How To Care For A Sensitive Plant (Mimosa Pudica)

Mimosa pudica, generally often known as the delicate plant, is a wonder of nature. Whereas it has rather a lot to supply as a houseplant, with its feathery compound leaves and fairly powder puff flowers, it’s the wonderful leaf motion that makes this tropical plant so intriguing: On the slightest contact, the leaflets will shortly close collectively!

How to care for a sensitive plant? Caring for this fascinating houseplant isn’t tough, and this article will walk you thru every little thing you might want to know to grow the delicate plant indoors so you possibly can take pleasure in this botanical marvel in your personal residence.

Earlier than going into the main points of looking after a delicate plant, an introduction to Mimosa pudica and the fascinating phenomenon of nastic motion that it displays is so as. After learning the main points about every of the care issues summarized right here, you’ll find solutions to additional questions in regards to the delicate plant and its care that haven’t been beforehand lined in any of the sections.

how to care for a sensitive plant

How To Care For A Sensitive Plant

Local to tropical South and Central America, the delicate plant is a creeping herb or shrub with thorny stems and branches that belongs to the Fabaceae family of plants, which implies it’s related to peas, beans, and legumes.

The plant’s dainty fern-like leaves are made up of matching pairs of oblong-shaped leaflets that have tiny hairs on their surfaces in addition to alongside the margins. These hairs are very delicate to the touch, movement, and temperature, and when stimulated, every pair of leaflets close collectively in a fan-like movement.

The delicate plant produces clusters of delicate, pale pink or lavender flowers in mid-summer to early autumn that resemble fluffy pompons, as a result of lots of positive filaments that make up these small, globular blooms. These turn into flat pods containing between one and 6 seeds every.

Whereas the delicate plant usually grows as a perennial in nature, it’s normally handled as an annual when grown as a houseplant as a result of the plant tends to deteriorate after blooming. However, in case you harvest the seeds, it’s fast and easy to grow new plants from them.

The scientific name Mimosa pudica is derived from the Greek phrase for “mime” and the Latin phrase for “bashful,” in reference to the way in which the leaves react to stimuli as if the plant has the consciousness to be shy and bodily retract itself when perturbed.

Common names for Mimosa pudica include:

  • Sensitive plant
  • Action plant
  • Humble plant
  • Sensible plant
  • Shame plant
  • Touch-me-not
  • Sleepy plant

Nastic Motion Of Sensitive Plant Leaves

The exceptional leaf motion of the sensitive plant referred to as “nastic motion,” is fascinating to kids and adults alike.

Nastic motion is the non-directional mechano-sensory response to stimuli, and it’s fully completely different from widespread plant progress actions (tropisms) that rely upon the path of a stimulus corresponding to light or water and that completely change the plant because it develops and matures.

The delicate plant truly displays two varieties of nastic motion. It’s best recognized for its seismonastic (or thigmonastic) motion, which is when the leaflets close collectively in response to mechanical stimuli corresponding to contact, warmth, air movement, or shaking.

Because the leaflets close up quickly sufficient to look at in actual time, this capacity can also be known as “rapid plant motion.” The opposite plant in addition to Mimosa pudica that’s well-known for its capacity to maneuver quickly is the carnivorous Venus flytrap.

Much less well-known is the delicate plant’s nyctinastic motion, which is a response to everyday gentle and temperature triggers that happen at nightfall and daybreak.

This folding in of leaves at night time and reopening within the morning is managed by the plant’s phytochromes, or light receptors, together with its circadian clock. So the plant seems to be going to sleep each night time and waking up once more within the mornings.

As for the mechanism that’s liable for the closing and reopening movement of the leaflets, delicate plant leaves have a hinge-like structure known as a “pulvinus” containing specialized motor cells that work in opposition to one another.

The plant reacts to stimuli by releasing chemical compounds that trigger water to stream out of the motor cells on one aspect of the pulvinus and into matching cells on the alternative side.

This ends in modifications of turgor stress, which is the pressure of water and different cell contents that pushes in opposition to the cell partitions of crops, inflicting these cells to collapse and expand, respectively, thus squeezing the leaflet shut.

When triggered, this motor impulse passes alongside the rachis, or central shaft of the leaflet, progressively closing every blade in a mesmerizing fan-like movement. If left undisturbed, the leaflet will slowly reopen after a couple of minutes. Take a look at the video under for a fantastic demonstration of the motion of delicate plant leaves.

