Mimosa pudica (Sensitive/ Touch me not plant)

Artaeshia

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Does anyone have any reliable tips on growing these from seed? I have read on other forums all sorts of methods, some say chipping the seeds slightly to reveal the white/lime green inside and sew, some others say to soak in boiling water and then sew. Others say chicken manure is great for them too. I think one of the main keys to success is temperature, keeping the seedlings at 80-90 degrees, well I keep my room around the 80's for my tarantulas, so I have no issue there.

My main worry is direct sunlight, I live in the UK and the weather is pretty dismal, so even when sat in the window they won't get much sun, if any. Should I purchase a UV lamp or something to solve this?

Any help or links would be great, thanks in advance.
 

Stan Schultz

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Does anyone have any reliable tips on growing these from seed? I have read on other forums all sorts of methods, some say chipping the seeds slightly to reveal the white/lime green inside and sew, some others say to soak in boiling water and then sew. Others say chicken manure is great for them too. I think one of the main keys to success is temperature, keeping the seedlings at 80-90 degrees, well I keep my room around the 80's for my tarantulas, so I have no issue there.

My main worry is direct sunlight, I live in the UK and the weather is pretty dismal, so even when sat in the window they won't get much sun, if any. Should I purchase a UV lamp or something to solve this?

Any help or links would be great, thanks in advance.
They're considered weeds in the tropical countries where they occur. They grow in lawns and their thorns make barefoot walking impossible. I'd try several seeds using the "chipping method" and several without. Grow them under just about any very bright light that's near white in color. Incandescent bulbs generally don't work really well because of the excessive amount of heat they throw. Definitely don't use UV. They'll grow really well right next to your marijuana plants! OOPS! DID I REALLY SAY THAT?
 

Cavedweller

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Oh man that's cool! I didn't know you could grow them in captivity. I wanna give that a try (on my porch I guess). Where did you get the seeds? I've found them growing wild in some places where I live, even in the brutal Texas summer, so I would assume they can withstand a surprising amount of heat.
 

Artaeshia

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They're considered weeds in the tropical countries where they occur. They grow in lawns and their thorns make barefoot walking impossible. I'd try several seeds using the "chipping method" and several without. Grow them under just about any very bright light that's near white in color. Incandescent bulbs generally don't work really well because of the excessive amount of heat they throw. Definitely don't use UV. They'll grow really well right next to your marijuana plants! OOPS! DID I REALLY SAY THAT?
I did think that a UV lamp would perhaps be too harsh, so thanks for confirming that. I'll try experimenting chipping and soaking etc to see which works best, if only I had bought more seeds!

Just to confirm, I don't grow marijuana, haha! lol

---------- Post added 03-28-2013 at 12:02 PM ----------

Oh man that's cool! I didn't know you could grow them in captivity. I wanna give that a try (on my porch I guess). Where did you get the seeds? I've found them growing wild in some places where I live, even in the brutal Texas summer, so I would assume they can withstand a surprising amount of heat.
Perhaps they can withstand the heat once they have grown more established? I don't know, but I'll experiment with the seeds and see what works best. I bought the seeds in a growing kit. They were being sold in a bookshop called The Works? They were real cheap with a pot and some expandable dirt, not sure what type it is. Maybe you can find seeds online?

I'll post pics once I start the planting, could be good reference for others in future.
 

Tarac

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They grow just fine in constantly mowed fields (school soccer fields, grass parking lots, etc. for example) here in Florida, seem to like disturbed sites probably due to their diminutive size, in the blazing hot sun all summer. They are indeed a weed in this area and can be found practically anywhere that is sunny and gets enough dew to stay a little moist (relative to sandhill scrub, another dominant type of habitat here). They do like very very bright light, as Stan said- as close to white as possible. A compact VHO would probably work well. Doubt that a partial shade porch would do much and certainly not window cultivation. They are not likely to be found anywhere that receive much shade at all. But if you have an open porch or something with all day southern exposure that might work OK.
 

