Plants

Mimosa Pudica Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Sensitive Plant”

Read our guide to Sensitive Plant plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Mimosa Pudica”
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This is also a great plant to add to your own home for a touch of wonder and awe for your whole family to enjoy. The sensitive plant has cute flowers that look like powder puffs and leaves that mimic feathers. This tropical plant is perfect as a houseplant, but it is the natural reactions it has to touch that set it apart from most other plants.

Taking care of such a unique plant may seem difficult, but it is actually much easier than you can imagine. All you need is a medium-sized container with drainage holes, bright light, and some loamy soil for a sensitive plant to thrive inside of your home.

They do love humidity, so if you live in the south, you can plant the Mimosa Pudica outdoors, or in a pot inside of your home. They are able to tolerate temperatures ranging from 60 degrees to 85 degrees easily as long as they have the right humidity surrounding them.

Aside from being a curling curiosity, the sensitive plant also produces vivid flowers in the summer and fall. These are usually light pink or light purple. They look similar to pompoms as the globular blooms are built of hundreds of microfilaments.

As the flowers develop, they will transform into pods that hold as many as six seeds each. Mimosa Pudica plants are perennial when found in the wild, but those grown in captivity behave as annuals. No matter how well you care for your plant, it will begin to deteriorate after its initial bloom.

Indoor Mimosa Pudica
Indoor Mimosa Pudica

About the Sensitive Plant

  • The botanical name for the Sensitive Plant is Mimosa Pudica.
  • The flowers of the sensitive plant look just like powder puffs.
  • Mimosa pudica are shrubs that have thorny stems.
  • The hair on the leaflets reacts to touch, motion, and even temperature.
  • When triggered, the leaves close in the same way a fan closes.
  • Mimosa Pudica plants have compound leaves with a leathery texture.
  • Touching the sensitive plant causes the leaves to fold closed.
  • The sensitive plant produces flowers that look like pompoms.
  • Propagation is via seed from the pods after the plant flowers.

Sensitive Plant Features: An Overview

  • The Mimosa Pudica plant grows outdoors in its native habitat.
  • Sensitive plants grow best with plenty of bright sunlight.
  • The sensitive plant originates from Central America and tropical South America.
  • Mimosa pudica is part of the Fabaceae family of plants.
  • Other names for the Mimosa pudica are the Shame plant and Sleepy plant
  • The sensitive plant is a far cousin of beans and legumes, which are also part of the Fabaceae family.
  • This tropical plant need loamy soil that is well-draining.
  • The mimosa pudica exhibits nastic movement which is uncommon in plants.

Growing The Sensitive Plant

Growing the sensitive plant is not difficult, even if getting it to stay still is nearly impossible. Mimosa pudica plants grow best in soil that is well-draining but rich in organic material. As a tropical plant, it is important that the soil stay moist but not soggy.

Proper aeration is also important to keep the roots from becoming compacted or getting waterlogged. Too much of either can lead to root rot which will eventually kill any plant.

We suggest using a mix of two parts fresh loamy soil, two parts of peat moss, and one part perlite. There are some ready to use potting soils already available in a similar mixture if you prefer not to make your own.

Mimosa Pudica flower
Mimosa Pudica flower

A medium-sized pot with regular bore drainage holes is best for the sensitive plant. The roots enjoying being confined, but not compacted. The plant thrives in bright light, in fact, too little light will cause the leaves to remain closed and the plant won’t produce any blooms.

Bright light is important for the sensitive plant. Consider placing the pot in an east-facing window. If you live in an area that gets little sun, or if the winters are dark, false lighting is also an option. Use a full-spectrum fluorescent grow light to mimic the sun for the same effect as natural lighting.

These plants are not finicky about their temperature, any range that is comfortable for a person is usually okay for this plant. A range that falls between 60 degrees and 80 degrees is sufficient for proper growth and flower production.

Watering The Sensitive Plant

Watering the sensitive plant is not difficult, but it does require attention to detail. The soil should always be moist, but make sure that it isn’t soggy. Fertilize the plant with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer that has been diluted.

The sensitive plant needs plenty of humidity and unlike other houseplants that can adapt to the dry indoors, it can’t. If the mimosa pudica is not provided the right amount of humidity, the leaves will curl and remained closed. In addition, the plant will slowly start to die.

Sensitive Plant (Mimosa Pudica) Twin Pack of 100 Seeds, From Amazon

It requires a generally high level of humidity ranging from 45% to 60%. If you happen to live in a dryer environment, make plant misting a regular habit. You can also place the pot on a humidity tray or use a humidifier in the room.

The best way to ensure the sensitive plant gets the right amount of water is by watering the soil and allowing it to drain. If your pot is sitting on humidity pebbles, then you can let the water stay in the tray. For those that are using a humidifier, make sure to drain the tray after watering to prevent root rot.

Allow the soil to dry slightly prior to watering the plant again, but don’t let it dry out. Mist the plant often, especially if you live in a dry climate, and also to help prevent scale bugs and aphids.

The plant will need less water in the winter months, but it should still have moist soil all year round.

Propagating The Sensitive Plant

Propagating sensitive plants is achieved through seeds. It is best to plant the seeds at the start of spring and maintain the right light and temperature needed for them to germinate.

The seeds will need a steady temperature that ranges between 60 degrees and 85 degrees in order to germinate. Once the seedlings take root and begin to sprout, you can transfer them to individual pots to grow on their own.

For seedlings, a three-inch pot filled with loamy soil and sand mix is a great start. As the seedling starts to grow, increase the pot to five inches. The soil will need to always be moist, so if watering on time is a problem, consider using self-watering pots.

Seedlings should be placed in an area that gets plenty of sunlight, with a few hours of that time being direct. The sensitive plant can convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and other nitrogen compounds so you only need to fertilize it once every three weeks during the growing season.

sensitive plant leaf
Sensitive plant leaf

In Conclusion

One of the main draws of the Mimosa pudica is its presentation, overall look, and of course its nastic movement. Of all houseplant choices, this is one that will be a delight to your family and your guest in equal measure.

The sensitive plant is a tropical plant often found in tropical South and Central America and is part of the Fabaceae plant family. A fun fact is that legumes, beans, and peas are also part of the same family.

The thorny stems of the Mimosa pudica are not enough to deter most people from adding this unique creation to their garden. The leaves have fern-like looks that lend a dainty appeal to the plant. There are tiny hairs that cover the surface and margins of the leaflets which allows them to sense touch and motion. They are also stimulated by changes in temperature, so if you hover your finger over them, or even blow on them, they will curl closed as if touched.

Sensitive plants grown for indoor use tend to start to deteriorate after their first bloom. Seeds are formed in the pods of the blooms which can be used to grow more if this plant. Mimosa pudica in the wild do not have this problem, but the actual reasons for the change are not understood.

If you are shy by nature and want a plant that mimics your own behavior, the Mimosa pudica is a great choice. It is also sold under the name humble plant, action plant, and Touch-me-not in local nurseries.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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