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Do plants respond to your love? Your experiences?

January 28, 2014

Hello everyone!
It's my very first post on this forum although I've read it a lot before. I'm asking a very personal, provocative question not from a a scientific point of view (I've probably read most of research available online on this topic), but rather want to know your own personal feelings and thoughts. I tell my story too.
I started gardening 2,5 years ago when we moved into a small garden apartment which had a tiny piece of land (about 3'x10') that had only 4-6 hours of sun. Except a few exceptions it somehow happened that my garden became a refuge for 'throw away' and injured plants that I got from local stores and nurseries for free or on clearance. I just couldn't bare to see how the poor things got dumped and picked them up. NONE of them died and they all thrived! I took everything - flowers, veggies, greens ... I had a huge veggie crop in fall (tomatoes, pickles, eggplants, peppers, greens, etc). :) I had no previous experience, the land was of a size of a bed, but I really LOVED my plants and expressed my love to them naturally every day. This garden was my sanctuary and I often sat there reading a book or just sipping a drink. My only pickle plant grew up to the second floor and was 10' wide spreading on the fence. The whole neighborhood came to watch it. :) I tried next summer with similar results, until we bought a home last fall. I cannot wait to start my first "real" garden.
In a meanwhile my home became a refuge for house plants, and again, they thrive although I get them usually in a rather poor condition. Well, a few grocery store azaleas someone gave me had died ... :(
For me it is natural to talk to plants, to "feel" them, try to understand their needs, but I'm not sure they are responding. I hope they are! Of course I read and learn as much as I can about every plant and gardening, too.
Do you have any experiences with plants responding to your feelings? Do they grow better if you talk to them? Do you have any particular examples? Please share! :)
I'm posting this in house plant forum, because I still consider myself rather a house plant gardener. :)

Comments (34)

  • carola_gw(Z3NH)

    This is an interesting post- there have been several studies done that I have read about plants responding to sound and touch. Actually plants are quite intelligent and responsive to a lot but within the plant world of things. They do not have a brain so doubt that they can respond to love but care most definitely. Sounds like you are definitely providing that. You seem to be able to read what they need
    and respond to it.
    Talking to plants- I bet everyone has at one time or another. Only experience I can give however is cursing a Queen Anns Lace which is taking over my garden and it hasn't worked yet.

  • PRO

    Welcome to the Houseplants Forum!

    I don't think plants respond to love in ways we're likely to be able to quantify, and they even respond negatively to the wrong kind of tender loving care. It's fun to muse on what effects our feelings might have on plants, but few would disagree that any amount of love could make up for inappropriate light levels, poor soils, poor watering habits, or a haphazard nutritional supplementation program.

    Commitment to and consistency of proper care is pretty important, as is being able to look at things from the plant's point of view. The sheer number of things that CAN limit a plant's growth/vitality or spoil its appearance forces proficient growers to maintain a holistic overview of the program they follow in caring for their phyto friends. For the most part, greenhouse operators have little emotional investment in their crops, yet they always seem to be able to produce plants that are healthy and pleasing to the eye, which sort of brings us back full circle to the idea that maintaining favorable cultural conditions probably has a much, much greater influence on a plant's fate than how emotionally invested we are.


    This post was edited by tapla on Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 12:31

  • plantomaniac08

    I did hear something the other day that there was a study that showed plants feel pain. Not sure if I believe that or not...


