Mimosa belongs to the leguminosae family and is native to the hottest regions of Africa and Australia. The very ramified upright arborescent stem can reach 4-6 meters in height, the leaves are alternate bipinnate, green, linear and acute. The small and yellow flowers are very fragrant gathered in a feather in globular heads. The species cultivated as ornamental garden plants, evergreens, appreciated for their flowering and can be found at nurseries are: the Farnese, the dealbata, the motteana, the longifolia and the retinodes. The Farnesiana also known as gaggia, has very odorous yellow gold flowers and branches with strong thorns. In temperate climates it must be placed in the shelter of a wall with eastern exposure and protected with mats during the winter. The dealbata perhaps the most common species of mimosa, is a lush plant that can reach 8-10 meters in height. Its flowering branches are highly sought after and are therefore widely cultivated on the Ligurian Riviera; in this area, however, the soils are mainly calcareous and therefore, the mimosa dealbata is grafted onto the mimosa retinodes which acts as a "rootstock". The mottosa motteana is characteristic for its oval-triangular leaves and for the very fragrant flowers gathered in large racemose bunches, which appear already in January and are of a beautiful yellow. Longifolia, one of the most ancient and widespread species, very resistant in arid lands, has sulfur-yellow spike flowers and persistent lance-shaped leaves and remains in bloom in the three spring months. The retinodes also known as mimosa floribunda develops well even in calcareous soils; it flowers from late summer to autumn and in the hottest regions even in winter. Finally it is important to mention another specimen of mimosa originating from Argentina called mimosa spegazzini; It is a deciduous shrub suitable for cultivation in temperate winter regions. It can reach a height of 3-4 meters and is very decorative due to the foliage and flowering that in summer produces pink-lilac flowers and requires fertile soil. Also like pudica mimosa it is sensitive to the slightest bump.
The true mimosa is not the plant that produces the well-known yellow flowers but an annual herbaceous plant, whose greater attractiveness is given by the sensitivity of the leaves that close on themselves at the slightest bump, resuming the primitive position and opening only after some time. The mimosa pudica native to Brazil, is the species that has more evident this hypersensitivity to the lighter touch. Not being a plant resistant to the harsh cold of the winter months, the mimosa is cultivated as an annual plant with sowing under glass in March. The seedlings are transplanted into small pots as soon as they emit the first leaves, and then they can be planted in the ground where they grow better. The best exposure is the sunny one and the soil must be fertile. It is also possible to grow them in pots, but in this case they cannot overcome the height of 60-70 centimeters. Flowering takes place in summer with small pink-lilac flowers. In regions with a mild winter climate, mimosa pudica becomes perennial, semi-woody and thorny.
MIMOSA CULTIVATION: MAINTENANCE
Mimosa requires fertile soil enriched with chopped peat to allow it to accumulate water in the warmer months. The fertilization takes place in full earth with organic fertilizers composed of manure and plant debris. During the initial period of cultivation when the plants are still young, it is convenient at least once a week to carry out soil hoeing operations to remove the superficial layer of dry soil that can act as a stopper and prevent the plant from transpiring at night. When growing in pots fertilizers must be administered diluted in water during watering. The latter must be abundant in the summer months, but as with all plants, one must never exaggerate. Watering must be done every 2 or 3 weeks and in the presence of very cold winter climates the water can be avoided completely or it can be administered in even longer times. For a good flowering the mimosa plants grown in pots or boxes, on terraces and balconies must be constantly exposed to the sun.
Mimosa flowers: MIMOSA CULTIVATION: PRUNING
Mimosa plants should be pruned to reinforce them not so much from the point of view of flowering that is already abundant but above all for the length that the shrubs reach. This minor inconvenience can be harmful if the plant is grown in ventilated areas such as hills or near the sea. The strength of the wind could break them or at least bend them, making them grow in precarious conditions and making them easily attacked by mites and parasites that are always lurking as soon as they perceive a precarious state of health of any plant. When pruning, only a twig with a height of around 20 centimeters must be left outside the soil. However this is certainly not a forced operation if we consider that the mimosas being by definition plants for the production of cut flowers to be cultivated in pots or to create floral bouquets, undergo the same treatment. For those who prefer mimosas as ornamental plants then the operation becomes solely and exclusively for the preservation and enrichment of the flowering of this plant so beautiful and widespread. Finally, a curiosity about mimosas. The name derives from the Greek mimos, which means mime evidently refers to the mimic movements of mimosa pudica or a sensitive plant.