posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 06:55 PM
My mother has a wonderful green thumb and swears that singing and talking to her plants help them grow. I always assumed this was just an old wives
tale, but was surprised when I recently looked into it further and found that there are a few studies confirming this to be true.
In a month-long study performed by the Royal Horticultural Society, researchers discovered that talking to your plants really can help them grow
faster. They also found that plants grow faster to the sound of a female voice than to a male voice.
...in the month-long study, the Royal Horticultural Society recorded ten people reading from either literary or scientific works, both men and women,
and played their voices through a set of headphones that was attached to each tomato plant's pot (so, one tomato plant per person.) The same tomato
variety was used, same soil, same care regimen, etc. They also included two plants that were not read to as a control. At the end of the month, the
plants that had been attached to female voices grew an average of an inch taller than those attached to a male voice. The overall winning tomato
listened to Sarah Darwin, great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin. Her plant grew approximately two inches taller than the rest.
Mythbusters even did an episode featuring "Does talking to a plant help it grow?" Their conclusion? The "myth" is plausible.
Explanation: An adage out there goes "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." But when MythBusters Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and
Scottie Chapman experimented with the power of words on plants, the opposite rang true.
Some plant enthusiasts think that showering seedlings with sunlight, water and healthy soil isn't enough. To really make their roots sing, these
backyard botanists believe they can sweet talk their gardens into growing better. To see whether kind words could really yield fertile results, the
skeptical MythBusters procured 60 pea plants and divided them into three greenhouse groups. Then, they recorded two soundtracks — one of loving
praise and one of cruel insults — and played them on repeat in two separate greenhouses. A third greenhouse remained mum as an experimental control.
To give the myth a fighting chance of flourishing, the team charted the plants' growth over 60 days. Afterward, the MythBusters determined the winning
greenhouse by comparing plant masses from the three groups. To their surprise, the silent greenhouse performed poorest, producing lower biomass and
smaller pea pods than the other two. Although there was no difference in plant quality between the nice greenhouse and the mean greenhouse, the
soundtracks seemed to produce a positive effect in both.
Based on the plausible myth, botanists might want to chat with their plants more often, even if what they have to say isn't all-too friendly.
What does this imply?
In 1848, German experimental psychologist and professor of physics Gustav Theodor Fechner argued that plants have souls and that, like humans, they
desired for and benefited from the companionship, conversation and nurture of others. Fechner believed that plants not only enjoyed the sound of
music, but would be encouraged to grow better and bigger if they were spoken or sung to.
So singing or talking seem to help - whether that is a recorded voice or an actual person present. Can anything think of a reason for this other than
what Professor Fechner argued above? That plants have souls? Or maybe this is an example of how people and ALL living things are connected an some
level that goes beyond materialist explanation?
My only thought was the vibrations produced by sound might somehow be helping the plants to grow. Why would a female voice be better? Maybe it has
to do with pitch which would effect the vibration? I really don't know. I found at least one scientist that agrees with this line of thinking...
"There isn't a lot of research in this area," says Rich Marini, head of Penn State's horticulture department, "But there is evidence that plants
respond to sound." In fact, plants react readily to a host of environmental stimuli, as the ability to respond to changing environments is vital to
their survival. Explains Marini, "Wind or vibration will induce changes in plant growth. Since sound is essentially vibration, my guess is that
vibration is causing a response."
The studies on this theory are mixed, though, some saying vibration could be the cause but others pointing out that the decibels of a human voice
aren't are the right level to make a difference.
Research supports Marini's guess. A 2007 paper from scientists at South Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology proposed that two
genes involved in a plant's response to light—known as rbcS and Ald—are turned on by music played at 70 decibels. "This is about the level of a
normal conversation," says Marini. The Korean researchers found differing responses depending on the frequency of the sound. The higher the frequency,
the more active was the gene response.
But other studies suggest that conversation may not be enough, notes Marini. A Canadian paper showed that seed germination is influenced by sound at
92 decibels—much louder than one would normally speak.
Another theory thrown out by some: carbon dioxide produced when we speak is the factor that helps plants grow... but obviously in the studies cited
above, a recorded voice was used so there was no extra carbon dioxide. And, as Marini explains:
Carbon dioxide levels do influence the rate of plant photosynthesis, he explains, but "people would have to speak to their plants for at least several
hours a day to enhance photosynthesis enough to influence plant growth."
So while it is widely agreed that singing and talking to plants does help them to grow, the reasons aren't as certain. What are your thoughts?
I'd like to think it is related to how all living things are inter-connected in ways even more profound than we realize.
edit on 15-4-2013 by
VegHead because: (no reason given)