  • Rodden-Blessed

    Dear Viemar,
    I truly enjoyed your post and the stories within. I have a lifelong heritage with plants and nature, and I personally cannot remove the mystery, the unknown and the spritual from my love for and heritage of plants. I have a Christmas cactus that came from a start from my grandmother's plant that she had started from her mother's plant, a great grandmother I never knew. It is now a fifth generation plant, and there is no doubt that much more than the scientific lives in that plant. I talk to my plants, send them energy and thoughts, thank them for what they give to me, to others and to life. I'm not necessarily great with plants, but I approach them both scientifically and emotionally/spiritually. I try to give them what they need, but I go far beyond the "measurable and validated" because I simply see them differently. They delight me, amaze me, teach me, ground me, guide me, keep me connected to my heritage and I love their mystery and power, their will to live and express. If I personally did not see beyond the measurable and validated, I'd miss out on the magic and mystery. I just ordered the book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkin (1989) but haven't read it yet, but am excited to.
    Every room I enter, I look for plants, and when I'm long in a room without plants, I feel alien there. I look at windows and think of what plants I'd put in them. I ask people about their plants, wanting to know their stories and what the plants mean to them. Plants beckon me just as some are drawn to mountain climbing or art work or dance, etc.
    I hope this post helps. I too rescue plants that others toss, and I hope you can continue in your endeavors and that the magic and mystery plants possess will stay with you. I'm surrounded by 30 houseplants in my work office as I write this. They all have a story and much to give.


  • veimar

    Oh thank you so much for your messages! Roden-Blessed, I can totally relate! :) I just wanted to add, that of course you need knowledge how to care about plants, and in these few years I accumulated some I hope, and there is much more to come. But depending on soil, pot material, place and temperatures the care varies a lot. Since I had some watering issues with my 48 house plants I decided to do a bold experiment and just "feel" the plant and "ask" it if it needs any water. :) Sounds kinda crazy, I know, but so far it has really worked. Because I just cannot keep in mind when to water the plants who are all on different watering schedules. And I really don't like touching the soil⦠:) Quite interestingly I started also sometimes "feeling" if a plant is not very happy with it's location and needs to be put elsewhere.
    And please keep sharing your stories!!

  • lii_sama 6

    This is a wonderful topic. Even if we might argue whether plants feel our love and if our love might be careless at some point I think they feel the energy of our love. Nope, I am not going into this thought deeper I will share with my stories. I have many, but I will start with the one which amazed me.
    Last year I think it was January I saw 2 CCs in the supermarket. Their blooming time was over, they were cheep and they weren't watered. I think even if the season ends shop personnel stills needs to take care of them. I took both, I had no idea about colour. I repotted them as soon as I got home, even if everyone would say it wasn't time to repot them. During the Summer they were outside and they grew wonderfully, they were huge and were offering blooms whole Autumn. They are the same colour and I already had that colour, but I appreciate their loveliness, since I moved to new office I am waiting for appropriate time to take one of them to my work place.

  • veimar

    Oh I'm so happy that other people are rescuing the plants too! I feel I need to share the most dramatic story of my own.
    I was walking to our church in Chicago on a bitterly cold November evening and saw this poor neglected yucca in a pot outside some other chapel. I was so sorry for this plant that it would freeze there! I said a little prayer that this plant would be somehow saved. To my big surprise next morning (it was Sunday service) I saw this yucca and the torn apart pot on the sidewalk right next to our church! Our priest said it was some drunken teen who did that. I got a big plastic bag and put the soil and the yucca there and took them home. As I was putting it to a new pot (I didn't have any nice ones at that time) I discovered a big bulb in the soil, and planted it there too. So in just a couple of months the yucca had grown many new leaves and a big new shoot at the bottom. The bulb grew into that little plant on the left (maybe someone could help me identify it?). It seems that my prayer was heard. :)
    BTW that poinsettia on the right I got 4 years ago from a local grocery after Christmas for 50c. It was so tiny then! :)

  • Rodden-Blessed

    Wonderful rescue story, Veimar. I absolutely love to read stories about plants, and rescue stores are at the top of my list. I grew up in Northern Illinois, so I know that the plants you rescued from that kind of cold were truly blessed. Maybe it would be interesting to ask others how far they have gone to rescue or assist a plant. Although I own a car, I walk almost everywhere in my small town, and I have actually carried jugs of rainwater with me to water plants I feel sorry for. I've also stopped in at stores and asked the owners if they could water the plants outside their businesses. Most of the time people don't mind. My sister was once at a formal presentation of some sort, and the stage had a plant on it that was suffering terribly from lack of water. My sister had no water with her and no container for getting water, so she walked around afterward and collected all the small amounts of water left in people's water glasses and watered the plant. I wish I'd seen her in action! As she was doing it, another lady joined in and helped and told my sister that she couldn't stand looking at the wilting plant. As soon as I can figure out how to send a picture, I'll share my story of Emma's rescue. I hope you and others have more to share!

