Rutgers Horticulture Therapy Program in the News

CNN: Gardening becomes healing with Horticultural Therapy

"The clients "are the caretakers, and that's an important role for people who are on the receiving end of medical care," said Joel Flagler, a professor of horticultural therapy at Rutgers University. Studies have found that horticultural therapy supports recovery and improves mood, resulting in shorter stays for many populations, such as mental health facilities and hospitals."

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"Gerbera daisies, bamboo palms and "dumb cane" or dieffenbachia, too, are among "the very best at enriching the indoor atmosphere and filtering out toxins, while also giving our brains a beautiful set of leaves to look at," says Joel Flagler, a registered horticultural therapist, Rutgers University professor and agricultural extension agent. "We do respond to the patterns and the presence of tropical plants as feel-good benefits." Some tropical varieties, like snake plants, have leaves that although visually striking, appear more blade-like than rounded and graceful."

"There's nothing like a flower in bloom, because the sheer aesthetic is so stimulating, beautiful and captivating," says Flagler, who grows orchids in his home and provides horticultural therapy to people in many settings. "Flowers can draw someone's attention, and provide a sense of wonder that really transcends their disability or pain."