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Everybody talks to themselves, and most people talk to their pets, but have you ever shared words of affirmation with a plant? Whether it’s a blooming rosebush in the garden or a stubborn pothos in the living room, 48 percent of people admit to making small talk with their greenery. And within that group, one in five say that they chat to their plants daily, according to a recent report by Trees.com

In the same way we believe a pep talk can rile up a sports team, the majority of the 1,250 survey respondents (66 percent) are convinced verbal communication will help their beloved flora thrive. While there’s no sure evidence of that actually working, a study conducted by Penn State back in 2008 suggests that noise, of any kind, could help spur on growth. In fact, music or anything a bit louder than the typical volume of conversation (around 70 decibels) can inspire leaves to unfurl and roots to dig deeper. 

Even though there’s not an abundance of research on this phenomenon, Rich Marini, the head of Penn State’s horticulture department, attributes it to the sound’s audiowaves. “Wind or vibration will induce changes in plant growth. Since sound is essentially vibration, my guess is that vibration is causing a response.”

If you’re still skeptical about the whole thing, we get it. Plenty of green thumbs whisper, sing, or vent to their buds simply because it makes them feel good (24 percent of the survey participants think of their pots as pets of sorts, and 64 percent find the practice to be therapeutic). Our chief content officer, Kate Berry, says things like “Baby, come on” and “I get it, I get it” as she cleans the leaves of her begonias and fiddle-leaf fig. Others, like Sunwink cofounder Jordan Schenck, begin their mornings by rocking out with their greenery to Fleetwood Mac and Talking Heads. Everyone (and everything) could use a bit of encouragement from time to time, even if the other side can’t talk back.