  • veimar

    Where is Northern IL do you live? My husband went to Northern IL University and we lived in DeKalb for a few years (that's where I got that poinsettia - it moved 4 times with us!). We are in Zion now for the first year. :)
    That's a wonderful story about helping out a thirsty plant on stage. I'm sure it appreciated that! :D

  • Rodden-Blessed

    I grew up in Savanna, Illinois, right on the Mississippi River (near Galena). The Mississippi Palisades State Park is there. My brother went to Northern and graduated from there, and I have been to DeKalb many times. I now live in northeast Oklahoma, but I'm still a Northerner in my heart. The Christmas Cactus that I started from my great grandmother's plant came from Northern Illinois, Jo Daviess County, truly beautiful country. It's good to know you also associate your plants with different places you've lived. Plants can be wonderful reminders of parts of our lives, keeping us grounded and reminded of what we may otherwise not think about. I just got my first poinsettia this year, and the only reason I got it was because it was in pitiful condition, 50 cents, but mainly because my grandmother always had one, and I'm trying to have at least one of all the type plants she had--somewhat of a memorial to her. My poinsettia is not doing well. All but about 4 red leaves have fallen off. Any advice?

  • veimar

    In my experience poinsettias are very difficult to keep alive after season. Every year I get 2-6 beautiful plants from our church, but except that little one from DeKalb grocery store no one had survived. But I didn't try hard too. They say to cut it down to about 6-8" and just water a little and wait if new leaf growth begins. Quite frankly I never cut them down except this year - I got 4 huge plants from church and only one of them is still in full bloom. I just water them not too much and let them stay in a semi-shaded place and decide if they want to recover. :) I wouldn't repot them at this point.

  • PRO

    RB - take the foil wrapper off the plants if there is one. It's trapping water and promoting root rot or impaired root function. Water as needed, but only as needed. Plants hate 'wet' and thrive in 'barely damp' soils. Plants don't 'drink' water, they absorb it a molecule at a time from a microscopically thin film on soil particles or as vapor from the pores between soil particles. 'Wet' conditions rob the plant of oxygen, which is as important to the plant's well-being as water.


  • Rodden-Blessed

    Thanks Al and V. I've had the plant out of its foil wrapper since I brought it home. One of the stems is turning black. I simply continue to water it with rain water I collect, but only when it gets dry. It has excellent drainage. Perhaps it was more damaged than it appeared to be when I purchased it. Thank you for the details on oxygen and water. I'm "thirsty" for learning as much as I can. I will continue to coax this plant along, seeing where it leads me and what it teaches.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL

    If you trim your Poinsettia, know it's a Euphorbia, so has latex sap. I would recommend taking precautions to not touch the sap, and if you do, wash it off right away. The rash it can cause is absolutely awful.

    I've looked at the question of the subject of this discussion a few times, and don't know how to answer it. I believe that plants can pick up vibes from the people around them, especially confidence, and that they are appreciated and admired. I don't know if plants are learning anything from me, but they have helped me find more patience, though I'll never be accused of having a ton of that.

    Veimar, your attitude, post, and plants are lovely! TY.

  • birdsnblooms

    Morning All,

    Do plants respond to our love?
    In all honestly, I believe they do.
    I sometimes wonder if greens have a sixth or possibly seventh-sense.

    My Experiences...

    Times I'm blue, 'which can last for weeks,' my plants react negative to my own negative feelings. They're not as perky..leaves that are green and vibrant look dull and droopy.
    Coincidence, I don't think so...

