Over the last year, many people found comfort in an unexpected source: plants. Leafy Monstera deliciosas (aka the “Swiss cheese plant”), prickly cacti, and more flew off the shelves as stressed-out humans turned to nature for relief and beauty. And as Spotify listeners around the world transformed their home bases into green spaces, they also streamed music to encourage their seedlings. Streams of Spotify’s playlist Music for Plants, which offers mellow vibrations for green leaves and green thumbs, flourished, increasing by nearly 1,400% as plant parents new and old sought out good vibrations.
To grow our own botanical offerings on the platform, we’re launching Spotify’s first-ever collection of curated plants playlists with the help of horticulture pros Kelly Wearstler, Darryl Cheng, Summer Rayne Oakes, and Black Men With Gardens. Plant Kween is also launching a new exclusive Music+Talk show, Green Gurls Galore, which offers plenty of horticulture help for those who need some tips.
To get to the root of the plant trend, Spotify dug into the platform data and conducted a global survey to see just how listeners connected with their flora through audio.
Music for plants and people
You may have heard that talking to plants, and even certain vibrations, can help stimulate their growth. Many music lovers took the practice seriously in the last year, and in a survey conducted by Spotify, we found that 21% of people reported speaking to their houseplants more. A significant 12% of people went above and beyond, using audio content (like music or podcasts) to nurture their photosynthesizing friends.
That’s one of the reasons many Spotify listeners turned to Music for Plants. The playlist features music and soundscapes carefully handpicked to help encourage growth. For the Record spoke with Uriel Waizel, who works at Spotify and is the creator and editor behind the playlist, to get his perspective.
“I’m convinced plants feel human music and human presence,” says Uriel. “Sound waves resonate with the green world. It was a no-brainer to make the playlist and fill the content gap.”
The playlist itself consists of a range of sounds and track lengths, including 43 seconds of birdsong and a 23-minute ambient song. Many of the songs are similar in instrumentation, which means listeners can shuffle without disrupting the experience. Ultimately, Uriel’s goal is to bestow rooms with a figurative “green wallpaper” so that whether or not you own plants, the music “will populate your house with greenness.”
Many listeners are also taking their audio choices into their own hands by creating playlists for their leafy friends. There are now more than 2.9 million user-generated Spotify playlists related to plants and gardening.
This is no surprise to architectural designer Kelly Wearstler, who curated a playlist called Parterre Paradise. Kelly listens to a range of music when gardening and was quick to point out the connection between the two to For the Record. “Curating and nurturing plants and making music are both art forms that take time and expertise,” says Kelly. “Music is an amazing accompaniment to creative and meditative activity.”
Looking more deeply at the Spotify listener data, we noticed some interesting trends of what people are doing on the platform. Many listeners are early birds, as most streams happen in the morning. The most popular plants to earn a playlist are ivy, cacti, and ferns. And Spotify listeners gravitate toward a few favorite tunes.
Top five genres of vegetation-friendly music:
- Fourth world
- Art pop
- Background music
- Lo-fi beats
Some of the most-added botanical beats:
- “Ivy” – Frank Ocean
- “Such Great Heights” – Iron & Wine
- “BUTTERFLY EFFECT” – Travis Scott
- “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers
- “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” – SZA
- “Here Comes the Sun – Remastered 2009” – The Beatles
- “Secret Garden” – Bruce Springsteen
- “Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley & The Wailers
- “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
- “Rose Garden” – Lynn Anderson
- “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
At the core of many of today’s playlists is one perennial favorite: Mort Garson’s classic album Mother Earth’s Plantasia (featuring tracks like “Symphony for a Spider Plant” and “Concerto for Philodendron & Pothos”). Not only did Plantasia inspire Uriel’s original Music for Plants playlist, but streams of the 1976 album are up more than 40% this year.
Keep vibing and thriving
Through our Spotify survey, we learned that one in four people globally said they believe they will carry on their passion for houseplants into the future. Plus, 28% of respondents felt that caring for houseplants offers people more of a purpose in life.
Those aren’t the only benefits of taking in a succulent or orchid of your own, according to Kelly. “Plants and natural elements have such a healing, meditative power and truly bring life to your space,” Kelly explains. “Adding more plants throughout your home—whether it’s through an indoor herb garden in your kitchen or a landscaped backyard—gives a sense of freshness and livelihood to your environment.”
For those on the hunt for another fresh find, Kelly recommends choosing vegetation that helps express your personality. “Be bold and use vibrant florals or go for a more understated (yet still chic) vibe with a beautiful olive or rubber tree,” Kelly adds.
Growing in a new direction
While many perfected their plant care (30% of those surveyed believe they’ve gotten better at caring for houseplants during the past 12 months), another 70% of respondents reported feeling uncertain about how to keep their plants thriving. One in four respondents didn’t know the best way to help their houseplants grow, and roughly the same did not know how to spot signs of overwatering.
Uriel has advice for those struggling to find their green thumb: Listen to music. “The playlist puts you in the mood and gives you a green finger coating,” he explains. “It makes you feel safe and feel like you’re doing the right thing for your plants. It’s music that nurtures the atmosphere.”
Ready for some good vibrations? Check out the new plant playlists, which can be found on your Soundtrack Your Home hub.