Monilaria obconica: Care and Propagation Guide
Monilaria obconica belongs to the family Aizoaceae and is part of the genus Monilaria. Also known by some other names such as—Bunny-Ear Succulent, Bunny-Ear Pearlfig, and Bunny Succulent—it is native to Namaqualand of South Africa.
Its resemblance to a bunny—green bunny heads with green ears—is responsible for its commonly known adorable names. This succulent grows in groups on mountains and is a seasonal deciduous plant.
Monilaria obconica is unique as one plant can grow two different kinds of leaf formations. This is a characteristic of heterophyllous plants. The first kind of leaves forms at the top of the roots in a cluster. These leaves can be as small as 10 mm in diameter.
As the plant grows further, it forms a second leaf formation. These leaves are longer and thinner than the first set of leaves. They are 10–15 cm in length and 3.5 mm in diameter. The difference in the two kinds of leaves is what gives this succulent the look of a cluster of bunny heads.
Its adorable bunny-ear leaves can conserve water in tiny crystalline cells on the epidermal layer. These look like shiny pearls and give the succulent a furry look. Moisture is retained in these cells for weeks even in very dry environments.
Monilaria obconica is a tiny succulent as it grows up to only 6–8 inches in height. As the plant grows, the “ears” grow longer, eventually looking very similar to string beans.
The leaves start off green, but once exposed to the sun they turn red in color. Once they grow, they bloom into beautiful rose-colored or white flowers. Each flower is up to 1.8 inches in diameter. Spring is the season when you will see the beautiful flowers blooming.
Monilaria obconica also grows fruits that are usually 5-locular capsules. Sometimes these are also 6-locular capsules.
If you like bunnies and plants, look no further as Monilaria obconica is what you need! It is one of the cutest plants you can have!
How to Care for Monilaria obconica
Although it is a super adorable succulent, it definitely still demands some attention when it comes to caring for it. It falls under zone 10a to 11b of the USDA Hardiness Zones.
Monilaria obconica requires sufficient sunlight as it is growing. Ideally, you should put the plant in bright sunlight for six to eight hours per day. It can stay in the shade for the rest of the day.
If direct sunlight is unavailable, you can provide this plant with artificial light as it requires a lot of light to grow well.
This plant is used to climates with predictable rainfall patterns. It cannot endure drought-like temperatures. Even when it does not get rainfall, it gets water at least seasonally through fog and condensation.
Hence, it is necessary to water these plants adequately, especially when they are in their growth phases, which are in spring and in fall.
In summers, water the plant once every 5 days. And in winters, water it once every 10 days. Unlike most succulents that do not need to be watered in winters, Monilaria obconica demands water to stay alive.
When they start to grow the longer new leaves, remember to water them without fail.
This plant requires free-draining soil like all succulents. You should add loam-based compost and extra drainage material to the soil. Horticultural grit or perlite works well for the purpose of drainage.
This helps not only with drainage but also with space for the roots to grow.
Pot it in a tiny pot, as it has been observed to bloom well in smaller pots compared to slightly larger ones. You do not need to repot it often as it enjoys staying in the same pot and getting used to it.
When the plant comes to its growing season, you can use light fertilizers. Do not use fertilizers from the beginning.
Do not use fertilizers in extreme temperatures—below 41 degrees and above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Monilaria obconica thrives within the temperature range of 59–77 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, the temperature should not be higher than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If left at such a high temperature, the plant will dry up and eventually go into hibernation as bunny-ears succulent go dormant in summers.
Although some bunny succulents are cold-hardy. But this resistance is only to a certain extent. It does not do well below the temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is left in temperatures lower than this, it might suffer from frostbite.
Pests and Diseases
The biggest issue most people face while caring for this plant is the loss of leaves. If your plant is losing leaves, it is probably because it is not getting sufficient sunlight.
Although it is necessary to water it adequately, overwatering will lead to the dropping of leaves. Over-fertilizing also leads to the same doom.
It could also lose leaves due to bug attacks and hence needs to be tended to with attention and love.
Propagating Monilaria obconica
Monilaria obconica can be propagated through two methods—through seeds and through cuttings.
A seed can just be planted into a layer of proper soil mix and should be tended to till it germinates. It is fairly simple.
As for stem cutting, dry it for a day or two after it is taken from a healthy plant. Do not cut a plant that looks stressed. Each cutting should have two branches.
Once the cutting is dry, place it in a well-draining soil mix and keep it in shade. You can water it every two days once the soil is dry. This will eventually show growing roots from the stem cutting.
Do not place the newly germinated plant or the newly growing cutting under direct sunlight.