If you own plants, you might have wondered if they like being touched. After all, they would probably love a gentle massage, right? What harm can a simple touch do? A lot, as it turns out.
Do plants like to be touched? The answer is no. Touching plants can prompt strong defensive measures and bring about certain genetic alterations. This hinders their growth and negatively affects their well-being.
Read this article to learn more about why plants don’t like being touched. Find out if a plant can die if you touch it and discover what happens when you touch a plant. Happy reading!
Do plants like to be touched?
Most plants don’t like to be touched at all, contrary to popular belief. Many believe that gently patting or massaging a plant might be an enjoyable experience for it, but that is not the case. Plants are different from humans and are extremely sensitive to touch. Touching plants stresses them out.
According to research conducted by the La Trobe Institute for Agriculture and Food in Australia, touching plants can trigger their defense mechanisms and bring about significant genetic changes. These genetic changes that occur are not good for the plant’s growth. Since these changes require energy, a plant’s growth may be adversely affected by them.
However, touching plants occasionally for a very short period might not be that bad and may not hinder their growth.
What happens if you touch plants?
As we previously discussed, touching plants brings about strong defense reactions that can genetically modify the plant’s structure. If you touch them, they get stressed, and this hinders their growth. When they’re stressed, they work hard to change their genetic structures, weakening themselves in the process.
In a nutshell, touching plants slows down their growth. Researchers at La Trobe University discovered if a plant is touched, its genome might change by as much as ten percent within thirty minutes. Wow.
The reason why plants are affected so much by touch is that they’re quite sensitive and need space to grow and thrive. This is also why plants that are placed close to each other such that they touch have stunted growth patterns.
Do plants die if you touch them?
Touch adversely affects plants’ health and so touching them isn’t a good idea. But can you kill plants if you touch them? The answer is no. Thankfully.
While touching plants does trigger their defense mechanisms and slow their growth, these impacts aren’t strong enough to have lasting consequences and actually kill them. However, plants mustn’t be touched too often or for too long. Touching them excessively might kill them.
This is a good thing because there are many situations in which touching the plant might be necessary. For example, you might need to trim your plant’s leaves and remove the dead parts. Or you might need to clean it gently.
Which plants don’t mind being touched?
Though plants usually don’t like being touched since it triggers their defensive reactions, there are some that don’t mind being touched that much.
These are usually tough plants that are less sensitive to touch. However, we can’t be certain if these plants don’t mind being touched or if it doesn’t trigger as strong a response in them. Here is a list of some such plants.
Aloe vera plant. It is a tough plant that can survive in hot temperatures and isn’t too sensitive to touch.
Jade plant. The jade plant is tough, but it must be handled carefully since its sap can cause irritation.
Peace lily plant. This is also a tough plant but again, touching it may cause skin problems.
Which plants hate being touched?
Now that we know which plants don’t mind being touched, we’ll look at some that are very sensitive to touch. Touching these plants can trigger strong reactions from them since they really, really don’t like being touched. Here are some of them.
Mimosa Pudica. These plants are very shy and hate touch. In fact, they’ll move their leaves away from the source of the touch! This can be fascinating to watch but it is bad for the plant’s health.
Maidenhair Fern. This is another plant that is quite sensitive to touch. Its leaves are really soft but touching or stroking them should be strictly avoided.
What are some other things that aren’t good for plants?
Plants are quite sensitive creatures. They usually need very particular environmental conditions, and they don’t adapt well to changing conditions. Here, we list down some other things besides touching that are detrimental to the health and growth of plants.
Too much or too less light. Too much light can cause plants to die and too less light can stunt their growth.
Too much or too less water. Watering too much or too frequently can cause plants to drown. And again, too less water can slow down photosynthesis.
Small pots. Plants can not grow well if they don’t have enough space for their roots to spread out.
Some things that plants actually like
Read on to find out certain actions you can take to ensure their well-being and steady growth.
Give them just the right amount of light. Too much or too less of it is bad.
Make sure the soil contains the nutrients your plant needs to grow and thrive.
Keep your pets away from your plants. This is good for both the plants and your pets.
Choose a pot big enough for your plant. Additionally, the pot should have a small hole that can drain away excess water.
Trim your plant’s leaves regularly to remove the dead parts.
And of course, avoid touching your plants. If you do have to touch them, make sure the touch is gentle and doesn’t linger for too long.
To sum it up, most plants don’t like being touched. It isn’t good for them and can adversely affect their growth. Moreover, touching cannot kill plants but doing that excessively may be fatal for them.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.