Follow TV Tropes


Talking to Plants

Go To

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.

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, usually in ways that cannot be translated into words as The Empath can see or perhaps feel things from their point of view and through their senses.



    open/close all folders 

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

    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. While the crops just listened, the roses would speak back.
  • 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.
  • Legioin 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.

    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 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?"
  • 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.

    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 

  • Briar and other plant mages in the Circle of Magic books do this all the time. It actually has an effect though.
  • 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.
  • 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!!!
  • 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.

  • 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 

    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 soft drink called Spargle, talking to a potted plant while in fetal position.
  • Kaeloo talks to plants a lot. (She also talks to objects, but it's usually plants.)
    Kaeloo: Hello, Mrs. Flower! How are you today?
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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 lineal 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.
  • Some seers predicted the future from the sounds of wind going through a tree's branches and hearing the gods' voices in it.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: