Musings

The Sensitive One

By Barbara-
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The moment I spotted this plant at the garden store, it took me back to when I was a child. We had these plants…more like weeds everywhere. We certainly didn’t keep them as houseplants. I remember we would go around touching the leaves, fascinated by how fast the leaves closed at the touch of our fingertips. 

I’m sure you remember this plant too. It is Mimosa pudica aka the sensitive plant. As a kid, we called this plant ‘touch me not’. The leaves respond to various stimuli such as touch, light, wind, temperature etc, by closing its leaves. It manages this movement by moving water in and out of its cells. Touching one part of the leaf causes it to close and this movement can transfer to other parts of the plant as well. Below is a video that shows the leaves closing to touch. A more forceful touch will cause the leaves to close much faster. After a few minutes the leaves open up again.

I was surprised one morning when a pretty pink flower appeared. I was in a hurry to get to work and thought I’d take a picture of it the next day. However by the next day the flower was no more. Luckily though a few days later 3 more pink flowers appeared and I managed to take a picture to share.

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As pretty and intriguing as the plant looks, it is also very prickly. A closer look shows thorns on the stems.

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I’m still trying to figure out its watering needs. Overwatering causes the leaves to yellow pretty quickly. I think it likes to have moist but not soggy soil.  I currently have it in bright indirect light in a room with a west-facing window. I would like to try propagating by seeds at some point. If you like to collect fascinating plants, you should definitely put this one on your list.

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Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara and I’m a little obsessed with house plants. I share my house plant adventures in the hopes of inspiring you to continue to enjoy the greens in your home. And if you have no plants (yet!) I hope this blog inspires you to add some green to your home. So go on! Try it! I think you might quite like it. And who knows? You may end up being … obsessed too.

4 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Oh wow! I need one of these! The flowers are so beautiful they look like little fireworks… Do they need a lot of light?

    14 . Jan . 2016
    • Barbara

      They need a bright sunny position.

      14 . Jan . 2016
  2. Darryl Cheng

    The sensitive plant is a fun plant to own. I’ve had many fun times with mine:
    http://houseplantjournal.tumblr.com/tagged/sensitive%20plant

    Yours looks quite tall so it will soon need a stake to help it stay upright. Nice video!

    21 . Sep . 2015
    • Barbara

      Wow, yours was big too. I still can’t figure it outs watering needs but it definitely needs more pampering than my other plants. For a weed it is quite needy.

      22 . Sep . 2015

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