Talking Plants

For years, scientists have debated whether plants communicate.  They hook electrodes up to their leaves to measure changes in electrical conductivity and then argue about whether those fluctuations constitute “communication”.

Hell, they could have just asked me.  Plants talk to me all the time.  It’s getting them to shut up that’s the problem.

It happens every time I go into a store where there are plants for sale.  I’ll be walking along minding my own business when suddenly a beautiful voice whispers, “Hello, Diane.  I’ve been waiting for you.  Come a little closer…

Aw, shit.

I fight the compulsion even though I already know I’m doomed.

But I can’t help it.  I have to obey.

Against my will, my head turns.  All sensors lock on.  My feet can’t help but follow.

And there it is:  A plant, seductively waving its vivid greenery, or worse, shamelessly flaunting its magnificent flowers.

I try to turn away.  I remind myself of all the other plants currently crowding my house, but it doesn’t work.

Some people complain about having a black thumb, but I have exactly the opposite problem.  I have a green thumb.  On steroids.

I can bring home a tiny half-dead stick of something-or-other, and within minutes it morphs into a monster that expects gallons of water weekly and the sacrifice of a suckling pig every full moon.  The ferns cascading six feet over the ledge in my dining room started out as a single 4” sprig in a gift basket years ago.  The nine-foot-tall variegated fig that overshadows the dining room table arrived as a cute little housewarming gift no bigger than a bonsai.  And don’t even get me started on my entire wall of Christmas cactuses.  (But I have a rare yellow one – how cool is that?)

My point is, I know better.  And it doesn’t stop me.

I stay away from greenhouses, but the big-box stores do me in.  They put a display right at the door so I can’t avoid it.  The plants’ voices are clear and sweet and utterly irresistible.

And they’re on sale.

This week I came home with two orchids from Home Depot (a hardware chain).  They were in cute little coloured pots, and they were only $6.50!  Never mind that I already had four orchids blooming in my office.  I didn’t have those particular colours.  And they were on sale!  Did I mention that?

A few months ago I went to IKEA with a very specific list of household items.  Got the items.  Also got a red anthurium.  And a couple of the cutest little palm trees, because apparently I haven’t yet figured out that plants with the word “tree” in their names tend to grow into, well… trees.

Before that, it was cyclamens.  From Home Depot again.  I have to stop going into that place.

More to the point, I have to acquire some device that can block the telepathic transmissions of plants.  Or else get a frontal lobotomy.

But I’d rather have a bottle in front of me.  And flowers blooming in my office.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who hears the voices…

The irresistible talking orchids

The irresistible talking orchids

But wait – there are the Singing Plants of Damanhur.  Oh, look, I’m not the only one who hears the voices!

44 thoughts on “Talking Plants

  1. Pingback: Crazy Plant Lady | Diane Henders

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  3. You are definitely not alone! I’ve been gardening since I was 8. Planted iris and cala lilies around the playhouse my dad built for us. From there I went to college in the redwoods and immediately went out on the forest with a borrowed axe to chop off a burl from a tree to put in my dorm room. It goes on from there over 50 years!

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Aha! I started at a young age, too. I remember dragging a big heavy watering can out to the end of our lane where I had planted a few doomed four-o’clocks. I didn’t understand at the time that plants needed more than a sprinkle of water to stay alive during a summer drought…


  4. Your affection for plants — and your skill at caring for them — are worth celebrating, Diane. There are much worse addictions. And somebody has to make up for the vegetative carnage the rest of us leave behind.


    • “Vegetative carnage” – LOL! I think I developed the ability to grow houseplants as a way to fend off the insanity-inducing 8-month-long period where everything’s brown or white outside. Maybe if I lived in a place that was green year-round, I wouldn’t need houseplants…


  5. So jealous! I wish I had the ability to talk to plants. Then maybe I’d hear them when they’re screaming at me for water, which I tend to forget for weeks on end. Also, the cats have a tendency to chew them to bits so my little palm tree now looks like a stick in the ground.


