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It's True—You Really Should Talk to Your Plants (Especially if You're a Woman)

By June 23, 2009

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In a month-long study performed by the Royal Horticultural Society, researchers discovered that talking to your plants really can help them grow faster. They also found that plants grow faster to the sound of a female voice than to a male voice.

*I'll wait for the obligatory jokes about the female voice, hot air, amount of said hot air, et cetera, et cetera....

Done now? Good.

Anyway, in the month-long study, the Royal Horticultural Society recorded ten people reading from either literary or scientific works, both men and women, and played their voices through a set of headphones that was attached to each tomato plant's pot (so, one tomato plant per person.) The same tomato variety was used, same soil, same care regimen, etc. They also included two plants that were not read to as a control. 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. The overall winning tomato listened to Sarah Darwin, great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin. Her plant grew approximately two inches taller than the rest.

What did Ms. Darwin read to her tomato plant? On the Origin of Species.

Asked about her plant's favorable response to her voice and selection, Sarah Darwin commented, "I'm not sure if it's my dulcet tones or the text that I read from On the Origin of Species 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."

Researchers went into the study with the idea that the male voice would make the plants grow faster, and were surprised with the results. They said that they are unsure why the female voice worked better, saying that it could be that women may have a greater range of pitch or tone that affects the sound waves that hit the plant, and that sound, just like any other environmental factor, has an effect on plant growth.


June 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(1) kate says:

This was great to read ~ now I’ve got some back up when people ask me why I’m always talking to the plants (usually I tell them I’m teaching my dog plant names.

July 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm
(2) catlady3 says:

I loved it. I talk to my plants. In fact, I even sing in the garden sometimes. Now, I’m worried – I didn’t think my plants were critics!

July 21, 2009 at 9:17 am
(3) jo stutchbury says:

Hi, A friend of mine came to me for herb plants and seeds for her deaf son who wanted to plant a garden. Once he had planted everything, he went into the house, got his guitar and came out to his garden and played music to them for over an hour!

April 25, 2010 at 3:57 am
(4) sheryl miller says:

I talk to my plants all the time, I even play them the Classical Muisc Radio Channel

Thanks plants, I am grateful I have somehwere to grow you!

December 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(5) Carol Monroe says:

hahha! my boyfriend said i was wrong about talking to my plants, that it dies nothing. lol, i made him look it up, and i was right! ha :P

March 22, 2013 at 11:57 am
(6) Alisha says:

I always sing,read act out plays and even share my secrets with plants!

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