Tarac

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Also thought I would add that I am in north central Florida where we do experience freezes. We cannot grow most of the tropicals that are associated with Florida in the gardener's mind, even the big gaudy hibiscus preform poorly here in all but the most protected locations because they flower on old wood (previous year's growth) which rarely, if ever, survives a single winter save the oddballs where we have no freeze. But we also have oddballs where we see long, more severe freezes and they die completely. Typically we might see a low of 10 F every once in a while but usually over 20, only overnight for a brief time, and fairly infrequently even at that. It is normal for us to have at least one freeze each year, more often several. So they do get frost on them as the habitat they prefer is most likely to have frost out of all the types of terrain around here- big open, exposed fields- and they persist just fine. Not sure about your locale in the UK but I suspect the winter temps are tolerable therefor. I don't know about the heat requirements though, all I can say about that is that it gets really hot here and the humidity is almost suffocating for those not accustomed to it and they don't mind it at all. Whether or not they require it I cannot say.
 

Introvertebrate

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I've got some Mimosa seeds left over from the '70s. I should try some and see if they're still viable. Back in the day, I just left the plant near a window.
 

Artaeshia

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all I can say about that is that it gets really hot here and the humidity is almost suffocating for those not accustomed to it and they don't mind it at all. Whether or not they require it I cannot say.
When you mentioned about the unbearable humidity, made me wonder if I should cover the seeds to reduce the ventilation a bit? If I have enough seeds I'll give it a try. And see if it helps.
 

Stan Schultz

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Oh man that's cool! I didn't know you could grow them in captivity. I wanna give that a try (on my porch I guess). Where did you get the seeds? I've found them growing wild in some places where I live, even in the brutal Texas summer, so I would assume they can withstand a surprising amount of heat.
Go to your friendly, neighborhood news stand and buy several gardening magazines. Look for the ads by the various seed and nursery companies. Check out their on-line catalogs. Maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of them either have them or can get them for you.

Remember the triffids! Enjoy your picky, little weed!

---------- Post added 03-30-2013 at 08:19 AM ----------

Remember that, as with tarantulas, growing sensitive pants in captivity (e.g., a pot) is vastly different than watching them grow as weeds in your lawn. Different conditions, different stresses, different hazards. And you need to protect them from all these. Plus, you still need to supply the things they need (e.g., water, light, nutrition/fertilizer) in the right levels or amounts. In a flower pot, Mother Nature doesn't take care of them automagically.


Enjoy your little pink and green thingie that moves!
 

The Snark

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Around Thailand. Nuisance plant. Grows up to 12 feet tall, average 8 feet. As mentioned, pops up anywhere. Extremely prolific and viable. Spreads seeds by the wind. Seeds rapidly lose viability after a year with germination dropping to <%5. Loves water but once established can grow in extremely arid conditions. Grows in all temperature and humidity ranges. Mature plants occasionally harvested for the stems which are very tough and can be woven into fences, primitive baskets and so on.
As invasive as the Himalayan blackberry in taking over fallow areas. Untended rice fields can become completely overgrown in one year. Resistant to herbicide (glyphosates). Removal is best accomplished by tractors with grader capability. Burning produces an even more viable area for seasonal return.
 
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Tarac

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Around Thailand. Nuisance plant. Grows up to 12 feet tall, average 8 feet. As mentioned, pops up anywhere. Extremely prolific and viable. Spreads seeds by the wind. Seeds rapidly lose viability after a year with germination dropping to <%5. Loves water but once established can grow in extremely arid conditions. Grows in all temperature and humidity ranges. Mature plants occasionally harvested for the stems which are very tough and can be woven into fences, primitive baskets and so on.
As invasive as the Himalayan blackberry in taking over fallow areas. Untended rice fields can become completely overgrown in one year. Resistant to herbicide (glyphosates). Removal is best accomplished by tractors with grader capability. Burning produces an even more viable area for seasonal return.
We are talking about Mimosa pudica which is a tiny lawn weed (although can be a nuisance too). I believe the plant you are referring to is Albizia julibrissin, also referred to as a "mimosa" tree. We have those too, and yes indeed they are pesty. But it is not the "sensitive plant" being discussed although related (Fabaceae); M. pudica is quite small and has leaves that close when touched, very rapidly earning it's common name.
 

