Shake shake shake. Shake shake shake. Shake your house plants. Shake your house plants.
I’m feeling really upbeat after watching the latest “plant hack” on TikTok. The newest #PlantTok tip is all about shaking your house plants.
In the video, Syd is shaking her plants, to the tune of "Twist and Shout." And the text on the video says, “Did you know *gently* shaking your house plants every once in a while stimulates the plant and mimics the wind blowing it in its natural environment, helping it to grow?” The video is short and sweet and shows her gently waving her plants back and forth, which actually when you think about it, makes sense.
We wanted to find out of this plant-shaking hack has proven benefits, so we reached out to a plant expert and an influencer to get the answer.
An Expert's Approval
Plant expert Jane Perrone, a former gardening editor at The Guardian and host of the plant podcast On the Ledge, says this is one TikTok hack that is generally beneficial. “There is scientific evidence that plants benefit from being touched gently," she said, "but avoid shaking plants too hard as some are easily damaged.
"This phenomenon is known as thigmomorphogenesis—seedlings that are stroked regularly grow less leggy and have stouter stems," said Perrone, who is also writing the plant-focused crowdfunded book Legends of the Leaf. "So stroke your houseplants by all means, with a few caveats—avoid the spiny ones, and wash your hands after touching toxic plants such as Dieffenbachia."
So, it’s really all about the stems. Mimicking wind will help make your stems a bit stronger. The plants that are on my desk in front of me at this very moment are shaking as I type this out and they are some of my sturdier plants.
A Plant Influencer's Experience
Colby Paige is a Canadian who shares lots of DIY and plant content on her Instagram page, @thisisdrover. She’s done some amazing projects like shiplapping her own space, creating epic plant shelfies, and more. She’s also got one of the biggest Fiddle-leaf figs I have ever seen. And it isn’t staked up. When asked how she got her plant so strong, she said “as part of your routine fiddle maintenance, from time to time you may also want to shake your fiddle! It is believed that by *gently* shaking the trunk of your fiddle, you are simulating the wind in its natural environment and encouraging it to grow stronger to withstand these forces. Your fiddle will in turn thicken its trunk and strengthen its root system.
"When my fiddle was small and immature, I needed a wooden dowel to keep it standing straight. Over time as it grew, and with regular shakings, it was able to strengthen itself and I was able to remove the dowel and it now needs no additional support,” Paige said.
So, while I wouldn’t suggest that you violently shake your plants, giving them a gentle rock won’t harm them. I can see this tip working well for Rubber plants, Monsteras, Alocasia, and Pilea plants in addition to your FLF. They all have substantial stems that can often need to hold a lot of weight as leaves get bigger. I think I’ll make this part of my regular plant care routine. Put on a good song, start dancing, and let my plants join in. It sounds like it might be fun.