The Sensitive Plant - Mimosa Pudica. 2cm PLUGS
The sensitive plant is popular in cultivation around the world, and is enjoyed by many as a curiosity due to its highly touch-sensitive leaves.
Grown in the UK as annuals or short lived perennial.
The plants can be regularly cut back to encourage bushier growth. Pruning also delays the pink flowers which helps to elongate the plants life.
Mimosa plants have a sprawling habit and it eventually fall over unless a small trellis or similar is put in the pot to hold them up.
Offsets can be easily rooted, even in water.
Robert Hooke (English scientist famous for his microscopy work, 1635-1703) was one of the first people to investigate the movements of Mimosa pudica, and at that time it had been suggested that plants had nerves and tissues similar to those in animals. It was later discovered that the leaves fold as a result of the internal movement of water, and the mechanics of the process are now well-documented.
A stimulus, such as touch or air movement, triggers certain areas of the stem to release chemicals, which cause water to move out of cell vacuoles and leads to cell collapse. This rapid plant movement is thought to act as a defence against herbivores, which may be deterred by the dramatic response, or if they are small, may be dislodged as the leaves collapse.
As a houseplant, it is normally just the foliage that collapses after touching, however as an invasive ‘weed’ in the tropics, the whole plant collapses when disturbed.
A warm winter temperature not lower than 16°C is preferable.
They are not particularly easy to keep through the winter, but can be started from saved or bought seed early spring in a warm propagator. Cuttings can be overwintered sometimes too.
Some misting of the leaves will help maintain humidity.
Good light is important but avoid direct sun though windows in mid-summer.
They like a peat free , loose, well-draining medium
Water and feed regularly through the growing season, use rainwater if possible, water sparingly during winter.
The Mimosa can be re-potted in spring but it is more common to raise new plants from seed.
Feed with a high potash feed such as general Tomato Feed every few weeks.