Byron Martin, here at Logee’s Greenhouses, and
today we’re going to be talking about the ‘Mimosa pudica,’ or the Sensitive
Plant. It’s actually quite a popular plant in the world of horticulture, mainly
because it has this interesting mechanism that allows the plant to move;
so, it’s a plant that actually does something, rather than being somewhat
static. So, what happens is, that when something jiggles, or touches the leaf,
the leaves collapse. And this is a plant that kids really love because they can watch
the plant actually doing something. Mimosa pudica, or the sensitive plant, is
actually a weed in it’s native habitat, which is South America. It grows along roadsides;
grows in poor areas. It’s a legume, so it actually fixates nitrogen, which gives it its
nutrients. As a potted plant, it is somewhat difficult to grow, and many
people have difficulty with it, mostly related to the watering issues. So, it’s a plant that grows out in full
Sun: bright, bright sun along sides of roads and open areas. That’s the key; give it as much light
as possible. And it’s a plant that goes through quite a bit of dryness. Now, in
containers, you can dry it out too much, and kill it. But, probably the greatest
cause of stress on it is too much water; and we see a lot of root rot in it, when
it’s kept, like, evenly moist. So, particularly in growing this, you want to
make sure that the soil becomes visually dry– its a general rule of thumb in
terms of watering, anyway, and then let it go a little bit farther. You want to keep your
eye on the plant, as you start to learn how to grow this, so that you see a
little bit of wilt in it. And then water it. So, you want to bring it a little bit
beyond what you normally would think of, in terms of dryness, when you’re watering it. And that’s key
to keeping that root system healthy, which, if you do that, the plant will actually thrive in a
sunny window. One other issue that they do face, and you have to be aware of this,
is that they are susceptible to spider mite. And spider mite can start out as a small
pitting on the leaf; you’ll look at the leaves very closely, you can see pitting
on them, little flecks. If you turn the leaf over, and look at it with a magnifier, you’ll
find a small mite crawling on the back side that’s feeding on the leaf. This can easily be remedied by a cold
water wash; which, would be simply pick the plant, up go over to your sink, and pick your
spritzer, and just washed that– back side and the top of the leaf off. Usually, I hold my fingers over it, so the
soil doesn’t drop into the sink. Then, set it back down you, and if you can remember to
do that every day for a week, that pretty much cleans out a spider mite problem. One of the interesting parts of growing
this, is that it does flower. So, here we have a plant that’s gone into bloom, it
has these pretty little pink flowers that come on top. It’s in the Mimosa family, which gives
you that round flower. It also is a very free producer of seed, and generally, when
we look at growing Mimosa, we think of it as more of a short-term plant. It’s
not something that we really keep around for years, almost like an annual, although
we can keep them in containers for a number of years, with pruning and so on.
But you can think of it, almost, as an annual. And it freely produces seeds,
so you can harvest the seed, and plant it, and it’s very easy to germinate. Generally, if you have a seed, like that,
you might put 4 or 5 in a pot, and it quickly fills out– it’s very rapid grower, by the way,
so it quickly fills the pot out. So, you can see they’re quite stocky, in their
growth, and so they do benefit from pruning. And, in doing that, generally, we don’t want to prune them
too hard. I would probably take a plant, and this has two seedlings in it, so I’d
take a plant, like that, and maybe cut it here, or maybe down a little bit lower. And so, in taking the top off,
that’s going to force some of these side branches to fill out. And, as it’s a fast
grower, it comes out… flowers… cut it back, bring it back down, bring it
back down. You can do that over a period of time. Thank you for watching today. There’s a
little bit of information on how to grow Mimosa pudica, or the Sensitive
plant. If you’d like more information, you can visit us at Logees.com