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Music And Plants - How To Use Music To Improve Plant Growth

Nov 14, 2010

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 music and plants, 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.

Plants physically leaned 15 to 20 degrees towards classical and jazz music But by far the most noticeable positive reactions were to classical Indian music. A researcher in India also had success with Indian music...

Organic Home Gardening

India. T.C. Singh, head of the department of botany at Annamalai University, did many experiments with Indian music and plants, 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 couldn't possibly have an effect on plants, as they “can't hear”.



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 music and plants 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.

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.

If you are interested in organic gardening and would like free access to this resource I've put together, "15 Vital Lessons For Becoming A Better Gardener", you can check it out here:


I remember seeing a "Mythbusters" episode trying this out. Thank you for showing us exactly how it is done. I hope to read more plant growing tips from you in the future. Online Casino | Falls Sie daran interessiert sind, in einem Online Casino zu spielen, werden Sie es bei diesem wirklich geniessen, denn der Kundenservice ist wirklich exzellent.
Phil, I find your blogs and posts informative and interesting. Science plus real experience, along with a knack for teaching, makes for worthwile reading. I opened your website and signed up for additional information, receiving P. 1&2 of 15 Vital Lessons... This certainly bears out my prior knowlege and experience of many years of organic gardening, particularly about insects and disease ravishing stressed plants. The soil is always the key. Keep up the good work and continue to share on KGI. Stay natural, David
Thanks so much for the feedback, David. Yes, to me the pest-plant relationship is just so fascinating and a great metaphor for what gardening is about and what human health is about, too. And, I agree about the soil, too. It's a joy to learn about it and contribute to improving it. I'm writing a book about soil right now. Lots of fun. Thanks again, Phil
I was pleased to find that Marcel Vogel - whose experiments with the response of plants to music & human intention are described in a full chapter of The Secret Life of Plants, along with his bio, was also a computer scientist at IBM & filed the first basic patents on computer hard drives. And here we gardeners are on KGI today! :-) The best of both worlds ...
Wow, I'll be sure to keep my rock music ringtones away from my plants. Never even had an inkling that could make them sick!

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