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Plants & Sound

Plants & Sound

Experiments conducted by Dorothy Retallack in the late 1960's seemed to show that plants hate rock 'n' roll yet thrive on certain other types of music such as Bach and Ravi Shankar. Specifically, she exposed a variety of plants in a 56 ft. chamber to the "acid rock" of Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, and Jimi Hendrix, and the plants began pointing in the opposite direction of the sound. In contrast, when Bach and Shankar were played, the plants began tilting towards the music.

Additionally it was shown that the rock music plants required more water yet their growth was weaker (some plants even died) than the control group (silence) and the Shankar/Bach groups, in which the plants grew luxuriantly (see photos from Fate Magazine article). "If rock is doing that to plants, man, I wonder what it's doing to me?," a rock fan impressed with Retallack's research asked, it was detailed in The Secret Life of Plants.

By 1970, as the publicity over Retallack's research bloomed in newspapers and magazines and on TV, other experimenters stepped into the foray. There was Dr. George Milstein, for instance, who was able to increase plant growth through specific auditory vibrations, and Pip Records released the LP Growing Plants Successfully in the Home, embedding the continuous low hum he developed into musical selections. More recently, Dr. Dan Carlson has marketed Sonic Bloom, a "proprietary audio, organic nutrient plant growing process," said to specifically assist plant growth with low water availability and poor soil conditions.

--L.L.

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