The Snark

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We are talking about Mimosa pudica which is a tiny lawn weed (although can be a nuisance too). I believe the plant you are referring to is Albizia julibrissin, also referred to as a "mimosa" tree. We have those too, and yes indeed they are pesty. But it is not the "sensitive plant" being discussed although related (Fabaceae); M. pudica is quite small and has leaves that close when touched, very rapidly earning it's common name.
Nope. We've got Albizia too. But I would appreciate some in depth info. We have 'lawn weed' pudica. As a matter of fact I noticed several yesterday. They usually remain quite small. Find them all over the place. Then there is these completely identical plants, sensitivity, leaves, thorny stems and flowers that suddenly take off turning to 3 to 5 feet tall. Give them a couple of months and they grow to 8 foot. I can supply pictures.

Maybe this would help. Directly across the river they cut down all brush 2 1/2 months ago. In a couple of weeks the area was covered in 'lawn weeds'. The hot season hit and they have now shot up to 3 to 5 feet. ???

While we are not on the subject, perhaps you could help. We have what is commonly called the Chinese silk tree or giant silk tree here which may be an albizia. But it is very slow growing, extremely strong heavy dense wood, leaves that fold up at night, heavy thick seed pods similar to the carob, and those 1 inch across flowers. The tree grows to 30 meters tall and a canopy of up to 40 meters across. The leaves are lobulate, 1 inch long instead of feathery. It is definitely not in the Acacia family I'm pretty sure.
 
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Tarac

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Nope. We've got Albizia too. But I would appreciate some in depth info. We have 'lawn weed' pudica. As a matter of fact I noticed several yesterday. They usually remain quite small. Find them all over the place. Then there is these completely identical plants, sensitivity, leaves, thorny stems and flowers that suddenly take off turning to 3 to 5 feet tall. Give them a couple of months and they grow to 8 foot. I can supply pictures.

Maybe this would help. Directly across the river they cut down all brush 2 1/2 months ago. In a couple of weeks the area was covered in 'lawn weeds'. The hot season hit and they have now shot up to 3 to 5 feet. ???

While we are not on the subject, perhaps you could help. We have what is commonly called the Chinese silk tree or giant silk tree here which may be an albizia. But it is very slow growing, extremely strong heavy dense wood, leaves that fold up at night, heavy thick seed pods similar to the carob, and those 1 inch across flowers. The tree grows to 30 meters tall and a canopy of up to 40 meters across. The leaves are lobulate, 1 inch long instead of feathery. It is definitely not in the Acacia family I'm pretty sure.
The "lawn weed" pudica stays diminutive, not sure what the one that grows up is but it's not pudica. Pudica has flowers that look like big Q-tips or something, whole top is a messy tangle of flowers that face all directions compared to the Albizia which has the flowers that radiate out more in a semicircle, facing away from the petiole. You have something else that is growing up.

There are a million Mimosid legumes so it's hard to say which one it could possibly be but if you get a pic I can probably get an ID on it. Need foliar arrangement and reproductive material at minimum and a nice pic of the whole plant for gestalt would also be helpful.

As for the other one, it's not an Acacia as you said or other Mimosid legume due to the description of the leaves you provided- they should be compound if it is a Mimosid legume. Are the flowers similar to the "mimosa" or are they not flower heads but single flowers? The Albizia and Mimosa are actually a head of many small flowers compared to something like Pachira, for example, which has the same "poof" look with all the showy stamens but it is just single flower and petals are reflexed, reduced in some species. So it has a similar effect but it is in fact just a single very impressive flower. Using Pachira as an example, it's definitely not Pachira since the leaves fold up. It could be some other kind of Fabaceae, likely is. There are about 15-20K members of Fabaceae to put in perspective lol.
 

