Discover the numerous benefits of using plants for therapeutic purposes in clinical settings. From faster healing to mood disorder management, learn how plant therapy can improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Find recommended plants and best practices for incorporating them into clinical environments. Harness the power of nature to enhance patients' therapy and recovery experience.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on plant therapy – using plants for therapeutic purposes in clinical settings. Plants have long been recognized for their healing properties and have been used in various traditional medicinal practices. In recent years, the therapeutic benefits of plants have gained attention in clinical settings as well. In this article, we will explore the numerous benefits of plant therapy, recommended plants for different therapeutic purposes, and best practices for incorporating plants into clinical environments. So let’s dive in!

The Benefits of Plant Therapy in Clinical Settings

Plant therapy, also known as horticultural therapy, offers a range of benefits for patients in clinical settings. Research has shown that incorporating plants into these environments can have a positive impact on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Let’s explore the specific benefits below:

  1. Faster Healing: Studies have found that patients with a view of leafy trees from their hospital room windows healed faster compared to those who saw a brick wall[^1]. This suggests that exposure to nature can positively influence the healing process.

  2. Pain Reduction: Patients with a view of leafy trees required less pain medication than those who saw a brick wall[^1]. The presence of plants and nature has been shown to have a calming effect and reduce pain perception.

  3. Reduced Postsurgical Complications: Viewing nature, such as leafy trees, has been associated with fewer postsurgical complications[^1]. The soothing presence of plants can contribute to a more relaxed and stress-free environment, promoting better recovery outcomes.

  4. Mood Disorders Management: Horticultural therapy has been found to be effective in managing mood disorders and mental illnesses[^1]. Engaging with plants and nature can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

  5. Physical Rehabilitation: Horticultural therapy contributes to physical rehabilitation by strengthening muscles, improving coordination, balance, and endurance[^1]. Gardening activities, such as planting and harvesting, can help patients regain motor skills and physical functionality.

  6. Work Skills Improvement: In vocational horticultural therapy settings, individuals can learn to work independently, problem-solve, follow directions, and enhance their work skills[^1]. This helps patients develop important life skills and gain confidence in their abilities.

  7. Memory and Cognitive Abilities Improvement: Horticultural therapy can help enhance memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization[^1]. Engaging in gardening activities stimulates the mind and provides cognitive stimulation.

  8. Beneficial for Various Conditions: Horticultural therapy is beneficial for individuals with mental illness, dementia, behavioral issues, intellectual disabilities, physical limitations and injuries, developmental issues, and sensory issues[^1]. The therapeutic benefits of plants are applicable to a wide range of conditions.

Recommended Plants for Therapeutic Purposes

While numerous plants can be used for therapeutic purposes, certain varieties have been found to be particularly beneficial. Here are some recommended plants for different therapeutic purposes:

  1. Aloe Vera: Known for its healing properties, Aloe Vera is commonly used to treat skin conditions and promote wound healing[^2]. The gel within its leaves has anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.

  2. Lavender: Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. Its scent has been found to reduce anxiety, promote sleep, and enhance mood[^2].

  3. Peppermint: Peppermint is often used for its refreshing and energizing qualities. The scent of peppermint can help alleviate mental fatigue and enhance concentration[^2].

  4. Rosemary: Rosemary has been associated with improved memory and cognitive function. Its scent can enhance alertness and mental clarity[^2].

  5. Spider Plant: Spider plants are excellent at purifying the air and removing toxins[^2]. They are ideal for improving indoor air quality in clinical settings.

  6. Snake Plant: Snake plants are known for their ability to remove harmful toxins and improve indoor air quality[^2]. They are low-maintenance and can thrive in various conditions.

  7. Peace Lily: Peace lilies are popular indoor plants that can help cleanse the air by removing common pollutants[^2]. They also add a touch of elegance to clinical environments.

  8. English Ivy: English ivy has been found to reduce airborne mold and improve respiratory conditions[^2]. It is an excellent choice for individuals with asthma or allergies.

It’s important to note that the choice of plants should consider the specific therapeutic goals, environmental conditions, and safety considerations in clinical settings. Consulting with horticultural therapists or plant experts can help in selecting the most suitable plants.

Best Practices for Incorporating Plants into Clinical Environments

To effectively incorporate plants into clinical settings for therapeutic purposes, certain best practices should be followed. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Collaboration: Collaboration between healthcare professionals, designers, and horticulture experts is essential for successful integration of plants. Each stakeholder brings valuable expertise to create an inclusive and suitable environment.

  2. Plant Selection: Carefully select plants based on their therapeutic properties, maintenance requirements, and safety considerations. Consider factors like sunlight, water needs, and toxicity levels of certain plants.

  3. Safety Measures: Ensure that plants and plant-related elements, such as pots or watering systems, do not pose any safety hazards. Avoid plants that may trigger allergies or have toxic properties, especially in clinical settings where patient well-being is a priority.

  4. Plant Maintenance: Proper maintenance of plants is critical to ensure their health and longevity. Regular watering, pruning, and cleaning of leaves are essential tasks that should be assigned to qualified staff or volunteers.

  5. Accessibility and Ergonomics: Design clinical spaces with plant-related elements, such as gardens or green walls, to be accessible and user-friendly for patients with mobility issues. Consider the ergonomic needs of patients and staff when incorporating plants into the physical layout.

  6. Sensory Stimulation: Incorporate different sensory elements, such as scented plants or textured foliage, to provide a multi-sensory experience for patients. Sensory stimulation can enhance the therapeutic benefits of plant therapy.

  7. Therapeutic Activities: Engage patients in horticultural activities, such as planting, pruning, or harvesting, as part of their therapy. These activities offer hands-on experiences and promote physical and cognitive rehabilitation.

By following these best practices, clinical environments can create a nurturing and therapeutic atmosphere for patients, promoting their overall well-being and recovery.


Plant therapy offers a wide range of benefits for patients in clinical settings, including faster healing, pain reduction, and improved mental and emotional well-being. Incorporating plants into these environments requires careful selection, maintenance, and collaboration between various stakeholders. By following best practices and taking advantage of recommended plant varieties, healthcare facilities can create healing spaces that support patients’ overall therapy and recovery experience. Let’s harness the power of plants and nature to enhance the well-being of individuals in clinical settings.


[^1]: Horticultural Therapy Uses Nature to Help Heal. TreeHugger. Link
[^2]: Why Plants Are One of the Most Powerful Healing Tools We Have. Prevention. Link