Care of Mimosa Pudica

Mimosa pudica, by Forest & Kim Starr/wikimedia.org image by Forest & Kim Starr/wikimedia.org

Overview

Sensitive plant is another name for the Mimosa pudica. It delights children because its leaves close when you touch them and then open again after a few minutes. The stems are prickly; the flowers are delicate pink balls. Mimosa pudica shrubs grow up to five feet tall and three feet wide. It is fast growing, does well in many soils and needs temperatures from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth. The plant is very invasive in various parts of the world; it blocks out light to native plants and is a fire hazard when it dries.

Step 1

Put small rocks, pebbles or gravel in the drainage container for your Mimosa pudica houseplant; they'll help increase the humidity by keep water in the drainage container. Don't put the pot into the water directly; it must sit on the rocks or pebbles.

Step 2

Water the Mimosa pudica plant evenly with warm water; do not over-water it. Fertilize the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing seasons of spring and summer.

Step 3

Control the Cochineal insects that attack the plant by putting rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip. These insects appear in masses on outdoor Mimosa pudicas; they are not a problem on houseplants. If there are many them, destroy your plant and do not plant another one it its place or in the same pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Mimosa pudica, as all members of this family, is toxic to humans and animals. Make sure to wash your children's and your own hands in hot soapy water after handling any part of the plant. Do not allow your children to run if you have thickets of Mimosa pudica, because the woody stems are prickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Small rocks, pebbles or gravel
  • Water
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton q-tips
  • Purified water

References

  • University of Miami website about Mimosa pudica
  • Tropical Biology Association information about Mimosa pudica
  • Plantcare.com information on Mimosa pudica
Keywords: Mimosa pudica, Sensitive plant, care for Mimosa pudica

About this Author

Ellie Kuykendall has been writing and editing professionally since 1997. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. She's contributed to four books and is currently writing her own book. She received a bachelor's degree from University of San Francisco.

Photo by: Forest & Kim Starr/wikimedia.org