are aphids and mealybugs that feed on your cactus, depriving it of its fluids. Your bunny ear cactus in California may turn a shade of white to indicate a pest infestation.

If the infestation is at an early stage, you may be able to clear the pests with the help of a Q-tip. Dip the q tip in rubbing alcohol and remove any pests by hand. Follow this up by spraying the plant with neem oil to discourage the pests from feeding on the foliage.

It is important to quarantine the cactus from other plants until the pests have gone. The last thing you want is for the pests to spread to other plants and recolonize the cactus.

Disease

Bunny ear cacti may be susceptible if they have openings in their flesh. This will encourage fungi and bacteria to invade the plant and cause further damage. The plant may have open wounds from damage due to insects or heavy weather, such as frost. Although the plant can quickly recover from the damage, it is highly vulnerable to damage from fungal spores and bacteria.

The disease risk is higher if the plant is kept in warm, moist conditions. Once the disease takes hold of the cactus, you will see mushy, soft foliage. The most common symptoms to watch for include droopiness, discolored scabs, and softly rounded areas. You may even notice that your plant is oozing fluids.

The good news is that bunny ear cacti can respond well if you treat them early in the infection. The first action is to remove the diseased tissue by cutting it out with a sharp, sterile knife.

Unfortunately, if the disease has reached the plant’s roots, there’s very little that you can do. You may try to repot the plant in fresh soil. Just make sure to wash the roots properly before repotting them.

Frost Damage

The bunny ear cactus in California is highly vulnerable to frost damage, especially if you keep it outside. It may be able to survive a light frost, but too much cold can devastate the plant. This is because frost leads to irreversible cellular damage. Bring your cactus indoors during the colder months to prevent frost damage.

Or, at the very least, it would help if you covered the plant with a cotton sheet to shield it from the frost.

As a rule, try to maintain a temperature between 70 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum growth.

How to Know if the Bunny Ear Cactus is on the Verge of Dying

If your bunny ear cactus droops downward and develops brown spots, it may be at risk of dying.

You may also notice shriveled-up leaves and overcrowded roots (often due to a smaller container). Root rot is the most common reason why your plant may be suffering. If left untreated, the plant will turn black.

USKC Live Succulent Cactus Plants (Two 2"Pot Set) (Opuntia Bunny Ears)

Wrapping Up

Bunny ear cacti in California are very resilient plants that can overcome a range of problems. As long as you stick to the basics and provide them with excellent care, the plant should thrive. This includes sticking to the right watering schedule and providing the plant with a well-draining soil mix.

We also recommend spraying the plant with neem oil to keep pests at bay. Let us know how you dealt with a drooping bunny ear cactus and the steps you took to recertify the problem.

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