Is Gardening therapeutic?

Is Gardening therapeutic?

Gardening is therapeutic for many people. It can be a great way to relax, get out in nature, and enjoy the fresh air. It's also an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety. Gardening has been shown to improve mood, reduce depression, increase self-esteem, and help with social skills.

Garden lovers often say that gardening is therapeutic. You might be wondering how true this statement is. In this article, I will explain the therapeutic benefits of gardening.

Right through the course of evolution, man has been associated with nature, and it is an integral part of who we are. But now, since we have become so busy with an urban lifestyle, we find ourselves struggling to connect with nature. Rapid urbanization has left us with small green spaces, patches in our balconies and yards, and garden beds. Hence, today it has become even more critical for us to understand the value of these green spaces.

Studies have shown that gardening indeed has a therapeutic effect. It plays a crucial role in treating clinical depression, stress, tension, and anxiety. Gardening helps treat symptoms of depression, dementia, autism, post-surgical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug or alcohol dependency, increases social interaction, and is even therapeutic for children and adults faced with the typical, everyday stresses of modern-day urban life. Garden therapy which includes exposure to nature or plants, is being recommended nowadays by health professionals to treat many disorders. Scientifically, the soil has certain bacteria like Mycobacterium vaccae present, which has a similar effect in our brain to drugs like Prozac. The bacteria stimulate serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that stabilizes our mood, feelings of wellbeing, and happiness.

Roots of Therapeutic Gardening in the U.S.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, an Austrian physician who introduced homeopathy into Germany, was the first known use of a garden as a form of therapy. He believed that illnesses could cure by applying natural remedies, such as plants, minerals, and water. In 1839 he published his book Organon of Medicine: The Homeopathic Treatment of Disease, which included instructions for using medicinal herbs and other plant materials. The first documented use of a garden as a form of psychotherapy was in 1876, when Dr. William Alcott began working with patients at his Boston home. He called it "the practice of medicine among flowers," He believed that nature could help people heal themselves by providing them with fresh air, exercise, and natural surroundings. In the early 1900s, the American Psychiatric Association recognized the value of gardening for treating depression and other psychological disorders. The first known use of gardens as a form of therapy was by Hippocrates, who wrote about the medicinal value of plants in his work "On Airs, Waters, and Places." In the late 19th century, American horticulturist Luther Burbank developed many of today's most famous garden varieties, including the rose, begonia, iris, lily, and carnation. In the United States, the first organized community gardens were by the YMCA in 1884. The American Horticultural Society started in 1895, and the National Garden Clubs Association followed in 1898. In 1915, the National Federation of Garden Clubs started as a national umbrella organization for local clubs. By the 1920s, there were more than 400 communities with active garden club membership.

The therapeutic effects of the gardening stem from the fact that nature provides an environment where people can relax, feel safe and experience positive feelings. The natural beauty of plants, water, soil, and the sun contributes to this effect. For example, studies show that exposure to greenery reduces blood pressure and heart rate. At the same time, other research indicates that even brief exposure to green spaces improves mood and decreases negative emotions such as anger and sadness.

Plants provide many therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, increasing socialization, supporting and enhancing self-esteem. And when plants are in group settings, they can help people feel less isolated and improve communication skills.

In addition to direct effects on individuals, plants also have indirect effects through interactions with other species. For example, birds eat insects, prey on pest plants like weeds. Birds also disperse seeds and pollen. Plants provide many essential services. They help purify the air by absorbing pollutants; they reduce noise levels in homes and offices; they shield us from ultraviolet radiation; they offer shade and coolness, and they add beauty and character to our surroundings. The list goes on. And while we tend to focus on plants utility, there's another side to it: Plants also provide us with a sense of wellbeing. The therapeutic potential of plants is well known. Plants provide soothing colors, textures, and scents, and they also offer a sense of safety and security. The smell of lavender, for instance, reduces blood pressure and heart rate, while the sight of red geraniums makes people feel calmer.

