How to Propagate Bunny Ear Cactus

They may seem cuddly and cute (like a bunny), but their sharp spines can hurt you or cause irritation when touched. Luckily, this species of cacti multiply quickly, which is good news for new plant parents. In the following paragraphs, we will educate you on propagating a Bunny Ear Cactus Plant.

Reasons to Propagate a Bunny Ear Cactus Plant

Propagating a Bunny Ear Cactus is a great way to expand your plant repertoire without spending too much money. They look beautiful, and you can gift them to your friends and loved ones, too.

Sometimes, they start wilting, and propagation becomes necessary. Always make sure the pads you choose are healthy. The slightest pest infestation spreads quickly, eventually killing your plant if left untreated.

Bunny Ear cactus plants grow new pads as they mature, often in pairs. However, if your plant is still immature, it is better to wait for a year before removing the pads.

The Tools You Will Need

  • A mature and healthy Bunny Ear Cactus plant.
  • Gardening gloves.
  • Scissors, shears, tweezers.
  • Spare flowering pots.
  • Water and fresh soil.
  • Plastic sheets or newspapers, if you’re doing it indoors.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Propagating Bunny Ear Cactus Plants

Find a Healthy Pad

You can use each new pad to make a healthy mother plant. When cutting off pads, choose the healthiest side of the plant.

Avoid pads with the tiniest signs of pest infestation or root rot. Infection can quickly spread and amplify.

While it’s possible to use the falling pads, the chances of success are minimal, as opposed to cutting directly from the plant.

Always Wear Gloves

Most people use tweezers, but shears and scissors can also be useful. Your cutting tools should be clean and mustn’t be infected with bacteria.

You can use neem oil or isopropyl alcohol to disinfect and sterilize the cutter. Furthermore, try to cut multiple pads at once to increase your chances of success.

Place the Pads in a Potting Mix

Take a fresh new clay pot and fill it with fresh potting mix. It would be best if you used a succulent-specific potting mix.

These mixes have ingredients like perlite that encourage drainage and aeration. Soggy soil can cause leaf and root rot, so drainage is necessary.

Carefully place the pad into your potting mix with your gardening gloves on. Make sure one-third of the pad is covered. Such placement will stabilize the pad and also allow the roots to grow.

Water the Leaves Occasionally

Most cacti don’t need too much water. Make sure to check the moisture levels in your soil and water accordingly.

However, the new pads should receive more water than the mother plant, as it encourages root growth.

If the pad becomes too soggy, rotting will occur, and the plant will die before it reaches maturity. Therefore, it is important to create a balance.

Stay Patient

With all the things in place, add the water occasionally, and check the pad cuttings. The roots will take a few weeks or even months to grow.

Don’t make the mistake of uprooting the plant now and then to check progress. Doing so will damage the root, which may refuse to grow further.

What’s the Best Time to Propagate Bunny Ear Cactus

The best time to propagate your bunny cactus is in spring or at the beginning of summer. This period allows cacti sufficient warmth to grow roots and pads.

Winter and autumn are dormant periods, and you won’t see much growth. Moreover, the soil will remain soggy in autumn and winter, which may cause root rot.

Can We Use Rooting Powder

Rooting hormone can expedite root growth, but it isn’t essential, and you can see sufficient root growth without it.

However, when placing a pad in a new potting mix, adding rooting powder is a great idea. Before applying rooting powder, dip your pad in water. Then dip it in the rooting powder.

The layer of water allows the rooting powder to stick perfectly to the pads. 

Can We Use Growth Light

Using a grow light is a good idea if your home has limited natural light. Growth lights promote root growth and help pads get bigger.

You can use LED light during autumn and winter, as these months don’t experience too much natural light.

When to Fertilize a New Bunny Ear Cactus Plant

You mustn’t worry about fertilization, especially in the first few months. Only after your plant’s first birthday should you start fertilizing it.

A fertilizer can stress out a baby plant, hindering its growth. Also, please don’t use your regular fertilizer on a cactus plant, as it may have the wrong nutrient balance.

Your fertilizer should be rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. A 5-10-5 fertilizer is perfect for a bunny ear cactus plant.

Common Problems in Propagating a Bunny Ear Cactus Plant

The Pad Won’t Grow Roots

It is tricky to have a definite timeline for the roots’ growth. Before growing leaves, the plant needs to grow a whole new root system.

It takes several weeks and months before the roots start to grow. On the bright side, as long as the pad looks healthy, there is no reason for it not to grow roots.

Sometimes, cooler temperatures contribute to slow root growth.

You can use a heating pad under your cuttings to speed up the process of root growth.

The New Leaves Are Small

Congratulations! Your cactus is finally growing leaves. Don’t worry about smaller leaves; they will automatically be smaller than the ones on the mother plant.

The root system of a new pad is smaller than the one in a mother plant. As a result, it can’t provide its leaves with the moisture and nutrients they need to get bigger.

The Pads Are Turning Mushy

If your pads have started turning mushy, it is a sign of rot. You may also smell something foul. Rot is a common reason most propagation projects fail, as the new pads are prone to rotting.

First, remove the mushy areas, and secondly, don’t overwater your plants, as it keeps the soil soggy.

Also, add some perlite to the potting mix to drain away the water and prevent root rot.

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Final Word

Propagating a Bunny Ear Cactus plant is challenging, and each project will be different as several factors are at play. These factors include pad size, maturity, sunlight, and water. However, with the right amount of patience and dedication, you will see your bunny ear cactus plants blooming quickly.

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