Angel Wings Cactus 101 Care

How to Effortlessly Care for an Angel Wings Cactus

The Angel Wings Cactus, also known as Opuntia Microdasys Albata, is a remarkable succulent characterized by its distinct flat pads, adorned with clusters of tiny white glochids. These deceptively irritating white glochids that cover the pads give rise to its unique name, creating an ethereal appearance reminiscent of angel wings.

In this educational blog, we'll break down the care essentials for the Angel Wings. From providing the right light and soil conditions to addressing common plant care problems, we've got you covered. Whether you're a seasoned plant parent or a curious beginner, our aim is to equip you with practical insights to ensure your Angel Wings cacti thrive and flourish.

Best Lighting for Angel Wings:

Like most cacti, Angel Wings Cactus love lots of light. They love bright, indirect or filtered light, so consider placing it near a window with a sheer curtain to filter the rays. Avoid exposing it to intense, direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as it may burn its pads.

It’s always a good idea to observe your plant so that you know when to make adjustments. Burnt pads means you should move your Angel Wings away from the sun, while stretched oblong pads are etiolated plants that need more sun. Etiolation is when your plant becomes stretched out and is searching for light. The cactus will lose its nice round shape at the tip of new pads.

Best Soil for Angel Wings:

This cactus thrives in well-draining soil. Choose a cactus/succulent soil mix with 30 to 50 percent perlite or pumice to ensure proper drainage and aeration. This allows excess water to flow freely, preventing waterlogging and ensuring healthy root development.

How to Potting & Repotting Angel Wings:

You may choose to repot your succulent as soon as you get it, or when the roots become bound and it’s time for a larger home. As with all succulents, you want to choose a pot with drainage holes so that you can prevent rotting. We also strongly recommend using gloves or tweezers when handling this plant, as the white glochids covering the plant can get stuck in your skin and cause irritation. We've paired it with The Ocean Eyes Pot and Jade Bean Pebbles to compliment the white and green in the plant.

How to repot an angel wings cactus
How to Water Angel Wings:

There are a couple things you want to look at when checking to see if your Angel Wing needs water. One way is to test the soil with your finger or a wooden stick. If the soil is completely dry then it’s time to water! Another way to tell if your cactus needs water is if the pads look wrinkled and droopy and start to lean over.

When you water, thoroughly and evenly soak your plant with several rounds of water, and make sure that the water is coming out through the drainage hole. You may also bottom water the plant by letting it sit in water until the soil soaks up moisture all the way through the soil.

Angel Wings Common Health Problems:

A healthy angel wing will have plump, firm rounded pads and a uniform green color with white spines. If your angel wing is browning or yellowing, especially at the base, and getting mushy, you’ve probably got an overwatered cactus on your hands.

Angel Wings Cactus product page on Lazy Gardens
If your pads are getting yellow, dried out, and crispy, then your cactus is sunburnt and needs to be moved to a spot with less heat/light. If your Angel Wing is stretching out on new growth that means it is etiolating and needs more light! A stretched out pad will look oblong and pointy at the end, as opposed to the nice round shape of a healthy pad.

How to Treat Angel Wings Pests:

Like all succulents, angel wings can be attacked by garden pests. Scale insects and mealybugs, in particular, tend to love cacti like Opuntia. But no need to worry! If you spot them, treat the affected areas with isopropyl rubbing alcohol or neem oil. Complete elimination of pests may take several applications over a period of days or weeks.

Are Angel Wings Cactus Pet Safe?

The Angel Wing Cactus is generally safe for pets and humans. However, its spines can cause discomfort and stick to your skin when touched, so it's best to keep curious pets and young children away. If you get any small glochids stuck in your skin you can use tweezers or try pressing a piece of adhesive tape onto the affected area and then gently peeling it off. The tape should help lift out some of the spines.

Can Angel Wing Cactus grow where I live?

Angel Wings can grow anywhere as a houseplant indoors but the Angel Wing Cactus does poorly in temperatures lower than 30°F, so if you’re growing them outdoors, be sure to protect them from frost. Like most cacti, angel wings will thrive indoors so long as it receives plenty of light.

How to Propagate Angel Wings Cactus:

To propagate, remove a pad, allow it to callus for a few days, and then place it straight down into well-draining soil. Give it some time for the roots to establish before watering. If you’re planning on propagating your Angel Wing, we again strongly recommend using gloves or tweezers, as the glochids can cause irritation to your skin.

Do Angel Wings Cactus Flower?

The Angel Wing Cactus occasionally blooms beautiful small yellow flowers in the spring after its winter dormancy period. The flowers tend to grow out of the tips of the pads and may look like a new pad forming initially. If you’re growing angel wings indoors, your cactus will be less likely to bloom. However, it will still grow to be a healthy plant when you follow these simple care tips!


With these care tips you can enjoy the effortless beauty of the Angel Wings Cactus in your Lazy Garden. Whether you're an experienced gardener or a newcomer, these insights empower you to nurture thriving plants. Remember to observe your plants, and have confidence in your abilities to care for them. Take things one step at a time and try to learn a little more every day.

Key Takeaways:

  • A healthy Angel Wings will have plump, firm rounded pads and a uniform green color with white spines.
  • Place Angel Wings in bright, indirect or filtered light while avoiding direct sunlight.
  • Plant Angel Wings in a well draining succulent/cactus soil mix with a healthy amount of perlite or pumice.
  • Use a pot with drainage and handle the plant with gloves or tongs.
  • Water when the soil is completely dry, making sure to thoroughly and evenly soak the soil.
  • Treat any pests with isopropyl rubbing alcohol or neem oil.
  • While generally safe for humans, the spines on an Angel Wings can still cause irritation to the skin.
  • Protect the Angel Wings from frost
  • To Propagate: remove a pad, give it time to callus, then plant straight into well draining soil.
  • Angel Wings bloom small yellow flowers commonly in the Spring.