Does Music Affect Plant Life?


The idea that plant growth is affected by different types of music has been popular for a long time. Controlled scientific studies have not been able to prove any difference in plant growth when different types of music are played.

Does music affect plant growth? image by "Single White Poppy" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: david.nikonvscanon (David Blaikie) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.


The first experiments on music and plant life were conducted by Dorothy Retallack at the Colorado Woman's College in Denver in 1973. Her experiments found that rock and roll music harmed plant growth.


Ms. Retallack's work and similar experiments, however, were based in the idea that rock and roll is harmful and causes anti-social behavior.

Air Movement

Sound waves do cause subtle changes in air movement around a plant, but since plants cannot hear there is little difference between music and ambient noise.

Loud Noises

University of North Carolina scientists have cast more doubt on the hypothesis that rock music kills plants by proving that 100 decibel blasts cause turnip seeds to sprout faster.


The effect of music on plants is likely related to the caretaker's biases: playing music that you enjoy will cause you to spend more time around your plants taking care of them, and vice versa.


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Keywords: plant growth, urban legends, rock music

About this Author

Mara Shannon has been writing for the Web since 2009. Her work appears on eHow, Golflink and Answerbag and she blogs about gaming and literature. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music with a focus on performance.