The Effect of Music on Plant Growth

Do plants have feelings? Can they feel pain? To the skeptic, the idea that plants have feelings and can feel pain is ridiculous.

However, several studies show that plants may respond, much like human beings, to sound. Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, an Indian plant physiologist and physicist, spent a lifetime researching and studying the various environmental responses of plants. He concluded that plants react to the attitude with which they were nurtured. He also proved that plants are sensitive to factors in the external environment, such as light, cold, heat, and noise.

Bose documented his research in Response in the Living and Non-Living, published in 1902 and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants, published in 1926.

Luther Burbank

American botanist and horticulturist Luther Burbank studied how plants react when removed from their natural habitat. He talked to his plants. Based on his horticultural experiments, he attributed approximately 20 sensory perceptions to plants. His studies were inspired by the work of Charles Darwin's The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, published in 1868.

Music for Your Plants

Music for Plant Growth

If plants respond to the ways it is nurtured and have several sensory perceptions, then how do they respond to sound waves and the vibrations created by musical sounds?

Several studies have looked at this question, specifically how music effects plant growth. In 1962, Dr. T. C. Singh, head of the Botany Department at India's Annamalia University, experimented with the effect of musical sounds on the growth rate of plants. He found that balsam plants grew at a rate that accelerated by 20% in height and 72% in biomass when exposed to music. He initially experimented with classical music. Later, he experimented with raga music (improvisations on a set of rhythms and notes) played on flute, violin, harmonium, and reena, an Indian instrument. He found similar effects.

Singh repeated the experiment with field crops using a particular type of raga played through a gramophone and loudspeakers. The size of crops increased to between 25 to 60% above the regional average.

He also experimented on the effects of vibrations caused by bare-foot dancing. After exposed to dancers performed Bharata-Natyam, India's most ancient dance style, with no musical accompaniment, several flowering plants, including petunias and marigold, flowered two weeks earlier that controlled plants.

The effects of vibrations caused by bare-footed dancing in the Indian Bharata Natyam dance, (here shown with leg bells) have a positive outcome on plant growth.
The effects of vibrations caused by bare-footed dancing in the Indian Bharata Natyam dance, (here shown with leg bells) have a positive outcome on plant growth. | Source

Seed Development and Music

Through his several experiments, Singh concluded that the sound of the violin has the greatest effect on plant growth.

He also discovered that if seeds were to be fed with music and were later germinated, they produce plants that have more leaves, are of greater size, and have other improved characteristics. It practically changed the plant's genetic chromosomes!

These experiments seem to conclude that plants will respond best to classical music and Indian devotional music. Working around the same time as Singh, Canadian engineer Eugene Canby exposed wheat to J.S. Bach's violin sonata and observed a 66% increase in yield. Canby's research reinforces Singh's findings.

Effect of Rock Music

In a 1973 experiment by Dorothy Retallack, then a student of Professor Francis Brown, three groups of plants were exposed to various types of musical sounds.

For one group, Retallack played the note F for an 8-hour period. For the second group, she played similar note for three hours. The third controlled group remained in silence.

The first group died within two weeks, while the second group was much healthier than the controlled group.

Fascinated by Retallack's findings, two other students went on to do their own test. Plants exposed to Hayden, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert grew towards and entwined themselves around the speakers. Another plant group grew away from a speaker that played rock music. That group even tried to climb a glass-walled enclosure in what appeared to be an attempt to get away from the sound.

Retallack later replicated the experiment with rock music on a variety of plants. She observed abnormal vertical growth and smaller leaves. She also observed the plants to have damage similar to that associated with excessive water uptake. In the experiment, marigolds died within two weeks. No matter which way they were turned, plants leaned away from the rock music source. These findings were documented in Retallack's 1973 book The Sound of Music and Plants.

Country and Jazz

Plants that were exposed to country music have similar effect if it were subjected to no sound at all, showing no unusual growth reaction.

