What is Horticultural Therapy?

Have you ever considered an alternative to traditional remedies? What if such an alternative means spending time or working in the garden? Find out what horticultural therapy is.

What is Horticultural Therapy?

Horticultural therapy definition

Horticultural therapy is nothing more than garden treatment. It is a relatively new method of unconventional therapy and is more and more often recommended as a method complementing other forms of treatment. Horticultural therapy aims to influence the mental and physical condition of the patient by influencing his well-being and self-esteem. There are two forms of activity in horticultural therapy: active and passive.

In general, it is a branch of natural medicine that focuses on the effects of plants and their nutrients on human health.

Medicus curat, natura sanat

Physician cures while nature heals - Hippocrates.

Primary goals of horticultural therapy

One of the essential tools of horticultural therapy is using nature's influence on humans through aromatherapy, phytotherapy, occupational and color therapy. The treatment aims to get rid of tension and stress from everyday life and support the rehabilitation of disabled people. Due to its wide range of benefits, it is widely accepted as a beneficial and effective therapeutic modality.

Main goals of horticultural therapy

Several studies have shown the benefits of horticultural therapy on people of all ages' well-being, mental, and physical health. Wilson's theory of biophilia suggests that humans are genetically programmed to respond positively to natural environments.

Types of horticultural therapy

Due to the nature of horticultural therapy, we can distinguish vocational, therapeutic, and social therapy.

Vocational horticultural therapy

Vocational horticultural therapy
The ability to work in a team is one of the significant positive side effects of horticultural therapy.

Vocational horticultural therapy aims to develop skills and improve social behavior that can be used in the workplace. Vocational garden therapy focuses on the basic principles of plant cultivation and teamwork.

Therapeutic horticultural therapy

Therapeutic horticultural therapy refers to any use of horticultural activities for therapeutic benefit, whether initiated independently or through entertaining, community, or professional programs.

This therapy is based on the positive impact of plants on the human senses and spiritual state.

Therapeutic horticultural therapy

Therapeutic horticultural therapy focuses on the interaction of plants and humans through gardening activities, both outside and inside.

Such garden therapy can be used in senior institutions, as well as in hospitals, rehabilitation and care centers, and schools. Its program is adjusted depending on the age and health of the patient. People with emotional, physical, and mental disabilities can also benefit from this garden therapy.

Social horticultural therapy

Social horticultural therapy helps people to improve their interpersonal contacts by working or spending time in the garden. Social therapy aims to establish a community that can influence the growth and health of cultivated plants by independent means.

What is more, it directly affects communication skills and independent thinking. Gardening classes help to maintain emotional stability, which is extremely important among people exposed to severe stress.

Social horticultural therapy

Research shows that social horticultural therapy helps to reduce the level of stress in people undergoing garden activities.


Horticultural therapy benefits all patients, including children, the elderly, those with mental illness and physical disorders, and addicts.

Garden therapy has been popular in the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, and Scandinavian countries since the 1930s. The color, shape, smell, sound of the water in the fountain, the sound of the wind, birds singing, the texture of plants, and conversation with other people spending time in the garden affect the senses and make rehabilitation more attractive. Touching plants, inhaling the aromas of flowers, and carrying out gardening activities reduce mental tension and stress.