More and more people are diving into gardening and cultivating plants. Plants have a fascinating way of captivating people’s imagination and inspiring a level of care and dedication that might otherwise be absent in a person’s life.
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Music can act in that same way–offering solace, providing joy. Songs about plants are an exciting intersection of popular interests. While some of the best songs about plants are conventional, others might require a bit of analogy to understand and appreciate fully.
Regardless, these songs with plants in the lyrics and songs with plants in the title are sure to please any listener. Take a seat by your ficus or fern and give these tunes a listen.
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is a popular song by the band Poison. In late 1988, the song was released and soon became a number one hit. It regularly ranks as one of the best power ballads ever written.
Lead singer of the band and writer of the song, Bret Michaels, said in an interview that he once called his girlfriend only to hear another man’s voice in the background, which inspired him to write the song.
The lyrics paint a picture of heartbreak and describe how a beautiful thing can cause pain. As florists will aptly describe, every beautiful rose does have sharp thorns that can injure anyone trying to pick or arrange the flowers.
“Moss Garden” – David Bowie
There are many rock songs about plants, and Moss Garden is one of the most popular. David Bowie recorded “Moss Garden” as a conceptual piece based on a garden in Kyoto, Japan.
Bowie is a massively popular musician who recorded hundreds of solo songs that topped the charts. He also recorded some songs with the band Queen. The artist aimed to create a piece of music that was highly descriptive and inspired by plants.
Moss is a small flowerless plant that grows in forest beds and damp outdoor locations. Many people sometimes confuse moss for funghi, but it is indeed a plant, more akin to a fern than a mushroom.
“Supermarket Flowers” – Ed Shereen
“Supermarket Flowers” is a song by Ed Sheeran from his third studio album, Divide. Sheeren has told interviewers that the song is in memory of his grandmother, who was ill while recording the album.
He played the music at his grandmother’s funeral, and his grandfather encouraged Sheeren to add the song to his pending album.
Everyone has an immediate picture of what supermarket flowers look like--whether it be multicolored daisies or plastic-wrapped roses, giving someone a bouquet is always special. Flowers are some of the most giftable plants, so it is no wonder that songs about flowers--and giving flowers as a gift--are so popular.
“Heard It Through The Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was written by Norman Whitfield and Gladys Knight recorded a version of the song. Then, in 1968, Marvin Gaye added the song to his album, In the Groove.
Due to radio play, Marvin Gaye’s version went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart, and in 1998 the recording entered the Grammy Hall of Fame.
A grapevine is an interconnected vine where bunches of grapes grow. Most grapevines are associated with wine-making, and thousands of people visit vineyards annually to see the grapevines and sample the product. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is one of the best songs about plants.
“Sage and Spirit” – Grateful Dead
“Sage & Spirit” is both a song and an album by the Grateful Dead. The song was first released in 1975 on the album Blues for Allah.
Then, in 2019, in partnership with Dogfishhead Brewery, the compilation album Spirit & Sage was released and encapsulated some of the band’s most famous songs. The 2019 record was a limited release, with only 4,000 copies available.
Sage is an herb that can be used in cooking, but it is also associated with spirituality. Sage is sometimes burned in homes to generate positive vibes and energy of renewal. Sage is a useful and diverse plant.
“Two Dozen Roses” – Shenandoah
“Two Dozen Roses” is a country music song performed by Shenandoah. It describes the pleas of a man to win back the woman he loves, and the song asks, “if I had two dozen roses would it change your mind?” The song is one of the biggest hits of the musical group.
Songs about roses are some of the most popular in the genre of songs about plants. Roses represent love, or depending on the color of the flower, can represent unrequited love or loss. Flowers are a particular genre of flower that people love to grow and give.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” – The Beatles
“Strawberry Fields Forever” is a song by the Beatles. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it. The hit song was included on the album Penny Lane. The song broke from the group’s traditional type of music and was one of the first pieces of music to debut an accompanying video.
The song was based on a childhood memory of John Lennon’s. He would run and play in a strawberry field in Liverpool. Many people can relate to remembering an idyllic version of their childhood. Strawberries are a popular berry that is usually ready to enjoy in the springtime and can be eaten fresh, baked in pies, or frozen in ice cream.
“Kiss From A Rose” – Seal
“Kiss from a Rose” is a song by the artist named Seal. It was released in the summer of 1994. In 1995, it was included in the Batman Forever soundtrack. In 1996, the song won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Seal uses an analogy to describe a soft and sensual kiss by comparing it to the softness of the flowering portion of a rose. Roses are known for inspiring love or mourning loss. They are ubiquitous plants known for their beauty and delicate nature.
“Leaves That Are Green” – Simon & Garfunkel
“Leaves That Are Green” was written by Paul Simon in 1965 and was recorded with his musical partner, Garfunkel, on the 1966 album Sounds of Silence. The song uses the occasion of changing seasons to demonstrate the passing of time. The nostalgic nature of the song resonates with listeners, making it one of the most popular songs by the duo.
Leaves are the most important parts of many plants because they function as the piece that collects the sun and creates chlorophyll, a key component to plant health and growth. The “Leaves That Are Green” is one of the best songs about plants with meaningful analogies.
“Where the Green Grass Grows” – Tim McGraw
“Where the Green Grass Grows” is a song by country music star, Tim McGraw. Craig Wiseman and Jess Leary wrote the song. In 1998, McGraw released the song on his fifth album, Everywhere.
It is often included in lists of the best country music songs of the 1990s. The song is about a man who decides to leave the city and return to his country roots, “where the green grass grows.”
Grass is a plant that everyone is familiar with, and sprawling lawns are common in parts of the country with more land and more space for plants to grow.
