Can plants hear sounds?

A coffee plant
PHOTO: Reuters

We all know that plants respond to light, gravity and touch. But is there any merit in singing to them?

We put this question to the BBC Earth Facebook audience. Anecdotally, a few of you seemed to suggest that singing to plants was helpful.

"I had a yucca that I used to wash the leaves of once a week and sing to as I did it," says Heather Louise Goodall. "It grew from being about 2 feet tall to 7 feet tall in just a couple of years. In the end it got too big for the house."

"My best friend's dad is the best plant grower I know. He swears you should sing to them. He didn't explain why," says David Michael Goeke.

Several of you had some ideas of how singing could help.

"Singing, or even talking, produces carbon dioxide," says Chelsea Garcia Ortega, a point echoed by David Souther. "Plant[s] convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Even if there is no benefit to the plant, there could be benefit to yourself by producing more [oxygen] inside."

Come on, says Marshal Huang. There has got to be more to it than carbon dioxide levels.

Perhaps there could be good vibrations, suggests Christie Ley. "Back in the early 70s a friend's son experimented with plants, playing classical and hard rock to plants," she remembers. "The ones he played classical to thrived. The hard rock ones died..."

Caroline Wall has a neat hypothesis. It need not be anything to do with sound at all.

Instead, maybe people who sing to their plants are just better at looking after them. "You're more likely to remember to water and care for the plant if you're taking the time to serenade it, even potentially noticing issues sooner than you might otherwise," she says.

Read the full article here.

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