    When I'm in a good mood, plants look healthier. No, I'm not a drinker. lol. Often, they bloom.

    Music and talking to plants.

    There's been numerous studies that plants respond to different types of music.
    Some people insist R&R kills plants, opposed to classical music, that keeps plants alive and healthy. I disagree.

    99% of the time, I listen to You-Tube videos. Since Fur Elise hasn't words, I usually sing-along with The Beatles or other rock groups.
    My plants respond positively.

    As for talking to plants, it's stated our breaths release carbon dioxide, which plants 'inhale.'

    All in all, whatever reason, scientific or not, paying close attention to our greens, supplying love and proper care results in healthy house plants.

    I also believe we respond to our plants love.


    As for talking to plants..Studies state, when a person talks to plants up close, whisper sweet nothings, oxygen from our breaths

  • carola_gw(Z3NH)

    Well I'm going stop talking to the Queen Annes Lace then.I am not whispering sweet nothings when I'm yanking them out.
    Like I just think that plants are responsive but can't be in the way a cat or dog is. A cat or dog can show affection where as a plant can't other then grow better.

  • ronalawn82

    veimar, two adages from my distant past.

    1. The eye of the master fattens the calf.
    2. The best fertilizer is the dirt from the farmer's foot.
      They both point up the importance of regularly observing/examining our animals and plants.
      My opinion is that by so doing we unconsciously correct little things that might be going wrong; resulting in a more attractive product.
      In the case of "whispering sweet nothings" in their "ears", it might be the carbon dioxide rather than oxygen that has the tonic effect.
      Sorry, my years in commercial agriculture makes me regard plants as "crop".
  • birdsnblooms

    Caro, whisper or sing Words of Love to plants you intend keeping..avoid your Queen Anne's...:)

    I've always wondered if plants feel pain. We slice and dice veggies...does that make us murderers?

  • veimar

    Wow, thank you all so much for your replies! I wouldn't think that plants respond like animals with feeling and affection, but they probably have some ways of connecting to people.
    BTW, did any of you see this movie:
    It's about animals, but she said the same thing is possible with plants. I was lucky to see the full movie while it was on youtube, amazing! I tried that right away with my Majesty palm that seemed to be dying - the whole fronds were drying out, and I didn't know what to do! I was so desperate. I tried to communicate the way Anna did in that movie (also trying not to think how crazy it was!), and in a few moments I felt something that was difficult to explain, enormous concentration - I even had hard time breathing. I just told my plant how much I loved it and asked it not to die and to guide me how to help it. The answer came right away - it was accidentally put on the way of a hot draft coming from the heater! Although it was pretty far from the heater, but it couldn't stand the drafts. I moved it right away, and now it's doing fine. Coincidence? Maybe.
    I put the most problematic plants in my bedroom, and they usually recover. I cannot explain why am I doing this, but I just feel a need to communicate with them more often trying to understand how can I help them. Once they are fine I put them back to their spots.

    I loved your posts, 'hopeful author'! LOL, I don't think it makes us murders if we slice a tomato! But rudely pulling out a plant with it's roots from the ground, yes! But we have to pull the weeds, right? So I wouldn't get too crazy about this. :)

  • Rodden-Blessed

    What is the name of the movie you mentioned and provided the Web address to? I'd like to see if I can find it.


  • meyermike_1micha

    If singing to them counts for anything, nothing good here..A few of mine croaked over the years with my songs of spring about this time of the year..

    I stopped that and now they are just fine)

  • Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Lol Mike!!

    I think it all sounds wonderful and I would like to think that it works, but honestly, my plants respond better if I ignore them more than if I pay attention to them. When I do check my plants, I try and look at them with my hands behind my back ( so to speak..) and not fuss over them. My line of work takes me away for days at a time and when I come home I want to go right to my plants and check them out. Their needs are taken care of and they are tended to by keeping the containers clear of debris...watered and having a watchful eye for any unwanted critters!! But they like the peace and quiet here in my house. They thrive when they have " their own time.. ". Since I have noticed this.. I give them some space and they bless me with healthy blooms and new foliage.