Surprisingly, jazz music appears to have a beneficial effect, producing better and more abundant growth. The science television show MythBusters did a similar experiment and concluded that plants reacted well to any type of music whether rock, country, jazz, or classical. Their experiments however, were not thoroughly conducted and are highly debatable.

The Secret Life of Plants

You can read more about this research and about the pioneers who started these experiments in The Secret Life of Plants, (1973) by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. The book has short description of the experiments with a brief biography of these scientists. It is not an easy read. However, if you are looking for facts, then this is the book for you.

How Is This Possible?

These experiments confirmed that music does affect plant growth, but how it is possible? In what way does sound affect plant growth? To explain this, let us look at how we humans receive and hear sound.

Sound is transmitted in the form of waves that travel through a medium, such as air or water. The waves cause the particles in this medium to vibrate. When you switch on your radio, the sound waves create vibrations in the air that cause your ear drum to vibrate. This pressure energy is converted into electrical energy for the brain to translate into what you understand as musical sounds.

In a similar manner, the pressure from sound waves create vibrations that are picked up by plants. Plants do not "hear" the music. They feel the vibrations of the sound wave.

Protoplasm, the translucent living matter of which all animals and plant cells are composed, is in a state of perpetual movement. The vibrations picked up by the plant will speed up the protoplasmic movement in the cells. This stimulation then effects the system and may improve performance, such as the manufacture of nutrients that develop a stronger and better plant.

Different forms of music have different sound wave frequencies and varying degrees of pressure and vibration. Louder music, like rock, features greater pressure, which tend to have detrimental effect on plants. Imagine the effect of strong wind on a plant compared to a mild breeze.

Music for Plant Growth in Practice

DeMorgenzon wine estate, in Stellenbosch, South Africa, uses baroque music to enhance the ripening process, not just of the plants but also in the soil. The vibrations help produce good fungi and bacteria in the soil that are vital for healthy vines. This encourages better and stronger root development, resulting in vigorous growth and better fruit.

A markerDeMorgenzon wine estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa -
Stellenbosch, South Africa
[get directions]

In 2008, the 91-hectare vineyard experimented with two vineyard blocks, exposing one to baroque music and the other to no music at all. This allowed the vineyard owner to monitor and observe any differences in the production.

The musical repertoire consisted of 2,473 pieces of classical baroque music. With this vast collection, they can play the music nonstop for 7.5 days without repeating.

Despite the outcome of the experiment by Dorothy Retallack, where plants exposed for an eight-hour period died two weeks later, DeMorgenzon wine estate played the music around the clock with no negative results, not just in the vineyard but also in the wine cellar and tasting room.

Il Paradiso di Frassina with speakers for the music therapy.
Il Paradiso di Frassina with speakers for the music therapy. | Source

Another vineyard, Paradiso di Frassina in Tuscany, Italy, uses classical music to get better production from its vineyards.

They observed that plants mature faster when exposed to the soothing sounds of Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Mahler when compared to a controlled site.

This project to wire the vineyard for musical sound started in 2001 as an ecological way to keep pests away. However, when they saw better and improved plants and fruits, the project continued as a 'productivity tool'.

Just like DeMorgenzon wine estate, the music is played non-stop 24 hours a day with no negative results.

Share Your Experience

Have You Tried Playing Music to Your Plants?

  • Yes, with success
  • Yes, with little or no success
  • No, but will give it a try
  • No and I wouldn't bother
See results without voting

Still Doubtful

Despite the numerous research and successful commercial usage of music to increase productivity from plants, there are still skeptics who question the effectiveness of this method.

It was reported in the Telegraph newspaper that scientists from National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology in Suwon, South Korea played classical music in rice fields, and concluded that plant genes can "hear" and had improved yield. The research was published in the August, 2007 issue of New Scientist. This finding, however, received negative comments from some quarters which cited external factors such as wind that might have drowned out the experiment's effects. Others say too few samples were analyzed for it to be conclusive.

Linda Chalker-Scott, in her book The Informed Gardener' questions the authenticity of the purported effect of music on plant growth.

