Native to the tropical climate of South America, the Mimosa plant is a popular indoor plant in North America. It is also known as the sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica, modest princess, shame plant, and the very popular, touch-me-not. The plant is a member of the Fabaceae family and is a perennial shrub.
The sensitive plant is a popular indoor plant and can reach a height of about 5 feet. It has very sensitive leaves that close at night and open in the morning. These plants tend to fold their leaves when touched. After a few minutes the leaves straighten up. They have fern-like leaves that consist of about 25 leaflets. From summer to fall, these plants have pink colored, pom-pom like flowers.
These plants are hardy to the USDA zones 8 to 11. The seeds of these plants are mostly used for propagation of new plants. You need to soak the seeds in hot water (not too hot) for 15 minutes. Then plant them in soil mixed with 15% organic matter. The seeds will germinate into plants within 14 days. Seeds should be planted about 1 inch apart. If you are planting seedlings, they should be planted at least 8 inches apart.
These plants require plenty of sunshine and can survive in different soil types. You need to plant them in a spot that receives good sunlight. If yours is a container garden, place the pots near a window that receives direct sunlight in the morning or afternoon. They love small pots as it helps prevent root rotting and encourages flowering. A 3 to 5 inch pot is best for growing this plant. The soil should be a mixture of 15% humus, 40% peat moss and 45% sandy soil. Keep the pots away from cold drafts, and humidity should be maintained at 50%.
Another aspect related to caring for the mimosa plant is watering. You need to water the plant when you find the top 2 inches of the soil dry. This plant is slightly drought-tolerant and does not grow well with wet roots. Feed the plant with fertilizers in spring. Feed it with a 10-10-10 formula fertilizer.
Diseases generally include infestation by spider mites. These tiny bugs tend to suck out the moisture in the plant's foliage causing its death. Hence, spray the plant with a strong jet stream from a water hose. An insecticidal soap will help get rid of these bugs better.
Do not keep touching these plants repeatedly as this can weaken the plant. They are plants that need to be handled with sensitivity and sensibility. Take good care and watch them flourish.