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Why is mimosa pudica known as “the shameful plant”?

MIMOSA PUDICA . THE SHOCKING SHAMEFUL

Within the plant kingdom, there are times when certain types of plants powerfully attract our attention. Carnivores are a clear case of something exceptional. Plants that border on behaviors typical of predators of the animal kingdom.

But leaving aside this mild aggressiveness of the carnivores we go to the other extreme. A plant that when you touch it, instead of biting it, hides in fear. This is Mimosa pudica .

Native to the tropical areas of America, this curious plant can be cultivated indoors until it reaches its normal size, at which time indoor conditions may become insufficient although possible.

The South American continent is very large, and the amount of climates it houses ranges from the typical contrasts of the more continental climate, to the oppressive and constant humid tropical climates.

This plant is from the latter places, so with these data we can already imagine that the care is going to be something special, especially in rather dry climates where it will be difficult for us to maintain adequate environmental humidity to satisfy its needs.

We will talk after that. For now we are going to see the great peculiarity of this plant. Its high sensitivity to contact and its defensive reaction.

Photo by: Connie Ma

THEY CALL IT THE SHAMEFUL PLANT OR “DON’T TOUCH ME”

Its leaves are composed of numerous leaflets. Very similar to those of a fern for example or the false pepper tree. These foliar formations are usually very appreciated from their ornamental point of view since they give dynamism to the plant that dresses them and wears them.

In the case of the Mimosa pudica, in addition to having that ornamental plus of the vegetative part, its delicate leaflets are deployed in search of light but…. always alert!.

The moment they feel someone touch them, the plant automatically retracts in seconds and in the blink of an eye, the plant appears withered, dying and without any splendor. Why? Very simple, try to appear withered and unappetizing to potential predators. A plant that has developed a really curious and unique mechanism in the plant kingdom.

In Gardenprue we always wonder how these plants (some carnivores too) can have such a rapid response capacity to movement, when in general the plants seem to have rather static structures and soooo slow movements. Here we leave you a video in which you can see the Mimosa pudica defending itself from the evil hands of its owners.

 

 

There is no need to worry as it returns to its normal state after a short time by unfolding its leaflets again. It takes longer than to fold them up and get ready to “rearm.” Oh, and if you wake up at night and see it completely shrunken, don’t be scared thinking that there is someone else at home who has touched your plant. At night the plant retreats whether we touch it or not.

BEWARE OF ABUSING YOUR MODEST CONDITION … AND YOUR THORNS

If we stop to think a bit, the fact of moving its plant structures with such speed is not a whim without cost. In exchange for this magnificent mechanism, the Mimosa pudica uses an enormous amount of energy .

So we recommend that you record a video once and show it to family and friends because if every time someone comes home you are going to touch their morale, they will end up withering indefinitely from exhaustion.

And on the other hand, when the plant grows it will develop thorns on its stems with which we have to be careful. Nothing about mimosa!

DID YOU LIKE IT? YOU CAN TRY TO TAKE CARE OF THE MIMOSA PUDICA INDOORS

TEMPERATURES

As we mentioned at the beginning, the climate of Mimosa pudica is tropical. At home it is not difficult to achieve average temperatures similar to those of these climates.

Perhaps the 21ºC is slightly short but if we have a south-facing room, it is very possible that with a sunny climate we can reach generous temperatures that provide a good thermal environment for this vegetal jewel.

What we do have to take into account is that the higher the temperature, the higher the humidity required due to perspiration, so a suitable balance will have to be found. Of course we are not talking about low temperatures.

Mimosa pudica does not withstand low temperatures. But when we say low we do not say 2 or 3 degrees. Below 12ºC, you already start to catch a cold.

WEATHER EXPOSURE

It doesn’t really have to be too high. And it better not be too direct. It can suffer burns on its leaves and it can no longer defend itself against that, that’s for sure. In any case, you do not have to worry too much in this regard. It tolerates certain doses of direct light and the mornings not very intense will appreciate them.

IRRIGATION AND ESPECIALLY HUMIDITY FOR MIMOSA PUDICA

Environmental humidity is a key factor. As we always say, a good way to provide a humid environment in the plant environment is the plate with small wet edges that will evaporate the humidity more efficiently to achieve that environment.

The sprays will not hurt either, but it is better if they are very indirect, without pointing directly at the plant. As for watering, we must not neglect it and especially in summer, a flowering period in which it will require frequent watering.

If you can’t get him to survive with these techniques, your environment may be too dry. Try buying a small glass greenhouse of these “single plants” to try to better maintain humidity.

SUBSTRATUM

More than the substrate we have to look at the size of the pot. It has quite large roots in relation to its aerial part so we have to look for a large pot. It can even look somewhat unbalanced, but it is a necessity. And do not forget that in addition to the pot, it will appreciate a couple of tutors to support it . The substrate can be a normal substrate but with a little more sand than usual for better drainage.

Subscribing is optional but we can give it a boost during flowering if we wish. Its flowers are small and pinkish in color.

PODA

Do not even think about it!. There is no more to say. It will be the only plant that should not be touched, along with the carnivores. The dry leaves will already be falling by their own means.

Go ahead and try growing Mimosa pudica at home!

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