It’s all about the marketing


For many seasons, one of the highlights of a visit to the local Botanical Gardens has been checking out the mimosa pudica, aka “Sensitive Plant.” A stroke along its leaves would make them close up. Silly, but fun. In their description of the plant, Logee’s recommends that this plant is “a perfect way to introduce children to the world of plants.” And it is a great plant for kids, no doubt.

But Logee’s obviously wasn’t hip to the right way to sell this specimen. I now read that mimosa pudica is being sold as (warning: the music is truly obnoxious) TickleMePlant. They’ve trademarked the name. Which makes me wonder: can you take an already existing plant with a perfectly good name, call it something else, and then trademark it? I guess you can.

Here’s what else I’m wondering. Will I be able to get the refrain “I love my ticklemeplant,” out of my head within the next 24 hours? Stay tuned.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I was suckered into buying one of these a couple years ago after I became entranced with the plant and cajoling by my daughter. These like warmth and wetness. One weekend trip away and it was no longer.

    It seems to be the 2000s version of the venus flytrap our parents were suckered into buying for us as young ‘uns.

  2. Elizabeth: Of course I had to listen to the song! Nightmares tonight! Was that Adam Sandler singing? The website is obnoxious but I think that will sell. You can tell the masses to buy say, a $300 ugly purse because it is really expensive and has a ‘C’ on it and they will and they do! The ‘C’ store was really the only crowded one at Christmas time. Marketing!
    p.s. If you do have one of those ‘c’ bags, no worries, enjoy it but I just don’t get it!

  3. Elizabeth,
    My name is Mark Chipkin. I am a science teacher and the Co-Owner and the Educational Project Director of our family run TickleMe Plant Company. We pride ourselves on always listening to feedback from our customers and those who take the time to write about us.
    I formed the TickleMe Plant Company with the intent of encouraging children to become more excited about plants and the wonders of nature. In my elementary and middle school science classes, I always provide a plant growing experience. The TickleMe Plant experience is the one the students always remember.
    On our site, , we included the videos, pictures, activities and experiments to help encourage children (and those adults young at heart) to want to grow and care for plants. We hope that eventually, they will have the wonderful experience you and I have had searching out these plants wherever we find botanical gardens.
    In the school setting, we have found that the name TickleMe Plant is much easier for young children to get excited about and remember, than Mimosa pudica, humble plant, embarrassed plant and sensitive plant. However, more importantly, we wanted to distinguish our brand of seeds and grow kits because of the individualized educational and customer support that we offer. Our family members spend the time to help each of our customers with their science fair projects, cultivation questions and insect control questions. We answer all email and phone calls.
    In response to your comments about the song, we have decided to send it back to the studio to re-work it.
    We will remain dedicated to helping people enjoy the wonders of plants and indoor gardening. We guarantee our seeds to grow for each customer and will replace them if anyone has any difficulty growing them.
    Our focus is primarily about caring about children and plants and not on marketing. I would be happy to provide any further information. Thank you,

  4. Thanks Mark. I did notice that the company had educational ties, which was one reason I had problems with its look, feel–and sound! But if kids grow and enjoy this plant through your efforts I think that’s great.

  5. Mimosa pudica does indeed have stout thorns and it is a viscious little weed in Hawaii where it has naturalized. Still who can’t be fascinated by those quickly closing leaves. Not so much fun in a lawn though.

    It is indeed all about marketing, this is America, so Mark be sure you don’t market a thorny plant to kids too young without a thorny disclaimer. I am thinking on whether or not the thorns are a good or bad asset for an introduction to the wonders of the plant world for kids.

    I think I wish you well in this endeavor.

    Other feedback for you Mark. Your website needs a makeover. I don’t want to go to a site and have it try and automatically load a video or audio without me wanting it. It will drive people away from the site.

    Make It Simple! Pick a text and color theme and stick with it. Don’t overload a page with too much info and text, make a second page. There is no need for two columns. Put the navigation links on the same single page.

    The more difficult the site is to load and navigate for your customers the less likely they are to stay long enough to place an order.

  6. My mom always had us pull up mimosas when they showed up in the lawn. One finally made it past her. I loved the scent, but it did sucker badly throughout the yard until she finally killed them all. The flooding here in NOLA killed them too, but aside from that, isn’t there some new virus or mold killing them off? And aren’t they considered invasive weeds in parts of the U.S.? (Was my mom right?)

  7. Even before reading Naomi’s post, I was going to say that I grew up with mimosas in Louisiana (other side of the state from NOLA, though). I don’t recall any thorns, but maybe it was a different variety or else I was just so captivated with its fronds.

    I admit I was a little disappointed when I had my first mimosa (the beverage), which bore little metaphorical resemblance to the plant, although I’m sure if you drink enough of them you may want to close up, or become super-sensitive, or maybe grow some thorns.

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