What No One Wants You to Know About the Bunny Ear Succulent Trend

Don't plan on having this one in time for the Easter holidays.

gif of bunny ear succulents growing from seed in a pink pot

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

It's not hard to see why the bunny ear succulent is making social media waves. First of all, it's succulent, which is still one of the top categories of houseplants people love. And second, it has adorable bunny ears—how can you not fall in love with it immediately? Before you get your heart set on obtaining one to showcase in your Easter or spring decor, we hate to be the bearer of bad news: it's nearly impossible to find an actual plant for purchase.

What Are Bunny Ear Succulents?

The bunny succulent is part of the genus Monilaria, a clump-growing succulent plant native to South Africa. There are two species known as the "Bunny Ear" succulent: M. moniliformis and M. obconica. Both species produce a distinctive "head" and the second pair of leaves that resemble the bunny-like ears. The M.obconica has longer, almost spaghetti-like leaves. The M. moniliformis looks more like bunny ears and the one that's gained all the social media popularity. 

Monilaria moniliformis in active growth phase
The Monilaria moniliformis in its active growth phase. Kelly Griffin/Altman Plants

Why Is It Hard to Find a Mature Plant?

It's challenging to find the bunny ear succulent as a mature plant because they grow so slow. According to Kelly Griffin, Succulent Plant Development Manager at Altman Plants, the succulent is relatively non-commercial because it grows slowly. Moreover, it has a pronounced dormant period in which it looks, well, dead. The plant, of course, is not dead but is unattractive in this state, which makes it hard to sell for large retailers. 

"It is considered a winter grower and gets its growth in the cool, wet winter months," says Griffin, "Monilarias only put on a pair of leaves and a "node" per year."

Sourcing and Handling Seeds

Most of the offerings you see for the bunny succulent are seeds, not mature plants. I found one seller on Etsy who said they had "tiny" plants for sale but did not disclose a price.

Even the seeds are pretty expensive. I purchased ten seeds for $6.99, not including the shipping price.

Succulent seeds are tiny—almost dust-like. The seeds must be handled with care and can be easily blown away.  

The seller also revealed that the succulent could take 3 to 5 years for the seeds to form 2 to 3 clusters. 

Monilaria moniliformis in dormant phase.
Monilaria moniliformis in dormant phase. Kelly Griffin/Altman Plants

Succulents Are Hard to Grow From Seed

If tiny seeds aren't a challenge, let's talk about how hard it is to grow succulents from seeds. According to Griffin, cactus can take two years or more to a sellable product and succulents can take more or less, depending on the particular variety. Many seeds are sensitive to small fluctuations in environmental conditions. They need constant humidity, moderate temperatures and diligent care to germinate successfully. Starting with fresh seeds from a reputable seller is a good starting point.

A more straightforward method is through cutting or divisions, but you need access to a mature plant. So, it's looking that getting that bunny ear succulent in time to decorate your Easter table is a no-go this year.

Try a Cute Alternative

If you had your heart set on having a bunny-like succulent adorn your garden space this spring, plant influencer Ashley Anita has some lovely alternatives for you. 

Easter Cactus Schlumbergera Gaertneri
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Easter Cactus (Schlumbergera Gaertneri)

"Schlumbergera Gaertneri is a beautiful houseplant that flowers every year at Easter," says Anita, "In addition to being low maintenance, it is a fast grower that is known for its gorgeous blooms." The plant features beautiful flowers in unique colors and is related to Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus. 

Bunny Ear Cactus Opuntia Microdasys
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Bunny Ear Cactus (Opuntia Microdasys)

Anita says Opuntia Microdasys is an affordable option and easy to find. "They are always a favorite among plant lovers for their unique shape," says Anita, "Take your pick of color but be careful; they are prickly!"

Bear Paw Cactus Cotyledon tomentosa
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Bear Paw Succulent (Cotyledon Tomentosa)

"These adorable, fuzzy, paw-shaped plants are hot additions for spring collections in 2021," Anita explains, "It is incredibly soft, fuzzy, and cute." And, they are easy to find at big box garden centers." Paired with the perfect pot, these are an ideal addition to any Spring collection," says Anita.