Imagine a plant that reacts to touch, as if it were ticklish. Intriguing, isn’t it? Meet the tickle me plant, also known as the sensitive plant, humble plant, or touch-me-not. Native to tropical regions, this shrubby perennial is a favorite among plant enthusiasts and especially loved by kids.
Unveiling the Tickle Me Plant
The tickle me plant, scientifically called Mimosa pudica, is a unique specimen that captures the imagination. While it can be grown outdoors as an annual, it is most commonly found indoors due to its captivating characteristics. When touched, the plant’s delicate fern-like leaves close up and droop, as if being tickled. It’s a remarkable sight that has fascinated people since ancient times.
Adding to its allure, tickle me plants display prickly stems and produce fluffy pink, ball-shaped flowers in the summer. Though the thorns can be removed with a nail clipper, it’s rarely necessary, making them safe to grow around children.
Cultivating the Tickle Me Plant
Outdoor tickle me plants thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. For indoor cultivation, find a bright or partially sunny spot in your home. While you can purchase potted plants, growing them from seed is not only fun but also straightforward.
To start the germination process, soak the seeds in hot water overnight. This simple step helps expedite their growth. Plant the seeds about 1/8 of an inch (0.5 cm) deep in potting soil, being gentle with your touch. Ensure the soil remains moist but not overly wet by lightly misting or watering it. For quicker sprouting, covering the pot’s top with clear plastic can be beneficial.
Maintain a warm environment for your tickle me plant, with temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees F (21-29 C). Cooler temperatures may cause delayed growth, extending the wait before the plant reacts to touch. Once sprouts emerge, relocate the plant to a brighter location. Be patient; it will take at least a month before the plant displays its sensitivity to touch.
Simple Care for Tickle Me Houseplants
Caring for tickle me plants is hassle-free. During the active growth phase, water the plant generously, and reduce watering during winter. Fertilizing the plant with a general houseplant or all-purpose fertilizer in spring and summer will ensure healthy growth.
If you desire, you can move your tickle me plant outdoors for the summer and bring it back inside when temperatures dip below 65 degrees F (18 C). Remember to acclimate the plant gradually when transitioning between indoor and outdoor environments. Keep in mind that outdoor tickle me plants don’t typically return the following year, so you’ll need to save the seeds or take summer cuttings to enjoy them again.
Intriguing, captivating, and exciting, the tickle me plant is a must-have addition to any home. Its unique ability to respond to touch brings a sense of wonder and joy to all who encounter it. So why not grow your own tickle me plant and experience the magic firsthand?
To purchase a tickle me plant, visit the Ames Farm Center.