We are no stranger to the power of music. It has a profound effect on people and animals alike. But can the soothing sound of classical music or the upbeat tempo of rock n’ roll stimulate plants to grow?
For decades, scientists have been experimenting with music and plants. Most experts believe that music does help plant achieve faster growth. Some homeowners saw an improvement in their plants’ health in response to music. However, whatever effects music have on plants, it remains a mystery because plants do not have a nervous system. That’s why the responses to audio stimuli are subtle and harder to understand.
Of course, plants are living, breathing objects. Just like human beings and animals, plants are part of the planet’s very complex ecosystem.
Essentially, music is sound. It’s composed of sound waves through a series of vibrations. These vibrations cause a disturbance in the atmosphere. The vibrations’ volume is determined by the frequency of the vibrating source. This source could be anything to a radio or a guitar. Any musical instrument that emits sound generates vibrations.
Growth in plants translates to larger stems and leaves. The roots become stronger, the plant will start producing blossoms or fruits. On a cellular level, the plant cells divide within each cell to stimulate growth. Different factors boost a plant’s growth. These factors include the environment, moisture level, and the quality of the soil and so on.
How Music Trigger Plant Growth?
Some experts believe that another factor that stimulate plant growth is vibration. This is why music was regarded as an effective method to grow plants. In human beings, our moods and our health change by listening to music. Clinical tests show that soothing music help lower the blood pressure and keeps the mind alert.
Plants are very sensitive creatures. Any change in the atmosphere has a profound effect on plants. So just like human beings, they are sensitive to sound too. There are so many cases wherein music was credited for helping certain plants grow. Unfortunately, most scientists do not support these as proof. That’s because there is no conclusive information that points to music in helping plants grow. That does not mean scientists stopped trying to dig deeper. There are researchers who are continuously working on finding out the effects of music on plants.
In 1962, Dr. T. C. Singh, the then-Head of the Botany Department at Annamalia University in India experimented with plants exposed to different types of musical sounds. He found that balsam plants grew 20% more in height and 72% of biomass when exposed to music.
Following Dr. Singh’s research, Eugene Canby – a Canadian engineer – used classical music on wheat. He discovered that exposing wheat to Bach’s violin sonata increased the plant’s mass by 66%.
In 1973, researcher Dorothy Retallack also exposed three groups of plants to different types of musical sounds. One group of plant was exposed to the note F for 8 hours. A similar note was played for the second group of plants for three hours. The third group was not exposed to music at all. According to Retallack’s findings, the first group of plants died 2 weeks after being exposed to the note F. On the other hand, the second group grew much healthier than the third group of plants.