Does Your Ficus Prefer Simon and Garfunkel to Iron Maiden?

Modern living, especially in the big city, is sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be. Our circadian rhythms are screwed up, we spend all day running (well, Ubering) from place to place, and some of us have to deal with hundreds of people per day instead of the few dozen we’re really equipped for psychologically.

True, the risk of being mauled by a wolf or dying of dysentery has been minimized, but sometimes all of us feel a hankering for a simpler time and a closer connection with nature. For those of us who by choice or necessity live in an apartment, this sometimes leads to surrounding ourselves with living things.

Creating Your Own Horticultural Paradise With Indoor Plants

Folk music festivals held in the outdoors, especially in a wild spot, are normally far more enjoyable than those held under cover. In the same way, a little nook of living green can be the perfect place to relax with a cup of tea and some soothing music after a long day; a kind of island away from the cares of the greater world. This is actually highly appropriate: some people have theorized that the roots of folk music can actually be found in the sounds of nature: a rhythmically splashing brook, whispering leaves, chirping birds and so forth.

This sounds really great in theory, but many people quickly find that taking care of indoor plants is something of a hassle. You can use grow lamps that illuminate with LEDs, or install automatic misters and fertilize them with the most expensive organic gunk you can find. Yet they keep wilting and turning yellow, eventually simply giving up. Unless you’re a totally committed materialist, it’s easy to think that the plants are simply sad at being cut off from their legitimate place in the world.

Does Playing Music to Plants Really Help?

The answer does seem to be “yes”, and experiments under scientific conditions seem to confirm this. In fact, in some cases their growth and general health was improved to an amazing degree when they listened to various kinds of music for up to six hours a day.

However, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that they enjoy melody and rhythm as such: most trials found that any kind of noise will do. The speculation is that the vibrations stimulate plant cells to produce more growth hormones, although this is still far from established. They seem to prefer high tones over bass, but don’t seem to care whether they’re “hearing” a violin sonata or the beep of an alarm clock.

Keeping Greenery Alive Indoors

The first thing to know when planning an apartment garden is that plants that require direct sunlight will never thrive in an indoor environment without some special measures being taken. The nursery where you buy them should be able to advise you as to which species are suitable, or you can search for information online using the botanical name.

One of the secrets of keeping plants in containers is that far, far more of them suffer from overwatering than drying out. If a plant seems to be wilting and its leaves are turning brown, make sure that its soil at root level isn’t just constantly waterlogged. A moisture meter can help you here.

Finally, one of the most common problems with indoor plants is that they don’t get rained on, causing a layer of dust to build up on their leaves. This can affect their health even if it’s not visually noticeable. The easiest cure is to regularly mist them with a spray bottle, or simply leave them outside for a few hours if rain seems likely.