While there’s plenty of proof that plants are more sensitive than we think, with the music you play at home affecting their growth, it turns out they are also responsive to movement and touch.
The latest plant hack that’s making the rounds on social media shows plant influencers gently shaking their indoor plants to stimulate growth and strengthen stems.
The simple method, otherwise known as thigmomorphogenesis, is said to mimic the movements plants would have experienced from the wind, rain and animals if they were outside. While it typically occurs naturally, it can be induced indoors by rubbing, bending the stem or gently shaking the plant.
While more research is needed to estimate the importance of thigmomorphogenesis, the current evidence shows some benefits to getting your plants shaking.
What does shaking your plants do?
The most noticeable effect of thigmomorphogenesis is that it changes the growth rate of a plant, preventing it from growing leggy and instead stunting the growth. If you like your indoor plants large and leafy, it’s worth noting that there are some benefits to them remaining small.
When a plant has a thigmonastic response from touch it's likely they’ll grow a thicker and more compact stem. With some plants being so hard to keep alive, it might be an added benefit that will help them grow stronger in those early days.
But does it work?
As plant experts are pointing out in response to the growing trend, there are certain plant that are fine without the assistance, such as taller plants which can keep themselves upright as they grow. However, one plant that is likely to benefit from a shake is fiddle leaf figs as they can struggle to support themselves indoors.