My story today is from the BBC, and I suspect growers will know of the subject and everyone else might be wondering what the heck BBC is talking about, but trust me, there's mystery afoot:
First thing I want to emphasize – the headline does not say “People who talk to plants” because that would just be an article about What's Growing in Grandma’s Garden.
This article is about plants communicating – to each other, and maybe to us?
Laura Beloff is an artist and associate professor at Aalto University in Finland. At her laboratory, she rigged the roots of a plant with a special microphone, called a “contact microphone”, and was able to register faint clicking sounds. She wrote special software to make the frequency audible to humans, and got to work while her plant was clicking away, And the weirdest thing happened: someone came in the room.
And the plant stopped clicking.
And when the person left the room, the clicking started again. Later, more people came in – the clicking stopped, and started again when they left.
I know, but wait…
THE DEEP DIVE
Beloff was not the first to hear this, though. That would be Monica Gagliano at the University of Western Australia who's published papers for 10 years suggesting that plants can communicate, learn and remember.
In 2017, she and colleagues showed that plants appear to be able to sense the sound of water vibrating via their roots, so they can locate it underground and grow toward it.
Gagliano is so confident that plants can communicate, she says "The evidence is clear.”
Still not sure? Wait, there’s more…
The 2019 study by a group of Israeli researchers, which found that plants increase the amount of sugar in their nectar within minutes of being exposed to the sound of a buzzing bee
Another study where plants exposed to audio of the munching of caterpillars produce more chemicals on their leaves.
And here is the kicker: The Qingdao Physical Agricultural Engineering Research Center has designed a special device for broadcasting sound to plants. Its creators claim this increases production, lowering the need for fertilizers.
(Cultivator readers in the room know where I’m going with this...)
THE LOOP BACK
In God’s Favorite Plant, cannabinoids and terpenes, which are held in the trichomes, are released on flowers and leaves to fend off pests, and perhaps act as a sunblock.
So here’s a question for the growers in the room (Priscilla Agoncillo has her hand over the buzzer):
Since we now know that HEARING certain sounds makes plants release protective chemicals onto their flowers and leaves… AND we know that cannabinoids and terpenes ARE the protective chemicals released by cannabis plants…
Could you enhance the cannabinoid yield of your plants by playing them bug music?