Last Updated on September 23, 2021
The Mimosa pudica is native to South and Central America. Belonging to the Fabaceae family, the Mimosa is related to peas, beans, and legumes. Its leaves are symmetrical on both sides. Many of the leaflets on either side of the leaves have little hairs on them. However, they are quite sensitive to light, touch, and temperature, so be sure to pay attention to them when caring for them! This article looks to briefly touch on the Mimosa Pudica and tell you how to plant, grow, harvest, propagate properly, and care for your plant.
Table of Contents
The Leaf Movements of the Mimosa Plant Leaves
The leaf movement used by the Mimosa plant is known as the ‘nastic movement’. This movement is known as the ‘non-directional mechano-sensory response to stimuli. These responses tend to depend on light, temperature, and humidity and will change the plant as time goes on.
There are two main types of movement. There is Seismonastic movement, which is when the leaflets close based on factors such as air or temperature. It is also known as ‘rapid plant movement’ and is a movement that can only be found in the Venus Flytrap. The second type of movement is the Nyctinastic movement when the leaves of the plant respond to light and temperature. It is controlled by the plants light receptors and works so that the leaves are protected from too much heat or too much coldness.
Potting and Potting Mixes
Knowing what soil to use is integral when looking to plant a Mimosa properly. The trick here is to use soil that can hold its moisture for a long time and provide aeration and drainage. If there is not enough aeration or drainage of the soil, then your plant could fall victim to root rot. Similarly, you could make your own mix by using loamy soil, peat moss, and builders sand. Many commercial stores will sell a mix similar to this if you cannot get hold of the ingredients individually.
Integral to ensuring your plant will be able to drain properly, is finding the right pot to use. What I find works best is using a pot with drainage holes. Using a pot that will be tight around the soil is important too because the plants grow to their best potential when the roots are more confined. If you have a self-watering pot, then that is even better.
Key Factors for Mimosa Pudica Growth
Light is one of the key factors for the growth of a sensitive plant like the Mimosa Pudica. Ideally, you will need to plant your Mimosa in a place with a lot of light. If there is limited light, then the leaves will be less likely to blossom properly and could even close up. If you are growing the plant, then you should set it up at a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Ideally, this will be an east-facing window that gets the majority of its sunlight in the morning. You can also use artificial grow lighting if you so choose, but that will require more effort, the right in-house conditions, and a lot more money.
Most sensitive plants will thrive in temperatures ranging from 16-30 degrees C. This temperature range will allow the plant to germinate, grow, and produce chemicals properly. Thankfully, most indoor environments will be within this range, so the Mimosa is relatively easy to work with in that sense. One thing to beware of is that if your plant is near a window, the temperature outside may drop and damage the plant at night. This is why many would recommend having your plant around 30-90 cm away from the window. This is so that outside temperatures may not affect the plant as much.
Unlike many other indoor based plants, which can thrive in less humid indoor environments, the sensitive Mimosa requires a more humid growing climate. There are a few ways that you can create the correct humid conditions indoors for the plant:
- Buy a humidifier and place it near the plant for maximum efficiency. This may cost a little money.
- Create a humidity tray. This is done by placing a few pebbles on a small tray and adding a little water. Importantly, be sure to keep the pot above the water so that the soil does not get soggy.
When watering the Mimosa pudica, or any sensitive plant, you must ensure that the soil is kept moist. You can do this by overfilling the pot a little so that extra water can spill out from the sides. Typically you will water the Mimosa once a week, and you should wait until the soil dries a little before watering again not to overwater it. Another critical factor to consider when watering the plant is the time of year and outside temperatures. In winter, you will not need to water the plant as much as you would during the spring and summer growing seasons.
When using fertilizer, I would say that it is best to use a half-strength liquid fertilizer. This is because it will not need too much strength, but liquid fertilizer contains potassium, which is great for growth within the plant itself. A good fertilizer that you could choose is a tomato plant fertilizer, for example. Finally, there is the question of propagation. Some plants are easier to propagate than others, and the Mimosa is easier to propagate. Once you take stem cuttings and plant them, you will be able to propagate easily. However, as with many sensitive plants, they will grow so quickly from seed that you may not need to propagate them at all.
It is always best to plant in spring, around 6-8 weeks before the last frost, so that the roots have time to develop, and the plant will more than likely grow to be healthy as a result. If you are using artificial lighting, however, you can plant them at any time. Seeing as the seed of a Mimosa is so hard, it will always help to place the seeds into a bowl of water the day before you plant them. This will soften the seed naturally and help its germination process.
Are the leaves on the Mimosa Pudica sensitive? When touched, the Mimosa Pudica tends to close up, which can confuse many people. This is an evolutionary thing and stems from the plants wanting to look unattractive to herbivores so that they would not be eaten.
Can a Mimosa Pudica be grown indoors? Yes, the Mimosa can be grown indoors. However, it is also grown outdoors, and with the right care, it can grow quite quickly. Be sure to keep your plant trimmed and tidy if you are going to grow it inside.
Are Mimosa Pudica sensitive to light? Yes, the Mimosa Pudica are sensitive to light. As a result, it is always wise to keep your soil moist and keep it in areas that are well lit. If you place the plant in an area that will provide sufficient sunlight, then you are golden!
What fertilizer does Mimosa Pudica need? The level of fertilizer needed for the Mimosa will depend on the time of year. In spring or summer, you can use half-strength liquid fertilizer once every 2-3 weeks. Once it gets to winter, you can get away with using your fertilizer once a month.
Are there any benefits to using Mimosa plant extract? The extract of the Mimose Pudica is said to be good for treating mental health issues. The extract has been used on rats, and its results were said to be comparable to that of anti-depressants.