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Can Plants Form Addictions & Signs You Are A Plantaholic

From dancing with Mary Jane to milking the poppy, certain plants have been addicting humans with their chemical superpowers throughout the ages. But can plants get addicted to any substance, such as nicotine and caffeine? Also, there are proven benefits to owning houseplants and gardening. But when does a fondness for cultivating leafy greens cross over from a hobby to an obsession? 

Plants do not become addicted to substances in the same manner as humans due to a lack of a traditional nervous system. However, stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine can impact growth positively and negatively. If you already knew this, then you might be a plantaholic. 

Being a plantaholic can have positive benefits, so long as your passion isn’t ruining the rest of your life (losing your job because your fern was sad is a bad sign). Nor should you be ashamed for wanting what’s best for plants. Thus, it’s reasonable to worry if you catch your houseguest smoking near your potted peppermint. But if you might be a plantaholic if you kicked your houseguest out. 

Can Plants Be Addicted To Caffeine Or Nicotine?

Plant lovers are always looking for new ways to keep them happy while being kinder to the environment. Nicotine and coffee grounds are often touted as natural pest repellents. While these substances create addictions in humans, they do not have the same impact on plants. 

Unlike animals, plants can’t form addictions because they don’t have a traditional nervous system. Instead, they have an electric signaling system which some scientists believe is a simple nervous system primarily used for communication. But it also helps plants such as the Venus flytrap decide between a random brush of a leaf and a nutritious fly before snapping shut. 

However, chemical stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine do impact plants. But if it is a positive or negative effect depends on how the substance is administered, the dosage, and the type of plant. 

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Is Nicotine Good Or Bad For Plants? 

The EU banned nicotine as an insecticide for plants. The concern was that plants were metabolizing the substance. A study on peppermint plants showed they could absorb tobacco smoke through their leaves and extract nicotine from the soil through their roots. The plants were still retaining half the original nicotine amounts eight days later. 

Thus, if somebody comes over to your leafy home and lights up, your plants will valiantly clear the air of the toxins. However, it isn’t thought to be good for them long-term. Generally, nicotine stimulates plant growth at first but will eventually lead to them becoming ill and potentially lead to their demise. 

In addition, nicotine can potentially change the taste of your vegetables. For example, in a study on broad beans, nicotine initially accelerated their growth but eventually acted as an inhibitor. Also, the broad bean leaves turned bitter, and the safety of the food was compromised. 

Is Caffeine Good Or Bad For Plants? 

Coffee grounds are a natural pest determent full of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Thus, plant lovers are encouraged to put it in their compost and make rings of old grounds to protect plants from slugs and snails. 

However, while plants can’t become addicted to caffeine, not all of them love the stuff. 

In the garden, the biggest fans of the remains of your morning java are:

  • Azaleas
  • Blueberries
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Lawn grass
  • Lilies
  • Hollies
  • Hydrangeas
  • Radishes
  • Rhododendrons
  • Roses

Some houseplants also get a positive boost by adding coffee grounds to their soil. Examples include:

  • African Violet
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Cyclamen
  • Jade Plant
  • Miniature Roses
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant

However, not all plants are fans. Avoid adding coffee grounds to:

  • Alfalfa
  • Asparagus
  • Clover
  • Lavender
  • Orchids
  • Tomatoes

10 Signs You Are A Plantaholic 

Plants are good for humans. Eating leafy greens keeps us healthy, having indoor plants can assist in reducing psychological and physiological stress, and gardening puts people into contact with mood-boosting microbes in the soil. Thus, being a plant lover is beneficial to your well-being. But sometimes our hobbies can lead to obsession.

So here are 10 signs that you might be a plantaholic. 

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You Hire A Plant Sitter Or Avoid Vacations

Leaving home stresses you out, and not because you have agoraphobia. Instead, you are worried if your plants will survive your absence. Thus, you avoid all vacations unless you can find a trustworthy plant-sitter who you have fully vetted. (When you hire a private detective to follow your plant-sitter, you’ve taken your hobby too far.) 

Your Kitchen Doesn’t Have Dried Herbs

Your kitchen lacks a spice rack. But that’s not because you eat bland food (whew). Instead, you cut your herbs and grind your spices fresh from your plants. Which is admirable until you ban baking with vanilla for three years until your vanilla orchids begin producing. 

Plant Shopping Is Your Mood

Sad? You buy a plant. Happy? You buy a plant. Tired? You buy a plant. In short, your mood is “buy a plant.” 

Dic Quibus In Terris Inscripiti Nomina Regum…

A wise person once said, “Tell me where on Earth flowers are born with the names of kings written on them.” But if you are a Plantaholic, you probably know this as, “Dic quibus in terries inscripti nomina regum nascantur flores.” Because Latin has become your love language, you speak it when discussing your plants. 

Thus, you don’t have a rose bush but a Floribunda; you know its name is Latin for “many-flowering,” and its scientific name is Rosa Europena. 

You’ve Called The Builders 

Look, the Jade and Snake Plant demanded more sunlight. Obviously, the builders had to be called to fix the situation. It was the only solution. (Um, or just move the plants? No? Sorry.

You Bought A Laptop To Save Plant Space

When you’ve replaced your PC with a laptop because you can no longer use your desk due to your plant’s “needs,” you have a problem. Sure, working from bed is fun once in a while, but you deserve space beyond your mattress island. Especially true when there is no room for your coffee mug on your bedside table because your Ficus elastica needs it. 

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You Block People For Following Plant-trends

You were friends for twenty years, but that didn’t stop you from blocking them when they hopped on the air plant bandwagon. They are dead to you if they didn’t already know that Tillandsia was in the Bromeliad family before they bought that Xeric.

You Leave Events Over Fake Flowers

Yes, it is your cousin’s wedding. But you had to leave when the bride walked up the aisle holding a bouquet of faux roses. Aunt Mildred is just going to have to get over it; after all, it was her daughter who was at fault. 
Nor do you regret changing doctors after fifteen years when you showed up for an appointment to find a faux-rubber plant in the corner. You need a doctor that can tell the difference between the living and the inorganic.

You Don’t Recycle Containers

From yogurt pots to coconut oil tubs, those things are valuable gold. Unfortunately, friends that come over and use up the milk are scolded for rinsing it out and tossing the jug into the recycling. When they can’t see its obvious value, you’re reconsidering whether you can call them friends. That, my friends, is a sign you might be taking your plantaholic tendencies too far. 

Your Favorite Gift Was A Bag Of Sh*t 

The best birthday you ever had was when your date pitched up on your doorstep with the back of their truck filled with horse manure. You knew right then they understood your needs.


Plants might not be able to form addictions, but they can make addicts out of us. We love them for cleaning our air, feeding our bellies, and brightening our spaces. Besides, what’s the matter with buying a new house to give your plants more space? If they need it, you need it. Right?