    I used to be a " mother hen.." Now I have learned my plants like to be on their own most of the time!!! Lol

    Nice thread!!! Enjoyed it!!

    Take care,


    This post was edited by loveplants2 on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 20:37

  • meyermike_1micha

    Laura, that is exactly what I do and how my plants respond! I find that many surprises await me with no expectations.lol

  • veimar

    For those who are interested - the documentary is called "The Animal Communicator". It's one of the most amazing things I've seen in my life. I'm actually seriously interested in attending her masterclass in USA (if I can afford that) :)

  • birdsnblooms


    Veimar..I just finished watching the Video on YouTube.

    When you communicated with your palm, did you do so verbally or telepathically?
    Be honest. I will not laugh. lol. Like I said, I sing to plants..

    I'd love playing with Spirit and his companions, after they're calmed down. :)

    Re: The video. Between internet myths and reality TV, (I do not watch,) I'm become semi-skeptic. lol.
    However, I honestly believe in mental telepathy, dreams and other (far-out) paranormal activities.

    I don't recall seeing you before. Terrible memory. Have you been reading GW posts or plant books before this 'feeling' struck you?

    If so, perhaps the concept, 'draft is aiming at my Majesty Palm ,' was instilled in your sub-conscience???

    When I first responded to your thread, I didn't read prior posts. I'm bad. Anyway, this time, 'although I'm doing 20 things plus typing,' I read each comment, noticed you and Rodden are Illinoisians. Hello neighbors..
    Although Rodden abandoned us. J/k. I don't blame you Rodden..nicer climate in western states.

    I was born in Chicago, but live in the sw burbs.

    Rescued plants can be as lovely if not lovelier than a purchased, overpriced plant. Like puppies and kittens.

    Howdy Purple.

    Laura!! Hello. It's been a long time. Once again. I hope you're well...

    Some people are better off neglecting plants...I'm NOT speaking about anyone present...
    And, some plants are better neglected...

    Hey Mike... Toni

  • veimar

    LOL, Toni - it sounds really weird, but I tried to communicate to my palm in my mind. I was trying to "listen" what was the problem. Of course it might have been my subconsciousness, but how didn't I come up with that before?
    Well, loving your plants IMHO is not constantly disturbing them, but to recognizing them as living beings and not pieces of furniture. :)

  • Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Hi Toni!!!

    Nice to see you!!!

    Hi Mike!!

    I just wanted to say that I love all of my plants ... I am constantly admiring them all of the time. I just don't put my hands on them as much as I used to. They are just better off if I don't

    Doing well, Toni. Working hard !! Hope you are well!

    Veimar!!! Sounds interesting !! I also forgot to welcome you to the forum ..
    All of the plants that I have growing in the greenhouse and in rooms all over the house as well as under grow lights are checked and tended too regularly just ask my DH. He thinks I pay more attention to them ! Ha! It might be true.. Only kidding. ;-). They definitely are treated better than objects such as furniture... My animals are everything to me too. ... They are the best

    Enjoying your stories. Love your passion!!




    This post was edited by loveplants2 on Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 1:44

  • Rodden-Blessed

    We are getting some decent winter in Oklahoma this year. I miss the North and winter, but not 5 months of it. The summers here are often horrible, super humid and many, many days over 100, some days as high as 114. Many people think you can garden better in this part of the country, but the soil is definitely lacking, it's very rocky here, so one does not garden without a pickax, and gardening does not favor 100 plus days! UGH!
    My brother lives in Lake Zurich, north of you. Many years before my mother died, she had gardens down here, and every year she vowed she was going to drive a truck load of topsoil from Northern Illinois down here so she could have a "real garden."
    Although the winters are hard, there are benefits to being in the North. It's great to have fellow Northerners sharing stories and information.
    Where are you from, Laura?

