Opuntia microdasys 'Albata', or Bunny Ears, is a freely clustering, baby Opuntia with miniature pads. The pads are covered with many snow-white hair-like glochids. Pads will reach 3-6 inches (7.5-15 cm) long by half as wide. Mature plants may reach from 3-6 feet (~1-1.8 m) in height. Our plant in a 10 inch (25 cm) container is only 18 inches (45 cm) tall at 20 years old. They are easy to culture and hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: In spring, the small (1.5-2 inch = 3.6-5 cm) yellow flowers are followed by red fruits.
Culture: Opuntia microdasys 'Albata' need full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix containing 2 parts coarse sand to 1 part loam, with small gravel added to ensure good drainage. The plants are watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. They are fertilized only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants are moved to a cold room where the temperature is dropped to 48° F (9° C). During this period, we water only enough to keep the pads from shriveling.
Propagation: Opuntia microdasys 'Albata' is propagated from cuttings taken in the spring.
Opuntia microdasys 'Albata' was featured as Plant of the Week July 1-7, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.