Let’s talk about plants. (Yes, you heard it right – we did say PLANTS!) Tomorrow is the first day of spring, so it is a good time to turn our thoughts to the vegetation that will soon be budding around us.
For most of us living in NYC, our indoor ficuses, philodendrons, African violets, and other potted plants are often the only greenery we have.
We know that plants need water and, in some cases, sunshine to thrive. You may have also heard that talking to your plants in a soft and soothing voice helps them grow. This is based more on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence, but who are we to dispute it? By the same token, there seems to be a body of information suggesting that plants respond positively to certain kinds of music. See, there IS a good reason for us to talk about plants!
Some time ago, a researcher named Dorothy Retallack conducted an experiment at the Colorado Women’s College in which she subjected different groups of plants to various types of music, sounds, and artists. She included classical composers (Claude Debussy), jazz performers (Louis Armstrong), and Indian music (Ravi Shankar).
All the plants exposed to these sounds grew large, strong, and healthy, and many of them actually leaned towards the radio in the same way they’d bend towards sunlight.
However, when Retallack put on heavy metal and hard / acid rock music, the plants didn’t like those sounds at all – they drooped, withered, and generally reacted negatively to loud, harsh, and dissonant sounds.
A skeptic may argue that a plant has no central nervous system so it is not capable of hearing. However, a few years ago South Korean scientists reported that plants do have genes that enable them to “hear” and grow faster when music is played.
Make of this what you will, but we choose to believe that plants – like all living things – respond to beautiful music.
This brings us to a pertinent question – what music is best for your household plants?
According to the above-mentioned South Korean researchers, the soothing sounds of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata made their “study subjects” grow faster.
And, as suggested by Retallack, Debussy’s music has a positive effect as well, so we are thinking that you can’t go wrong with his “Clair de Lune” .
As for another plant favorite, Shankar, the relaxing sounds of his sitar might also help your indoor garden bloom where it is planted!
As a matter of fact, any instruments that emit soft and soothing sounds – violin, piano, guitar, flute, and many others – will be growth boosters.
We are not telling you that our music teachers are botany experts – they are not. (In fact, some of them may not even have a green thumb!)
But we will say this: if you are looking for an excellent teacher to give you or your child music lessons in the privacy of your Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Riverdale home or office, we have a…. whole crop of them!
They will not help your plants get taller, but, with their exceptional patience, dedication and kindness, they will help you grow your musical ability!