Talking to Plants

Talking to Plants

Do you believe in talking to plants? Do plants even feel emotion or have sensory perception? This was something I was always curious about.

We tend to regard plants as mindless but living things nonetheless, and the notion that plants may be able to feel or have cognitive abilities was always something that almost all scientists dismissed, until recently. Although it is still classified as a pseudoscience, plants are increasingly being regarded as capable of having an intelligence of sorts.

Evidence has indeed supported the notion that plants can actually “sense” outward stimuli just like animals. Some scientists also state that plants can even communicate with other life forms, like us humans. In order to believe this, you have to be comfortable with the “Gaia Theory.”

The Gaia Theory believes that the earth is alive and has a consciousness of its own, which seeks to nurture life on it through maintaining a suitable balance within the ecological systems existing on earth. It is something like a terrarium. When humans disrupt this balance, Gaia seeks to correct the imbalance often by way of natural disasters. Although many scientists dismissed this Gaia Theory, it has now gained a lot of acceptance. So as each plant possesses intelligence, this intelligence is multiplied to include ecosystems, countries, regions and finally the whole world – So goes the theory.

It is believed plants respond to sound. An interesting experiment was done by Myth Busters of Discovery Channel, on whether plants responded to sound stimuli. They set up seven small greenhouses in a warehouse; four were exposed to human speech, one with classical music, one with death metal music, and the last one was the control. The plants with the speech recordings grew well, the one exposed to classical music grew better, and the one exposed to heavy metal grew the best! The conclusion was that it was “plausible” for plants to respond to sound.

Mythbusters video part I

Mythbusters video part II

Incidentally, I’ve read other experiments in books where the plants wilted when exposed to heavy metal music and thrived when classical music was played! So what gives?

Prince Charles talking to his plants has been well known for a long time already. But, it seems that plants prefer female voices over male voices. It seems that sound frequency is also a factor in influencing the plant’s behavior. A 2007 study by scientists at South Korea’s National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology mooted the idea that 2 genes in plants that are involved in photosynthesis, rbcS and Ald, also respond to sound frequencies at 70 decibels, which is the range for human speech. The higher the frequency went up, the more the response from the genes.

So would you be talking to your plants from now on? It might help to make them grow better, but the key would probably be regular speech – plus a whole lot of daily, old fashioned plant care the right way.

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