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Talk to your plants!

Updated on January 27, 2014

Does talking to plants help them grow?

Your plants need some friendship too!

There is no real scientific proof that talking to your plants could actually help them grow. I've gathered a handful of reasons why you should try anyway. So, if you're still wondering whether your tomato plant looks greener after that last bedtime story or are you just a weirdo, read on!

Photo source

Before we start talking...

A quick introductory poll to find out what you think before I start changing your mind/confirming your beliefs (cross out the wrong one)

Talking to plants - yes or no?

See results
potted plants copyright: tiggered
potted plants copyright: tiggered

Talking to plants and science - part 1

It is scientifically confirmed that talking to plants can have beneficial influence on them... But hold on, it's not such breaking news, it's all pretty logical. Let me explain:

Truth 1: Photosynthesis speeds up if the plant receives extra carbon dioxide.

Truth 2: When you talk to the plant, you breathe on it. This means extra carbon dioxide from your breath.

What's the catch (OF COURSE there is a catch!)?

The catch: you would need to talk to your green friend for at least few hours every day to influence its growth at all.

Photo by Tiggered

The first plant-talker

Who started it all?

Well, it appears that we can point one person to blame. In 1848 a German professor, Gustav Fechner, published a book called "Nanna (mental life of plants)". He wrote that plants have excessive nervous system that enables them to feel emotions, so humans should try to reach those feelings. How? By talking, of course!

The book caused some controversy in scientific circles. Let's just say that Fechner's thesis was not generally accepted.

And today even Wikipedia does not mention the book as one of his accomplishments.

Photo source

Prince Charles public domain
Prince Charles public domain

The royal plant talker

Prince Charles is still remembered for his 1986 TV interview, when asked about gardening tips, he said: "'I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them - they respond, I find".

Now, come on, guys, if the Prince does it, so can we!

Photo source

Flowering fruit tree public domain
Flowering fruit tree public domain

Talking to plants and science - part 2

There's other way in which speech could influence plants. Korean scientists suggested plants have two genes involved in plant's reaction to light that respond to sound above 70 decibels. Other scientists set this noise level even higher - at 92 decibels.

It's all good and scientifically sound, but it also means that to achieve desired effect, you would actually need to scream at your plants instead of simply talking to them.

You can try, of course, but be careful of how your neighbours might react if they catch you screaming at raspberry bush.

Photo source

Yellow lily public domain
Yellow lily public domain

Talking to plants and Mythbusters

Discovery TV series Mythbusters decided to tackle the problem head on. They've set up various small greenhouses where plants grew accompanied by various sounds. Conclusion?

- Heavy metal works best

- Classical music comes at close second

- Talking to plants helps, but there is no difference between nice and nasty. Whether you compliment your carrots or shower them with string of abuses, they will grow just as well.

- Plants in silent greenhouse performed worst of all.

So there must be some point in plant conversations!

Photo source

Talking to plants on Mythbusters - See it for yourself

Red rose public domain
Red rose public domain

My take on talking to plants

Hey, it's time for me to tell you all what I think!

Science or not, I believe talking to plants is a good idea. Because...

1. You've got someone to talk to.

2. They don't talk back.

3. To talk to your plants, you need to visit them. If you visit them, you will immediately notice those funny spots on leaves or remember to water them... See my point?

I have a funny feeling that every passionate gardener talks to his plants, even if only occasionally. It has nothing to do with their growth, it's joy.

Photo source

Let's talk about it! - You can discuss it with your plants first, if you wish :)

So, what do you think? Would you say that chatting with greens helps them grow or the only thing growing is the talker's insanity? Type away!

Do you talk to your plants?

How did you like this plant talking lens? Useful, funny, or the worst graphomania you've ever seen? Let me know, I could even improve with time :)

Before you start talking to plants, talk to me!

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    • pinkydoo profile image

      pinkydoo 2 years ago from New York

      This is a great article! Informative and fun to read! I remember that Myth Busters episode. What if plants are just in a room where there is a lot of talking going on...but not necessarily TO them? Hmmm...I wonder....more experiments are needed!

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed your article about talking to plants and i agree with you.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Very cute! Yes, I do talk to mine.

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      Plants talk back in their own unique ways. They cannot see or speak, but they can feel and show their best when they are happy and contented.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 6 years ago

      As a nature photographer, I talk to everything. I ask flowers if they want to be photographed. I tell birds that they're doing a good job. I thank trees for being there. Thank you for this lens.

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 6 years ago

      Well done

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

      I sometimes talk to trees and say a big thank you to them for existing and providing us with shade and green....

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Thoroughly enjoyed this lens - I'll let you know what my plants have to say about it ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Silly me, yes I talk to my plants. I even hug trees! :)

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      I talk to my plants all the time.

    • MyCrazyAdventures profile image

      Melissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

      Useful lens. Made me smile. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I remember watching a couple of BBC documentaries on the subject a few years back. Nice lens. Love and affection goes a long way. Good day and God bless.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 7 years ago from Colorado

      I enjoyed your lens. I believe all living things respond to tender loving kindness. Part green thumb, part green voice. ;-) Nicely done!