Why You Should Speak, Hum and Sing to Your Plants and How they Communicate with YOU!
I expect if you have a pet you have already had lots of conversations with it today, but have you said ‘Good Morning’ to your house plants yet? Have you asked each plant how it is and whether it needs anything today? Have you thanked your plants for purifying the air in your house and for all the wellbeing effects they have been giving you night and day? Well if not, give it a go and you could be surprized how they respond and how it makes you feel better and what you could learn.
Just being in a room with plants lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, makes for greater productivity, more job satisfaction and improved attendance. We have lots in our office! Plants also purify the air, (see one of my earlier blogs on how house plants purify the air) Research also shows how speaking, humming or even singing to your plants enhances their health and vitality and it is good for us too.
Plants and Humans are Similar
While plants might seem anatomically very different to us, we share the same building blocks of life and our biological functions overlap. It is helpful to think of a plant as an upside-down animal where the brain is in their roots and cells analogous to neurons (the excitable cells in the brain) are found just behind the root growing tips.
The Sensory Systems of Plants and Humans
Humans’ possess the senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing, other physical senses, and less understood energy based senses. Plants have many more senses than us and experiments have shown that plants display cognition, exhibit learning and memory, that they can process information and communicate. Plants have what might be described and an emotional intelligence too, as like us, plants are also altruistic and nurturing. Scientific evidence is stacking up on how plants are not only intelligent but also conscious and sentient. Research has also shown that they do respond to our thoughts and some researchers believe then can also feel pain. Perhaps this is why plants were the original source of ‘asparin,’ a pain killer and ethylene, a commonly used anaesthetic.
Communication Helps Survival
Plant communication involves sending and receiving information to its offspring, its own group of plants, to neighbouring plants of different species, to mycorrhizal fungi, insects and other animals. In this way plants can team together to defend themselves and ‘friends’ from over grazing and attack from pest. For example, if an acacia tree is being browsed by an antelope, it will send out signals across all the trees in the clump and they will all produce chemicals making the leaves toxic and unpalatable. It works every time – the antelope will move on.
Plants Develop Large Communication Networks
The below ground storey in forests is a tangle of communication networks where older trees act as hubs and information is sent through mycorrhizal fungi. It has been described as the WoodWide Web! In this way trees can exchange nutrients and other types of nourishment. The group benefits because one species can lend another nearby species water or nutrients to be returned the favour later on.
Plants Generate and Detect Sound
Experiments have shown how brassicas responded to stressful responses – such as the sound of caterpillar munching. While plants don’t have ears, every plant cell contains mechanico-receptors which transform the air disturbance caused by sounds into electrical and chemical signals. This means besides listening to messages from their leafy friends,
your plants can hear you and they are aware of your presence as soon as you enter the room.
The distressed plants, responding the munchy sound of hungry caterpillars, also emitted a low frequency sound to produce an immediate warning to its leafy friends. Shortly after, the entire group of plants responded with a chemical barrage to deter the pests. Several researchers, using electrodes on the leaf and in the root area, have transmitted the signals though an amplifier or oscillator and we can hear the songs of these plants. There have even been ‘plant concerts’ and plant duets with human musicians. If you have the equipment there is no reason why you shouldn’t let your plants sing out loud too.
Plants Prefer Certain Sounds
Plants such as African violets have been shown to release more pollen when they hear sound in the frequency of 11-12hz – the frequency of bees buzzing. A plant researcher has shown how plants leant towards a sound they apparently liked, in their case, a 220hz purr. A recent Royal Horticultural Society experiment has shown that one species of plant particularly liked the sound of female voices and grew larger when they were regularly spoken to by females. I am sure that there are many plants which respond to male vocal patterns too!
Plants Can See YOU
Humans have 4 types of photoreceptors to enable us to see. Plants have 11 types. When we talk, hum or sing to our plants we use sound, thought and movement and you can be sure that our plants can see us and hear us. Unconsciously, we release neurochemicals and pheromones and so the serenaded plants taste and smell us too. Plant pick up our energy fields as research has shown that they do respond to our thoughts and intentions.
Plants communicate using electrical, chemical and sound signalling – just like us really! As sentient and intelligent life forms, many researchers believe that plants can go beyond reading our thoughts and intentions and they are likely affected by our moods and personalities. Seems plants can respond to thoughts and as we share many modes of communication – can we respond to their thoughts? If your plant is thirsty can it somehow get you to notice and encourage you to water it?
Feeling Good with Plants
Should you speak to your plants? Yes, why not tune into these plants that we share our space with, especially when both plants and humans can benefit?
When we express care and love to our plants, both us and the plants release feel-good neurochemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins and pheromones, in the same way that humans do among their friends, family and pets. The dual reward is immediate.
Socialize with your Plants
Don’t be shy, have a chat with your plants and flourish together!
Somethings your plant might ask you for…water, nutrition, light, a different pot, a new plant neighbour, a different position, damper air, less draughts and help with health issues.
You’ll realise just how sophisticated your plants are when they request …
Soapnuts which are great for washing dusty plant leaves. Soapnuts are a dried tree fruit which is high in saponins a natural plant detergent. Saponins are generated by soapnuts to deter pests and to perform immune functions. Once you have made up you soapnut plant wash, you try it for washing up and household cleaning too!
An Amphora to help remove chloride and other toxins from tap water. If you can’t collect rain water, use an Amphora to remove toxins from tap water and to improve the quality of the water. Water from taps is not good for plants. Perhaps the plant will share the amphora with you and let you enjoy better quality drinking and cooking water?
Seaweed is a great plant food and it also nurtures the mycorrhizal fungi which help the plant break down soil nutrients, so it feeds the plant in two ways. Seaweed can be used when you water the plants or as a foliar feed. Do keep some back and try it for conditioning your hair!
Tompkins, Peter and Bird, Christopher, The Secret Life of Plants, 1973, Pengiun Books.
Dowsing the Cosmic Web. Plant & Human Interconnectedness by Ellen Kamhi
Plants Can See, Hear, Smell and Respond
http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170109-plants-can-see-hear-and-smell-and-respond published 10.01.17
Sound Garden. Can Plants Actually Talk and Hear?
https://www.livescience.com/27802-plants-trees-talk-with-sound.html published 11.03.13
Womens’ Voices Makes Plants Grown Faster Finds Royal Horticultural Society http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/earthnews/5602419/Womens-voices-make-plants-grow-faster-finds-Royal-Horticultural-Society.html published 22.11.17
A You Tube Video showing Plants and Trees Singing. The music starts about 2 minutes in.