Plants also help reduce stress by providing a calming environment that encourages restful sleep. Research shows that patients recovering from surgery experience less postoperative pain when exposed to Plants also offer therapeutic benefits through their care and maintenance. For example, people who tend to plants report feeling less stressed and anxious, and they'rethey're happier overall. The positive effects of caring for plants are so strong that some researchers suggest that "gardening is good for your health!"

In addition to reducing stress, tending plants helps people feel better about themselves. One study found that women who managed houseplants reported higher self-esteem than those who didn't. The therapeutic effects of plants go well beyond just looking pretty. Plants provide an abundance of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K; minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and potassium; fiber; antioxidants; and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and terpenes. These compounds help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, fight cancer, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, improve sleep patterns; the therapeutic effects of plants are not limited to simply viewing them. People who tend to flowers or other potted plants experience improved moods, greater self-esteem, and less depression. Gardening also provides opportunities for social interaction, reducing loneliness and isolation. And it's no surprise that people who grow vegetables and herbs report feeling healthier and happier.

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Gardening is a great way to de-stress and relax. It can be therapeutic for your mental health, especially if you have a garden that needs tending. Gardening is also an excellent activity for those who suffer from depression or anxiety. If you are suffering from these conditions, gardening may help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.

Gardening is a great way to get your hands dirty and enjoy the outdoors. It can also be therapeutic in many ways, including mental health benefits. The act of gardening can help you feel better about yourself and your life. Gardening provides a sense of accomplishment that comes from working with nature, and you'll find it relaxing as well as invigorating.

In addition, it provides an opportunity to connect with others through gardening groups or community gardens. Gardening may even help you lose weight!

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses gardening to help people with mental health problems. Plants can be used for children, adults, and older people who have experienced trauma or loss, such as grief, divorce, separation, illness, or injury.

It'sIt's also suitable for anyone who wants to improve their self-esteem, confidence, and sense of belonging in the world.

The term "horticultural therapy" refers to plants in a therapeutic setting. It can be an alternative or complementary treatment for people with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Horticultural therapy aims to improve emotional wellbeing through plants and gardening activities.

The use of plants in treating and managing psychological disorders is a relatively new area of practice. The first known reference to horticultural therapy was made by Dr. James Hillman, who used it as part of his psychoanalytic work with patients. He believed that the therapeutic value of gardening could be applied to all forms of human suffering. In the early 1970s, the concept of horticultural therapy began to take hold in Europe and North America.

Therapeutic gardens, horticultural therapy programs, and occupational therapy help improve the quality of life, including mental health benefits and physical health. The effects of gardening are immense, and the green plants visually have a calming effect. 

Therapeutic gardens can be of many types. Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice. Any form of green like a private garden, community garden, healing gardens, restorative gardens, sensory gardens, therapeutic landscapes, container gardening, indoor gardening, or any other garden centers are healing elements and can help stress relief and therapeutic benefits. The gardens automatically have physical benefits and uplift our entire mood and behavior.

Any accessible space or natural materials and reusable containers can grow plants. The best part is that garden centers can be started anywhere. A simple act of looking at trees swaying in the wind or getting your hands into the soil and feeling the earth or smelling the ground after a rain shower and exposure to plants or exposure to nature is a garden therapy. Our mind is hard-wired to be among the elements of nature. 

Get Help From an Expert

Do you need a landscape architect to design a therapeutic garden but don't have a green thumb? Get in touch with us at or call us at 91-8880482000 for any queries. We can help you set up therapeutic landscape designs and take care of your therapeutic gardens.


