How to Grow a Sensitive Plant

Overview

Sensitive plants (Mimosa pudica) are one of more than 300 species of Mimosa. Native to Brazil, sensitive plants grow wild throughout Central America. They also populate fields and roadsides as far north as the Gulf states in the U.S., where they are considered weeds. In northern areas, gardeners grow sensitive plants as annuals. These small woody plants fold their leaves as a response to touch (Seismonastic movements) and as a response to lack of light (Nyctinastic movements.) A sensitive plant can be grown from seed.

Step 1

Wash and dry small growing containers. Fill the containers with a light potting soil mix that contains peat.

Step 2

Soak the sensitive plant seeds in water to soften the seed coat and speed germination. Place the seeds in a small bowl, and fill it with hot tap water. Let the seeds soak overnight, or until they are swollen. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep in the containers. Plant one seed per cell, or evenly space three seeds in a 6-inch pot.

Step 3

Cover the containers with clear plastic to retain moisture. Place the containers in a warm room with a temperature 70 to 85 degrees F. Seedlings will appear in about seven days.

Step 4

Provide bright light as soon as the seeds germinate.

Step 5

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Feed the plants every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer, following the label instructions for dosage. Monitor the soil moisture daily as container grown plants dry out quickly if placed outdoors.

Tips and Warnings

  • Over-watering can cause fungus problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Sensitive plant seeds
  • Planting container
  • Planting soil mix

References

  • U.S. Forest Service: Sensitive Plant
  • University of Oklahoma, Department of Biology: Mimosa Pudica Sensitive Plant
  • University of Miami, Biology Department: Mimosa Pudica

Who Can Help

  • Union County College: Biology, Sensitive Plant Information and Images
Keywords: grow sensitive plant, plant mimosa pudica, sensitive plant care

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.