Bell Let’s Talk, to your plants

It is Bell Let’s Talk Day today meaning it is time to remind ourselves again of the importance of talking about mental health throughout the year. By doing this we can all take meaningful action to create positive change toward stigma surrounding mental health in Canada.

Not to make light of, or take the spotlight away from Bell Canada’s efforts to raise awareness, but in thinking about a topic for this week’s column I wondered if there is any science behind the claim that talking or singing to your plants helps them grow better and faster. I started digging and turns out there might be some weight behind it.

Gardener Colleen Vanderlinden said in an article on that talking to your plants does make them grow faster. Especially to the sound of a female voice.

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

Ten people were each supplied with a tomato plant and the month-long study recorded the participants reading scientific or literary works to their plant through a set of headphones attached to each plant’s pot. The tomatoes were the same variety, planted in the same soil and underwent the same care regimen.

“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,” said Vanderlinden.

The Frisella Nursery looked at the same study and also viewed an episode of the popular TV show “Mythbusters” that conducted an experiment to determine if plant growth was influenced by sound and concluded that yes they are.

“Plants are influenced by all of the environmental changes around them. Plants respond to the vibrations of nearby sound which turns on two key genes inside of them that influence their growth,” reads the Frisella Nursery website.

I have never walked up to any of my plants and had a one-sided conversation with them. But I do talk, hum and sing to myself for a large chunk of any day I am at home. Hayley Dunning said in an article from the Imperial College of London that during photosynthesis plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use some of it for plant growth and some for respiration. With that information, you can also come to the conclusion that talking or singing to yourself near a plant gives it more carbon dioxide to work with. Helping it grow.

Another reason that favours talking to your plants comes from Markus Eymann in Edmonton. He said that you are likely spending more time and paying more attention to the plant than you would otherwise.

“This helps to notice when something is wrong, like if they need water, or weeding. I am sure this is why plants appear to do better when people talk or sing to them,” he commented online, adding why he hopes that it isn’t true. “Some people believe that plants respond emotionally to singing or talking. I hope they are wrong, because I routinely rip my plants out of the ground, chop them up, then boil them to death. I eat some of them alive. It would be very troubling if they had an emotional response to this treatment.”

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