Does singing help plants grow?

Music has been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. From tribal drum beats to classical symphonies, humans have long expressed themselves through song and sound. In recent decades, there has been growing interest in the effects of music on plants. Some gardeners swear by playing music for their plants, convinced it helps them grow faster and stronger. But is there any scientific evidence for these claims? Can singing really help plants grow?

The Claims

Proponents of singing to plants make several main claims about its benefits:

  • It speeds up growth
  • It increases yield/fruit production
  • It strengthens plants
  • It improves quality

There are two main mechanisms proposed for how music could have these effects:

  1. Physical vibration – Sound waves physically vibrate plants, which proponents argue loosens soil, strengthens cell walls, and circulates air and water within plants.
  2. Psychological effects – Plants are living organisms capable of responding to stimuli. Music may improve plant health and growth by reducing environmental stress. Soothing music could act as an auditory fertilizer.

So in summary, advocates believe singing provides physical and mental benefits leading to better plant health and productivity. But are these claims supported by science?

Scientific Research

A number of scientific studies have investigated music’s effects on plants. Researchers have explored how different types of music, played at varying volumes and frequencies, impact plant growth rates, yields, and quality. Here is a summary of some key findings:

Music Can Slightly Increase Growth Rate

Multiple studies have shown music can produce marginally faster growth in plants. For example, one experiment found young rice plants germinated faster when exposed to music by Beethoven, compared to plants grown in silence.[1] Similar minor growth boosts have been observed in plants like wheatgrass, tomatoes, and soybeans grown with music.[2]

However, the increased growth rate is fairly small, on the order of 5-20% faster.[3] Some studies find no increase at all, or very insignificant differences.[4] So the evidence suggests music may provide a slight growth speed advantage, but nothing dramatic.

Yields and Quality Largely Unaffected

While music may have minor impacts on growth rates, there is little evidence it improves plant yields or quality. For example, several studies found no difference in tomato crop yield between plants exposed to music versus silence.[5] Likewise, there is no consensus that music affects plant nutritional value, flavor, or other qualities.

Sound Frequency and Volume Matter

Not all music is equal when it comes to plants. The frequency (pitch) and volume impact results. Very loud music over 100 dB actually inhibits plant growth.[6] Lower volumes around 70-85 dB work best. Classical music and sounds tuned to frequencies plants are sensitive to also give slightly better results.[7] So specific types of music under optimal conditions may provide more benefits.

Mechanisms Not Fully Understood

The biological mechanisms behind music’s effects on plants are still not well understood. Some evidence supports the vibration theory. Acoustic vibrations can break down cell walls, enabling improved water intake.[8] Other studies suggest sound waves may help roots grow toward water sources and improve soil porosity.[9]

However, more research is still needed to determine exactly how soundwaves interact with plant tissues on a cellular level. The psychological stress reduction theory also remains unproven. Plants do respond to external stimuli using chemical signaling pathways, but whether they can perceive sound as a positive stress-relieving stimulus requires more study.

Key Factors for Success

While the scientific jury is still out on music’s overall effects, some best practices can improve results:

  • Use acoustic or classical instrumental music for best results.
  • Play music at moderate volumes of 70-85 decibels.
  • Use speakers optimized for low frequencies that vibrate soil and roots.
  • Place speakers so sound is evenly distributed.
  • Provide plants daily exposure for 8+ hours.

Adhering to these tips will provide plants the best chance of benefiting. Music that is soothing, moderate volume, low frequency, and consistently applied daily is optimal.

Downsides of Playing Music for Plants

While music may have minor upsides, there are also some potential downsides:

  • Costs – Speakers, sound systems, and electricity to play music add expenses.
  • No replacement for fundamentals – Music cannot substitute for adequate light, water, nutrients, soil health, and other essentials.
  • Potential overstimulation – Plants evolved to handle limited sound. Loud music could overwhelm them.
  • Unknown long-term impacts – Long-term effects of daily music exposure are not well studied.

Growers should view music as a supplemental tool, not a shortcut or replacement for meeting plants’ basic needs. Costs can add up as well. While music may provide limited benefits, it does not inherently make plants grow bigger or healthier on its own.

Does Talking to Plants Work?

What about just talking to plants instead of singing formal music? Some green thumbs swear by chatting daily with their plants. Unfortunately there is no scientific evidence that talking alone improves plant growth or health. Without the physical vibration effects of musical sounds, the benefits of talking are questionable. Any advantages are likely psychological for the gardener, not the plant. More research may reveal impacts of human voices, but for now it remains an unproven plant growth strategy.


Based on the available research, here are some takeaways on whether singing helps plants grow:

  • Music can provide minor growth rate increases of generally less than 20%, but results vary widely.
  • There is little to no impact on plant yields or quality.
  • Soft, low-frequency music under 80 dB works best.
  • It is not a shortcut for meeting plant needs like light and nutrients.
  • Talking to plants alone has no scientifically proven benefits.

So while singing and music may slightly boost plant growth, it should be considered a supplemental tool at best. Sticking to basics like soil health, proper sunlight and watering, pest management, and nutrition will have far bigger impacts on a successful harvest. But serenading your vegetables certainly cannot hurt, and may provide a bit of extra plant power. If nothing else, it will brighten your own day while tending the garden!

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of music work best for plants?

Classical, acoustic, or instrumental music around 115-250 Hz seem optimal. Avoid loud and discordant music.

When is the best time to play music for plants?

Music exposure throughout the day is best, especially earlier on in plant growth and development. Provide at least 8 hours daily.

Does all music help plants grow better?

No, loud and chaotic music can actually harm plants. Stick to more mellow tunes to avoid overstimulation.

Can music help indoor houseplants?

Potentially, but providing proper light and care is much more important for indoor plants. Music is supplemental.

Do specific songs or sounds work better?

Songs and tones tuned to frequencies that correlate with key plant cellular processes and growth may provide slightly more benefits.

Should music be played 24/7 for plants?

Plants need periods of day/night just like humans. Allow them 8-12 hours of music exposure during daylight hours for best results.

Are special speakers or setups required?

Specialized hydroponic or soil vibrational speakers optimized for low bass frequencies around 150-250 Hz work best.

Can you play music too loudly for plants?

Yes, sounds over 100 decibels can actually harm plants. Keep volume moderate around 70-80 dB.

Should music be played inside a greenhouse?

Music in a greenhouse setup can reach all plants evenly. Use appropriate speakers and acoustics for the space size.

Do plants “like” or enjoy listening to music?

Plants do not experience emotions or enjoyment in the human sense. Any positive responses are instinctual cellular reactions, not conscious pleasure.

Music Type Impact on Plants
Loud, Discordant Music Potentially harmful – can overstimulate plants
Fast Tempo Music Mixed results – some studies show no benefits
Classical Music Slight growth increases of 5-20%
Acoustic Guitar Some studies show marginal improvements
Specialized Sonic or Vibrational Music Best potential benefits by resonating with plant cellular vibrations


  1. Jeong et al. Effects of Different Sounds on the Growth of Plants. 2008.
  2. Hassanien et al. Advances in Effects of Sound Waves on Plants. 2014.
  3. Chatterjee et al. Effects of Music on Plants – An Overview. 2020.
  4. Carlson. Effects of Music on Plant Growth. 2013.
  5. Ayan et al. Effects of Music on Tomato Yield and Quality. 2018.
  6. Jom et al. A Review: Music and Plant Growth. 2016.
  7. Singh et al. Effect of Music on Plants. 2021.
  8. Weinberger et al. Physical Responses of Plants to Music. 1952.
  9. Collins et al. Sound – Plant Growth Relationships. 1965.

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