Mimosa Pudica, The Sensitive Plant. Care Question

resukiMarch 24, 2007

My room mate and I have two Mimosa Pudica plants. (aka the sensitive plant) These plants have been happy and healthy since we got them for Christmas.

Now, while they still look green, full, and healthy, they are starting to fall over! I'm not sure what is causing this.

We have them set up with a grow light and are watering them regularly.

Does anyone know anything about Mimosa Pudica?

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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Years and years ago when I was a kid and volunteered at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens they had one in the greenhouses that sprawled and kind of climbed other plants around it using tiny thorns. I don't believe they are supposed to be an upright plant.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:25PM
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Never tried to grow one of these myself, though the mentions of it in the houseplant books that I've seen all say that they get gangly as they get older. This is probably normal behavior.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 9:02PM
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Hi Resuki,

Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) is commonly called sensitive plant because the foliage closes and droops at the slightest touch. It is also sensitive to improper care. Bright indirect sunlight with some early or late day direct sun is good. Keep temps above 60 degrees. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not constantly wet; water when the surface of the soil feels dry.

It also should be pruned or pinched back regularly to encourage branching and to keep it full and to prevent legginess.

Spider mites can destroy it quickly. This is not a particularly hardy plant. It grows quickly from seed, but it loses its sensitivity and doesn't seem to last for more than a year or so. It is more of a novelty plant - kids love it. Good luck with yours.

BTW, The reason the leaves fold down when touched is so that the plant can protect itself from predators. As the fronds fold down, the sharp thorns are exposed, thereby discouraging animals from eating them. Whatever the physiological mechanism is, it is sensitive enough that it also closes the leaves in response to strong sun, wind and rain.

Will Creed, Indoor Landscaper

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 9:26PM
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Thanks to everyone who posted. It's good to know that they aren't upright plants and this is normal. I'm pretty relieved about that.

I'll see about finding a little something for them to lean and climb on, that way they aren't falling all over my desk.

Again, thank you everyone.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:21PM
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