Bear Paw Cactus
Plant Care,  Propagation,  Succulents and Cacti

Bear Paw Cactus

Welcome to our guide to the Bear Paw Cactus all to you need to know about care and propagation, the key to caring for this plant is give it plenty of indirect sun and do not over water it.

Bear Paw Cactus Care Summary

Light needs:Bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Only water when soil is dry all the way down, check it weekly.
Fertilizer:Cactus and succulent fertilizer every 3 weeks in summer.
Soil:A dedicated Succulent Soil.
Temperature:16°C to 30°C (61-86°F).
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
Other names:Cotyledon Tomentosa, Bear Paw Succulent, Bear Paw A Cactus.
Common issues:Overwatering.


Bear paw succulents (a.k.a bear paw cactus, a.k.a. black claw cactus, a.k.a. cotyledon tomentosa) are so-called due to their leaves that look just like bear paws.

See also: Succulent Soil, Coral Cactus, Blue Torch Cactus, African Milk Tree, Haworthiopsis Fasciata, Snake Plant Care, Agave Desmettiana, Anacampseros Rufescens, Senecio Vitalis, Dracaena Compacta (Dracaena Janet Craig), Tigers Jaw Succulent, Trachyandra Tortilis, Sansevieria Fernwood.

Bear Paw Cactus Light Needs

Bright indirect sunlight is ideal, but try to avoid direct sunlight. They like as much light as you can give them without direct midday sun, and can even get some reddish run stress coloring.

How Often To Water

Let the soil dry out completely before watering, check it weekly. The leaves will shrink slightly when they are thirsty, they will go from their normal fat and round appearance to slightly thinner and wrinkled, which is when you should water them.

Tip: be careful as they are really easy to over-water, make sure you let the soil dry out completely before watering it again.


Give them a dedicated cactus and succulent fertilizer every 3 weeks in the summer. They can grow fast if you need them.

Bear Paw Cactus Soil

Use a cactus and succulent compost. You can even make it better draining by adding more perlite, these plants really like to be well draining. See our guide here on buying one or making your own: Succulent Soil.

When to Repot

Check the roots in spring and pot the plant up a size if they’re getting crowded. They won’t need repotting each year but it’s a good idea to check them to make sure.

Tip: if the roots get super crowded you can get root rot as water cannot drain out easily, so make sure you pot it up a size if the roots are getting crowded.


40% is fine, they do not need an extra humidity.


Aim for 19-29°C (66-84°F) during the day ideally. They will be ok down to almost freezing at night or in the winter, but can be easily damaged below that.

How to Propagate Bear Paw Cactus

You can propagate bear paw cactus with leaf cuttings. Let them callous over for a few days and when the wounds have healed, put them on a bed of moist (but not wet) soil. Keep it moist and humid and they should root over 2 months or so before they put out new growth. They you can pot them up in cactus soil and treat them as juvenile plants.

While they are rooting you can keep them humid to increase the chance of success. But it can increase the change of rot. I normally put all my propagations together in a large clear plastic storage box , and I put a few hoes in the sides and lids so it creates a humid atmosphere but air can still move which reduces the chances of rot.

See also: Succulent Propagation (with pictures).

bear paw cactus - close up
bear paw cactus – close up

Is It Toxic To Cats?

It can be toxic to pets if eaten, seek pets advice.

Bear Paw Cactus USDA Zone

Zones 9b-11.

Bear Paw Succulent Drooping

The main reason they droop is due to lack of water, you might also see the leaves shriveled or thinner. They can also droop down when overwatered, so be careful, you should easily able to tell if the soil is wet or not whether it has been over or under watered.

Is Bear Paw A Cactus?

It is a succulent, not a cactus.

Other Names

Cotyledon Tomentosa, Bear Paw Succulent, Bear Paw Cactus, Bear Claw Cactus.

Where To Buy

Bear paw cacti are are becoming more popular and readily available, so try your local plant shop, if not try our list of Rare Plant Shops or Etsy.

FAQs and Common Problems

You can leaf and drooping from overwatering. Make sure you check the soil is dry before watering, especially in the winter.

Additional Resources


  • More info on the Wikipedia page.
  • More info on the RHS plant page.

Other Articles You Might Like

There you have it, here ends our guide to this beautiful plant. You might also like our other articles:

Succulent Soil, Coral Cactus, Blue Torch Cactus, African Milk Tree, Haworthiopsis Fasciata, Snake Plant Care.

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