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Cinnamon Cactus

Opuntia microdasys var. rufida

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Cinnamon Cactus (Opuntia microdasys var. rufida) at Roger's Gardens

Cinnamon Cactus

Cinnamon Cactus

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Cinnamon Bunny Ears, Blind Prickly Pear


A spreading succulent cactus with showy yellow flowers that bloom in spring and fruit that ripens to red in summer; dense glochids are reddish brown; an excellent accent for rock gardens and planters; needs perfect drainage and sandy or gravelly soils

Ornamental Features

Cinnamon Cactus has buttery yellow flowers at the ends of the stems in mid spring, which are interesting on close inspection. Its attractive succulent round leaves remain light green in color with distinctive coppery-bronze spots throughout the season. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries in mid summer.

Landscape Attributes

Cinnamon Cactus is an herbaceous perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Cinnamon Cactus is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Cinnamon Cactus will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

Cinnamon Cactus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Rock  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Texture 
Ornamental Features