Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Dangerous Bunny

Honey Bunny Cactus (Opuntia microdasys var. albispina)
 Honey Bunny Cactus (Opuntia microdasys var. albispina)

My name is dangerous bunny

Be careful what you say
Be careful what you do
Be nice when you play
Trouble creates strife

- From Dangerous Bunny - Poem by espri minnes

Opuntia microdasys var. albispina
Its botanical name is Opuntia microdasys var. albispina. Opuntia refers to Opus, Greece where many cacti are found. Microdasys var. albispina means "small and bushy" and "white spines." In addition to Honey Bunny, other common names include Polka Dots, Bunny Ears, Rabbit Ears and White Bunny Ears. All seem appropriate, at least at first glance. But a cuddly bunny it is not! The soft appearance is deceptive. Those fuzzy white polka dots all over the pads are troublesome little things.

And, look! It even multiplies like rabbits! You can hurry it along by breaking off a few pads (with gloved hands, of course), dropping them on the ground and leaving them there. In time, Honey Bunny forms a low but formidable groundcover; just the thing for discouraging unwanted two- and four-legged pests. That's what I call "homeland security."
Opuntia microdasys var. albispina

Honey Bunny cactus is really quite attractive. When its bright, yellow flowers - large in comparison to the pads - appear, it's downright beautiful. If Honey Bunny could fill a spot in your garden, give it a try.

Here are a few more details in summary, and tips on how to grow it.

Bloom Color: Bright yellow.

Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer.

Foliage: Fleshy pads with white tufts of spines.

Height/Spread: 12" to 24". Space 24" to 36" apart.

Climate Zones: 8, 9, 10, 11.

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Condition: Sandy, well-drained. pH 6.1 to 7.5

Features: Low, spreading habit; bright yellow flowers, heat tolerant, attracts pollinating insects.

Uses: Massed planting, ground cover, cactus and succulent borders, xeriscaping, Southwestern themed gardens, container gardens, indoor containers.

Have you seen Honey Bunny cactus in a garden? Have you grown it yourself? Planning on trying it? Tell us in the comment section. We'd love to hear from you!

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