Free Music to Make Your Plants Grow
London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has just played its first performance to an audience of plants, definitely its most fragrant ever.
Sponsored by QVC, a shopping channel, they recorded a free special album of Mozart's music called The Flora Seasons: Music to Grow to. Not particularly grammatical, but if it works, who cares ...
To kick off the gardening season the orchestra loaded a hundred plants, including geraniums, fuchsias and perennials, into London's lovely Cadogan Hall and played some Mozart to them. At the end the conductor said "The audience was the most fragrant we have ever played to although it was slightly unnerving to see row upon row of bowed heads instead of applauding human beings."
The theory is that since listening to Mozart is supposed to stimulate the brain (doesn't everyone play it to their new-borns?) perhaps it would do the same to plants. Since the plants in the photo seem to be fully grown already this may not have been a thoroughly scientific study.
However, others have done studies about the impact of music on animals and plants. In 1973 Dorothy Retallack at the Colorado Women's College in Denver wrote a book The Sound of Music and Plants (it's still for sale). Her research consisted of playing different music to identical groups of plants, one group got rock and another easy listening. After two weeks, the plants in the soothing-music area were uniform in size, lush and green, and were leaning between 15 and 20 degrees toward the radio. The plants in the rock music chamber had grown tall but were drooping, the flowers had faded and the stems were bending away from the radio. By the end of two weeks, most of the plants in the rock music chamber were dying whilst the easy listening ones were growing abundantly.
They liked strings more than percussion and particularly liked the sitar, no interest in country but liked jazz. No mention of Mozart.
Coincidentally-or not-cows in the UK milked to sanskrit music yielded the sweetest milk.
According to the Telegraph, in 2003 some more serious South Korean researchers played what they described as "green" classical sounds to cucumbers and Chinese cabbage. They discovered that the effect of sound waves was to make the cabbages absorb more oxygen than those that had been raised in silence, but there was no noticeable impact on the cucumbers.
If you want to try it on yourself, Music of the Plants is a CD of music made from proteins found in herbs and medicinal plants and it induces calm. Try out a sample, maybe it will work on the plants too.