Frequently asked questions:

  • In what way is gardening a therapeutic activity?
  • Gardening is an excellent form of therapy. It's one of the best ways to relax and de-stress, especially in this busy world we live in today. If you are looking for a way to unwind, get out of your routine or take some time away from work, gardening can be an excellent choice.
  • How can plants be therapeutic?
  • I'm a gardener, and I have been for many years. I love the smell of freshly cut grass in the morning and the feel of my hands in the soil. I enjoy watching seedlings grow into mature plants, and I get excited when I see a new flower emerging from an old stem or leaf. But gardening is not always easy. Sometimes it can be frustrating, and sometimes it can even be painful.
  • Why is gardening healing
  • Gardening is therapeutic for many people. It can be a way to relax, relieve stress, and even help you lose weight. But it's not just for the couch potatoes out there. Gardening can also be an extremely beneficial hobby for anyone who enjoys being outside. 
  • Can gardening improve your health?
  • Yes, gardening can improve health as you eat what you grow, organic. You can increase your medicines and herbs which are good for you. 
  • Is gardening good for the brain?
  • Gardening relieves stress and makes you take you away from work and deadlines. The color green is known to be extremely calming.
  • What is a therapeutic community garden?
  • By itself, gardening is therapeutic. Along with this, engaging with people in a neutral environment such as gardening helps create bonds with a common goal of healing the planet.
  • What are the mental benefits of gardening?
  • The brain relaxes while engaging with gardens and plants. It helps calm the nerves and allows the brain to connect with nature. 
  • Which plant is suitable for mental health?
  • All plants help create a people-nature connection.
  • Do plants have feelings?
  • We do know that they can feel sensations. Studies show that plants can feel a touch as light as a caterpillar's footsteps. But pain, specifically, is a defense mechanism. But plants don't have that ability—nor do they have nervous systems or brains—so they may have no biological need to feel pain.


Important references:

  • Therapeutic Benefits of Gardening - Boost your mental and emotional wellbeing with relaxing and stress-relieving gardening. (
  • Pedal Power: Why Is Gardening So Good For Our Mental Health? - 10 ways horticulture helps us heal, overcome anxiety and lift low mood (
  • How Gardening Helps My Anxiety and 4 Steps to Get Started - I'veI've had anxiety nearly my whole life. As I worked to find new ways to manage my symptoms, I discovered the wonders of gardening for my mental health. Studies have found that gardening reduces symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Here'sHere's how to get started soothing your anxiety with easy-to-grow pl.(
  • 10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening - Few activities are more life-giving. (
  • About Horticultural Therapy (
  • Therapeutic garden - Wikipedia (
  • The Therapeutic Power of Gardening - Can anxious minds find solace working with plants? A therapist and her husband, a garden designer, say yes. (
  • Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening - There is increasing evidence that exposure to plants and green space, and particularly to gardening, is beneficial to mental and physical health, and so could reduce the pressure on NHS services. Health professionals should therefore encourage their patients . (
  • The therapeutic properties of growing and gardening (
  • Why gardening is good for your mental wellbeing - Thrive - ''Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.'' (
  • Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis - There is increasing evidence that gardening provides substantial human health benefits. However, no formal statistical assessment has been conducted t (
  • How Therapeutic Gardens Can Help People With Disabilities - Therapeutic gardens are often used to treat individuals with chronic illness and disabilities. They can offer many health benefits. (
  • Home - Garden Therapy (
  • 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening - Learn how digging in the dirt can be good for your mind and body. (
  • A path to wellbeing: the growing world of gardening therapy - Horticultural therapists reveal how outdoor projects help to support physical and mental health (
  • THERAPEUTIC GARDENING - The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) defines a medicinal garden as " a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate ... (
  • Gardening for Therapeutic People-Plant Interactions during Long-Duration Space Missions - Plants provide people with vital resources necessary to sustain life. Nutrition, vitamins, calories, oxygen, fuel, and medicinal phytochemicals are just a few of the life-supporting plant products, but does our relationship with plants transcend these physical and biochemical products? This review s. (
  • ResearchGate - ResearchGate is a network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs, and conferences. All for free. (
  • The science is in: gardening is good for you - A growing body of research literature suggests time spent gardening is as good for the gardener as it is for the garden. (
  • Gardening becomes healing with horticultural therapy (


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Happy Gardening!

Dr. Vandana, Co-Founder,