Tweet At This Plant And Try To Coax It To Grow

There’s a plant sitting in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that is basking in the love of the dulcet tones of Twitter. There’s one in a room right nearby that is all alone.

The setup is a fun and strange experiment meant to test whether talking to a plant indeed helps it grow, part of the museum’s plan to promote its newest exhibit based around the TV show Mythbusters.

Marketing and design agency Carmichael Lynch developed a “custom tweet-to-speech” technology for the project. An Arduino device reads each tweet outloud to one plant. “The other plant, sadly, sits in silence,” the firm says.

People apparently have many things they’d like to say the plant ranging from encouraging to existential to entirely random. At the time I checked the experimental plant had heard 3,304 words in 197 messages while the loner plant has heard 0–you can go to the website and see the latest tally as well as see a live feed and hear the robotic, vaguely female voice read your tweet. So far, on Day 2 of the experiment, the plant that has company is in a very slight lead. It is an inch taller, and has slightly larger and greener leaves.

It’s not totally clear how long the experiment will run and whether there will be a clear final busting (or confirming) of the notion that talking to a plant is helpful. I asked Marty Senn, executive creative director of Carmichael Lynch, and he said: “Talk to a Plant is an ongoing experiment, people right now have a chance to participate in a mythbuster and be a part of the test. That’s the fun part.”

Mythbusters apparently has examined the issue before, in a 2004 season, and found the idea “plausible.” Here’s your chance to put a firmer answer to that verdict.JL