So you’ve been singing Let it Go from Disney’s movie Frozen all day, every day? Yeah… me too.
It’s not just because it’s a catchy song
that is bombarding us from everywhere (although that helps). I
personally suffer from a syndrome called
can’t-stop-singing-and-don’t-even-realize-I’m-doing-it. Just ask my
husband and former co-workers… they’ll tell you. My condition often
manifests itself in a rare condition I refer to as Disney-Tourettes.
It’s the best way I can think of to describe my inclination to randomly,
frequently, loudly burst into Disney song (and sometimes dance). A Whole New World (Aladdin), Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) and I Just Can’t Wait to be King
(The Lion King) frequently worm their way out of my mouth. It has
proven embarrassing a time or two, but at this point my life I just
choose to embrace it.
That being said, it can still be really
(really) annoying personally to have songs stuck in your head. They just
go on and on, don’t they my friend?
Further compounding the situation is
this: If you’re not sick of the sound of your voice warbling ala Queen
Elsa, someone else in your life probably is. Regardless of the quality
or quantity of your singing, I’m happy to share with you that an
audience exists that will never tire of hearing you bellow Disney tunes!
Singing to Plants
I first heard about this idea in high
school. I haven’t been lying to you when I’ve shared that I love a good
experiment, as further evidenced by my teenage (but admittedly not
scientific) test to see if singing to plants really works. First I just
sang while I cleaned my room. I experienced early onset of
can’t-stop-singing-and-don’t-even-realize-I’m-doing-it syndrome, so it
was pretty convenient. I observed that singing near my plant caused it
to noticeably perk up! Cool!
Next I tried playing this archaic thing called a Compact Disc
(otherwise called a CD for those of you who aren’t historians) while I
was away. I couldn’t tell you how long I played it or exactly what it
was (although at that point in my life it was likely either the soundtrack to Titanic or something by Boyz II Men). What I can tell you is that when I returned my spider plant was noticeably learning toward the radio. Well isn’t that neat!?
Naturally my next step was to move the
radio to the other side of the plant. Sure enough when I returned the
plant was leaning toward the radio again – the opposite direction from
its lean the previous attempt.
I’d like to cite this little experiment
from my childhood as the reason why I shamelessly sing while gardening,
but you and I both know that’s just not the case. (Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I’ve tried.) My constant crooning isn’t going to work like Miracle Grow, but it’s probably having a positive effect. The question is – how?
Carbon Dioxide or Vibration
I’m familiar with two different theories about why singing to your plants could be beneficial. The first theory is that the carbon dioxide emitted as humans sing helps plants to photosynthesize more efficiently, thus making them stronger and helping them to grow faster.
That’s a reasonable theory, but consider
this: My plant showed noticeable change listening to Celine Dion
declare “My heart will go on and on!” through a machine and not in my
bedroom. No humans present. No carbon dioxide emitted. Yet the fact that
the music had an effect on the plant, whether beneficial or not, was
undeniable. Fortunately those crazy kids at MythBusters took a much more
scientific approach to this question and yielded an interesting result.
Their findings suggest that the effect of singing (or talking) on
plants may have much more to do with vibration than breathing.
Myth Busters Experiment
In this experiment, two soundtracks of spoken words (not singing) were used.
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
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.”
The folks at MythBusters aren’t the only
researchers who’ve looked into this idea. Several studies, some
scientific and some more general, have been done. There’s no point in
recounting gobs of them in this brief article, but I did want to share
one I found very interesting. The authors of the blog Dry Stone Garden write:
“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.”
To my knowledge no one has conclusively
determined why or how well singing (or talking) to plants helps them
grow, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. The next time you feel like
channeling your inner Elsa, wander out to your garden. Your neighbors
might not thank you, but your tomatoes will.
Did you like this article? Find more just like it at our website www.arcadia-farms.net!
Posted by Katie
@ 12:33 PM EDT