Some miniature plants are loud. They burst into the garden with bright colors, unique shapes, and endless leaves. They can shoot straight up into the air or trail for several feet, winding their way down the side of a hanging basket. Cacti grow showy spines and hostas announce themselves with large, graceful leaves. Yes, sometimes the miniature garden can feel like a circus. Every plant deserves the gardener’s attention. Some, in fact, demand it! |
But there are a few plants in the garden that have a shy personality. They are quiet, reserved, and quite bashful, though they retain a beauty and uniqueness that goes unmatched. Meet Mimosa pudica. Also known as the “shy plant,” “shame plant,” “humble plant,” or “touch-me-not,” this creeping, flowering plant comes from the pea family. A popular houseplant, it has delicate, fern-like leaves that look magical in the fairy garden or in an indoor pot.
The Mimosa is highly touch-sensitive. In response to stimuli, such as touch, the plant “plays dead.” If you do run a gentle finger down the plant, its leaves will curl up and its stem will go slightly slack. This curious behavior is actually a form of self-defense. The leaves fold up to protect the plant from potential harm. It is thought that is adaptation protects it from herbivores browsing for plants in the wild. The quick movements of the plant may be enough to startle a hungry animal.
The plant’s leaves also fold in response to blowing, warming, and shaking. When the night grows dark, the plant folds up, opening again in the daylight. How are they able to fold like this? The Mimosa rapidly releases water from cells at the bases of the leafstalks and leaves. This causes the leaves and stems to droop.
Growing a Sensitive Plant
While Mimosa pudica does not appreciate physical touch, it still needs plenty of regular care. Native to South and Central America, the plant prefers tropical climates. In hardiness zones 9 to 11, it will grow well outdoors. A gardener might even see it spread and become weedy. In zones 2 to 8, Mimosa grows outdoors as an annual. For those who are creating an indoor container garden, you will want to position the sensitive plant next to a window that receives some direct sunlight. Try to keep the room temperature between 65-and75-degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius).
Be sure to plant your Mimosa pudica in well-draining, loamy soil. Water it regularly, but do not allow the plant to become waterlogged. It can be susceptible to water rot and spider mites. No need to over-pot with this plant. Simply maintain it in a medium-sized pot or in an outdoor garden bed.
Planning and Planting
With its small size and magical ability to move, the Mimosa pudica is an excellent choice for any fairy garden. Imagine its round, fluffy purple flowers growing next to your favorite fairy cottage or adding some color and texture to a forest of miniature trees. You could plant just one Mimosa as a standalone, standout plant in the miniature garden, or you could plant several of them, creating a grove of plants under which fairies might fly and play. The best part? When the garden fairies fall asleep at night, Mimosa pudica will “fall asleep” too, closing its leaves up for the night. Sweet dreams!
Miniature Gardening' offers miniature houses, accessories, fairies, garden tools & dollhouse furniture to create enchanting miniature landscapes for containers or your yard. Story telling and imaginary fairy garden from 'Miniature Gardening' bring the playful kid out in all of us. Filled with intrigue and mystique each little miniature gardens scene you create is a snapshot of such a dream.
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