What Plants Are Saying About Us

Amanda Gefter in Nautilus:

I was never into house plants until I bought one on a whim—a prayer plant, it was called, a lush, leafy thing with painterly green spots and ribs of bright red veins. The night I brought it home I heard a rustling in my room. Had something scurried? A mouse? Three jumpy nights passed before I realized what was happening: The plant was moving. During the day, its leaves would splay flat, sunbathing, but at night they’d clamber over one another to stand at attention, their stems steadily rising as the leaves turned vertical, like hands in prayer.

“Who knew plants do stuff?” I marveled. Suddenly plants seemed more interesting. When the pandemic hit, I brought more of them home, just to add some life to the place, and then there were more, and more still, until the ratio of plants to household surfaces bordered on deranged. Bushwhacking through my apartment, I worried whether the plants were getting enough water, or too much water, or the right kind of light—or, in the case of a giant carnivorous pitcher plant hanging from the ceiling, whether I was leaving enough fish food in its traps. But what never occurred to me, not even once, was to wonder what the plants were thinking.

More here.