How to reproduce the Mickey ears cactus or opuntia easily?

Opuntia microdasys multiplies easily

Image – Wikimedia/Juan Ignacio 1976

The opuntia cactus, popularly known as Mickey’s ears or angel wings, is a surprisingly easy succulent to grow because not only is it drought tolerant, but it also reproduces very well from cuttings.

Of course, you have to choose the most appropriate time to do this, otherwise it would be a waste of time. So if you want to have new specimens of your plant, discover how to reproduce the opuntia cactus or Mickey’s ears.


When can the Mickey ears cactus be reproduced?

Opuntia microdasys multiplies in spring

Image – Wikimedia/Frank Vincentz

It is a cactus endemic to Mexico that grows when temperatures are high (but not extreme). To be more exact, It likes temperatures between 15º and 35ºC; if they are lower, their rate of growth slows down until it stops in winter, and if they are higher, it will be the heat and the vital need to avoid the loss of water that will stop it.

This is very important to take into account when breeding, as it will help us decide when to get down to business. But yes, it is not enough to decide the season of the year, but also to see how healthy our plant is. In this sense, you should know that in principle, only if it is completely healthy, it will be able to multiply, but there are some exceptions, which are:

  • Cacti that are very, very sick and/or limp from being overwatered. If they still have healthy parts, we can cut them to try to save them.
  • If these are etiolated cacti, that is, due to lack of light they have bent down, wanting to grow towards more powerful light, then they can also be cut.

How does the opuntia cactus reproduce easily and quickly?

The opuntias all flower; our protagonist, Microdasys OpuntiaOf course, this is also the case. But even if it produces seeds, sowing them is not the fastest way to get new specimens of angel wing cactus, but by multiplying it by ‘leaf’ cuttings or pencas as Latin Americans say.

But above all it is very, very important to protect your hands. This plant has very short thorns that dig into the skin with just a touch, so it should be avoided as much as possible. For this reason, you should put on gardening gloves, or better work gloves if they are thick. And yes, of course, it is not enough to put on gloves, the cactus must also be handled with care.

Once your hands are protected, you need to follow this step by step:

cut the sheet

professional pruner

The first step is cut the leaf or stem of interest with anvil scissors (You can buy it here). First, clean these scissors with soap and water to prevent the cactus from getting sick. Then make the cut through the part that joins the rest of the plant. It should be a clean cut so that healing is as quick as possible.

Let the wound dry for a while

Now that you have the sheet, you should leave it in a protected and dry place for about 5-7 days. Thus, the wound will dry out, and it will not be difficult for it to take root. If you plant it now, you run the risk of it rotting; so it is better to have a little patience.

plant your leaf

You must do this in a pot with holes in its base that is large enough for the leaf to fit well, and also you must fill it with cactus substrate, or with peat and perlite mixed in equal parts. As for the leaf, it should be a little – I insist, just a little – flattened, with the part that was attached to the rest of the plant buried so that the roots can grow.


You can water just before planting the cutting, or once planted. If you choose to do this afterwards, it is strongly recommended to use a sprayer so that the sheet does not move.

How to maintain the Mickey ears cactus leaf cutter?

You already have your cactus in the pot, now what? Well now is the time to place it in a place where there is plenty of light, but no direct sun. It would also be good to put it inside – not necessarily inside; This can be in the patio or the terrace for example – especially if it rains frequently, because it is important to avoid that the earth always remains wet.

Speaking of water, and to be more precise, irrigation, very little needs to be watered. In fact, we will only do this if the substrate is dry. In this way, we will certainly soon be able to take root. When exactly? Well, if all goes well, in a fortnight we will have a new opuntia. Now we are going to leave it in this pot until it finishes rooting it.

What do you think of this way to reproduce Mickey’s ears cactus?

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