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How to Care for a New Sensitive Mimosa Plant

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mimosa pudica is often called the “sensitive plant” because its small, ferny leaves close up when you touch them. Having many other names, such as “tickle me” and “sleeping grass,” Mimosa is a tropical plant from South America that you can grow outdoors as an annual in all climate zones. It serves well as a houseplant as well. It is believed to have medicinal properties, such as being a nervine that is good for the nervous system, but scientific studies are lacking in this evidence. You might need to start your plant from seed or cuttings because it is not usually available in nurseries.

Take a cutting 3 inches long from an existing plant to begin your Mimosa. Then dip it in a rooting hormone and plant it in potting mix with vermiculite added. Or soak seeds in hot water for 12 hours before you plant them ¼ inch deep in a pot or flat filled with standard potting soil.

Place your pot or flat in a sunny area and keep seeds and cuttings constantly moist. When your cutting has roots or your seeds have sprouted and grown to about 2 inches tall, carefully transplant them into your garden or a decorative pot for indoor use. It is not particular about the soil in which it grows.

Grow your new Mimosa plant as a houseplant near a sunny window. Let it dry out between waterings and don’t bother to fertilize it. You might want to cut it back to keep it a manageable size from time to time.

Grow your Mimosa as an annual plant outdoors by planting 2-inch seedlings in a sunny area after your final spring frost. It prefers temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees F.

Take cuttings in fall before your first frost if you want more plants the following spring.


Things You Will Need

  • Mimosa pudica seeds or cuttings
  • Rooting hormone
  • Hot water
  • Nursery pot or flat with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Vermiculite
  • Trowel
  • Decorative pot (optional)
  • Water


  • Mimosa doesn’t need high humidity, unlike many other tropical plants. Too much moisture can introduce fungal diseases.


  • Mimosa pudica is classified an invasive species in some tropical locations, such as Hawaii, where homeowners and gardeners curse its thorny intrusion into their lawns and garden beds.

About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.