Talking to Plants

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Husband: (shouting into yard) Oh, why don't you GROW UP, you little bastards! (slams window)
Wife: What's going on, darling?
Husband: Nothing, I'm just talking to the plants.

Many gardeners claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster.

People talking to their plants in fiction is often used to show how boring they are. A common shtick, especially in cartoons, is for the plant to die of boredom as a result.

Oddly it's truth in television, as plants require carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which humans and other animals exhale. The act of talking to the plant can also help the human in question forge an emotional bond to it, which tends to result in said human paying more attention to and taking better care of said plant.

Less commonly, they talk back.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai, in Popotan. Mostly to dandelions (or "popotan", as she calls them), but also to other flowers as well sometimes.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Thumb from Freshmen can talk to plants. It turns out they're all psychotic assholes, and his pet ficus tree is a Yandere. Did we mention that he's a vegan yet?
  • Klara from Runaways mentions doing this on her parents' farm.
  • In the French comic Le Chant d'Excalibur, Gwynned is able to do this (her mother was a forest nymph), though it's not always useful.
  • Ral Benem, aka Chlorophyll Kid of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, talks to plants in the Postboot, but it's not clear if that's just him talking to himself as he claims being able converse with them is part of his superpower...
  • In "Love is a Dandy" in Plop! #16 the main character, who talks to his plants all the time, actually falls in love with a dandelion. Unfortunately for his budding romance, his attractive next-door neighbor, a health-food nut, includes the poor plant in a "special vegetarian dinner" she promised to make for him.

    Comic Strips 
  • Zonker in Doonesbury had the plants talk back. This later turned out to be a consequence of his drug use.
  • Garfield:
    • Jon recites poetry that accidentally kills his daisies.
    • In another strip, after being told about this, Garfield tells the plant to die. It works.
  • In a Dilbert comic, a plant Dilbert was talking to falls off the table. Dogbert then finds a tiny suicide note next to it reading "I couldn't take it anymore."
  • Mafalda's father talks to plants. Manolito's father threatens them.
  • Lucky Eddie from Hägar the Horrible doesn't talk to plants, but is a good listener.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Briar and other plant mages in the Circle of Magic books do this all the time.
  • Crowley in Good Omens talks to his plants — or more accurately, threatens them with death on a daily basis. They grow beautifully, but only out of fear. To be more specific: he threatens them regularly, then, every couple months or so, he picks out the plant that has grown the least. He takes it around the apartment, telling all the other plants to say their goodbyes, and goes out and returns to place the empty pot in a conspicuous place. Who wouldn't be terrified?
  • It's mentioned in one of the Murry/O'Keefe books by Madeleine L'Engle that Calvin O'Keefe did a science experiment where he had three different plants: one that he left at home with his screaming family, one at the library where he left it by itself, and a third plant at the library that he talked to regularly. Guess how the plants grew?
  • Discworld has "hedge wizards". As it is written in the novels: "If you invited a hedge wizard to a party he'd spend half the evening talking to your potted plant... and he'd spend the other half listening to it."
  • A Baby Sitters Club book had a precocious kid playing different types of music to some plants to see if it affected them. The one that listened to Duran Duran grew the best.
  • A plant in Galaxy of Fear has been hooked up to some kind of monitor out of a belief that understanding the plants will benefit people, leading to this line.
    Tash: "This plant is upset."
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Stranded on pre-historic Earth, and having spent rather more time with nobody else around than is generally considered healthy, Arthur Dent practices talking by talking to trees.

