Seed germination and plant growth science fair project analyzes the relationship between exposure to music and plant growth.
Does Mozart Have a Green Thumb?
By Kathleen Small
Will exposure to music help plants grow? Further, what kind of music will help plants grow the best?
Plants grow to thrive: sun, water, air, and nutrient-rich soil. Ideally, if a plant has exposure to all of these elements in appropriate moderation and that plant does not meet an unnatural death due to disease, fire, or other unforeseeable destruction, that plant will grow and blossom.
Various studies show that exposure to classical music at a young age can enhance human beings’ intellectual curiosity, language skills, and numerate abilities. Although plants and human beings are strikingly different in terms of anatomy, consciousness, and mobility, both plants and human beings require basic elements for survival: sun, water, air, and nutrients. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that plants will respond to classical music similarly to humans.
If a plant is exposed to classical music in combination with ideal environmental conditions, including appropriate amounts of sunlight and water as well as high-quality soil, then that plant’s growth and overall health will exceed that of other plants, exposed to various other musical genres, living in the same environmental conditions.
Since it is a sturdy, unfinicky plant, and is inexpensive and widely available, I purchased four young tomato plants at a local grocery store. The tomato plants were relatively the same size, between 4″ and 4.5″ in height. I then transported the plants in the back of my car to my home. At my home, I distributed each of the plants throughout various rooms. The plants needed to live in different rooms so that the musical stimuli could not affect more than one plant.
After placing the plants in separate rooms, I gave each plant 1/8 cup of water and recorded the exact height and number of leaves on each plant. The next day, I introduced the musical stimuli. Each of the first 3 plants was exposed to a different musical genre for 8 hours a day, for 21 consecutive days.
Plant 1 was exposed to a Mozart CD; Plant 2 was exposed to a modern jazz compilation CD; Plant 3 was exposed to a classic rock compilation CD. Plant 4 was the control plant, not being exposed to any musical stimulus. Each plant received 1/8 cup of water once a week for 3 weeks. I recorded growth and leaf count each night.
In the course of the experiment, I noticed that Plant 1, the Mozart plant, bore 12 leaves in 21 days, and also grew at a steady, though not remarkable rate, topping out at 7.8 inches. Plant 2, the plant exposed to jazz, improved in height, peaking at 6.25 inches, but only produced 2 new leaves in 3 weeks.
Plant 3, the classic rock plant, stagnated in terms of both growth and leaf production. This plant grew only 2 inches in 3 weeks and produced no new leaves. Plant 4, the control plant, produced 6 leaves and grew to a height of 6.5 inches*.
Since this experiment was performed in my home, the environment could not be totally controlled. It is possible that other sounds, like television or human voices, could have affected the growth of the plants. By conducting this experiment in an isolated environment, this bias could be eliminated.
Also, it is possible that one of the tomato plants that did not perform as well did so due to an already-existing condition, like a minor disease. In order to improve the quality of this experiment in the future, using more tomato plants will allow the data to be more representative.
I conclude that the data collected over 21 days in a regulated environment shows that classical music is a legitimate growth aid for tomato plants. Although a tomato plant can flourish with exposure to jazz or no music at all, classic rock music appears to stunt the health and growth of greenery.
Author’s Bio – When Kathleen Small conducted this dark horse Seed germination and plant growth science fair project, she beat out the homemade calorimeter and the dissected cow heart and to take her school to state finals.