Smile to your plants and they will smile back

Yanto Yulianto By Yanto Yulianto, 17th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Planting & Growing

Have you ever talked to a rose or plants ? Does a rose listen ? Plants generally and obviously don't have ears but they react to sound. Some people think so.


HAVE YOU EVER talked to a rose ? A rose that listened ? Have you ever watched a vine curl to the sound of rock music ? Plants obviously don't have ears. But do they react to sound ? Some people think so.

The idea is far from new. Primitive man often used music to help his plants grow. He had special songs for planting seeds, and indeed for every stage of growth. Often he used sacred drums or a magic flute to add power to his songs.

European farmers still followed such customs during the Middle Ages and even after the Renaissance. People danced in their garden and on their fields, singing song as their ancestors had done to bring a successful harvest.

The first scientific tests of these old beliefs took place in the 19th century. In one early experiment, the well-known naturalist Charles Darwin played his bassoon to a small, very sensitive plant called Mimosa pudica. The leaves of this plant are sensitive to even the slightest touch. Darwin wondered whether they might also react to sound waves. So the scientist played his bassoon to his little plant. Unfortunately, it did not show any reaction.

Although this experiment was unsuccessful, it aroused the interest of other European scientist. However, their experiments, like Darwin's, produced no positive results. At last, the research was dropped. Not until the middle of the 20th century did the subject again attract scientist's attention.

In the 1950's, a botanist in Madras, India, became interested in Hindu legends that told how the gods played music to create plants and to make them grow well. The botanist decided to try an experiment to test the ancient stories.

Using loudspeakers, he broadcast a sacred song across a special section of rice fields. He did this for several hours every day. The rice seemed to love it. According to his report, the harvest was from 25 to 60 per cent larger than normal.

Other modern scientists were not impressed. How could plants, without anything like an ear, react in this way to sound ? Even if the sound could influence them, could it cause them pleasure ? Do plants have feelings ? The whole matter, most experts felt, belonged to the world of magic, superstition and the like.

Yet news stories began to appear, describing some very strange events. An American florist started piping music into his greenhouse. His flowers, he said, grew bigger than before. Their colours were brighter, and they lasted longer.

A Farmer said prayers to his beans. They grew better. A housewife shouted angrily at her house-plant. It withered away. A farmer broadcast classical music to a test field of wheat. He reported that the harvest was 66 per cent larger.

After reading many of these stories, an Illinois botanist setup hist own experiment. He planted a mixture of corn and soybeans in two identical boxes. He kept both boxes at the same temperature and gave them the same amount of water and light. But he kept one in silence, while playing music (George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) to the other.

The plants to which the music was played were clearly bigger, thicker and healthier than those grown without music. What was the explanation ? The botanist thought that perhaps sound energy had increased the molecular activity in the plants.

Later similar investigations were tried everywhere. One of the most interesting was begun in 1968 by a Colorado singer who also happened to be a graduate student in biology.

Using a mixture of plants, she tested their reactions to different types of sound. In one case, she used a tape recorder to play the note of F over and over for eight hours a day. Within two weeks, all the plants were dead.

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author avatar Synthaea
6th Oct 2010 (#)

I really enjoyed this, it's definitely an intriguing concept. Well-written, too - thanks for sharing :)

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author avatar Yanto Yulianto
7th Oct 2010 (#)

I am glad to read your comment today, however it is very valuable information for me. Good luck.

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