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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. Leaving jokes aside, this is often done by characters who are feeling lonely or secretive and instead of just speaking to themselves choose to project their thoughts to another living thing.

Some justify this notion with the fact that plants require carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which humans and other animals exhale, so spending a lot of time exhaling at your plants would help them grow better. 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, the plants talk back, usually in ways that cannot be translated into words, but The Empath may be able to perceive things from their point of view and through their senses.

Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Botany.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: The gadget "Fanta Glass" is normally used for the users to be able to talk to animals, but it can be used to talk to plants, too. Nobita once uses it to talk to a dandelion he plants in his backyard.
  • In The Hating Girl, one side effect of the arrow in Asumi's head is that she can hear the frequencies trees use to talk to each other. This leads to some heartbreak when she discovers a tree the other trees make fun of...and it turns out to have a horizontal bar running through it as a result of growing below some playground equipment. It's a harsh reminder for Asumi of her own situation.
  • Ai, in Popotan. Mostly to dandelions (or "popotan", as she calls them), but also to other flowers as well sometimes.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: 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.
  • Klara from Runaways mentions doing this on her parents' farm. While the crops just listened, the roses would speak back.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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."
  • 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 one story arc, Jon's parents visit from the family farm, and Jon's dad is a bit hoarse because he heard about Jon's habit of talking to his plants. As his mom explains, "Ever try giving a pep talk to forty acres of soybeans?"
  • Lucky Eddie from Hägar the Horrible doesn't talk to plants, but is a good listener.
  • Mafalda's father talks to plants. Manolito's father threatens them.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Maid Maleen", the titular character talks to a nettle-plant on the way to the church.
    "Nettle-plant, Nettle-plant,
    Nettle-plant so small!
    What are you doing here,
    Alone by the wall?
    I have the time known,
    When unroasted, unboiled,
    I ate thee alone!"

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Ferdinand: At the beginning, a young Ferdinand talks to a daisy as he goes to water it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The unpleasant Dr. Vance in The Giant Spider Invasion does this.
  • Mark Wahlberg's character in The Happening nervously does this, in a bit of intentional humor, based on the theory that plants are releasing the neurotoxin that leads people to off themselves. It's a moment of much needed levity.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Nancy plays Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1 to help stimulate the plants in her mud bath. This is Dramatic Irony given that intelligent pod-plants are trying to take over the world.
  • The Killer Elite shows that even CIA agents did this in The '70s. Love sonnets however make them die of boredom.
  • Little Shop of Horrors, though the plant eventually talks back.
  • Marion from One-Trick Pony tells her ex-husband that she talks to her fern every day and gives it lots of encouragement. She hasn't told it about the divorce because it's beginning to sprout new leaves.
  • Leon in The Professional.
  • Abby's first scene in The Return of Swamp Thing shows her talking to her plants, signifying that she's perfect match for Swamp Thing.

  • 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.
  • Briar and other plant mages in the Circle of Magic books do this all the time. It actually has an effect though.
  • 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."
  • Frog and Toad: In one story, Toad is inspired to start his own flower garden after seeing Frog's and, misunderstanding what it takes to make plants grow, spends the better part of his time over the next few days asking (and eventually, borderline begging) for his planted seeds to start growing. Concluding that the seeds must be too scared to grow, Toad begins singing and reading to the seeds in the hopes that it will make them less afraid, but it still doesn't seem to work. Of course, it's after Toad gives up and goes to bed that he comes back in the morning to find that the seeds have sprouted, much to his relief.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: Norman likes to talk and sing to Fluffy, usually at the top of his lungs. Michael talks to Stanley too, but quietly so he isn't obnoxious about it like Norman can be. In book 7, he discovers that Stanley particularly likes being read to.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • The Addams Family: Ophelia Frump rates a mention, though she didn't so much talk to them as have them growing inside her.
  • On Angel, this was one of the hell god Illyria's powers. After being drained of a significant portion of her powers, this is oddly the one she seems to be miss the most.
    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.
  • Batwoman (2019). Ryan Wilder is introduced living in a van and using her deceased stepmother's potted plant as a Companion Cube. When Tommy Elliot smashes the pot while using it as an Improvised Weapon, she beats him to a pulp.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who. In "The Seeds of Doom", plant-obsessed Eccentric Millionaire Harrison Chase plays synthesizer music for his plants, though it sounds completely awful to everyone else. He also talks to them, especially when he goes insane and decides to help the Krynoid plant-monster take over the world. Mind you, in this case the plant is capable of talking back.
  • Subverted in the first episode of The Expanse where the XO of the Canterbury talking to the plants he keeps in his quarters is a sign of his Space Madness.
  • In Good Omens, just like in the original novel, Crowley heard about this trope during The '70s but, being a demon, has turned it around and threatens his plants instead. When he finds a spot on one of the plants, he takes the pot, shows it to the others, then takes it to the wood chipper, before bringing the empty pot back. The other plants are shown to be quivering, and the narrator points out that Crowley's plants are the best, and the most frightened, in all of London. David Tennant's performance is flawless in this scene.
    Crowley: (to plant with a spot) This is going to hurt you so much more than me. (turns to the others) And the rest of you, GROW BETTER!!!
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spoofed by Rowan Atkinson in Not the Nine O'Clock News, as seen in the page quote.
  • 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 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.

