Music And Plants – How To Use Music To Boost Plant Growth

Music And Plants
Plants physically leaned 15 to 20 degrees towards classical and jazz music

The classic book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documents many scientific, statistically-significant studies done on the fascinating relationship between sound and music and plants.

The right sounds can produce tremendous improvements in growth, and the wrong sounds can do just the opposite. Plants are more aware of their surroundings than we think, probably much more so than us!

Here, I just want to give you a taste of what some researchers have observed with respect to plants and music, and sound and plants. This has direct implications for organic gardening.

Music And Plants

Colorado

Dorothy Retallack did many controlled greenhouse experiments with different genres of music and plants.

She found after 2 weeks, plants physically leaned 15 to 20 degrees towards a radio playing classical and jazz music, while they scramble to grow away from rock music and become sick. Marigolds “listening” to rock music died within 2 weeks, whereas those in the classical music room 6 feet away were flowering.

But by far the most noticeable positive reactions were to classical Indian music for plants. A researcher in India also had success with Indian music…

India

T.C. Singh, head of the department of botany at Annamalai University, did many experiments with Indian plants and music, with amazing results.

Eventually, he stimulated rice harvests that were from 25-60% higher than average, and nearly 50% higher for peanuts and tobacco. Experiments were done on many other plants and had “proven beyond any shadow of doubt that harmonic sound waves affect the growth, flowering, fruiting, and seed-yields of plants”.

Illinois

George Smith, skeptical botanist and agricultural researcher, planted corn and soybeans in separate greenhouses under controlled conditions and began to experiment with music and plants.

In one greenhouse, he played George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” 24 hours a day, producing thicker, greener plants that weighed 40% more for corn and 24% more for soy. He went on to produce amazing corn harvests using ear-splitting continuous notes at high and low pitches.

Sound And Plants

Ottawa

Two researchers at the University of Ottawa did trials with high-frequency vibrations in wheat. Plants responded best to a frequency of 5000 cycles a second. They were baffled and could not explain why audible sound had nearly doubled wheat harvests.

Canada

Peter Belton, researcher for Canada’s Department of Agriculture, controlled the European corn-borer moth by broadcasting ultrasonic waves. 50% of the corn was damaged in the control plot, and only 5% in the plot with sound. The sound plot also had 60% fewer larvae and was 3” taller on average.

New York

George Milstein found that a continuous low hum at 3000 cycles per second accelerated the growth of most of his plants and even caused some of them to bloom six full months ahead of their normal schedule. On the other hand, he was quite adamant that music for plants couldn’t possibly have an effect, as they “can’t hear.”

Conclusion

Of course, many people think this is all bologni, especially when it comes to plants responding to music. Scientists often think it is possible, but that it must all be happening purely because of “physics” and not because plants prefer Debussy to Dylan.

It is romantic to think of plants having a taste more for the “intellectual” music, and I strongly believe this relationship between plants and music is possible after all of my studies into the amazing world of plants, but in terms of music, I don’t know enough to argue one way or the other. Same goes for whether or not my plants know what I’m thinking.

Still, I’m now always more apt to listen to a sitar or string quartet over a stratocaster when I’m out pulling weeds in my organic garden.

34 Comments

  1. Erin on November 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

    This is so cool. I can’t wait to try it on my houseplants. I wonder if they’ll like Miles Davis…

  2. Amanda on November 9, 2010 at 10:15 am

    One of my favorite books. Thanks for reminding me of this research.

    • Becky on April 23, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      I call bull! I have never had my plants wither and die because of the choice of music i prefer to play them. which is metal and many hours per day of it while working in the garden 😂 they seem to just like sound. I think they prefer our presense more than we realize if that means metal or classical if we are messing with them theyre happy.

      • Jordy on August 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm

        Metal is, structure wise, extremely similar to classical. Look it up. That is why symphonic metal mix so easily

  3. Evastong on May 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    so funny!! when I plant my garden in the spring, I always play Stevie Wonders Secret Life of Plants 😀

  4. Plantman on March 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I wonder if this actually works, I might do this for a science class experiment

  5. Oneiwally on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    this will help me soooo much with my science fair project i really  apreciate it thank so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

  6. N.D on October 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    my school is such a plaguerizer

  7. Lollypop on November 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    yay thank you 4 the help! this is definitely going as research for my science project!:)

    • JT on November 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      mine too

  8. omplantphony on December 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    music definitely has effects on plants mine grow soooo much better when I play them classical or ocean sounds from my sons old baby sound machine, I think it makes since that they would like it the vibration waves are soothing to living beings why not other living things??

