Do Plants Grow Better to Music?

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Do Plants Grow Better To Music

We all heard about the idea of how playing music to your plants will help them grow. But do plants grow better to music, or is it just a myth? Today we will talk about how this all started, the science behind music and plant growth, and some of my suggested songs to try out. Now, is music good for plants? Read on to learn if it is true or not.


Vintage alarm clock and Cobra Bird`s nest fern in brown plant pot cover with headphones on white background. Music help plant. Front view of vintage alarm clock stock photo
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When Did Playing Music to Plants Start?

Before discussing the different kinds of music that may help plant growth, let us first discuss how this idea started to come up.

One of the earliest studies regarding music and plant growth was made in 1962 by Dr. T.C. Singh, the Chief of the Botany Department of the Annamalai University in India. His experiment focused on the effects of sound on plant growth. Dr. T.C. Singh discovered that the rhythm of growth went up by 20% for height and 72% for biomass when he exposed balsa plants to music. He first began using classical music, but later on, he progressed to using various musical instruments like flute, ragga, violin, harmonica, and Reena, an Indian 68 instrument. Singh continued the study on cereal crops and observed that the crop grew 25% – 60% quicker than the regional norm. 

In 1973, one of the earliest books to discuss this theory is The Secret Life of Plants by Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins. This book focuses on plants’ responses to human care and love and their unexpected reaction to music. 

That same year, Dorothy L. Retallack, author of The Sound of Music and Plants, devised an experiment at Denver’s Women’s College. Her research involved three Biotronic Control Chambers and took place at Colorado Women’s College in Denver. She put plants in each chamber and used a speaker to play the plants’ melody and sounds.

What she was able to observe was how plants reacted to various music differently. In the chamber where she only played classical music for three hours, the plants seemed to grow much healthier, and they started increasing towards the sound of the music! 


The Science Behinds Is Music Good for Plants:

The science behind music and plant growth is still up for a lot of debate. Some might say it is just pseudoscience (practices, beliefs, or practices that claim to be factual and scientific but inconsistent with the scientific method). There are many variables to consider to determine if playing music to plants can boost plant growth.


Plants May have Symapthetic Reaction to Music

But there are several researchers like Retallack and Singh who concluded that plants might have a sympathetic response to the music. The conclusion was that plants have a sympathetic reaction to the music they are listening to. Retallack also claimed that plants could have extrasensory perception and avoided loud rock music because of the lyrics. 



Vibrations Cause Movements in Plant Cells

Although their conclusions might seem a bit outlandish to some scientists, the best scientific conclusion on how plants grow better to music is the vibrations of the sound waves that impact the plants. Simply put, the vibrations when music is being played cause movement in plant cells, encouraging the plant to generate more nutrients. Plants use cytoplasmic streaming to carry nutrients, proteins, and organelles in their fluids (cytoplasm). Some kinds of music may aid in this process. An example would be plants that grow better near areas with strong breezes in nature or near birds.



Tones Produce Air Movement

Margaret E. Collins and John E.K. Foreman of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, showed that plants responded to different tones in a study that they made. The tones were either pure (unchanging) or random. The results showed that the plants did not exhibit any negative responses but grew at various speeds. Plants grow better when exposed to pure tones than when exposed to random tones.

This increased growth when they exposed plants to pure tones is due to the increased air movement around the leaf, however small it might seem. Plants dislike stagnant air, and any slight air movement will be highly beneficial.

Although the random tones do not produce as strong of a response, they still had results anyway. They concluded that it might be because the irregular tones produced less airflow, making the plants develop slower.



Alternate View to – Is Music Good for Plants:

However, a post made by the University of California, Santa Barba, states that there is no evidence to claim that music influences plant development. Some people believe it does, in a mystical way, but science has never backed this claim up. Furthermore, there is no scientific basis for supposing that music has any effect on plants.



Best Types of Music to Boost Plant Growth:

Although there are opposing views concerning the connection of music to plant growth, you can still try playing music to your plants. Some research has shown that not all music works the same when it comes to helping plant growth. Let us discuss the best types of music which will help our plants grow happy and healthy. 

In the research made by Doroth L. Retallack, the best music for plant growth is soothing, positive, upbeat music. Plants dislike harsh, angry, or heavy sounds. In an article by Don Robertson, positive music has great emotionally and spiritually uplifting qualities and maybe even healing properties. When we talk about positive music, we focus more on the music itself and its emotions, not the lyrics themselves.

In an interview by with Dr. Dominique Hes, head researcher for Plant Life Balance at the University of Melbourne, explained how plants seem to thrive between 115 and 250Hz, similar to a low, gentle hum. Plants, like everything else in nature, get tired too. That is why Dr. Dom recommends only exposing plants to high-frequency music for short periods to avoid stressing the plants through their stomata – which are plant’s pores. 

Music that mimics the natural sounds in the wild, like pollinators like bees – helps release ribonucleic acid in plants, a molecule that encourages plants to do everything to survive.

Research conducted by You Had Me at Gardening showed how music like classical and jazz music helped encourage plant growth, while noisy rock music damages plants like strong winds or excess water.

If you want to try playing music to your plants to help them grow, here are some of my recommended music for you to check out.


Classical Music Composers to Check-Out:

  • Mozart
  • Vivaldi
  • Beethoven
  • Debussy
  • Chopin


Jazz Songs to try out:

  • What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  • The Girl From Ipanema – Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz
  • Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller Orchestra 
  • My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone 
  • Dream A Little Dream of Me – Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald

Sounds to Avoid: Noisy rock music and too many bass sounds.


Do Plants Grow Better to Music – No Harm in Trying:

The question do plants grow better to music is still up for a lot of debate. Although many studies showed the benefits of using music for better plant growth, some do not agree with this idea. However, all of their conclusions are just their opinions on the matter. Always keep in mind that there is no harm in trying and that you are the only person who knows your plants best. 


After reading this article, you will identify The best type of music to boost the plant’s growth, when is the best time to start to play a piece of music in the plant. The plants that may have a sympathetic reaction to music, and also to courage you to try if do plants grow better to music.


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