The sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) is an evergreen shrub, native to Brazil. A joy for children, the sensitive plant derives its name from the way its fern-like leaves gently close after being touched, or even blown by a soft breeze. Sensitive plant blooms in the summer with pink, pompom-like flowers on thorny stems. The shrub can reach a height of 5 feet, with a 3-foot spread. Because sensitive plant is hardy only to USDA zone 11, it is grown in other zones as an annual. Although the sensitive plant requires lots of sunshine, it can be grown in a wide variety of soil types and is a low-maintenance shrub.
Water the sensitive plant when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. This plant is somewhat drought-tolerant and intolerant of wet roots.
Fertilize the sensitive plant every spring, just before it begins new growth. Use a 10-10-10 formula, at the rate suggested on the package for the size of your plant. Spread the fertilizer on the soil beneath the plant, to a distance of 1 foot beyond the drip line.
Inspect the sensitive plant periodically for the presence of spider mites. These are tiny, spider-like insects that will suck the moisture from the plant's foliage. Use a strong jet from the hose to knock them off the sensitive plant. For larger infestations, use insecticidal soap, according to the rate suggested on the package.