Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
The Touch Me Not (scientific name: Mimosa pudica) aka Sensitive plant, Action plant, Prayer plant, Shame plant or Humble plant, is a fascinating plant.
This is mainly due to the feature whereby if you touch it, its leaves fold up immediately.
Hence, it is also called the Sleepy plant.
This reaction is thought to be a defense mechanism to protect the plant from harmful insects, although such a rapid plant movement confounds some botanists as it uses so much energy.
Sensitive plant leaves are always intriguing — take the Venus Fly Trap, for example — another amazing houseplant!
The Touch Me Not plant has beautiful fringed compound leaves and pom-pom shaped, pale pink flowers/fluffy balls, which, along with its interesting habits, make most gardeners want to own one.
Even people with semi-green thumbs are intrigued by this mimosa plant.
However, understandably, you may have some reservations about growing and caring for the Mimosa pudica — it is, after all, called Touch Me Not!
Touch Me Not plants grow in moist and well-drained soil that is loose and loamy — soil moisture is key.
They are from the Fabaceae family of plants and are native to South America and Central America, so they do well in temperatures between 65° — 75 °F and flourish in high humidity.
Being a tropical plant, they like full direct sunlight, or at least plenty of light, for eight hours a day.
They are commonly indoor plants but can be grown outdoors in tropical or subtropical regions.
Another interesting quality, apparently, is that extract of the Touch Me Not plant stimulates new hair cells so is used by certain shampoo manufacturers for treating hair loss!
If you are tempted to try growing a Mimosa pudica plant but are unsure of their requirements, read on as we answer your questions on care and growing conditions for this unique plant.
Where Should I Grow A Touch Me Not Plant?
This sensitive plant Mimosa pudica is most often grown in pots indoors as a decorative annual plant in an area with bright light.
However, they can be grown outside and are particularly useful as a ground cover plant.
Beware though, if Mimosa pudica is planted in tropical or subtropical regions, it can become rapidly invasive. In these climatic regions, it is best kept as an indoor houseplant to prevent invasion.
What Light Does a Touch Me Not Plant Need?
Mimosa pudica is a plant that wants as much light as possible — ideally eight hours a day of full sunlight.
If you are planting your mimosa pudica outside, select a site that has full sun for as long as possible during the day.
However, it will tolerate light shade during parts of the day.
If you are growing it indoors, position the pot next to a large window that will give as much sun as possible for most of the day. If you do not have a sunny enough spot, you can use artificial lighting as a supplement.
What Are The Soil Requirements For Mimosa pudica?
Touch me not plants grow best on disturbed soil.
The root system is not robust enough to penetrate compacted soil. If you are planting it outside, dig the bed or patch first to loosen the ground.
There must be good water drainage in loamy soil for the plant to flourish.
You can increase water drainage by adding peat moss to your soil.
An acidic to neutral soil pH (5.0 to 7.5) is best.
What Potting Soil Should I Use To Grow Mimosa pudica Indoors?
The best potting soil mixture for Touch Me Not plants, follows a specific ratio of elements.
1. Two parts loam
2. Two parts peat moss
3. One part perlite or sand
Use a pot with drainage holes to stop the soil from becoming waterlogged and getting root rot, or ideally, one of the self-watering pot designs that are available..
How Much Fertilizer Does A Touch Me Not plant Need?
Mimosa pudica grows in soils with low nutrient content in the countries where it originates.
As long as the ground is reasonably loamy, this sensitive plant does not need additional fertilization.
If you feel that your soil is inadequate, you can give a high potassium liquid fertilizer every few weeks.
Mix the fertilizer with water so that it is half strength before application.
How Often Should I Water My Touch Me Not Plant?
Touch me not plants are sensitive plants when it comes to the water content of the soil
They do not flourish in dry soil and quickly rot in wet, boggy ground. They require soil that has evenly distributed water content while not being waterlogged.
A potting mixture with plenty of humus or organic matter is the best way to achieve correct drainage while retaining some water. It also helps to sit the pot in a saucer filled with gravel/a humidity tray or a pebble tray so that excess water can drain away easily.
As an experienced gardener would do, simply push your finger down into the ground around the plant to determine if the plant needs to be given water. You should feel the moisture without your finger becoming wet.
It is difficult to say how many times a week this plant should be watered as much depends on your soil and the climate.
However, a good clue is to keep an eye on the foliage. If you start to see yellow leaves and weak growth, then that is a sign of over-watering.
By comparison, if the leaves seem dry or crispy and there appears to be stunted growth then the problem is likely to be not enough water.
What Is The Best Temperature And Humidity For A Touch Me Not Plant?
This sensitive plant does best at between 65 – 75 °F (18 – 24 °C), so a reasonably warm temperature. It does not survive frosts, icy temperatures, or extreme heat.
The touch me not plant flourishes in moderate to high humidity levels. If you live in an arid climate, you will need to position a humidifier close to the plant or mist it regularly for healthy growth.
Should I Prune A Touch Me Not Plant?
Touch me not plants benefit from pruning as they tend to become straggly and leggy if left unchecked, especially if kept as indoor houseplants without a 360 deg light source.
Pruning can be done in any season. Cut off branches that are dead or seem out of place.
How Do I Propagate The Touch Me Not Plant?
Mimosa pudica can be propagated from a plant seed or a cutting. They are relatively easy to propagate if the correct growing medium is provided.
How To Propagate A Touch Me Not Plant From A Cutting
To grow Mimosa pudica from a cutting, select a branch that includes one leaf node. Plant this branch into loamy pot soil and place it in a warm sunny spot. To enhance the humidity and facilitate propagation, cover the plant in a plastic tent for four weeks.
How To Propagate A Touch Me Not Plant From A Seed
Mimosa pudica seeds can be purchased from quite a few online gardening stores.
The seeds have a hard outer coating that can inhibit germination. Some gardeners advocate soaking the seeds in warm water for a few hours before planting. Others suggest nicking the hard outer seed coating with a sharp knife.
Once your seeds are ready for planting, transfer them to a seed tray or pot, embedding them in moist loamy soil up to one-eighth of an inch (3 mm) deep.
Place a plastic tent over the pot to increase the level of humidity and keep the pot in a warm, light environment. The seed should germinate within one week.
How Do I Repot A Touch Me Not Plant?
The touch me not plant is ready to be repotted when you see roots protruding from the drainage holes in the pot. Ensure you do not disturb the roots during repotting.
Choose a slightly bigger pot than the last one, as Mimosa pudica does best when the roots are more confined. The plant may look limp after repotting.
Keep the temperature and humidity constant and the soil moist, then the sensitive plant should quickly recover.
Being sometimes an annual and sometimes a perennial plant, you may find that you don’t end up repotting at all.
What Diseases Or Pests Attack Touch Me Not Plant?
The mimosa webworm and spider mite attack Touch Me Not plants.
They do this by spinning webs around the plant, which prevent the leaves from closing. The leaves then become brown and die.
Mimosa webworms and spider mites are not usually a problem for indoor plants. You can buy natural insecticides from the nursery to deter these insects.
The moist soil in which Mimosa pudica grows can unfortunately, also encourage a fungal disease to develop on the plant. A slow-speed fan placed near the plant will help prevent a fungal attack or at least slow down fungal growth.
Touch me not plants are not complex plants to grow if you have loamy soil with good drainage. They need full sunlight but tolerate some partial shade for a few hours.
They like moist conditions, but it is critical to have the correct moisture content in the soil as too much (or too little) will kill the plant.