The Mimosa Pudica – humble, dancing, sensible plant and touch-me-not – named, due to its unique feature when touched, or caught in a breeze, with feathery leaves folding up and stems drooping, taking several minutes to unfurl.
It is deemed that in the wild, this is a defence against being eaten.
Mimosa Pudica is an annual or short-lived creeping perennial with pretty ‘pom-pom’ flowers in summer, followed by seed pods.
It becomes less attractive with age, so it’s best to grow from seed annually.
Sow seeds in spring, having soaked them overnight. Seedlings should appear in 21-30 days.
Pot-on plants into larger pots as they grow, and plant out into a warm, humid, bright spot; east or west-facing is ideal, as it is not shade tolerant.
Keep soil moist, but not soggy, in spring and summer, and water sparingly in winter.
Feed with a balanced fertiliser every couple of months in the spring and summer months.
Pruning can keep the plant looking bushy, otherwise it may get a bit tall and leggy.
If leaves do not curl up when touched, or react slowly, it usually means you have been touching the plant too much. Leave it alone for a few weeks, in order for it to become sensitive again. Too much touching can drain the plant’s energy and ultimately shorten its life. Any yellowing leaves can mean the plant is too cold.