How to Grow Mimosa – Sensitive Plant

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Mimosa pudica is a tropical annual or short-lived perennial commonly called sensitive plant. It gets its common name from its leaves which fold inward at night or when touched. Mimosa pudica is grown as a houseplant in temperate regions.

Mimosa pudica has bright green to grayish leaves; the leave grow to 4 inches long and each has 4 radiating linear leaflets that are further divided into 10 to 25 pairs of narrow, oblong segments that fold up when touched.

Mimosa is a genus of about 400 herbs, shrubs, trees, and vines. Only one species, Mimosa pudica, is grown as a houseplant. Mimosa is native to dry savannahs in tropical regions worldwide.

Get to know Mimosa

  • Plant type: Annual or short-lived perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 14-15
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: Grows 12 to 30 inches (30-75cm) tall and 16 to 36 inches (40-90cm) wide
  • Foliage: Bright green to grayish gree leaves to 4 inches long, each has 4 radiating linear leaflets divied into 10 to 25 pairs of narrow, oblong segemnts; leaves fold up at night and when touched.
  • Flowers: Spherical, light pink to lilac flowerheads to 3/4 inch across
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Shrub border in tropical regions, houseplant
  • Common name: Sensitive plant, humble plant
  • Botanical name: Mimosa pudica
  • Family name: Fabaceae
Sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica
Sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica

Where to plant Mimosa

  • Light outdoors: Plant Mimosa in full sun.
  • Light indoors: Grow Mimosa in bright to direct light.
  • Soil outdoors: Grow Mimosa in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Plant Mimosa in an all-purpose potting mix.

When to plant Mimosa

  • Set container-grown Mimosa outdoors any time of the year in tropical regions.

Planting and spacing Mimosa

  • Space Mimosa 16 to 36 inches (40-90cm) apart.

How to water and feed Mimosa

  • Keep the soil moderately moist and allow it to dry only slightly between waterings.
  • Fertilize Mimosa with a liquid balanced fertilizer regularly in spring and summer.

Mimosa care

  • Repot Mimosa when roots protrude through the drainage holes.

Mimosa pests and diseases

  • Mimosa is susceptible to attack by mealybugs and scale insects.

Mimosa propagation

  • Propagate Mimosa by seed or by stem cuttings.
  • Root softwood cuttings with bottom heat in spring.

Mimosa varieties to grow

  • Mimosa pudica, sensitive plant, humble plant. Mat-forming annual or short-lived perennial with slender prickly branching stems; bright green to grayish green leaves consistes of leaflets with numerous segments; segments fold at night and when touched; spherical, light pink to lilac flowerheads.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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