    • Ah, cats! I love them dearly and I miss having them, but my plants have been much happier since my last old furry friend passed on. And now I have so many plants, I’d fear for the cat if the plants decided to seek vengeance. 😉


  6. When I walk through a plant nursery, I have an almost overwhelming urge to “rescue” (purchase) all the spindly, twiggy plants I see. Or at least set upright all the knocked-over potted plants, and water the desert-dry ones. Yes, I’ve done this. I’m a sucker for a hard luck plant story.


  7. Your only hope is to wrap your head with aluminum foil just before you enter the store. The natural assumption is that the Faraday Cage effect that the metallic wrapping provides blocks the electromagnetic waves radiating from the plants, thereby freeing you from their compellingly seductive emanations. Wrong. It only works because you’ll look so weird that nobody in the store will wait on you.

    Trust me on this. Been there, etc.


    • They are surprisingly tough! I always thought they’d be too exotic and finicky, but when I got my first one I was surprised at how easy it was to grow. The problem is that they come in too many pretty colours…


  8. Fear not, you’re not alone. Living in an itsy-bitsy living space on wheels, I have to do my best to ignore the voices. But, it’s extremely hard this time of year! All the spring flowers are out at the big box stores and it’s driving me nuts. I’m sure I’ll give in at some point in the next week or so. (Just to pretty up the outside of the HOW.) Then I’ll be (or hubby will be) forced to figure out what to do with them when we head to our next destination in a month or so. Yeah, the hubby loves that part. Hee Hee Hee

    P.S. Your orchids are beautiful!!


    • Thanks! And I’m glad I’m not trying to fight the voices in a space as small as yours. If I was in your place, I’d be sleeping in the truck because the trailer was full of plants. And as patient and tolerant as my Hubby is, I have a feeling that might test his limits…


      • Like American Gypsy said about living in a HOW, hubby and I did that years ago for a while. An 18 ft. pull behind travel trailer. Living in that puts a whole new perspective on “togetherness”. I did, however, find myself watching lots of crime shows, forensic shows, things of that nature. It just sort of became a “thing” for me, knowing that stuff. bwahahaha. (of course he’s still around so all’s good)


  9. Ah-ha! At last, I’ve found out where we differ. I love looking at other people’s plants, but I don’t have any desire to take care of my own.

    I’m down to my last two indoor potted plants (I’ve killed all the others; no, not intentionally–I’m not a plant murderer): a philodendron in a bright yellow pottery duck that one of my office mates brought to the hospital when I had my daughter more than a few decades ago (man, those things are hardy!) and a cactus someone gave my husband (it thrives on neglect, unlike my husband).

    I’m kind of superstitious about the duck-philo–I’d feel really awful if anything happened to it. So if it starts to croak, I’m sending it to you. 😉


  10. Yes, I have adopted many plants from Home Despot also, including orchids, flowering bulbs and bamboo, and then there is the huge outdoor plant/ tree/ pot area….! Sorry but we have had summer this winter in N. Cal., and the plants & wildlife are confused. Today temps. hitting 80’s & shorts required.😎 Bad news is the low rainfall & lack of snow in Sierras.😕


    • Holy tropical! Eighty degrees and shorts, wow. I bet you can even grow a bunch of things outdoors that have to be house plants here. I keep wondering if I’d like to live in a warmer climate, but I think I’d miss winter. If I could live in a place with a only a couple of months of snow, that would be ideal.


  11. I’m impressed! I gave up having plants. All I have are the fake variety (and tacky ones at that), so I’m always awed by people who make them thrive. The only thing that whispers to me in the store is chocolate.


  12. Those plants are gorgeous! But hey, I hear them too every time I go into our Home Depot here, or anywhere else that has plants. My little plant voices are yelling “Keep going, Pleeeeese! I want to live!” I have no green thumb. I can kill cactus even. **sigh**


    • LOL! So far they’re just cringing away from the cold windows and shivering in their pots, but that’s not really unusual at this time of the year. We usually get snow off and on right up to the May long weekend. Unless you’re near the Arctic Circle, you’ll probably get spring before we do. Hope that makes you feel better… 😉


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