Sound Absorbing Plants For Outdoor And Indoor Noise Dampening

Plants are one of the most underutilized sound dampening solutions available.

High-end hotels routinely shroud their seating areas with tall leafy plants, while many gardens also make use of tall dense hedges to dampen road sound and create a quiet garden oasis.

If you're in a rush check out our quick summary of the best plants below.

Best Indoor Sound Dampening Plants (amazon links):

Best Outdoor Sound Dampening Plants (amazon links):

japanese peace lily
A Japanese Peace Lily

Plants are one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways of dampening sound and they are surprisingly effective at it. If you’ve ever walked through a forest alone the eerie silence bears testament to just how good plants are at deadening sound.

Plants deaden sound thanks to their soft flexible leaves which help both deflect and absorb, rather than reflect sound, this helps break the soundwaves up turning them into heat energy. Sure, sticking a few plants in a room isn’t going to suddenly make a nightclub sound like a library, however they can certainly take the edge off things such as conversational noise and road and traffic noise in your back garden.

Dense hedge are particularly good at dampening sound because when soundwaves hit a hedge they have to bounce off hundreds of leaves and twigs before they make it out of the other side of the hedge, this wastes much of the energy in the soundwave.

3 Best Indoor Sound Absorbing Plants

When choosing a plant to help break up the sound and provide a bit of acoustic cover in your office, workspace or even your home the important thing is that there is plenty of foliage. 

Plants with broad thick leaves are ideal, if they dont have big leaves then they need to have a lot of leaves to create some density for sound waves to bounce off and contribute towards noise reduction by using up the sound energy. Below are three great options:

1. Japanese Peace Lily 

The Japanese Peace Lily (AKA the Peace Lily) is a very popular house plant due to its deep green leaves and charming seasonal flowers.

They are good at absorbing noise because of their dense foliage made up of big, thick leaves, these help to take the energy out of sound waves deadening the sound as it bounces off the leaves.

AMPLEX Spathiphyllum Peace Lily Live Plant, 6" Pot, Indoor/Outdoor Air Purifier!

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In order to get the most out of your Peace Lily we recommend that you plant it in a big pot with plenty of room to grow. 

In ideal conditions an indoor peace lily can grow to as much as 3-foot tall providing they have plenty of room to grow into, conversely when grown outdoors some breeds of peace lily can reach as much as 6 feet! 

If you are having problems with noise coming through a wall then placing a few peace lilys alongside the problem wall can help reduce the impact of any noise that comes through therby taking the edge off it. 

Peace lilys are particularly good at taking the edge off things like traffic noise, so if you have a deep enough window sill to accommodate a big houseplant than put them up against your window will help diminish road-noise, alternatively a high plant table near the window will also work.

2. Rubber Plants

Rubber plants are another plant that has large broad leaves, ideal for dampening sound.

9 Seeds Ficus Elastica Rubber Tree (Rubber Plant) Easy-Care Houseplant

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In a reasonable sized pot they can easily grow to be around three feet tall and two feet wide meaning they can provide plenty of indoor acoustic shelter, they are particularly popular as an office plant due in part to the fact that they are very low maintenance.

They only need occasional watering to keep the soil damp, make sure the soil doesn’t become too dry or the leaves will die and fall off meaning that you will lose all of the sound dampening benefits of your rubber plant. 

3. Weeping Fig

The weeping fig is also a great indoor plant for providing some acoustic shelter.

Wintergreen Weeping Fig Tree - Ficus - Great Indoor Tree for Low Light - 8" Pot

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They are very bushy plants that sprout a lot of leaves creating a great way of breaking up soundwaves and providing plenty of cover.

Weeping figs should be well-drained, overwatering can drown them. Only water them when the soil at the top is dry. Weeping figs are well suited to indoor life as they can be very sensitive to temperature extremes at either end of the heat spectrum.

3 Best Outdoor Sound Absorbing Plants

A dense growth of plants is the simplest and most aesthetically appealing way to dampen sound coming into your garden.

A hedge is an obvious solution, yet be aware that some plants are better for creating sound dampening hedges than others, broadleaf evergreens are typically the most effective sound dampeners due to their dense and big leaves which help dampen sound far better than smaller leaves do. 

There are also plenty of other non-hedge plants that you can add to your garden to further improve your noise landscape, some of which we mention below.

Here are three of the best plants to consider for your garden:

1. Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is a very typical hedge plant which if properly pruned can make an extremely dense hedge which does a lot to dampen sound.

Western Red Cedar | Medium Tree Seedling | The Jonsteen Company

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To get the best results out of your western red cedar, plant the hedge as close to the source of the noise as you can.

Typically they will grow about 60cm per year and can be maintained at any size between 1.5 meters to 3 or even 4 meters if needed, making them ideal for blocking out road noise. They don’t require a huge amount of maintenance and can be kept looking reasonable with just one trim every autumn (two trims a year will keep them looking pristine).

We recommend you plant them so that there is one in front of the other to allow the hedge to grow thicker quicker (the thicker the better for blocking sound).

2. Green Leylandii

Green Leylandii is a very fast-growing conifer which makes a thick dense hedge, perfect for blocking out and dampening ambient noise.

Premier Plant Solutions 21802X Holiday Leyland Cypress 1 Gallon (Cupressocypress X Leylandii), Green
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Bear in mind that as with most hedges you can expect it to take around two years (providing conditions are optimal) before you have a nice dense hedge.

Green Leylandii will grow around 3 feet a year, to help make your hedge extra dense we recommend trimming it 3 times per year.

3. Aureo Marginata

Aureo Marginata might sound like a fancy pizza but it is a very common plant which most people are quite familiar with, see below:

Aureo Marginata Hosta- Large Vase-Shaped Mounding Habit- Summer Sale -Gallon Pot

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It grows very dense with broad leaves, you can expect it to grow to around 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide outdoors.

It is ideal for adding some extra noise disrupting density to flower beds if your hedge or garden fence isn’t quite doing the job sufficiently on its own. 

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My name is Dan and I live very close to an internationally famous stadium which generates an awful lot of noise that I'd rather block out!

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