Do You Talk To Plants?

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

Surprising Results:

  • 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

listening to plants

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):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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?

man kissing plants

Related: Are Plants Good Listeners?

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Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

Fantastic article. There's more to life than we currently know, thanks for sharing. I gotto go talk to my plants now.

Sam M.
Sam E M.3 years ago

I read that Indians in Canada/America used to apologize to plants, such as trees, which they cut down and say thank you.
I buy my vegetables, but I follow the Indians' example and remember to give a thought to and thank them for giving me nourishment.

Sam M.
Sam E M.3 years ago

Yup, have always talked to plants and indulge in tree hugging too. Don't know if they feel better for it, but I certainly do. :)

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

I rarely talk to plants, but thanks to this article I will be more so. I look forward to my vegie and flower garden growing better now. I was told years ago that plants respond to you talking to them. I wonder what a tree feels like when it's cut down.

Mary B.
Mary B.3 years ago

Where do we think the notion of faeries came from?

Sian Rider
Sian R.3 years ago

As someone once said "Vegetarians must really, really hate plants!"
Everything we eat is or has been alive. So, actually, eating a purely meat diet would be less unkind.
I talk to my plants sometimes. Often, when a plant hasn't been doing too well I tell it I'm going to pull it up. Amazingly (or not?) it suddenly decides it want to grow again.

Dale Overall

Fascinating and intriguing. Plants are always a tranquil part of Nature, love to be in the presence of ferns in a forest as their leaves lightly dance in a light breeze.

Meat eaters are often admonished for our diet (mine being organically raised) but those eating only veggies and fruit seem to believe their diet is superior because in their view plants feel no pain when taken from the ground to be consumed. Who really knows?

Plants are likely far more complex than we know and often people can only empathize with life forms closest to ourselves.

Death metal plant growth? Fascinating, wonder what they think of jack hammers and construction sounds? Chalk on a black board?

Do we hear plants talk? The carrots were blaming the lettuce for something as I walked by but carrots are so very prone to gossip given all the stress of the rabbits hopping in the garden trying to eat them,

Sheleen Addison
Sheleen Addison3 years ago

I love talking to my plants, they are living entities anyway

Irene S.
Irene S.3 years ago

I'll believe it when there's a NOVA episode about it.

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby3 years ago

I have always had an affinity for plants over all other things. Talking to plants is beneficial not to mention that they access all the excess carbon we exhale and create oxygen for us. No plants = no us.