Written by Randy Fritz, co-creator with Diana Herrington at Real Food for Life
Do you talk to your plants? Many people do. The real question is…do plants talk back to you?
There are three kinds of plant communication:
1. Humans talking to plants
2. Plants talking to humans
3. Plants talking to themselves
1. People talking with plants is the most common.
I’ll admit I am not an avid or experienced gardener like Diana, but I still find myself telling my new seedlings how happy I am with them and giving them encouragement. I sometimes also curse the weeds, but not with the same intensity.
Mythbusters Proves Talking Helps (kind of)
Mythbusters exposed seven small greenhouses to various conditions. Two were exposed to negative speech, two to positive speech, a fifth with classical music and a sixth with intense death metal music. A seventh greenhouse, used as a control sample, had no stereo. (Speech and music were supplied by recorders). You can see videos and details here: “Talking to Plants” Proven to Work
- The greenhouses with the recordings of speech grew better than the control.
- There was no difference between the kind or angry talk.
- Classical music plants grew better than controls.
- Intense death metal plants grew best of all!
A Month-Long Royal Horticultural Society Study also discovered that:
- Talking to your plants really can help them grow faster (compared to controls).
- Plants grow faster to the sound of a female voice than to a male voice.
- Plants grew best to the voice of Sarah Darwin, granddaughter of legendary botanist Charles Darwin, reading a passage from On the Origin of Species.
Neither of these studies were large scale or double-blind. The Mythbusters results were perhaps influenced by the fact that the plants were exposed to recorded voice and sound rather than real humans who were feeling and looking at the plants.
Plants Feel Emotions Too
The fact that the study did not have live humans is important, according to Cleve Backster, famous for his experiments revealed in the book The Secret Life of Plants.
Cleve found that polygraph readings detected emotion in plants just as they do in humans. Cleve Baxter knows this field as well as anyone. He founded the CIA’s polygraph unit shortly after WWII and founded The Baxter School of Lie Detection, which is the longest running polygraph school in the world. However, Mythbusters did a separate test of Baxter’s theory and could not repeat his findings.
Some research seems to indicate that certain frequencies activate certain genes in plants. Other researchers claim plants can read our minds or at least react to our thoughts.
For myself, I understand that plant food affects us on so many levels that it is very possible that happy plants would grow better and be more nutritious for us.
Next: Plants Talking to People
2. Plants Talking to People:
This is more interesting to me, since perhaps as a human I can learn something.
All ancient cultures insisted their knowledge of plant medicines came from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation.
Less well-known is that many Western people made this same assertion; people like Luther Burbank, who developed the potatoes you probably eat in fries or potato chips.
A recent book in this area is The Secret Teachings of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It is one of the best books on health I have even read. You can read my review of his book here: Randy’s Relationship With Plants.
Diana also interviewed him (listen here):
Stephen not only reveals some amazing facts about how our bodies work but also concrete lessons on how to directly communicate with them.
3. Plants Talking to Plants:
“Everyone knows plants react to light and scientists also know that plants use volatile chemicals to communicate with one another, for instance, when danger, such as a herbivore approaches” says Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia.
She showed that maize plants make teeny tiny clicking noises with their roots and bend their roots towards similar sounds. Who would have imagined?
What do you think? Do you talk with plants? Do they talk back?
Related: Are Plants Good Listeners?