Best Potting Mixture For The Sensitive Plant

Now that you simply perceive what makes this wonderful plant so distinctive and intriguing, it’s time to discover ways to look after the sensitive plant, beginning with what soil you need to use.

Mimosa pudica requires soil that may maintain sufficient water to stay persistently moist whereas offering good aeration and drainage to prevent root rot brought on by compacted or soggy soil.

If you need to make your personal delicate plant potting soil, you possibly can create a superb combination through the use of two elements loamy soil, two elements of peat moss, and one-half builder’s sand or perlite. Or, you possibly can merely search for a commercial potting soil that has related proportions.

Selecting A Pot For Your Sensitive Plant

Because you don’t need the soil your delicate plant is growing in to get soggy, you might want to use a pot with drainage holes.

These plants do finest when their roots are considerably confined, so select a pot that matches the dimensions of the plant. Use a small 3-inch (8-cm) pot for seedlings, and as soon as it’s nicely established, repot it in a 5-inch (13-cm) pot.

Because the delicate plant likes to have its potting combination saved moist always, it’s a suitable plant for growing in self-watering pots.

Bright Lighting For The Sensitive Plant

Sensitive plants want loads of vibrant light. If the plant doesn’t obtain sufficient light, the leaves might close up and it won’t be capable to produce blooms.

Set your plant in a sunny window that receives some direct daylight. An east-facing window that will get morning sunlight is good for Mimosa pudica houseplants.

If the most effective light source is a west-facing window, it’s finest to position the plant again from the window by 1-3 feet (30-90 cm), whereas a plant in a south-facing window (north-facing within the Southern Hemisphere) must be set again by about 5 feet (1.5 meters).

One other way to obtain correct lighting for the delicate plant is to make use of full-spectrum fluorescent grow lighting that gives more than 300 foot-candles of light.

Temperature Range For Sensitive Plant Growth

Sensitive plants want a temperature range of 60-85 F (16-30 C) to germinate, maintain healthy progress, and produce flowers. This range matches up with the standard temperatures present in most indoor environments, so it’s probably that offering the correct quantity of heat on your plant won’t be an issue.

Just don’t forget plant set close to a window might expertise a nighttime drop in temperature that would weaken the plant and prohibit it from blooming.

Sensitive Plants Want High Humidity

Whereas many houseplants that originate within the tropics just do positive within the dryer indoor environments which are typical of recent properties and places of work, the sensitive plant is one that wants a high level of humidity to thrive.

Provide this very important aspect for Mimosa pudicaby inserting a humidifier close by and misting the plant sometimes. As an alternative to using a humidifier, you possibly can create an easy humidity tray by inserting pebbles in a small tray, filling it with water, and setting the potted plant on top of the pebbles.

Ensuring the pot is sitting above the water level such that the water won’t get depraved up into the potting soil and cause it to turn into soggy.

How To Water A Sensitive Plant

The sensitive plant prefers that its potting combination be saved persistently moist. To realize this, water the potting soil completely and permit the surplus moisture to empty out of the pot. Then, the following time you need to water can be after the soil has dried out a bit, however ensuring it by no means dries fully.

The period of time between waterings will range in line with quite a few elements, such because the time of year, the climate circumstances, and the size of the plant.

sensitive plant houseplant care

Fertilizer For The Sensitive Plant

Like many different members of the Fabaceae family of plants, the delicate plant is able to nitrogen fixation, which implies it may well convert atmospheric nitrogen that’s unavailable to plants into ammonia and different nitrogen compounds that it may well use.

In nature, this plant tends to be present in nutrient-poor soils. So it only requires half-strength liquid fertilizer every two weeks through the spring-summer growing season.

A high-potassium fertilizer corresponding to tomato plant fertilizer is beneficial for the delicate plant since its nastic motion requires vitality.

Additionally, potassium is a key nutrient for the technology, motion, and storage of carbohydrates that gas all plant exercise, and potassium ions are one of many most important chemicals the plant makes use of to set off the leaflets to close themselves up.

Sensitive Plant Propagation

Though it’s possible to take stem cuttings to propagate new sensitive plants, growing plants from seed are so fast and easy that it’s the most typical technique of producing new plants.

If you are buying sensitive plant seeds, make sure to supply them from a good grower. If you have already got a plant, simply allow the pods to mature and dry out on the plant earlier than amassing the seeds from them.

Seeds must be planted within the springtime, except you might be using synthetic lighting and temperature management, by which case you possibly can start germinating your seeds at any time of the year.

