An Update of the Literature Supporting the Well-Being
Bene¢ts of Plants: A Review of the Emotional and Mental
Health Bene¢ts of Plants
Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth
Consumers have historically shown an inclination to purchase plants that enhance their quality of life, meaning they will purchase
items that positively influence their social, physical, psychological, cognitive, environmental, and spiritual well-being. Plants in
native and improved landscapes (and interiorscapes) have been documented to influence each of six quality of life constructs. This
paper summarizes publications regarding the emotional and mental health benefits associated with plants, addressing reduced anxiety
and stress, attention deficit recovery, fractals and visual response, decreased depression, enhanced memory retention, greater
happiness and life satisfaction, mitigation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), increased creativity, enhanced productivity and
attention, reduced effects of dementia, and improved self-esteem. This research should be strategically incorporated into both
industry-wide and firm-specific marketing messages that highlight the quality of life value proposition in order to maintain the
industry’s sense of value and relevance to consumers of the future.
Index words: beneﬁts of plants, emotional health, mental health.
Signiﬁcance to the Horticulture Industry
This paper is the ﬁrst of a four-part series that provides a
review of the substantial body of peer-reviewed research
that has been conducted regarding the economic, environ-
mental, and health and well-being beneﬁts of green
industry products and services. This article focuses
speciﬁcally on the health and well-being beneﬁts. This
research should be strategically incorporated into both
industry-wide and ﬁrm-speciﬁc marketing messages that
highlight these quality of life dimensions in order to
enhance the perceived value and relevance of green
industry products for gardening and landscaping consumers
in the future.
In 2011, Hall and Dickson published a forum article in
the Journal of Environmental Horticulture (JEH) that
summarized the economic, environmental, and health and
well-being beneﬁts associated with people-plant interac-
tions. The proposition put forth in that article was that
green industry ﬁrms needed to focus on these types of
functional beneﬁts in their marketing messages to con-
sumers rather than simply base their value proposition on
the features and beneﬁts of the plants themselves (e.g.
aesthetic aspects, disease resistance, cold/heat tolerance,
salt tolerance, etc.). By doing so, the end consumer would
see the inherent ways in which plants improve the quality
of their lives and begin perceiving plants to be a necessity
in their lives rather than a mere luxury they could cast aside
during economic downturns, as they did during the ‘‘Great
Recession’’ of 2008-2009.
Since 2011, there has been a plethora of additional
research conducted regarding these functional plant
beneﬁts and these voluminous studies provide compelling
evidence that warrants further attention. Thus, this new
series of forum articles attempts to update the ﬁndings
summarized in the original article by Hall and Dickson by
presenting a summary of the research on plant beneﬁts that
has been conducted since 2011. By doing so, this new
information provides the basis for future innovative green
industry marketing efforts, which may, in turn, positively
inﬂuence the elasticity of demand for plants in general.
The ﬁrst topic in the four-part series, Emotional and
Mental Health Beneﬁts of Plants, is one that has been
shown to resonate with consumers of all demographic
segments (Hall and Dickson, 2011). These beneﬁts are
segmented and discussed using the following categories:
anxiety and stress reduction, attention deﬁcit recovery,
fractals and visual responses, decreased depression,
enhanced memory retention, greater happiness and life
satisfaction, mitigation of PTSD, increased creativity,
enhanced productivity and attention, reduced effects of
dementia, and improved self-esteem.
Reduced anxiety and stress
Signiﬁcant correlations have been found between the use
of open spaces and reduced stress. Time spent in natural
settings can help reduce mental fatigue recovery time and
improve concentration levels (Entrix 2010, Keniger et al.
2013, Kjellgren and Buhrkall 2010, White et al. 2017, Wolf
and Housley 2014). Increased access to green spaces also
reduces psychological distress, depression symptoms,
clinical anxiety, and mood disorders in adults (Astell-Burt
et al. 2013, Beyer et al. 2014, Brown et al. 2013, de Vries
et al. 2013, Fan et al. 2011, Nutsford et al. 2013, Stigsdotter
2015, Triguero-Mas et al. 2015, White et al. 2013).
