Talking to Plants

“Talking to Plants”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


I don’t really know if there has ever been any definitive answer in reference to talking to plants, or if playing Mozart is really beneficial, but I have just found out through my own field study that talking to plants does work.  In this case, it is not just talking to a plant but threatening it.  Let me start at the beginning.

At least eight years ago, I got a clump of Dietes bicolor or butterfly irises from my mother.  I had admired hers for several years and was so happy to have some.  The first year they were in my garden, I got one stem with flowers.  The next year – nothing.  The next year – nothing, and so on for five long years.  I figured, okay they need more sun.  I moved them into more sun.  Still nothing, not one little flower.  I then thought, okay they have just been moved and need time to get established.  The next year, still nothing.

I have seen these plants blooming under big oak trees, in the shade of buildings, and next to abandoned houses.  Why weren’t they blooming for me?  Then, about three weeks ago, I had had it.  I told that clump of lilies that if they didn’t bloom this year, they were outta here, gone pecans, on the trash pile.  ( I did repeat this threat at least two more times.)  Today, look what surprised me.


African Iris (redu)


I could not believe my eyes.  There was the first flower in eight years.  After all that caring, watering, and fertilizing, I finally had a flower. Hallelujah! Now, I think the real reason this plant has started flowering is because I talked to it.  Sometimes, you just have to choose your words carefully.



  1. Garden Mary said,

    May 8, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Hey, Jan. I, too, have had the experience of a plant not blooming and just after deciding that it was going to be taken out, it started blooming. My Dad had the same thing happen with a fruit tree. No fruit, decided to cut it down, it fruited that year. LOL Have a great gardening weekend.

  2. donna said,

    May 8, 2009 at 5:47 am

    I’m a big believer in talking to plants and also think touching them helps the growing/blooming process. But I never thought about threatening them, that gave me a good laugh this morning. That’s a beautiful, beautiful flower and well worth all the years of waiting.

  3. Randy said,

    May 8, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Jan, I wonder about them being disturbed too. We put some out last year and they don’t look very good this year. It started out as a nice big clump. We divided them and they look like they are barely hanging on. I love the blooms I hope they get better for us too.

  4. May 8, 2009 at 7:58 am

    The punitive tough-love approach works with these plants, eh? funny.

  5. May 8, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Wow! Just beautiful!

  6. Jan said,

    May 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks, Garden Mary. Your dad proves my point – sometimes you have to get tough with plants.

    Donna, I am happy the butterfly irises are blooming, finally, but I don’t know about the long wait. I am just glad I got through to them.

    Randy, I know it is not unusual for them as well as other plants to wait out a year or two to bloom after being transplanted, so if I were you, I would just keep them well watered and give them a chance to recover.

    Susan, hey, I am not going to argue with success. You do what you have to do.

    Tessa, they are pretty, aren’t they? And they are such a nice yellow, too.

  7. May 8, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    That’s amazing. People might say it’s a coincidence, but I’m not a person who believes in coincidences. You really did talk it into blooming! Great job, Jan. And she’s lovely! She took the threat seriously, I guess.

  8. Jan said,

    May 9, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Thanks, Chandramouli. I think my talking to it did the trick, too. I think I have a few more plants I need to have a serious conversation with.

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