Mimosa pudica or Sensitive Plant, a native of Tropical America, is a fun plant to grow. When we have tours of school children, their favorite plant is the Sensitive Plant. The leaves fold up when touched. If touched with a bit more force, the petioles will also bend at their pulvinis and the leaves droop. These movements are called seismonastic movements (reaction to physical shock). At night, the leaves will also fold and bend in movements known as nyctonastic movements (reaction to absence of light).
Blooming Time: The plant flowers in mid to late summer. The flowers are globe shaped, about 1 inch across.
Culture: Mimosa pudica need full sun to partial shade, with a rich moist soil. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The soil should be kept evenly moist but not saturated. During the growing season, the plant are fertilized on a weekly basis with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, fertilize on a monthly basis. Winter temperatures should not fall below 65° F; if they do get chilled, then the plant suffers with yellowing of leaves and stems.
Propagation: Mimosa pudica is propagated from seed. Seed will germinate in 14 to 21 days at 70° F.
Mimosa pudica was featured as Plant of the Week October 12-22, 2001.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.