    • Phil on December 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Exactly. We all evolved from the same microorganisms.

      • DB Cooper on August 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

        Really? What evidence do you have for that? Cite a credible source that we “evolved from microorganisms”… that is, that human beings were once another species, and now are human beings. Please don’t refer to fruit flies or field mice. Those are evidence of mutation and micro-evolution. A fruit fly has never known to become anything other than a fruit fly; ditto for the field mouse. If you believe this as your religion, that’s fine, but don’t regurgitate it as if it were science.

        • Phil on September 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm

          Mutation and micro-evolution both fall under evolution.

  9. Marc on January 7, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Here’s a great example, which I discovered at home today. I bought a stereo system with high quality home speaker towers a couple weeks ago. As soon as the speakers arrived my hibiscus tree grew a single bulb – its only one – on the branch near the speaker, raised it up five inches directly into the tweeter, and it flowered! Here’s the photos: graz.ca/musictree . I have never heard of anything like this happening.

    • Phil on January 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Very cool.

    • lloyd on October 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      That’s awesome.

  10. Mirghani on February 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Fascinating

  11. Sandhya on March 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I have a science fair project to do and I am going to do this project for the science fair.

  12. Dosa Frog on March 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    This is too cool! Doing science fair on this…Helps a lot!

  13. Daham Thiranjaya on May 16, 2013 at 3:16 am

    i’m doing a new type of experiment on this….

    • iris on September 8, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      your hot

  14. tasmia shithi on July 7, 2013 at 6:09 am

    i’ll do this for my project…hope it will go well….

  15. Richardfireone on September 21, 2013 at 1:46 am

    it works, I saved my nature reserve in Costa Rica with music, mostly Ravi Shankar and other indian devotionals.

  16. Pretty Angle on October 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    i came up with this project myself and its really cool cant wait to finish it

  17. Timothy Green Bum on March 30, 2015 at 2:19 am

    yes it works! Various bird conversations ( vibrations in those frequency ranges) right before sunrise for a couple hours stimulates the stoma on plant leaves to open and take in Carbon Dioxide,Nitrogen and Oxygen among other things. It is quite intense all the chatter. Lol Then the songs and calls come in less frequent during the day. And then finally an hour before sun down they all are super social and talking away right before they go to sleep, both the birds and the plants. During the growing season, at sleep the insects take over more like a lullaby or trance like rhythm calming the night. So….. If you are starting your plants indoors or you have a grow room,Put a stereo or a cd/ mp3 player on a timer to come on a half hour before the lights come on. And shut off about an hour or so after the lights come on. Then set your timer for it to come back on 1 hour before your lights go out. PLAY A VARIETY OF CLASSICAL MUSIC because it closer mimics the frequency’s of nature. They are all acoustic instruments you see. more natural vibrations ,not just noise. increase your plants and harvest. See ya

    • HazelEarth on April 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Wow! I am going to try this for sure. Thanks!

  18. Timothy Green Bum on March 30, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Oh I forgot to tell you! If you use Co2 , time your Co2 feedings twice a day on or around that morning and evening bird conversation. And if you have actual high quality,stereo recordings of birds in the morn and birds in the eve and insects for the summer ( vegetative photo period 16-18 hrs) and crickets for late summer autumn ( flowering photo period 12-14 hrs depending) You can play the insect recordings at night or when the lights go out.

  19. Josipfine Noavack on February 24, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    thanks this will help with my science fair project

  20. Amy on April 10, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Who’s hot? The plants? The sun? The writer??

  21. rob on June 3, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I believe that they may be responding to emotion. I’ve noticed time and time again that when my mother gets stressed out, her plants seem to as well. I tend to be more positive and my plants sometime explode with growth. So, if you love rock music or heavy metal, then you’re plants will too. I believe that we humans can create and invisible energy that is either positive or negative, which reflects everything. Animals can pick on it. I mean a dog knows right away if you’re mad at them, often times without saying a word. So, if animals can, why not plants? As far as a plant”hearing” goes, well what is “hearing?” It’s nothing more than detecting sonic vibrations and interpreting or giving them meaning. I have grown HUNDREDS of plants and they way they all survive and grow leads me to believe that anything is possible.

    • Terri on August 20, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      I love this comment!

  22. 笑い男 on September 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Interesting, I am currently playing to ‘Baba Yetu’ to a sprouting date palm, hopefully the little one would appreciate it.

  23. Ian on October 11, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    this is my science project too

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