Therapeutic Horticulture: A Way to Cultivate Health and Well-being

Have you ever felt better by planting a seed, caring for it, and harvesting its fruits? If so, you have experienced the benefits of therapeutic horticulture, a discipline that allows us to connect directly with nature and improve our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Horticultural therapy, also known as hortitherapy, involves the use of plants and gardening-related activities as a means to promote personal development, rehabilitation, and social integration.

This therapy can be applied to different population groups, such as children, older adults, people with disabilities, mental health patients, inmates, refugees, among others. It can be carried out in both indoor and outdoor spaces, adapting activities and goals to the needs and capabilities of each individual.

What are the benefits of therapeutic horticulture?

Numerous studies have shown that this discipline has positive effects on various aspects of people’s health and well-being.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Improves physical health: Therapeutic horticulture can enhance mobility, coordination, muscle strength, endurance, blood circulation, the immune system, and sleep quality. Cultivating our own food also allows us to consume fresh, organic, and nutritious products, benefiting our diet and preventing diseases.
  • Stimulates mental health: This therapy exercises the mind in a natural environment, promoting attention, memory, learning, creativity, problem-solving, and self-esteem. Contact with nature can evoke feelings of calm, joy, satisfaction, and gratitude.
  • Fosters emotional health: Therapeutic horticulture helps express and regulate emotions, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, improve mood and psychological well-being, and prevent isolation and loneliness. Caring for plants develops feelings of empathy, responsibility, care, and love.
  • Promotes social health: Provides an opportunity to interact with others who share an interest in plants, facilitating communication, cooperation, mutual support, friendship, and a sense of belonging. It also allows participation in community projects that contribute to environmental care and sustainable development.

How can I grow easily?

To cultivate plants, it is not necessary to have a large space or many resources. The key is to have the desire to learn, enjoy, and improve your life. Some ways to practice therapeutic horticulture are:

  • Cultivate a home garden: Utilize available space, whether it’s a garden, balcony, terrace, or window, to grow your own plants. Choose from a variety of species such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, etc. Use organic seeds, soil, natural fertilizers, and efficient watering methods.
  • Participate in a gardening workshop: Enroll in a workshop held in your area to learn about plant techniques and care, and share experiences with others. You can also seek guidance from a certified horticultural therapist.
  • Join a community garden: Become part of a community garden where you can grow plants with others, benefit from resources and support, and participate in educational, cultural, and social activities organized in the garden.

Discover how caring for plants improves your life

Therapeutic horticulture is a way to cultivate health and well-being through contact with plants and nature. It offers multiple benefits for physical, mental, emotional, and social health, allowing us to enhance our quality of life. Moreover, it is an accessible, enjoyable, and enriching activity that can be practiced at home, in workshops, or in community gardens.

This practice not only brings individual physical, mental, and emotional benefits but also has a broader impact on the community and the environment. By engaging in gardening, individuals become more aware of their natural surroundings, fostering appreciation and efforts to preserve the ecosystem.

Connecting with the earth has a soothing effect; digging, planting, and caring for plants can be a meditative experience. Patience is cultivated when taking the time to nurture a plant from seed to bloom or harvest. Additionally, there is a deep sense of achievement and satisfaction in witnessing tangible results of one’s efforts.

At a community level, shared gardens can become social gathering spaces where people come together to cultivate not only plants but also relationships. These green spaces promote a sense of community; each member plays a vital role in the collective growth of the garden.

Education also plays a crucial role in horticultural therapy. Through continuous learning about sustainable agricultural techniques, natural pest control, and composting, individuals can apply this knowledge to reduce their environmental footprint.

On a deeper therapeutic level, some find solace in the natural cycles of the garden: growth, decline, and regeneration. These cycles reflect the ephemeral yet renewable nature of our own existence.

Last but certainly not least is the inherent artistry in gardening: selecting harmonious color combinations, planning aesthetically pleasing designs, pruning and shaping plants to create original forms, and decorating the space with natural or recycled elements.

If you’ve decided to cultivate at home, we recommend starting with seedlings; it’s much simpler than germinating seeds. Additionally, we encourage you to experience the pleasure of visiting your nearest plant store and seeking advice from the shopkeepers to choose the best cultivation based on the season, weather conditions, available space, etc.

In conclusion, therapeutic horticulture allows us to express our creativity and personality through plants, as well as channel our emotions and feelings much better. If you’re unsure how to start, we invite you to try GrowersGo, an app that allows you to improve your life by caring for plants. You’ll find instructions for creating your own home garden step by step. Click on this link to join the Early Growers Program and receive an exclusive invitation.

Grow, Thrive and have a fulfilling Life.

 

References:
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb; 17(3): 711. Published online 2020 Jan 22. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17030711

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