Talking to Your Plants Boosts Your Health

The study has been repeated over and over again: does talking to your plants help them grow? Even children in school perform the experiment. They also play music for plants to see if it will impact the plants’ health. Plants that are spoken to always do better. A new study has confirmed it and found that plants spoken to by women flourish even more than ones spoken to by men.

In the study, tomato plants that had been spoken to by a woman grew an average of one inch more than those spoken to by men. They all had the same soil, care routine and were the same variety. The winner was actually spoken to by Charles Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter! Sarah Darwin’s plant was two inches taller than the other plants!

Sarah Darwin said, “I’m not sure if it’s my dulcet tones or the text that I read from On the Origin of Species [her ancestor’s seminal work] that made the plant sit up and listen, but either way I think it is great fun and I’m proud of my new title.”

The study also looked at the health of the humans participating. They talked to people who had houseplants and those who did not. The people who didn’t have houseplants experienced “negative emotions” more often than people with plants in their homes. The more plants people had in their homes, the better their moods were. An older study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that “active interaction with indoor plants” reduces stress and can lower blood pressure.

Right now, many people are starved for interaction. Having a plant and speaking to it can act as a sort of stopgap for conversation. “It fends off loneliness because you’re interacting with something that changes,” said Gwenn Fried, manager of horticultural therapy services at RUSK Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health.

You actively participated in the act of care as you tend your plant to keep it alive and thriving. That gives you purpose and a sense of achievement in a time when many of us are feeling powerless. Plants can also improve indoor air quality. They can lower carbon dioxide, control humidity, increase oxygen and reduce dust.

If you don’t have a plant, go out and get one! Buy something that is good for beginners and thrives inside. There’s no point in getting something that needs direct sun and is notoriously difficult to keep alive. A herb or two that do well on the kitchen windowsill would be a perfect way to start! You can chat with them while watering them and use them for cooking. They also give you something to tell your friends about if you’ve been stuck inside a lot! You might find a new passion for houseplants, boost your health and add some spice to your meals!

Banner image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash
March 17, 2021
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