Mimosa pudica seeds have a troublesome, brown-colored outer coating. They’re more more likely to germinate if you weaken this coating. Do that by inserting them in a bowl of warm water and permitting them to soak for just a few hours earlier than planting.

The seeds must be planted in seed compost that’s been moistened by watering completely after which allows the excess water to empty out. You can also make a superb seeding combination with 2 elements compost, 2 elements coconut coir fiber or well-rotted leaf mildew, and 1 part perlite or sand.

Place the seeds on the floor of the potting combination after which simply barely cover them with a lightweight layer of soil. Because the seeds don’t all the time germinate, it’s finest to plant extras. So you possibly can plant two or three seeds in an identical small-sized pot or plant a number of seeds in a seed tray.

After planting, make sure to place the seeds in a location the place they are going to obtain vibrant gentle and temperatures of at the least 65-70 F (18-21 C). This is essential as a result of the seeds won’t come out of dormancy and germinate without these heat temperatures.

In case your indoor setting is simply too cool and dry, create a mini-greenhouse by overlaying the seedbed with clear plastic, eradicating it as quickly as you see the primary seedling seem.

To water the seeds, check the potting combination commonly and by no means allow it to dry out, so the roots have constant moisture without being waterlogged.

If you soak your seeds and provide them loads of light and heat, delicate plant seeds can germinate in lower than one week, whereas they could take as much as 4 weeks in much less splendid circumstances.

You’ll need to snip away any weaker seedlings that seem, preserve the strongest plant to nurture to maturity. As soon as this plant is established within the small starter pot or seed tray, repot it in a medium-sized (5 inches, 13 centimeters) pot.

Diseases For Sensitive Plant

Sensitive plants grown as houseplants are typically unbothered by most typical pests, apart from spider mites. Preserve a lookout for these tiny bugs, which can seem as small red dots or be detected by feeling for a gritty texture on the plant leaves, and wipe away any that you simply discover with a moist material.

When it comes to illnesses, the excessive humidity required for this plant makes it susceptible to fungal illnesses. To stop these issues, place a soft-blowing fan close to the plant to make sure good air circulation within the space.

Is The Sensitive Plant Toxic?

In response to each the UC Division of Agriculture and Pure Sources and the UConn House & Backyard Education Heart, the sensitive plant is taken into account secure and non-toxic for people and pets.

How Long Does A Sensitive Plant Take To Grow?

In tropical climates, delicate plants reside for 2 or more years, whereas in temperate climates, they have a tendency to behave more like annuals, declining after they produce blooms in the summertime.

When grown as indoor houseplants, it’s finest to treat them as an annual and permit them to die off after amassing the seeds, because it’s really easy to propagate new plants from these seeds.

Should I Treat My Potted Sensitive Plant?

The sensitive plant is each a creeping herb and a shrub within the sense that the stem tends to develop erect at first, however will finally fall down and grow alongside the bottom because it ages. To take care of this trailing behavior, take into account inserting a trellis within the pot together with your plant for help.

Do Sensitive Plants Want Pruning?

Common pruning will hold your delicate plant full and stop it from trying leggy as its stems and branches start spreading out with age.

Can I Grow The Sensitive Plant Outdoors?

Whereas the sensitive plant is simple to grow as a houseplant indoors, it won’t thrive outdoor except it’s in tropical or subtropical local weather that receives loads of sunlight, humidity, and warmth.

Even if you’re situated in a spot that has the right local weather for the delicate plant, there’s an essential motive to not grow these plants outdoors: Mimosa pudica is an aggressive plant that’s thought of to be an invasive weed in lots of areas of the world, and it’s very arduous to eliminate this thorny creeper as soon as it takes to maintain.

Why Do The Leaves Of Sensitive Plants Close?

Why the delicate plant advanced the power to shut up its leaves stays a thriller, though researchers theorize that the seismonastic motion could also be a protection mechanism in opposition to predators and dangerous bugs.

Botanists are a bit confounded, although because this speedy plant motion requires a variety of vitality in addition to interfering with photosynthesis. The explanation the delicate plant closes its leaves at night time and “goes to sleep” can also be a mystery.

I hope you’ve loved this article in regards to the sensitive plant, one of the crucial fascinating crops that I’ve had the pleasure to grow indoors. Please take the time to take a look at my beneficial sources part for the most effective books, instruments, and guides to help you to turn into a greater gardener.