Touch me not plant is one of the most mysterious and unusual flowers. Florists grow the mimosa plant not only because of its tenderness: it is known for being able to move the leaves, fold and unfold them. Watching a plant that moves when you touch it is a favorite activity for children.
Moreover, touch me not flower that pleases the eye with fluffy and pathetic inflorescence. They decorate any room or greenhouse. Mimosa is famous for its favorable look against the background of white materials or light floral arrangements. Growing this miracle of nature is not difficult. However, it is necessary to create certain conditions. So today we are going to tell you how to care for mimosa pudica and what you need to know about this sensitive flower.
Touch Me Not Plant Information
Mimosa pudica is an evergreen ornamental shrub from the Mimosa genus and belongs to the legume family. This amazing plant is native to the subtropics of South America. This perennial herb usually reaches 30-60 cm in height. Its fruit is a bean, usually from 2 to 8 in pods. The flowers are collected in small light pink or lilac globular heads at the ends of the branches. It is usually pollinated by insects or winds. To preserve its decorative properties, it is more often grown as an annual crop.
The mimosa pudica is remarkable for its responsiveness to touch. As soon as you touch its leaves, they roll up and press against the trunk. After twenty to thirty minutes, if the plant is not disturbed, the leaves return to their previous shape. But scientists of the eighteenth century noticed that the movement of plant leaves depends not only on external stimuli, but also on the time of day.
At night, the leaves are folded, regardless of whether there is a light source or not. This feature of the flower was discovered by the French astronomer Jean-Jacques de Mairan. He placed the plant in a room with no light, but the leaves did not begin to move until darkness fell. The scientist explained it by the fact that the rhythms of leaf movement are similar to the rhythms of sleep in humans. Such rhythms are called circadian and are of endogenous origin. Also, mimosa wiggles its leaves in the gusts of wind when you shake it. The plant can fold leaves along the central vein, or it can lower the leaf to the stem.
The plant’s ability to respond to touch by folding leaves has the following explanation. When a leaf is touched, chemicals are released from the cells. This leads to a decrease in the amount of water in the cells and, accordingly, the folding of the leaves. But the frequent folding of leaves in response to touch leads to a large waste of the plant’s inner strength and exhaustion. As a result, the mimosa begins to fade and can even die. Therefore, having planted such a mimosa at home, you should not bother it often. In addition, the plant is very sensitive to tobacco smoke, and because of this, it may die.
Is Mimosa pudica Poisonous?
Keep in mind that a plant’s pollen can cause allergies, and its leaves are poisonous if ingested. Therefore, we advise you to put the mimosa in a place inaccessible to small children and pets.
Now that we know what is a touch me not plant, let’s talk about how to grow mimosa pudica at home.
Mimosa pudica Care
At home, Mimosa pudica is grown as an annual plant. But in greenhouses, conditions for it are created as close as possible to natural: lighting, humidity, and temperature. Therefore, in greenhouses, the flower grows for several years, which is difficult to achieve in an ordinary apartment. Let’s consider in more detail what conditions are necessary for this amazing plant.
Lighting and Temperature
This shy plant needs good lighting. It would be comfortable on the south-facing windows. In the summer noon hours, it is necessary to cover it from the scorching rays. You can also place the flower on the windowsills facing east or west. But with the shortening of the day, it is recommended to organize artificial lighting so that the duration of daylight hours is twelve hours. With a lack of light, the plant stretches, losing its decorative effect and compactness.
Mimosa should be taught to bright light gradually. This is especially true after acquiring a plant or after wintering, and also for young plants grown from seeds.
The plant develops well if the indoor temperature is in the range of 20-24 °C. In the winter, during the dormant period, it is necessary to maintain a temperature of about 16-18 °C.
Watering and Feeding
As with most plants, when watering mimosa, you must observe the “golden mean”. From March to October, the plant is watered abundantly, but as the topsoil dries up. At the same time, the soil must not be allowed to completely dry out. In winter, watering is reduced both in quantity and in frequency. Excess moisture can lead to root rot. Water for irrigation is used at room temperature. From spring to winter, you can feed the mimosa with mineral fertilizers twice a month.
Indoor humidity is very important for growing mimosa. Indeed, in natural conditions, it grows in tropical forests with high humidity. The humidity level should not fall below 70%. Therefore, it is necessary to spray the plant. But keep in mind that you do not need to spray the leaves, but the air around the plant. In this way, water droplets fall on the mimosa, imitating dew. Another way to increase air humidity is to install a humidifier, a container with water. You can put a pot of mimosa in a tray with damp expanded clay, but so that the bottom of the pot is not submerged in water.
How to Propagate a Mimosa Tree?
As we said earlier, shy mimosa is usually grown as an annual plant at home. Therefore, reproduction is most often carried out by seeds. Theoretically, you can propagate the plant by cuttings, but the survival rate of cuttings is low. Only half of the cuttings take root. Thus, the easiest way to reproduce mimosa pudica is by growing from seed.
Harvest the seeds in late summer or early fall, when the flowers begin to wilt. To do this, carefully collect the bristly seed pods from the flowers. They must be dried and stored until early spring. When spring comes, place the seeds in a container and cover them with hot water. To be safe, leave them overnight to swell. For sowing, take only swollen seeds, and refill those that are not swollen with hot water.
For sowing, prepare the soil, it should be loose and nutritious. An earthen mixture with a sufficient peat content is perfect. We also recommend that you preheat the soil in the oven for half an hour to disinfect it. You can put a layer of expanded clay on the bottom of the container. The seeds are deepened into moistened soil to a depth of no more than one centimeter. The container with seeds is covered with foil or glass and placed in a warm and lighted place. But the direct rays of the sun should not hit the seed pot. It is recommended to maintain the temperature in the range of 24-26 degrees Celsius. A slight decrease in temperature is allowed, but not lower than twenty degrees Celsius. Also, do not forget to periodically remove the film to ventilate the soil and moisten it from a spray bottle.
Under good conditions, mimosa pudica germination can be observed at the end of the first week. After the sprouts appear, the protective film must be removed. The maximum germination period is two weeks. Seedlings with two leaves can be planted in separate pots.
When Does Mimosa Bloom?
Once ripe, mimosas bloom every year from May to July. For the flowers of Mimosa pudica to bloom completely, you need to provide the plant with a suitable temperature.Growing a plant that moves is not as difficult and troublesome as it might seem. If it is impossible to provide the plant with the necessary conditions during the dormant period and take care of it in winter, it is easier to grow new mimosa from seeds in spring. It is only necessary to minimize touching the leaves for fun, otherwise, the flower may die from exhaustion. But if you follow all the above rules, then this delicate, beautiful flower would become a precious decoration of any room. Also keep in mind that people who are prone to allergies, especially to plant pollen, are not recommended keeping this flower at home.
- Our article was helpful for you, green finger? Great and how exactly?
- You didn't like it? But why this happened?