Plants and Music
Do your gardenias grooves to Gershwin or your marigolds
melt to Mozart? Perhaps your peonies perk up to Pavarotti
and your roses rock out to the Ramones? There is much
speculation in the scientific community, but many gardeners
swear music will revive wilting plants and urge flowers to
bloom. In 1973, the revolutionary book The Sound of Music
and Plants was written by Dorothy Retallack on scientific
experiments involving plants and music.
Retallack’s book was based not on myths but facts. Yes, she
conducted experiments to come to the conclusion that music
has an everlasting affect on plants. Retallack placed
plants of same species in three separate laboratories at
the Colorado Women’s College, Denver. She played different
durations of music to each plant and analyzed their growth
pattern. What she observed was that the plant that listened
to music three hours a day grew thrice as large and twice
as strong as the plant that was placed in the music-free
Dorothy Retallack tried experimenting with different types
of music. She played rock to one group of plants and
soothing music to another. The group that heard rock turned
out to be sickly and small whereas the other group grew
large and healthy. What’s more surprising is that the group
of plants listening to the soothing music grew bending
towards the radio just as they bend towards the sunlight.
This experiment was a great eye-opener for plant lovers.
They started playing music to their plants and strongly
recommended others to do the same and also pick the right
type of music for your plants. Remember that slow and
soothing music has a beneficial effect on plants, and loud
and jarring music has a harmful effect on them. Another
point to be considered is the length of time to play music
to the plants. Dorothy Retallack showed through her
experiments that about three hours of music a day is just
right. More than that would damage the growth of your
plants. As a rule, plants have shown the best response to
classical music. That is why plant lovers like to play
Mozart, Bach and Beethoven rather than more boisterous
Although music is not an absolutely proven factor in plant
development, several studies, along with Dorothy
Retallack’s groundbreaking series of experiments, have
aided the musical development theory. If you are
interested in exploring this option with your own
garden, consult The Sound of Music and Plants or other
resources to ensure you expose your plants to the optimal
type of music for the appropriate amount of time.

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