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Does Talking to Plants Really Help Their Growth?

It sounds like an old wives’ tale that talking to plants helps them grow. We know the amount of sunlight, water, temperature, and other environmental factors can impact growth, but can talking to the struggling wilting plant actually help it?

The Plant Study
The Royal Horticultural Society conducted a study in which 10 tomato plants were given headphones around their pots and received a different voice recording. The recordings were from men and women who read their literary or scientific works. All of the plants in the study were given the same type of care. 

“At the end of the month, the plants that had been attached to female voices grew an average of an inch taller than those attached to a male voice,” states the Spruce. “The overall winning tomato listened to Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. Her plant grew approximately two inches taller than the rest.”

Planting Theories
So the question begs, how can talking to a plant help its growth?

“There isn’t a lot of research in this area… But there is evidence that plants respond to sounds,” states Rich Marini, the head of Penn State’s horticulture department. “Wind or vibration will induce changes in plant growth. Since sound is essentially vibration, my guess is that vibration is causing a response.” 

Moreover, a study published by the National Library of Medicine found that plants naturally produce and respond to sound vibrations, which can influence their physiological traits and resilience to stress. Plants lack auditory organs, so they can’t hear but can sense and react to sound, leading to changes in gene expression and growth patterns. 

Another theory is that when someone talks to a plant, it increases the carbon dioxide levels, which, in turn, impacts the plant’s growth. 

However, Marini doesn’t believe this theory to be true because “people would have to speak to their plants for at least several hours a day to enhance photosynthesis enough to influence plant growth.”

Some people love chatting with their plants, while others roll their eyes at the idea that it can impact their growth. Only a few studies have been done on this topic, but talking to your struggling plant might not be a bad idea. 

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