  • Rodden-Blessed

    We are getting some decent winter in Oklahoma this year. I miss the North and winter, but not 5 months of it. The summers here are often horrible, super humid and many, many days over 100, some days as high as 114. Many people think you can garden better in this part of the country, but the soil is definitely lacking, it's very rocky here, so one does not garden without a pickax, and gardening does not favor 100 plus days! UGH!
    My brother lives in Lake Zurich, north of you. Many years before my mother died, she had gardens down here, and every year she vowed she was going to drive a truck load of topsoil from Northern Illinois down here so she could have a "real garden."
    Although the winters are hard, there are benefits to being in the North. It's great to have fellow Northerners sharing stories and information.
    Where are you from, Laura?

  • Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Hi Rodden Blessed!!

    I live in Virginia Beach, Virgina. Not used to all of this single digit cold weather. We had record snowfall last week of 13 inches too!! Nice to see global warming eh? ;-)

    You all stay warm.. I have never been this cold traveling in the north east.


    Have a wonderful day, everyone!!!


  • birdsnblooms

    Veimar.. Sing, talk, heck dance with your plants..whichever method works is all that matters.
    I'd love to attend a group or university where plant studies are done.

    Are you familiar with Calatheas? Leaves move suddenly like their cousin, Maranta, 'Prayer Plant.'
    I had one Calathea with large leaves that jerked suddenly and fiercely, one leaf would occasionally knock down a smaller, neighboring plant.

    I don't know why it didn't happen before. Many mysteries in this old world.

    Please don't get me started about people who buy plants or BIRDS to match furniture.

    Laura, I'm okay, thank you.
    It's too bad your work hours are so long. Or maybe not.
    Don't you love people who know their minds? lol.

    Laura, you're joking, but I knew a few people who's s/o's were jealous of everything including inanimate objects.

    Rodden, can't say I blame you. 5-months of winter! Summer 2013 through winter was the worse, coldest. I think we had 2-weeks in the 90's then back to cool.

    I thought OK was dry??? Low humidity?

    I can deal with heat, but when temps rise over 100F, I need more than a fan and open windows. Don't like a/c though.

    Plants are on stand-still when temps get too hot.
    Since you have rocky soil, you'd definitely need to amend. What about succulents grown in-ground? Agave, Optuntia?

    My niece lives in Lake Zurich, but she has artificial plants. lol.

    Sorry about your mom.

    I imagine your winters are nicer than our spring...warm enough for potted plants to be outside.
    What type of plants interest you?

    Laura, VA got hit with 13" of snow? Unbelievable! Is 2014 a record?


  • veimar

    Hmm, I do have a Calathea - I salvaged it from Lowe's clearance last week. It was actually a most beautiful plant and there was nothing wrong with it. I needed a low light plant for the kitchen so I'll see if likes it's spot. I've read about the prayer plant and I always wanted it, but they don't sell them in the stores. So hope my Calathea starts dancing when I play piano. :)

  • PRO

    Do plants respond to your love? Your experiences?size>color>

    In my experience, I believe it depends on who your love is and how much he/she knows about tending plants.


  • Rodden-Blessed

    Paul and Toni,
    I think between the two of you, I have successfully attached a photo...or should I write that my teenager has successfully attached a photo? hehe This is one of many Christmas cacti that I started from my grandmother's plant that she had which was her mother's plant, so in essence, since my daughter has one, it is a five-generation plant. The original used to be put outdoors every summer, in the ground, by my grandmother and her mother. By the time I was a kid, my grandmother's plant sat in her country store window in Rodden, Illinois, a window full of many other plants, and my grandmother and her plants taught me to love and be loved by plants. The one in the photo (hopefully there IS a photo) is a smaller plant which sits in my office amongst other plants. I have another in my office, and a HUGE one at home along with two other medium-sized plants. These plants are living heritage, and I feel honored to continue the Christmas cactus lineage.

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