“The Rose” – Bette Midler
In a list of the best songs about plants, you can be sure the plants in the title and lyrics will be used metaphorically, most often about love. What better way to start this list than with an iconic song about searching for the correct metaphor for love?
Written by Amanda McBroom, Bette Midler recorded “The Rose” for her 1979 film, The Rose. Ultimately, it’s a hopeful song, a song that says, yes, love may hurt you, it may even destroy you, but if you’re not willing to risk it, you’ll never know its beauty.
“Lotus Flower” – Radiohead
The lotus flower symbolizes rebirth, enlightenment, transcendence, and purity. The titular flower grows in the mud but rises from it clean. “Lotus Flower” appears on Radiohead’s 2011 album, “The King of Limbs.”
It is a somewhat cryptic song, open for interpretation. However, one reading is that it is a song about connection vs. possession, how we affect each other, and what influences we should and should not hold onto.
“Cactus” – Pixies
The next song about plants takes a spiky turn. You may be familiar with David Bowie’s cover of “Catcus,” but it is a Pixies song written by Black Francis (Frank Black) for their 1988 album “Surfer Rosa.” The original is lo-fi and sounds more desperate and unhinged than Bowie’s lush cover of it.
At its heart, “Catcus” is a song about a visceral pining for someone who is far away. Sometimes a letter is not good enough. You want to smell them, have proof of their life, and have as much of them as you can while you’re apart.
“Let It Grow” – Eric Clapton
From Eric Clapton’s 1974 album, “461 Ocean Boulevard,” comes “Let it Grow,” a song about planting love like a seed, taking care of it, and just letting it grow and be what it is. It’s about letting love have room and be true to its nature.
Flowers don’t just spring up from the ground whole, and neither does love. “Let it Grow” appeared in the animated movie, The Lorax and even became a meme in 2016.
“Daffodil Lament” – The Cranberries
A song about a plant comes from a band named after a plant. From their 1994 album, “No Need to Argue,” fans voted “Daffodil Lament” as their favorite non-single Cranberries song in 2002. It is a song about leaving a relationship.
“Daffodil Lament” is full of pain, anguish, and disillusionment. The daffodils are at once a symbol of hope and a symbol of distrust. Things aren’t always what they appear.
“Dead Flowers” – The Rolling Stones
If you’re looking for rock songs about plants, The Rolling Stones is an excellent place to look. “Dead Flowers” on their 1971 album, “Sticky Fingers,” combines the band’s blues rock with a distinct country flavor.
This song is about a relationship gone wrong and the bitterness that can linger after a breakup. The song’s narrator has tender feelings for Susie and what they once shared, but he’s not above the pettiness either.
“Venus’ Flytrap and the Bug” – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder released a whole songs for plants album, “Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants” in 1979. It got recorded as a soundtrack for the documentary, The Secret Life of Plants, based on a book of the same name.
This is a good one if you’re looking for funny songs about plants. Behind the jazzy tune, a fly buzzes in the background. Stevie scats and has a good time, and in the end, a child asks him how a plant can eat a bug.
It’s a fun, cute song, but it’s also about love. It’s a song about throwing yourself wholeheartedly at someone who might just gobble you up.
“Marigold” – Nirvana
“Marigold,” written and performed by Dave Grohl, was initially recorded in 1991, and Grohl re-recorded it while working on the band’s “In Utero.” While it didn’t make the album, “Marigold” was released as a B-side to the “Heart-Shaped Box” single. He has gone on to cover this song with The Foo Fighters.
If you don’t know that Grohl is singing on the track, you might wonder what happened to Kurt’s voice that day to make it sound so smooth. While Dave Grohl went on to form and front the Foo Fighters, this is every bit a plodding and sludgy, yet sublime, Nirvana song. Rather than sounding like a pop rock icon, Grohl sounds like he’s singing through a Kurt Cobain filter.
With emotional and sparse lyrics, theories abound as to what this song is about and what the marigolds mean or stand for.
“Crimson & Clover” – Tommy James and the Shondells
For an excellent, iconic, psychedelic song about plants, check out “Crimson & Clover” from the 1968 Tommy James and the Shondells album of the same name. Tommy James said in an interview that the song came from the fact that those two words, crimson, and clover, were his favorite words, and he liked how they sounded together. So he wrote a song!
Regardless of the inspiration, this song is about the thrill of a crush and the possibility of new love. Crimson, a shade of red, is the color of love, and clovers symbolize spring, of life, and call to mind romantic picnics and frolicking through fields of flowers.
“Lemon Tree” – Peter, Paul, and Mary
“Lemon Tree” is a folk song written by Will Holt in the 1950s, based on a 1930s Brazilian song. While “Many artists have recorded Lemon Tree” over the years, Peter, Paul, and Mary added their unique blend of melodies and harmonies to it for their 1962 eponymous debut album.
“Lemon Tree” is a sour grapes song about love. It warns that while love might look beautiful from the outside, on the inside, it is bitter– something you can taste but that you aren’t meant to eat.
“San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) – Scott Mckenzie
Sometimes, the plants in songs about plants aren’t a metaphor, but they are still symbolic. “San Francisco” was written by John Phillips and recorded by Scott McKenzie. It was released in 1967 to promote the Monterey International Pop Music Festival.
“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)” is the song of the 1960s counter-culture, hippies, flower children, and the summer of love.
It is hard to sing the song without imagining being a part of it, wandering Haight Street in bell bottoms and flowy tops while everyone wears flowers as a symbol of peace and love.
Many songs take inspiration from the world around us, and it is no surprise that these music artists and songwriters are inspired by the natural world and plants. From flowers to herbs, many popular songs about plants and trees.
For more songs categorized by topic, check out our playlists, including memories, dogs, danger, trees, and nighttime.