  • The Hidden Almanac:
    • Played with in one of the gardening tips, which notes that the flavor of horseradish is related to stress, and thus recommends that to really enhance the flavor you should be mean and insulting to the plant.
    • Later on, Drom tells Mord "We may be down to five listeners and I think one is actually a greenhouse that plays us for their plants... The owner says that you have a voice made for begonias."

  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons : Speak with Plants is a spell available to Druids, Bards and Rangers. It lets them not only speak with the plants to gather information, but also modify overgrown terrain (to make your party's passage easier or slow down an enemy) and release people ensnared by vines.


    Video Games 
  • Oscar from Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book and Atelier Firis: The Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey can understand the feelings of plants.
  • In Control, Jesse is tasked to talk to the plants around the building by Ahti the janitor. They visibly perk up despite her lacking conversational skills, though they don't talk back. Upon completing the mission, Jesse regrets that there weren't more to talk to. In the AWE DLC, she's told to talk to more plants and is genuinely pleased.
  • Golden Sun: This can be done via the Mind Read ability, but it's because the trees were once human (most seem to take their transflormation quite well). There are actual talking trees, but they speak the common language.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn suggests that experienced Venus adepts can do this to some degree.
  • With the Life Seed, Samos from Jak and Daxter is able to talk to plants. They also talk back to him and can provide him with visions of in the future.
  • Lili Zanotto from Psychonauts has a talent for psychically communicating with and controlling plants (called herbaphony), so when she talks to plants they sometimes talk back. Later games show It Runs in the Family and her great-uncle Bob Zanotto, one of the Psychic Six, was a pioneer of the technique.
  • Lady Deidre Skye and Prophet Cha Dawn of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri pull this off to extraterrestrial fungi called xenofungus... that eventually gain sufficient mass to form a planet scale neural network. Units that don't do it have very difficult times passing through terrain covered by said fungi.
  • In The Sims 2: Seasons, talking to plants can be done with a gold Gardening talent badge; PlantSims receive one automatically. In The Sims 3, this ability is restricted to Sims with the Green Thumb trait, fairies (with Supernatural), and PlantSims (with University Life). In both cases, it both improves the plants' health and counts as socializing for the Sim.
  • Blazer of SoulBlazer can speak to plants, or rather, the souls within the plants. This also includes plants which have been cut and shaped into something like a piece of furniture.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, the Brothers Strong have a plant named Charlemagne, which Strong Bad claims was Driven to Suicide because Strong Sad tried talking to him.
  • The Aurin from WildStar can communicate with the trees, being well attuned to the life energies of the universe.

    Web Original 
  • On the Dream SMP, during the early days of L'Manburg, Tommy used to sing "Hallelujah" to the plants to help them grow. This inspired Wilbur, his Big Brother Mentor, to write L'Manburg's national anthem to the song's tune in honour of his loyal compatriot and younger brother-figure.

  • 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.
  • Fan-favorite side-character Katherine in Wapsi Square talks to her plants, as well as to her pet fish.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • One episode of Johnny Test had Johnny's father's flower garden grow to gigantic proportions due to him arguing with them.
  • Kaeloo talks to plants a lot. (She also talks to objects, but it's usually plants.)
    Kaeloo: Hello, Mrs. Flower! How are you today?
  • The Looney Tunes Show episode "Off Duty Cop" has Bugs, who has gone insane from drinking an addictive soft drink called Spargle, talking to a potted plant while in fetal position.
  • 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.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "That's One Gigantic Pumpkin, Jet Propulsion!", Jet not only talks, but sings to the pumpkin to make it grow. Mitchell, on the other hand, simply talks to it and calls it his "precious".
  • 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.
  • In one episode of Squirrel Boy, Rodney tries to help Bob win a gardening competition by singing to his plants. Unfortunately, his yodeling is so bad that it has the opposite effect, causing the whole greenhouse to wither.
  • Played for drama in the Steven Universe: Future episode "Prickly Pair". After several of his friends end up moving out of town, Steven starts growing plants he named after them and talking to them like they were the actual people. He ends up accidentally making a cactus actually able to listen to him, and vents all his pent-up issues to it; unfortunately, said cactus turns into a rampaging monster who parrots everything Steven said back to him.
  • Thunderbirds Are Go: In "Slingshot", asteroid miner Ned Tedford has a pet potplant named 'Gladys' that he talks to: mostly as a sign that he has gone mad from the isolation. However, he still has the plant and is still talking to it in later appearances when he is back on Earth.
  • In W.I.T.C.H., Earth Guardians are capable of Greenspeaking, communicating with plants. Kadma teaches this skill to Cornelia in the second season.

    Real Life 
  • King Charles III mentioned doing this in an interview in The '80s. 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 him 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.
    • Charles happens to be a lineal descendant of the famously mentally ill 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.
  • Some seers predicted the future from the sounds of wind going through a tree's branches and hearing the gods' voices in it.