Weird Things People Do To Help Their Plants Grow — That Might Actually Work
It's easy to get inordinately attached to houseplants. When you have them for long enough, you get super invested in their well-being, tune in to what they need, and maybe even start to assign them little personas. (Or this might just be me, in which case feel free to judge me now.)
All plant parents have their own unique ways of showing their greenery love—and they just might be on to something. Research, albeit very preliminary research, points to the fact that certain habits like playing music to houseplants may actually help them grow faster and stronger. Even if this doesn't prove scientifically sound in the long run, it's not hard to believe that when you feel a connection to your houseplant, you're more likely to take better care of it. Here are five fun ways that people who live surrounded by houseplants give them some extra TLC:
1. Put on houseplant concerts.
Rachel Winard, the natural beauty formulator behind Soapwalla and bona fide plant lover, has been known to put on a little performance for her houseplants. "I practice my violin in the same room with most of my plants. This sounds super woo-woo, but I swear I see new growth on the plants that are closest to the music," she tells mbg, adding that she's even switched out plants before as a kind of quasi-scientific experiment.
And she might be right considering this new report from Frontiers in Plant Science. In it, researchers compiled evidence from biological studies that found that plants are highly sensitive and can react to sound signals. It turns out that scientists have discovered that exposing plants such as pepper, cucumber, tomato, and strawberry to sound in the field and greenhouse might activate their immune response and increase their production of growth hormones. Who knew?
For those who are less musically inclined, feng shui master and mbg class instructor Dana Claudat thinks talking to plants does the trick too.
2. Name your greenery.
Summer Rayne Oakes is an environmentalist who shares her Brooklyn apartment with 600-plus houseplants—many of which she's named. Thinking of cheeky names for plants is a way to feel a little more connected to them, she explained in her recent piece on mbg: "Get creative. Check out the coolest baby names. Steal your favorite celebrity’s name: Nicholas Sage, anyone? Keanu Leaves? You get the point: No one goes to bed at night forgetting to water your plant when you’re thinking of Nick Sage."
3. Treat your plant to a matcha.
"I water my green leafy plants with cold leftover green tea," reveals Jules Hunt, the plant mama and wellness influencer behind Om & the City. "They love the acidity in the soil!" She warns that desert plants like succulents don't like to have tea time, though, since they typically prefer a more alkaline soil.
4. Create a plant playlist.
Over at Tula House, a Brooklyn-based plant shop, background music is a constant. "It is not scientifically proven, but we believe that playing music helps the plants grow," explains co-founder Christan Summers. Her plant-centric Spotify playlist includes tunes like You Need This Light and Perfect Earth.
5. Take a "less is more" approach.
Brandi Love, whose plant-filled home was recently featured on mbg's holistic home tour series, says that at the end of the day, your plants might just need room to breathe. "I always gave my plants too much attention and watered them religiously, but I've decided to take a step back and let my plants tell me when they need attention, and they've been so much happier!"
That's a wrap on mbg's Plant Week series! Check out all the other plant-care tips we've shared this week here.
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Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.