individuals gardening from chairs

Horticulture Therapy

What is Horticulture Therapy?
Horticulture therapy is a process of bringing people and plants together for therapeutic benefits. It is an active therapy mode, just as art and music therapies are, and horticulture is used to treat a myriad of illnesses—from emotional, cognitive or developmental illnesses to coping with physical disabilities. The most hopeful aspect of horticultural therapy is it's versatility—anyone can benefit from it, regardless of age, illness or ability. It is customized to the individual, including the level of difficulty, just as any other therapy is.

Horticulture therapy restores well being, comforts grieving, provides a constructive release for anger and frustration, and relieves depression. Horticulture therapy can also help one reinvent oneself following a sensory or mobility loss.

Horticulture therapy requires the expertise, guidance, and supervision of a certified horticultural therapist. He or she will set specific goals for an individual patient toward a specific desired outcome(s).

How has Horticultural Therapy Been Used?
Horticultural therapy has been a very effective modality tool in acute care settings, rehabilitation hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, in healing gardens for children, nursing home gardens, Alzheimer's treatment gardens, hospice gardens, and enabling gardens for people with physical or sensory disabilities.


If you would like to learn more about horticulture therapy, contact your local rehabilitation hospital or the American Horticulture Therapy Society 610-992-0020.

In the Chicagoland area, we're fortunate to have the horticulture therapy resources of the Chicago Botanic Garden in nearby Glencoe, Illinois (including certified classes for practitioners). Click here to visit the CBG website or call: (847) 835-8277; TDD: (847) 835-0790. 


Suggested Reading

This link will take you to a listing of many wonderful books on horticulture therapy, including, accessible and barrier free gardening, outdoor spaces for people with dementia, alzheimer's or strokes, prison horticulture, garden projects for the classroom, gardening for anxiety or with children with autism spectrum disorders, and gardening for victims of abuse.