    Live-Action TV 
  • MythBusters attempted to test whether it helped the plants or not. All the plants with sound played near them grew better than with no sound, and music seemed to help more than recorded speech. Furthermore, the death metal plants grew better than those with classical music.
  • In Mork & Mindy, Mork talks to plants because he's an alien. It's unknown whether he indeed actually hears them talk back, or he's just a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • On Angel, this was one of the hell god Illyria's powers.
    Spike: So far, I've established that she can hit like a Mack truck, selectively alter the flow of time, and possibly talk to plants.
    [...]
    Illyria: (after losing her powers) I cannot hear the song of the green.
    Lorne: I take it you're not referring to me.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Samantha Carter claims in the episode "One False Step" to talk to her plants.
    • When Teal'c gets an off-base apartment on Earth in one episode, Daniel notes his potted fern isn't doing so well, and jokingly suggests talking to it. Teal'c's reaction is one of stunned confusion.
  • The Addams Family: Ophelia Frump rates a mention, though she didn't so much talk to them as have them growing inside her.
  • On one episode of Good Times, JJ waters his mother's plants and talks to them.
    JJ: ...and as for you, African Violet: Right on, Brotha!
  • Spoofed by Rowan Atkinson in Not the Nine O'Clock News, as seen in the page quote.
  • In the 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Moby Dick", Sally gets a tomato plant. After being encouraged to talk to it, she develops a "friendship" with the plant and names it "Jeremy":
    Sally: You're so nice. You're not at all arrogant or demanding like most people I know.
    Tommy: You must be bored out of your mind.
    Sally: Actually, I'm not.
    Tommy: I was talking to the plant.
  • Blake's 7. Justified in "Shadow" with an alien plant called a moon disc that's mildly telepathic.
    Jenna: I thought they [the moon disc] died if they left the planet?
    Cally: No. You have to talk to them.
    Avon: That's like talking to Vila. A complete waste of time.

    Music 
  • The Arrogant Worms' song "Carrot Juice Is Murder" is about someone who hears vegetables screaming as they're cooked and eaten.
  • The track "Wayne" on Neil's Heavy Concept Album is a conversation between Neil and Wayne, his rubber plant, who "talks back to me all the time" (in Neil's voice) and then, at Neil's request, goes on to sing a song.

    Radio 
  • During Luis Chataing's era in Morning Radio show El Monstruo de la Manana he often ran the joke song "La Planta", who is about one boy whose mother talks and care a lot of her plants, with the implication that she cares more about them than about her child. He begins to believe that his mom's plants are his siblings due to her talking a lot to them, and eventually begins to believe that he is a plant too.

    Theater 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Fan-favorite side-character Katherine in Wapsi Square talks to her plants, as well as to her pet fish.
  • Mona Montrois in C'est la Vie used to have a pot plant called Carl which assured her she was mental for thinking it could sustain a conversation.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Johnny Test had Johnny's father's flower garden grow to gigantic proportions due to him arguing with them.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "Over a Barrel" has the apple farmer Applejack not only talking to a tree, but reading it bedtime stories.
  • A Show Within a Show in Rugrats features a superhero with this power. Tommy, inspired by his example, imagines that he has the ability to talk to pants.
  • An episode of Danny Phantom shows that Sam owns a greenhouse filled with plants that she talks to, sometimes in different languages, and even has names for all of them.
  • The Looney Tunes Show episode "Off Duty Cop" has Bugs, who has gone insane from drinking an addictive beverage, talking to a potted plant while in fetal position.

    Real Life 
  • Prince Charles mentioned doing this in an interview in the 1980s. British satirists have been making fun of it ever since - to the point where it is literally almost impossible to find any satirical depiction of Prince Charles that doesn't have a reference to it. On the plus side, he has yet to try and get any of them appointed to the House of Lords or something, so there's that.
  • Prince Charles happens to be a linear descendant of the famously insane King George III, who notoriously talked to the trees in Windsor Great Park. As he was talking to them in German, it is doubtful if he got too many replies.
  • American psychologist Cleve Backster, described as an "interrogation specialist" working for the CIA, had a special interest in refining the use of the polygraph ("lie-detector"). Backster's interest in the subject began in February 1966 when he tried to measure the rate at which water rises from a philodendron's root into its leaves. Because a polygraph or 'lie detector' can measure electrical resistance, which would alter when the plant was watered, he attached a polygraph to one of the plant's leaves. Backster stated that, to his immense surprise, "the tracing began to show a pattern typical of the response you get when you subject a human to emotional stimulation of short duration". He refined this by measuring the reaction of plants (expressed via the polygraph) to the deliberate killing of shrimps by subjecting them to boiling water. note . He allegedly discovered the plants showed strong correlations at the moment of death that could be interpreted as alarm or threat responses: it is fair to say later experiments by others failed to completely reproduce this.

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