The Effects of Music on Plants

As I was reading through Tristan Gooley’s book How to Read Nature, I came across a section where he condemns the notion that plants can hear music and react to it.

I hate to be the one to bang a loud cymbal and smash these notions, but there is no scientific evidence of plants reacting to music or noise of any kind. None. They are deaf. If that saddens you, then feel free to let your emotions go; the sound of your weeping will not slow the growth of the forest.

So where does the notion that plants respond to certain music come from? Why is it that some studies indicate there is a connection between plants and music. And why is there so much anecdotal evidence that it’s true?

Perhaps the sounds of certain music puts us in a better mood. Our improved mood makes it more likely that we open the shades to let in more light. Maybe a musically enhanced attitude prompts us to care for our plants more so we feed and water them promptly and regularly. Or maybe we just notice the growth of our plants more when we’re in a good mood.

However, I won’t entirely discount the effects of music on plants. Plants might not be able to hear like we do. But even deaf people can sometimes “hear” music through the vibrations it makes in things around it.  Why couldn’t plants feel the vibrations of music and be stimulated to growth in a way they otherwise wouldn’t? Studies have shown that even extremely low vibrations of a certain frequency for a certain period of time can stimulate bone growth in humans. Shouldn’t we expect the same type of thing with other organisms?

I don’t know if plants respond to music. I’ll never hold it against someone for playing it to them though. Too often we allow the great and mighty entity known as science to dictate what we do or don’t do. And while science sometimes helps us understand the physical world, it doesn’t hold all the answers. So crank up the Mozart and watch your plants grow.  


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