Sunday, 24 May 2015

Gothic Green Thumb: Plant Talk


Can love and nurturing grow a garden?

I'm sure many of us recall Morticia Addams cooing to her beloved African Strangler, Cleopatra, but can love and encouraging words really have an effect on the growth and quality of our botanical buddies?

Some studies show that it does, but how? According to a study conducted by Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, plants will react to just about any conversation, better than none at all. To complete their study they created three greenhouses containing similar plants in controlled environments, with three variables; individually they received 1) a nurturing soundtrack 2) an aggressive soundtrack and 3) no soundtrack at all. Their findings showed that the greenhouse containing no soundtrack produced smaller plants overall, whereas the two that received auditory stimulus (both positive and negative) fared better. 

It would seem that whether you scream obscenities at your plant, or read it prose, it reacts. This is probably due to the vibrations from the sound and not in fact your emotional vibes. There is nothing thus far that indicates plants are emotionally sensitive. A good example to explain why the vibrations help may come from my experience with the African Violet, a flower I've grown in my home for over a year now with decent success. If you're bringing your African Violet out of dormancy and have yet to see flowers, it is often recommended that you smack the plant. I know that sounds weird but you literally give the side of the planter a couple of whacks on occasion (not too hard, mind you). What does this do? Apparently it shocks it into production. It's theorized that the plant perceives this as a threat so it produces flowers in an attempt to reproduce itself. It's very likely the vibrations from sound are having the same effects as me slapping my African Violets. There have been studies conducted that suggest the louder and higher frequency of the sound or music, the stronger the plant reacts to it. So I suppose you can crank up some punk rock, swear a blue streak at the top of your lungs and your potted geraniums will be growing in no time.

Don't worry though, plants don't have the capacity for emotions, so you're not scaring them you're just pushing them into action! It also helps, of course, to plant things in the right kind of soil; get them enough sunlight; and to water, fertilize and debug them.  

Here's hoping you have great success with your plants this season!










SOURCES
"Talking to Plants" Discovery.com from the show Mythbusters
Additional findings from Penn State News, "Probing Question: Does talking to plants help them grow?
Image from 


14 comments:

  1. I remember my mom told me about this when I was a kid, and up until today she still talks to the plants around the house. I think it's a cute scene to watch, haha.

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    1. Isn't it cute? I plan on naming my plants, even if it makes me look crazy lol. I would *love* to have a Venus fly trap plant and name it something cool.

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  2. That's really fascinating! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it.

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  3. That is so strange and interesting! I'm a bit of a black thumbed witch. I kill most of my plants and it breaks my heart that I don't have the skills for it! I try every year though! Doing a wee herb garden this year! Maybe I'll sing to them :P Thank you for your sweet words about my blog design. I've been all over the place with it lately, but I think I've finally found something very much "me".

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    1. I'm doing an herb garden too! I've planted garlic, green onion, rosemary and parsley. I'm experiencing mild success so far. In the past I was terrible with gardening, I'm not much better now lol, I get by. Real gardeners would just laugh at my cheap petunias and marigolds, or my rather small dahlias. It's my Climbing Joseph's Coat rose that's been my greatest achievement, and ironically the one plant I thought I'd mess up the worst on. Even with your black thumb, I think you could handle that rose, it's very pretty, it starts off yellow, then hot pink, orange and then red.

      And you're very welcome! I think your new design channels your style very well. :)

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  4. That sounds paradoxical, but might as well be true :D

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  5. Hilarious!
    I think we forget that plants out in nature are frequently treated badly; knocked and brushed against, pummelled with hard rain, eaten bare regularly. It makes complete sense that such things trigger them to bloom, reproduce etc.
    I was just reading an article about cats purring, how the frequency not only communicates, but also heals bones and even cuts. It's not inconceivable that vibrations have the same effect on plants, right?

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    1. A very good point, and interesting too! I didn't know that about cats. That must be why I was so ecstatic to come home to my fur babies after I was in the hospital lol. I wonder if other vibrations (organic or manufactured) could have the same effect.

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  6. I envy Morticia's green thumb! I remember reading about a study that showed that as you said, all sounds are a good thing for plants. Though in that study they noticed that JAZZ was the only music that did not make the plants thrive so much. I am guessing it is the frequency or something. And if I remember correctly, the difference to other music styles was not really that big. :D

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    1. That's funny, I thought jazz might be a good genre to play but I guess it can be pretty mellow. It's nice plants aren't too particular about their tastes in music, that way I can play whatever I like lol.

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  7. you are in the fb goth gardening group, right?

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    1. Actually no, I haven't heard of it. I dropped off of FB awhile ago because of spam, I'm not sure about going back to it. I follow the Goth Gardening blog, you should check it out if you haven't already, she has a fancy garden!

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