Thursday October 18, 2018

By Abby Hutmacher


At PotGuide, we love to offer cultivation tips and tricks to help our readers get the most out of their crops. Usually this includes things like choosing the best lights for indoor grows or tips for dealing with pests and contaminants, but today we want to talk about an unusual trend that’s gaining a lot of attention among cannabis cultivators nationwide: using music to stimulate plant growth.

We know it sounds a little eccentric to play music for plants – I mean plants don’t even have ears, right? But research has shown that music may, in fact, have a profound impact on a cannabis plant’s growth. Interestingly, different styles of music have different effects on plant growth. Though the jury is still out on the effectiveness of music to stimulate plant growth, what researchers have discovered thus far is pretty incredible.

How Do Plants React to Music?

Researchers have been studying the effect of music on plants for decades. Dr. T. C. Singh conducted a few experiments in 1962 in which he discovered that balsam plants grew 20 percent taller and had an increased biomass of 60 to 70 percent compared to control plants that were held in silence. Singh also noted that seeds grown in musical environments had an increased vitality rate and produced stronger characteristics such as improved leaf production and bigger leaves. Newer research has confirmed these findings.

Interestingly, different genres and types of music seem to affect plant growth differently.

Singh suggested through his research that violin music produced the most favorable results. Then, in 1973, Professor Dorothy Retallack of Francis Brown University set up her own experiment. She divided plants into three groups, played an F-note for eight solid hours for one group of plants, played a similar note to another group and left the third (the control group) in silence. Though the first group died within two weeks, the second group thrived while the third showed no major changes.

Grow Room
Different effects are observed depending on the genre and music type.

Next, she went on to test different genres: rock and classical music. She once again split her plants into three groups and played either rock music, classical music, or nothing. She found that plants who were exposed to rock music actively tried to “escape” the sound by turning their growth away from the speakers or “climbing” the walls of the enclosure. She also noticed signs of stress in the rock-and-roll plants resembling excessive water intake.

It’s important to note that it’s not necessarily the genre that affects plant growth but rather the rhythm and harmony of the sound. Plants that are exposed to calming music like classical tend to fair better than those exposed to heavy metal which is likely due to the way plants have evolved and adapted to their environments.

Why Plants React to Music

Plants are well-known to react to their external environments – hot conditions encourage plant leaves to curl up to reduce perspiration, for example, just like infestations encourage the release of terpenes to protect the plant from damage. Likewise, plants react to vibrations in the air and ground which helps them protect themselves from hungry caterpillars or slow their growth in windy areas that might snap their branches.

The same goes for sound which is made of vibrations. Whether music, a busy highway, or the sound of approaching predators, plants have learned to pick up vibrations and react according to the cues they send them. Therefore, plants that react adversely to aggressive rock music do so because their evolutionary makeup has taught them that these lower frequency sound waves pose a threat (industrial equipment like vehicles and cloths dryers also produce low-frequency sound waves).

Sound Waves
Different sound waves have varying effects on cannabis plants. photo credit

High frequency sound waves, on the other hand (such as those produced with classical music) have the opposite effect, signaling to the plant that conditions are optimum for growth and development. The reason for this is because the frequency encourages stomata, or the little pours in plant surfaces, to open up allowing for greater nutrient intake while helping accommodate increased transpiration.

Music has a way of moving us. Across cultures – and species – organisms react to music in ways that reduce stress, improve health and increase growth. It’s no surprise, then, that music would have the same effects on plants which many growers are already using to their benefit.

Have you ever played music for your cannabis plants? Tell us about your results.

Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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