Does classical music really help plants grow?

24 May 2024, 17:50 | Updated: 24 May 2024, 18:05

Does classical music help plants grow?
Does classical music help plants grow? Picture: Alamy

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

It works on pets. But can classical music really have a positive effect on plants?

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Last year, a survey revealed that nearly two-thirds of gardeners play music to their plants.

Music licensing company PPL PRS studied 1,000 gardeners and found that not only did the majority enjoy listening to music while gardening, but the music could actually have a positive impact on the plants’ growth.

Classical music was found to be the most effective on roses – one hour of violin music is supposedly preferable – while marigolds ostensibly preferred the sound of Indian classical music.

PPL PRS’s gardening expert Michael Perry said: “Using sound to stimulate growth is an entirely natural phenomenon. To that end – and as strange as it might seem – research suggests that plants enjoy music. With houseplants, a good beat can mimic the natural vibrations they would experience outside.”

Plants, according to the PPL PRS study, helps recreate the vibrations plants might feel outdoors, which help them to source water.

Perry added: “Plants in the great outdoors will benefit from the bees that are drawn to high-frequency sounds in music – these powerful pollinators play a pivotal role in plant reproduction as they pass pollen from one flower to another.”

Read more: About thyme! This is the world’s first green ‘piano’ made from living plants.

The world’s first piano made from plants

One of the earliest studies of music’s impact on greenery took place in 1962 when botanist T.C.N Singh, head of the Department of Botany at India’s Annamalai University, conducted several experiments to work out whether certain sounds could improve plant growth.

Singh exposed balsam plants to classical music and found their growth rate increased by 20% compared to a control group. They also experienced a 72% increase in biomass.

He conducted a second experiment, playing Indian classical music to some crops over loudspeakers. This resulted in a rice harvest yield that was 25% to 60% higher than the national average.

While many gardeners and botanists are seeing green shoots, what we absolutely know for certain, is that it’s widely accepted that gardening and classical music can positively impact our wellness and mental health.

So if you want to listen to some beautiful classical music while you also remember to water your plants, we say put the petal to the metal...

Join Zeb Soanes on Classic FM for ‘Growing Classics’ at 7pm this Monday 27 May, filled with music ideal not just for gardeners, but for your plants, too.