She listed several concerns about the work of Dorothy Retallack, including:

  • Citing the works of professors in physics and theology, but not in biology.
  • Lack of relevant references.
  • Poor reasoning and biased expectations.
  • Insufficient number of samplings.
  • Poor experiment tools.
  • Publisher that does not specialize in science.
  • Journal is not peer-reviewed.

What Say You?

What is your take on this? Do you agree with Linda Chalker-Scott, who seems to think that good effect of music on plant is just a myth? Or do you strongly agree that music does have a good effect on plants?

Share your views here!

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Comments 60 comments

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 3 weeks ago from Malaysia Author

Hi, SunsetGiraffe. Sure, no problem but appreciate if you can link it back to this article. Wishing you success in your science project.

SunsetGiraffe25 3 weeks ago

This is so interesting! I hope u don't mind if I use this for my science project.

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greatstuff 8 weeks ago from Malaysia Author

Ben_Volio, no problem. I am glad my article had helped you in your science project. I hope you remembered to put link to this article :-)

Ben_Volio 8 weeks ago

I hope you don't mind but I used your Blog for research, for a science project. its pretty cool also!

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greatstuff 2 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hey Paul, sorry I may have missed something. Are you saying the results show negative growth or positive growth?

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hi, Dias. I used to have the respective item linked to the article or report, but it keeps giving problem so I unlinked it. But if you do a search, you will find it. For example, if I were to search for 'Response in the Living and Non-Living' by Bose, I will get 7.63million results including the report sold at

Give it a try.

Dias 3 months ago

Hi, may a get the journal research?

Paul Montesclaros 3 months ago

I and my colleagues have a published thesis entitled "The Effects of Contemporary House Music on the Growth of Phaseolus radiatus". We thought that we would choose house music since it is without a doubt the most vibration intensive music genre. We based our results off of discrepancies in root:shoot ratio for both the experimental and controlled group with great success.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 5 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hi, jvmar. Thanks for dropping by and I am happy to note that this article has helped you. Have a good day.

jvmar 5 months ago

thank you so much for this. this is one of the evidences that i could present to my colleagues regarding the effect of music on plants and i am happy that i have proof. i am also happy to say that my type of music (classical and opera) is really great.

Billy M 7 months ago

Very great it will help Kenya achieve its goals of vision 2030.

Vicky 8 months ago

Hello! Your article was very useful and I want to put in my citations for my science project, but there are some things I need that are missing. One of them is your full name and when the article was electronically published. I understand if you would not want to give out that information, but those are 2 things that my teacher is looking for in citing a source. I hope you respond to my comment.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 11 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hi Kristen, I personally had experienced this..well actually my mom. She will carry with her a small transistor radio and will tune on to one of her favorite radio station. It will be on from early morning until evening, unless if it rains. The orchids are stronger and have better blooms compared to those planted at the back of the house.

BenDareDonDat 11 months ago

Thanks so much :D

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 11 months ago from Northeast Ohio

I've heard something like this throughout the years about talking to your plants or play music. It sounds pretty interesting though the research is debatable. Thanks for sharing this fascinating hub.

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JuliaRobertve 12 months ago

nice article..

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 16 months ago from Malaysia Author

CosmoGuru, thanks for the compliment and thanks for dropping by

CosmoGuru profile image

CosmoGuru 18 months ago from Ahmedabad

Very Good hub.

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greatstuff 20 months ago from Malaysia Author

@Chriswillman90. I recently read a newspaper article of a study done in Saudi Arabia where plants were exposed to music, verses from the Holy Quran and to hateful remarks. Well, plants exposed to hateful remarks wilted and die. Plants exposed to music grow better but plants exposed to verses from Holy Quran grow the best.

So there you are, plants have feelings!

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will share your own experiment with us as well.

