The Mimosa pudica, also known as the Sensitive Plant, Touch-Me-Not and Humble Plant, is a fascinating plant with fern-like leaves that close when touched, causing the leaf stalks to droop. This often sets off a chain reaction where several stalks fall on top of each other. When left alone, the plant leaves and stalks will reopen, which takes about 30 minutes. This process is thought to be a defense mechanism against animals that would eat the leaves. This Brazilian native is typically grown as an annual ground cover producing pink, fluffy, ball-shaped flowers in the summertime. Caring for a Mimosa plant is easy if you have the right soil, light and fertilizer.
Select an area that receives moderate sun during the day. Mimosa pudica need full sun to partial shade to thrive. If growing indoors, place your Mimosa plant in front of a large picture window so it receives indirect sun exposure.
Grow your Mimosa plant in a warm climate with ideal temperatures around 65 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Mimosa plants are frost sensitive and will not survive through the winter unless winter temperatures do not fall below 65 degrees F. If they do get too cold, the plant's leaves and stems will turn yellow. They will survive the winter indoors if they are kept in the right humidity. To do this, mist the plant weekly with a spray bottle.
Grow Mimosa pudica in well-draining, rich soil to avoid root rot. If necessary, amend the soil before planting by adding peat moss and compost; mix in well. Use a soil mix of two parts peat moss to two parts loam to one part sand or perlite, according to PlantoftheWeek.org.
Water Mimosa pudica after the top inch of the soil dries out, but do not let your plant get so dry that it begins to wilt. Be careful to avoid over-watering; the soil should not be saturated.
Fertilize weekly during the growing season, from late spring through the summer. Use a tomato feed for best results, otherwise a high-potassium fertilizer will work fine. Dilute the fertilizer to half the strength recommended on the label, according to PlantoftheWeek.org. During the winter, fertilize monthly.
- When you repot the Mimosa plant, it may appear alarmingly droopy, but it should recover quickly.
- The Mimosa flowers best when the roots are confined in a relatively small space.