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

The 1973 book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird shares many anecdotes (some more believable than others) about the fascinating relationship between music and plants.

Apparently, the right sounds can produce tremendous improvements in growth, and the wrong sounds can do just the opposite.

I’m not sure how much of this to believe, but I do believe that plants are more aware of their surroundings than we think, conceivably much more so than we are.

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

Here, I want to give you a taste of what some researchers have observed with respect to plants and music, and sound and plants.

Music And Plants


Dorothy Retallack did many 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 scrambled 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.


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

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.”


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


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.

The researchers were baffled and could not explain why audible sound had nearly doubled wheat harvests.


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.”


Playing music can be a relaxing way to take a break when working in the garden – and it may even benefit your plants!

Of course, many people think this is all bologni, especially when it comes to plants responding to music.

Some scientists think it’s possible but that it must all be happening because of physics and not because plants prefer Debussy to Dylan.

It is romantic to think of plants having a taste more for “intellectual” music, and I believe this relationship between plants and music is possible after all of my reading 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.


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

    1. Ginger Snaps says:

      I started playing classical music for my cat to calm her first and noticed my plants around the area I played for her bloomed higher than the ones in other areas 🥰🌺🌻💛🍓🍊🍍So ,I’m going to play classical music for all my plants . Off I go 😊😸😅🥰🌼❣️I have to admit,I also love classical music 🥰🎶🎶🎶

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

    1. 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.

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

      2. The right sounds/frequencies are more important than many realize. We should have an open mind as we don’t understand so much yet!

      3. Before you hold fast to the idea that it is “bull,” I suggest you look a little further into the science. I have no doubt that you are damaging your health and plants with a steady diet of metal. It isn’t always enough to see.

        There is a rhythm to everything in the universe and rock music’s banging out of sync with nature’ s music, on the beats that aren’t in sync with your heart’s or body’s natural rhythms, causes stress. You can hook yourself up to software that will show that your body isn’t in a “coherent” state where its systems are working optimally.

        You can learn how to muscle test and if you do it correctly, you will see that your body is ALWAYS in a weakened state when you are listening to metal or rock music, with this exception. If you are loving it enough to feel filled with happiness and joy, you can release chemicals into your system that counterbalance the negative effect.

        Unfortunately, most people are mulling over negative things in their minds most of the time. So they are adding insult to the injury that’s caused by an environment around them that isn’t harmonious. Stress from the environment you exist in + stress from all of the toxins you feed your cells = a weakened more vulnerable physical state. That opens the door to more accidents, disease, depression, unhappiness etc.

        That’s a fact easily proven if someone is open enough to see how sound and the environment affect their energy. Or, you can call it “bull” and ignore all of the evidence that shows it’s not. Until then, I’ll keep hoping that day will come because too many people are suffering with things like cancer these days. Our immune systems need a little help so they can keep giving us miraculous results when they have so much to deal with these days.

        1. Claire Lewis says:

          So then, this being the case, has anyone studied how Television and movie sounds effect a plants stimuli… ?

          Oh sorry, I just remembered, there isn’t any soothing, peaceful and calm TV shows these days….

        2. Spot on!!
          Yes the average paerson does not understand that “life itself” is constructed from vibrations and frequencies,everything is just vibrating energy at different frequencies and that energy collapsed into a particle by conciousness,all proven by quantum mechanics and the double slit experiment. This is how vibrations can and do affect “ALL LIFE” and not just plants

        3. JJ DaBous says:

          Well spoken insight!
          I’m sure without research or backing that plants also use possibly their “5” out more sense like us. Seems like they can feel the vibrations, taste the water, smell smoke for fires, notice when touch rocks down low and other structures above and so on.

          Ultimately a living being. Conscience or not, I believe they know their surroundings.

      4. I agree i don’t think a plants wither up and die from certain music! I think they love any kind of music and the presence and good vibes from someone happy instead of angry help too! Oh and Female Voices they respond better to. Thats just some research I’ve found on my own but again its my opinion too.

      5. i totally agree becky. im a metal head too, and my plants seem to thrive and so do i!

        1. Amy Roberts says:

          Perhaps your plants love you so much that they love anything you do. Don’t know of course, science will tell us in good time.

      6. Maybe it isn’t just the music they feed off of but also our emotional reaction to it? If you have a positive reaction to it they sense your positive emotions.

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

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

    1. thats what im doing lol

  5. Oneiwally says:

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

  6. my school is such a plaguerizer

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

    1. mine too

  8. omplantphony says:

    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??

    1. Exactly. We all evolved from the same microorganisms.

      1. DB Cooper says:

        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.

        1. Mutation and micro-evolution both fall under evolution.

        2. What happens when those mice die? Where does the energy go?

          1. The energy comes from the planet so when the mice die the energy converts back to planetary energy which the planet then uses that energy to create more life…it’s call the circle of life for a reason.

  9. 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: . I have never heard of anything like this happening.

    1. Very cool.

    2. That’s awesome.

  10. Fascinating

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

  12. Dosa Frog says:

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

  13. Daham Thiranjaya says:

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

  14. tasmia shithi says:

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

  15. Richardfireone says:

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

  16. Pretty Angle says:

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

  17. Timothy Green Bum says:

    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

    1. HazelEarth says:

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

  18. Timothy Green Bum says:

    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 says:

    thanks this will help with my science fair project

  20. 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.

    1. I love this comment!

    2. Beautiful!

  21. 笑い男 says:

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

  22. this is my science project too

  23. I’m doing a science fair project about this, this was very helpful thank you!!

  24. Tesla “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”

  25. Has anyone begun to study the effects of WIFI on plants? If they react to ultrasound, I can only assume WIFI would have an impact too.

    1. Great question, Cari. I’m not sure about that.

  26. Ellen Greenlaw says:

    Phil and plant people, Have you ever meditated with your bare feet on the ground and “listened” to the sounds that the plants make under the earth to each other. Not sure it sounds like “music” as we humans would call it. But it is something, some sound vibrations. I know Glen Gould, the pianist who played the “Goldberg Variations” used to go out and listen to waterfalls and sounds of nature. He is one good pianist.
    I am just listening right now to the plants. In my area, they are a bit stressed out and confused by the changes in climate- specifically the drought in the summer and the increase in cold temperatures in the winter. Just had another 100-year-old apple tree fall over due to too much heavy snow this winter. Keep us all posted and carefully observe the plants, especially the wild ones around you.

  27. i basically went on a google hunt to see if my plants would like some cavetown. since it’s mostly acoustic with soft vocals, ans they put me in a positive mood, and i wanted to know, because i fund out that they love musicals like heathers, because i played it overnights, and my succulents grew new leaves(ALL OF THEM!! they are only baby jade succs, but still impressive) and i want to make sure i don’t mess up their growth just because i want to play some new band, sp i gues i will stick to similar stuff that they seem to like, and i will probably just for now try to make sure thye know i love them. i am far too sentient towards my babies.

  28. how does the effect of plant growth be used in real world/ beneficial to society

    1. I’m sorry, Alicia, I don’t understand your question.

    2. If you use the right music with the right amount of time, volume etc. IT CAN MAKE CROPS PRODUCE MORE. Thus having more food available in the world.

  29. musical plants says:

    finally something that i actually find interesting for my science experiment

    1. Christopher says:

      I would be interested to see someone play full episodes of Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” to plants. Bob’s voice seemed to have a holistic, healing quality in my opinion. Gentle, positive sound vibrations.

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