Chriswillman90 profile image

Chriswillman90 20 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

Interesting I use to always think this was a myth when one of my science teachers told me about it back in high school. I would have loved to try it out in biology but perhaps I'll do it in my spare time. Very informative hub.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 21 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hi Teddy Kimathi, thanks for dropping by. I am glad this article has enlightened you, in one way or another.

Teddy Kimathi profile image

Teddy Kimathi 21 months ago from Nairobi

Wow! I didn't know that! Thanks for keeping us informed with such great outstanding info!

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 21 months ago from Malaysia Author

Hi aiden. I read recently that certain type of music will also reduce stress in people, and hence will lower any potential risk of certain ailments, when one listens to certain type of music. I will probably do more research on this and write about it! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your kind words.

aiden 21 months ago

i like this site it is very useful

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 22 months ago from Malaysia Author

@Senti Longchar: Yes, plants do react to sound and waves and have been confirmed in many of the scientific studies. Thanks for your validation on this matter.

@Zero, I am glad this article, 'effect of music on plant growth' has helped you in your science project.

Thanks for the visit.

Zero 22 months ago

Thanks so much! Im doing this for a science fair and this just saved me.

Senti Longchar 23 months ago

Plants are living things.. They do react with sound and waves. Information posted are good and interesting.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi Camerondallas. Thanks for sharing this useful info that further validates the effectiveness of classical music on plant growth.

Camerondallas 2 years ago

I actually did a science fair experiment on this a couple years ago, and classical music actually did help them grow the biggest and healthiest.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia Author

ajwrites57, hmm yeah. Enjoy your weekend.

watergeek, another interesting question, but its good to know that it is still blond and thick!

watergeek profile image

watergeek 2 years ago

In case it means anything, I'm 63 and my hair is still thick . . . and still blond. I've never colored it. I wonder if playing classical music affects hair color too? ;)

ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

My, you are inquisitive greatstuff! I asked the question tongue-in-cheek! Well, if it works, maybe you could patent it! And maybe you will have a successful Hub! lol

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi ajwrites57, that is an interesting question and can be a title for another hub. I googled and to my surprise, there are several articles on music for hair growth, music to stimulate hair growth and even digital music for hair growth. You can buy them on

I have not explored further to see if there are any established studies and research to confirm the effectiveness of this therapy. As I said earlier, this can be another hub to write!

If it works, I will be the first to try!

Thanks for the visit.

ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

Intriguing Hub greatstuff! I remember reading about this at some point, great to find it here. I wonder if classical music would stimulate hair growth? :o)

EastGhostCom 2 years ago


EastGhostCom 2 years ago

see the discoveries at the Bosnian Pyramids, particularly the 28kHz energy / sound beam verified shooting out from the apex. see also works by Dan Winter, Stan Tenen ( and field of cymatics. Princeton noosphere project. David Wilcock. This article is a good start, but there is much, much more.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 2 years ago from Malaysia Author

@doglover101, You can try this book 'The Secret Life of Plants' (1973) by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, for more info on effect of music on plant growth

doglover101 2 years ago

this website helped some!

but where can i get more info about what are the effects of music on plant growth?

please someone can make a comment!

hichkey 3 years ago

Very interesting and informative post.Thanks for sharing your relationship with plants.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@krsharp05 , Hard to say. It could be both, the jazz and your green thumb!

krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

I've just read Watergeek's hub which touched on the effect of music and plants. We listen to a lot of rock music however, we have a literal movie sound system downstairs and my husband plays a lot of jazz which from time to time can actually knock stuff off the tables and walls on the main floor. Do you think that's why my plants (all on the main floor) are thriving? ha ha ha? I thought it was my green thumb :) . Interesting & UP -K

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@mvillecat Thanks for tweeting, vote and the support

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@watergeek, Good to see you back here again. I have updated my article to add link to your hub

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@ITcoach. I am glad you find the article useful and worthy of sharing with your followers. Thanks.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@Nell Rose, you can always write your version and we can link our hubs to each other. Let me know once it is done and I will do the link.

mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

Very interesting. Our local university has a music therapy department and I find it so interesting how music affects people, animals and now plants. I tweeted and voted up.

watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago

I didn't play music for them, as much as for myself. But I tend to like mellower music anyway. These days, when I play music, it's meditative classical, N. American flute music, Hawaiian slack guitar, lite jazz, Irish indie pop (e.g. Enya), that sort of thing.

