Ikea asked students to bully one plant and compliment another, and the results will floor you

So here’s an experiment that may change the way you see your houseplants forever. IKEA, known best for their affordable furniture and tasty cafeteria meatballs, brought two nearly-identical houseplants into classrooms to teach a mind-blowing science lesson and raise awareness for Anti-Bullying Day on May 4th.

The two plants were given the exact same amount of sunlight and water, with the only difference being that children were instructed to verbally bully one of the plants and verbally compliment the other over a 30-day period (there was also a recording of positive versus negative comments playing to each respective plant on loop). And the results? The plant that received positivity remained healthy over the course of the month, whereas the plant that received negativity wilted.

Here’s a video that shows the experiment in action.


Now of course, this all could be mere coincidence, or the plants could have easily been tampered with for dramatic effect. But IKEA isn’t the first to test out this hypothesis: Many gardeners claim that saying nice things to their plants does, in fact, help them grow. The theory is so popular that MythBusters even did an entire episode on the phenomenon (they found that plants that grow in silence aren’t as healthy as plants that hear human voices…though they didn’t find a noticeable difference between plants that heard mean versus nice comments).

So while we admittedly can’t say the IKEA experiment gives us definitive proof about bullying in relation to plants, it does serve as a solid reminder to always choose kindness whenever possible. Because we do know it makes a big difference to our fellow humans.

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