The most obvious connection between plants and music is surely our reliance on plant-based materials for the manufacture of a variety of widely-played musical instruments – think all wooden string and wind instruments, seed-pod rattles and shakers, the didgeridoo and concussion sticks, to name but a few. But what about the inverse relationship?
We use plants to play music – but can playing music help to grow plants?
A number of scientists have researched and studied the various environmental responses of plants with the conclusion that plants and animals have much in common when it comes to being sensitive to external stimuli such as light, cold, heat, and noise.
Pressure from sound waves creates vibrations that travel through the air and are picked up by plants. Plants do not ‘hear’ music per se, but they do feel the vibrations of sound waves and this can hasten the protoplasmic movement within their cells. This stimulation, in turn, affects the manufacture of nutrients that help grow a stronger and better plant.
If you are wondering what genre of music your Ficus might fancy it is worth noting that different forms of music have different sound wave frequencies and exert varying degrees of pressure and vibration.
Louder, harder music, like rock, imparts greater pressure, which tends to have detrimental effect on plants – a bit like the effect of a strong wind compared to a mild breeze. So perhaps skip the Guns n Roses and opt for something softer and more melodic. Here’s a little plant-friendly playlist to get you started …
Chain of Flowers – Grinderman
Don’t Forget the Flowers – Wilco
Acony Bell – Gillian Welch
Flowers in your Hair – The Lumineers
The Gardener – Tallest Man on Earth
Orange Blossom Special – Johnny Cash
Small Poppies – Courtney Barnett
The Appleblossom Rag – Josh Ritter
Wallflower – Bob Dylan
Last Living Rose – PJ Harvey
Where the Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds/ Kylie Minogue
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