It is commonly known that lunar rhythms have influence on plant growth, and there are even lunar calendars to know when planting, pruning, transplanting, harvesting, etc.

I know that the lunar cycles affect the tidal patterns, and this consequently can affect the life of sea organisms like reef corals, fishes, etc., but I am very skeptical that this can affect the growth dynamics or plant physiology. I would like to know how it works from a scientific perspective, E.g. the temperature and precipitation are the main limiting factors on plant growth, but I'm curious if the moon light or its magnetic field can also be a limiting factor on plant growth.

Then my question is simple, the lunar rhythms really influence the growth of plants, if so, how?

  • $\begingroup$ Great question! I think there is a similar question on Skeptics.SE but I assume you want a more scientific perspective, correct? $\endgroup$
    – TanMath
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ @TanMath exactly! I would like to know it from a scientific perspective. I have added more details to my question. $\endgroup$
    – Darwin PC
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ Let me point you towards this 3-part blog post on howplantswork.com. There are quite some references in there. If you ask me personally: I think there is no scientific basis for the widely believed lunar influence on plant growth. Just superstition handed down. $\endgroup$
    – ChrKoenig
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know at all is there any relation between lunar cycle and living world. However once I've read that lunar phase and human menstruation cycle both are of 28 days. However they're not in synchronous relation, and maybe a mere coincidence. But I assume there could exist some direct relation in marine/ coastal organisms because tide take place there. $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the moon light could put some photoperiodic effect in plants. $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Great question! The way I will do this is by explaining a bit about what moon planting is, then I will go through the articles I have found one at a time, to provide the different persepctives on moon planting, as it is called.

What is moon planting?

Moon planting is a methodology of planting, in which the lunar cycles are used as guides to know when to plant.

How might it work?

The first article is a great article about a gardener who tried to do moon planting, but it did not work for her, until she realized she did it wrong. Then, she found out the logic behind why lunae planting works. It really doesn't have to do with lunar cycles. Here is her explanation:

Let’s look at a possible scenario. Gardener I is a moon planter; Gardener II isn’t. Both gardeners wait till spring to plant their beans. (No sensible cool climate gardener will plant beans in winter. It’s too cold for them to germinate, and many seeds will rot or be taken by ants.) But come the first warm spell Gardener II succumbs to one of the great spring urges and plants the beans at the first hint that spring has arrived. Gardener I, on the other hand, waits till the next good moon planting time before planting the seeds. Early warm spells are usually followed by another cold one… and again seed planted too early may rot. Even if it doesn’t, plants that suffer any set-back when they are young usually don’t do as well as plants that have flourished right from the start. (The set-back can be from cold, boggy soil, snail or scale attack — the effect is the same). So counterintuitively, beans that are planted later in spring will probably do better than beans planted too early.

The opposite works too when planting in autumn. By the lunar planting schedule, it is better to grow earlier, and since the soil is warmer, the plants will grow better.

In the second article, the author reviews the research done on the effect of lunar cycles on reproduction, germination, and more. However, only the work of a researcher, L. Kolisko, shows evidence for the benefits of lunar planting. Therefore, the conclusion was lunar planting are not significant to affect crop yield.

However, in another article, it shows that there are many cycles in plants that are affected by the lunar cycles and that for some organisms, the lunar cycles do affect reproduction, germination, and production of different metabolites. Therefore, lunar planting might have an effect in that way as well.


The conclusion is that lunar planting may actually work, but many scientists are debating about it. So in reality, we aren't 100% percent sure about it, because there is evidence supporting it, and evidence contradicting it.


  1. http://danfingerman.com/skeptic/Moon_planting.pdf
  2. http://www.howplantswork.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/beeson_1946.pdf
  3. http://www.howplantswork.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/schad.pdf
  • $\begingroup$ good answer, however the first example is based on temperate ecosystems where the temperature is the first limiting factor, but what about planting in the tropics where the temperatures are almost the same during all year?. I was doing by myself some experiments in the Andean region with good and bad results. I did it because there is a strong ancestral tradition to planting with the moon rhythms, and all farmers do it specially with short-cycle crops (Eg. corn, potatoes, etc.) and also in lowlands with the bananas. but it is curious that has not been done much research in this field. $\endgroup$
    – Darwin PC
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ @DarwinPC good point, by the logic pointed out in the firsf article, then there would be no signficiant effect. However, there are theories about whether or not moonlight could affect plant growth. Do you want articles on that? Also, if you like my answer and it answers your question very well, if you want, you can accept my answer by pressing the checkmark button near my answer. $\endgroup$
    – TanMath
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @DarwinPC Much research has been done, but many are biased. Some of the research papers aren't even true science, and more like pseudoscience with astrology. $\endgroup$
    – TanMath
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 23:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TanMath I like your answer but I will wait for other answers, I don't want exactly an articles list, rather more convincing answers based on true science. $\endgroup$
    – Darwin PC
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 11:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Based on your Nature citation (the other one being popular science, the third a rather broad work mostly on animals) I dare say the consensus is there is no effect. if you are specifically interested in moon-planting, the kolisko 1939 citation in the nature paper seems the strongest lead to the contrary. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 11:51

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