Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home Grown: Talking to Plants

Discussing his gardening habits, England’s Prince Charles once told an interviewer: "I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond."

The theory that plants benefit from human conversation dates to 1848, when German professor Gustav Fechner published the book "Nanna (Soul-life of Plants)." The idea is a popular one, and has spawned several more books and even an album — recorded in 1970 by an enterprising dentist — titled "Music to Grow Plants By." But will crooning compliments to your ficus really have any effect on its growth?

"There isn’t a lot of research in this area, but there is evidence that plants respond to sound," says Rich Marini, 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."

In fact, plants react readily to a host of environmental stimuli, as the ability to respond to changing environments is vital to their survival.

Continued at... Talking to Plants

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