I did talk to them and always touched them. To my pothos, "Look how fast you're growing! I look away and here you are with a new shoot." To my maidenhair, "I so love how fluffy you are. You are a joy to brush against." And since I prefer tropical plants and spray them a lot, that's when I usually talk to them (see recent hub on watering plants). Sometimes I smell them, just to get close, even though I know they don't have a smell (lol).

ITcoach profile image

ITcoach 4 years ago from United States


I am too much amazed to read your post. It is all about the scientific research so I cannot decline about the words said you you.

Really great post for the scientific hub seeker. I liked it and shared with friends too

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

No more rock music for me then! lol! I have a huge pot plant, a coleus to be exact in my kitchen and it seems to keep growing and growing, must be all the classical music I play! seriously though I was actually going to write about plants and trees myself and how they can 'see' 'hear' etc after reading a fascinating article in New Scientist. It goes on to explain in detail how the leaves 'see' the red spectrum, 'hear' the wind and rain and so on, fascinating stuff, and I loved this hub great stuff! voted up and shared, nell

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@leahlefler : Hahaha, I am sure your plant will go for the classical. Hope it doesn't attract the bees! Loved your article on your dog's allergy to the bee sting!

@M. Dasgupta : Thanks for the visit and compliments

@spartucusjones : I was afraid rockers including yourself, will be disappointed. Then again, you quoted Lemmy of Motörhead! Maybe you can do an experiment and see how your plant will react to rock music and share it here on HubPages.

spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

Very interesting and informative hub! That being said I was a bit disappointed by the fact that plants don't like rock music. That being said it reminded me of a quote from Lemmy of Motörhead where he stated that if if they where to move next door your lawn would die.

M. Dasgupta 4 years ago

Very interesting and useful hub.

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

I love plants, and I love gardening. Maybe I should invest in a sound system outdoors to play Bach to my flower beds. Of course, my flowers might prefer another type of music entirely - and if they liked Country-Western, I couldn't bear it. Hopefully they prefer classical! Great hub, greatstuff!

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Om and teaches12345: You both seem to enjoy jazz and as mentioned by Om, should be done in company of your plants! Thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts and the compliments.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I can understand how a plant would want to climb away from rock music. Jazz would be my preference if I were a plant, it's smooth mellow tones would be just wonderful. Interesting hub post and really well done.

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

How intriguing! Thanks for sharing this. It was such a fun read, greatstuff. I'm glad jazz has positive effects on plants because that's my kind of music. Maybe I can listen to jazz music with my plants! heheee

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@Peggy, I am now writing on how music affects our human brain, so you can come back and read more, once I finish writing them. Thanks for the votes and tweet.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

@watergeek, thanks for sharing your special bonding and relationship with your plants. I am glad there were all healthy. Did you play music or talk to your plant? If you played music to your plant, which type of music did you played?

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I have always heard that playing classical music was beneficial to growing good crops and plants in general. One has to assume it also has good effects on humans perhaps in different ways. Voted up, useful and interesting. Tweeted.

watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago

I read "The Secret Life of Plants" when it first came out around 1980. It changed my relationship with my plants. I had a houseful and I soon discovered that each one had a different personality and wanted to be dealt with differently. There were a few times when I came home from work feeling really depressed and it felt like my plants wrapped their arms around me.

When I moved away a couple of years later and had to sell or give them away, I discovered how very healthy they had grown, compared with the plants of others. I had no trouble finding buyers. Ever since, I've had a special relationship with my plants. Thanks for writing this greatstuff!

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    Mazlan (greatstuff)452 Followers
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    Mazlan acquired his love of gardening at a young age and has been his passion for over 55 years

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