Let’s consider the opposite of “loneliness” in plants by thinking about the relationships they form.

A well-known plant-bacteria relationship is between leguminous plants and bacteria in their nodules. When soil is rich in nitrogen (something that bacteria in the nodules “fix” from the air into a form usable to the plant), the plant shuns the relationship with the bacteria. You could say that a plant only wants to make friends when it needs something.

Plants, like most of nature, are usually only acting in their own interests. Keeping another tree alive via underground fungal networks, as trees do, benefits the plant, as a forest is more likely to survive than a tree on its own. Give a potted plant what it wants and it probably won’t get too lonely!

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