www.whyville.net Sep 25, 2011 Weekly Issue

Veteran Times Writer

Does Singing to Plants Help Them Grow?

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At my old house, I used to have a strange neighbor. He had to be at least 75, and had this extremely thick accent from who knows where. He was also an avid gardener. I can remember kicking the soccer ball into his vegetable garden at least a thousand times. I can still remember the feeling of fright as I trampled on his plants, and the victory cry I would let out after safely retrieving the ball. It wasn't that my neighbor was mean or anything - he was just very weird. There were many times when I would look out my window and see him sitting pretzel-style in his garden, singing to his plants. I remember thinking he was senile or at least a clinically diagnosed weirdo. Now, I realize he may have just been a scientist.

The Myth

Starting what is believed to be several hundred years ago is a myth stating that by singing or talking to your plants, you are helping them grow bigger and better. In 1848, a German man named Gustav Theodor Fechner claimed that plants have souls, and enjoyed the sound of music and conversation. He also stated that they will grow better and provide better produce when sung or talked to.

The Experiment

This myth has been tested many times by botanists from all over the world, and has also been featured on the popular television show "Myth Busters".

In the experiment preformed there, three greenhouses were filled with pea plants. In one of the greenhouses, kind words were spoken to the plants. In another, insults and rude comments were told. In the third greenhouse, nothing was said to the plants. After testing their hypothesis, surprising results came: the pea plants in the greenhouses where chatter was present had better produce.

The Conclusion

"So is it true?" you may ask. The answer isn't too clear, but according to these studies the sound of your voice can help your plants turn out better. Other experiments have also been performed and even though they had mixed results, the majority of them had better plant growth when vocal activity was near the plants. But, there were still many cases where no improvement in a plant's growth was seen.

With that said, there has never been a case recorded where plants have done worse growing while hearing someone's voice versus hearing silence.

The Why

The reason behind this is because of the carbon dioxide you breathe out of your body and onto the plant while singing or talking. The plants need the carbon dioxide to grow, and they are able to shoot up quicker when supplied with it.

The Bonus

While you are helping out your plant by talking or singing to it, you are also helping yourself! If you put your head in the leaves of the plant while talking to it, the oxygen the plant gives off will be helpful to you.

(Helpful Tip: You may need to talk or sing to the plant for several hours without interruptions in order to have good results.)

While writing this, my mind goes back to my old, song-filled neighbor. He always did have great vegetables, and would sometimes even share his produce with us. Though I never thought about it until now, I really did have fond memories of him. It always made me smile seeing him cross-legged and filled with song in that garden. Now, I appreciate it even more knowing that he was singing help his plants, and that he was not just a crazy old man. (Probably)

Author's Note: Sources: http://www.ehow.com/way_5491236_songs-plant-grow.html


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