Can Plants Really 'Listen' to Music?

A lot of people having been streaming music for plants in the past year!

Photography: Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

If you’re a full-fledged plant parent, then there’s no denying the fact that you’ll do everything to keep your green babies healthy and happy. But aside from the right soil and the ample water and sunlight you give them, their growth can actually be affected so many other things in their environment—and one of them is said to be music.

Before you double-check your work-from-home playlist, let’s make one thing clear: plants don’t exactly hear music. What they do sense, however, are vibrations. Nature sounds—such as bird song, wind, water flowing—can help stimulate cytoplasting streaming, which bring needed nutrients to a plant’s different parts. Specific vibrations also trigger other reactions, such as defense mechanisms.

“What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses,” says Rex Cocroft of the University of Missouri in a feature on the California Academy of Sceince’s website. “This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.”


So should you have a specific plant playlist? Au naturale may be the simplest way to go, but if you really want to play music to your plants, it seems like the genre doesn’t really matter. Check out this old experiment by Mythbusters.

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Can’t think of good tunes for your plant babies just yet? You can check out Spotify’s picks. Streams of their “Music for Plants” playlist grew 1,400% in the past 12 months—just goes to show that the plantito/plantita community is still going strong!

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