The Snark

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The strange Pudica

The local name for this plant is 'Two Life'.

In the cool season, in arid conditions, or in temperate climates it is little more than a ground cover, growing less than 1" tall



Where there is more water it grows into the familiar novelty 'Sensitive Plant' up to about 12"



In the background of the 12 inchers next to a canal the plant grows to about 30 inches tall, but only takes off like this in the hot season.


In more fertile soil around 30 inches tall.

After giving it a few whacks with a stick. You can see the method behind it's madness. The plant becomes almost invisible.


But give it a hot climate, the middle of summer and abundant water, watch out. This river was completely cleared to mineral soil 8 months ago.
 

The Snark

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This should be the second to the last picture. I got them mixed up.
 

Artaeshia

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The local name for this plant is 'Two Life'.

In the cool season, in arid conditions, or in temperate climates it is little more than a ground cover, growing less than 1" tall



Where there is more water it grows into the familiar novelty 'Sensitive Plant' up to about 12"



In the background of the 12 inchers next to a canal the plant grows to about 30 inches tall, but only takes off like this in the hot season.


In more fertile soil around 30 inches tall.

After giving it a few whacks with a stick. You can see the method behind it's madness. The plant becomes almost invisible.


But give it a hot climate, the middle of summer and abundant water, watch out. This river was completely cleared to mineral soil 8 months ago.
That was awesome!! I've never seen them that large.

I've tried experimenting with sowing the M. pudica seeds. Some were soaked, some were soaked and chipped, some I followed the original instructions on the packet (plant in vermiculite, didn't go well), etc. But I've had no luck yet with any of them. Watered them morning and evening, no mold growth, in full natural light, good airflow bla bla. Guess I'll try some other methods.

I've heard chicken manure works... might have to test that theory.
 

The Snark

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To address the OP's original question. The most common place the seedling plants are found here are alongside roads. That is where the vehicles blow the seeds that land on the roads. Gauging the amount of seeds that are produced to the plants that grow, I think it would be very safe to say the germination rate is far below 1%. Probably more like a tiny fraction of that. No doubt domestic, possibly hybrids have been produced but how much they could improve germination?
The wild variety here. Loves the heat for certain. Seedlings commonly start in thin mingy well drained soil. I'd suggest a silt bearing soil. Experimentation is going to be the big rule. They are obviously very sensitive to their environment going by the growth habits. Growing entirely as a short ground cover until the correct environment spurs a secondary growth cycle. And, just how many of those novelty plants are raised by nurseries in order to get marketable plants? It may be a major headache to get them growing, then another headache once they are established to keep them from bolting.

I suspect that, as with many ornamental plants that originated in the tropics, they produce them in hot houses then remove them to temperate conditions to arrest further growth. Essentially stunting them. Many of the ornamental flowering plants found in nurseries in the US and Great Britain remain small but in the tropics they quickly spread out of control. It takes many generations of hybridizing to get them to reliably germinate and establish themselves in temperate climes.

A very good example of this is the gardenia. Horticulturists go crazy getting them established and producing the fragrant flowers and in most cases you find them in temperate climes as a small bush. Even here in the tropics they are very fussy. But under rain forest canopies in highly silt bearing soils and almost daily watering they grow into a massive shrub up to 20 feet across. However, the flowers these produce seldom last more than 48 hours.
 
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Artaeshia

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Update!

Just as I announced that none of the seedlings were growing, I came across this!

P4105737.jpg

This seed I took off the thin crispy shell and slightly chipped with a knife, really fiddly, but it seems to have worked. It's the only one that has decided to shoot so far...
 

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The Snark

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Just as I announced that none of the seedlings were growing, I came across this!

View attachment 115522

This seed I took off the thin crispy shell and slightly chipped with a knife, really fiddly, but it seems to have worked. It's the only one that has decided to shoot so far...
If you could, I'd really like to see a series of pics of their development. Best would be if some were kept in hot house conditions, if that would be possible. IE > 80 degrees F
 
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