My Daughter Taught Me About How Words Impact Plants


Life Lessons

Photo by Anu Anniah

We were surveying the plants on my daughter’s balcony a few days ago.

One of the plants looked rather droopy. So I said that plant was probably going to die, and she could plant something else in that pot.

She shushed me and drew me aside. She told me not to talk like that in front of the plant since it was not yet dead. My initial instinct was to tell her not to be silly. As if plants can hear! Then I remembered some stuff we read about how plants communicate with each other. One of the best books about this topic is The Hidden Life of Trees, and Maria Popova has beautifully reviewed it. My daughter’s thinking is a simple extension of the information laid out in the book.

I was intrigued and sought information from the Internet. I could not find anything conclusive to state that plants are impacted by what we say. However, there are a few articles such as this one that mentions the possibility of plants being stimulated by human conversation and music.

There is a story about how locals in the Solomon Islands bring down large trees by cursing the tree for 30 days until the tree is riddled with negative energy and dies on its own. True or not, it points towards words having some power over plants.

I am no expert to decide whether my daughter’s thinking in plants is right or wrong. But her simple suggestion woke me to the fact that we need to be mindful of what we say and where we say it. It doesn’t matter whether plants can hear us or not.

It doesn’t cost much to say even the harshest things in a positive way.

In cases like this particular plant, not say it at all in front of the plant. Nowadays, our discussions around doing away with individual plants because they are dying are done at a distance.

If we believe plants are impacted so much by words, imagine how much our words must affect fellow humans?


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