Sing To Your Plants

The relationship between people, plants and sound is as old as people (plants were here first). Native Hawaiians sing sacred songs to help plants grow large and strong. Native Americans believe that the spirit heals the individual and that plants are the go-between. In 1848, a German psychologist, physicist and natural philosopher wrote in his book “The Souls of Plants” that the entire universe—including plants—contains soul, and, consequently, we all benefit from the same things, including song. In South Korea, researchers with the National Institute of Biotechnology found that plant growth is stimulated by music and may be linked to the two genes related to how plants respond to sunlight. That sounds like senses! It’s getting easier and easier to recognize how closely we are related to plants. 

Yet, modern research is mixed regarding whether singing to your plants helps them grow better, in large part because studies have not been consistent in what has been offered to the plant. A 2009 study by the Royal Horticultural Society found that being read to helped tomato plants grew larger. In fact, after 30 days, the plants that were read to by women were an inch taller than the plants that were read to by men. A 2014 study at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, found that roses that had received Vedic chants did better than the silent control group. 

Is it the vibrations? The carbon dioxide we breathe on the plants? Is it that, if we are singing to our plants, we are also paying closer attention to them and are more likely to meet their needs? Or is it the gift of joyful energy that we give them when we sing to them? Some researchers have seen that, just as music is good for plants, it is also bad for the things that harm plants, and as feeding the world gets more and more important, there will be more research around what helps plants thrive. Until then, here is what we know for sure: 

  • Plants are good for us. They reduce stress, boost air quality, add humidity, facilitate healing, improve our mental and emotional health, boost creativity, prolong our attention span, enhance productivity, memory retention and immunity, boost creativity, and that’s just being around them. 
  • Chanting is also good for us. Chanting regularly over time causes positive changes in the brain, including improved mood, reduced anxiety and better cognitive function. Chanting can also inspire us, lift up the spirit and empower others. The word “mantra” means “mind protecting”—how cool is that?!? 
  • Singing is good for us as well. It also helps lower stress, boosts immunity and lung function, enhances memory, improves mental health, and helps you cope with physical and emotional pain. And you don’t need to be good at it to get the benefits. 

So go ahead, chant, “om shanti shanti shanti” or sing to your plants (maybe not Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers”). We’d love to see you both thrive!

About Author

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Chris is currently a certified yoga therapist and formerly a lawyer who likes people, writing, making things and foraging, because it’s all yoga all of the time.

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