The Q&A Archives: Sensitive Plant

Question: I just bought a houseplant that I don't know how to care for and can't find anything on because I don't know what it is. The plant has leaves that fold into itself when ever touched. I had heard it was called a "Sensitive Plant" but can not locate any information under that name. Can you provide any information?

Answer: The botanical name for your Sensitive Plant is Mimosa pudica. It's a popular foliage houseplant because the leaves fold up when touched (they fold up naturally at night). If you give it proper care, it will produce little pink puff-like flowers in the summer months. Give your plant average household temperatures with a minimum of 60F in the winter, bright light (some direct sunlight if possible), ample water in the summer, but let the soil begin to dry out between waterings in the winter months. Increase humidity around the plant by misting the leaves occasionally. The plant will grow to a height of about two feet and develop delicate branches and feathery leaves. If you touch the leaves and they fold up, it will take about an hour for them to recover.

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