The term ‘‘stress recovery theory’’ was coined by van
den Berg and Custers (2011) and includes the beneﬁts
derived when individuals immerse in nature, including
Received for publication January 17, 2019; in revised form April 8,
Professor and Graduate Student, respectively, Texas A&M University,
College Station, Texas 77843-2133. Corresponding author: Charles
30 Copyright 2019 Horticultural Research Institute J. Environ. Hort. 37(1):30–38. March 2019
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decreased anxiety, lower heart rates, skin conductance
recovery, lower concentrates of cortisol, and positive
changes in nerve activity (Alvarsson et al. 2010, Bowler
et al. 2010, Park et al. 2010, Park et al. 2017, Russell et al.
2013). Controlling for socio-economic and demographic
characteristics, positive relationships between green space
and overall health and stress reduction have been reported
(de Vries et al. 2003) and the effects are transcendent to
viewing images of nature (Ryan et al. 2014). For patients in
hospitals, exposure to real plants or even posters of plants,
resulted in lower levels of experienced stress (Beukeboom
et al. 2012). Exposure to natural scenes mediates the
negative effects of stress; one can recover faster from the
decrease of cognitive performance associated with stress,
especially reﬂected in attention tasks. (Berto 2014).
Stress reduction and mental restoration occur when
individuals live near green areas, have a view of
vegetation, or spend time in natural settings (Abraham et
al. 2010, Carrus et al. 2015, Watts 2017, Wolf and Housley
2014). The amount of green space in the neighborhood, and
in particular access to a garden or allotment, were
signiﬁcant predictors of stress (Thompson et al. 2016). In
fact, the amount of green space in residential areas is
positively related to resident overall health (Groenewegen
et al. 2012). White et al. (2013) also found that individuals
have both lower mental distress and higher well-being
when living in urban areas with more green space.
Women also seem to experience more stress than men do
when away from nature. Roe et al. (2013b) found that there
was a signiﬁcant inverse relationship between green spaces
and stress levels with higher levels of green space resulting
in lower stress levels. Women were found to display higher
stress levels than men when exposed to the same amount of
(or less) green space. Coincidently, the percentage of green
space effects showed a positive outcome on women by
decreasing the mean cortisol concentration. Women who
lived more than 1 km away from green spaces reported
higher stress levels and perceived poorer health and quality
of life than those who lived near of green spaces
(Stigsdotter et al. 2010). Beil and Hanes 2013 also found
there is greater beneﬁt from exposure to natural settings as
measured by pre-and-post changes in salivary alpha-
amylase and self-reported stress with more of a signiﬁcant
reduction in females than in males.
Thompson (2012) found that those who lived in green
spaces experienced less stress and participated in more
physical activity. Thompson also found self-reported
decreases in stress, diurnal patterns of cortisol secretion,
and quantity of relative green space in the living
environment to all be positively correlated.
Another study found that when comparing a group of
elderly women who spent 15 sessions outside participating
in gardening activities versus staying inside, those who had
gone outside had improved muscle mass and hand
dexterity, and decreased waist circumference, whereas the
women who spent the same time indoors had decreased
muscle mass and agility and increased symptoms of
depression (Park et al. 2016).
Stress reduction through green environments has been
achieved in ofﬁce settings as well. When employees were
exposed to roses in the workplace, they had signiﬁcantly
less heart rate variability than those who weren’t exposed
to roses (Callaghan and Mallory-Hill 2016, Ikei et al. 2014,
Ikei et al. 2013, Smith and Pitt 2011). Interior plants can
lead to healthy, productive workplaces through enhanced
attention capacity, lower stress levels, and higher job
satisfaction from viewing plants (Gilchrist et al. 2015,
Hartig et al. 2014, Raanaas et al. 2011). This concept also
carries over to break areas within the workplace (Berto
Biophilia is deﬁned as humans’ innate tendency to seek
connections with nature and other forms of life. Biophilic
design is the incorporation of biophilia into the built
environment. There is a growing body of literature
documenting the beneﬁts of implementing plants on a
large scale to capture the positive psychophysiological and
cognitive beneﬁts afforded by biophilia in architecture
(Ryan et al. 2014). This type of architecture can reduce
stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, and
improve well-being in urbanized communities (Browning
et al. 2016). This theory is also backed by Pouya (2016),
who found that if these concepts were applied more widely,
we would see more of a positive impact. The perceptual
and physiological stress responses are correlated to the
complexity of fractals in nature, art and architecture, and
the predictability of the occurrence of design ﬂows and
patterns in nature (Bejan and Zane 2012, Salingaros 2012).
When young people, particularly students, have a view
of green spaces during school, students exhibit signiﬁcantly
better performance on attention tests and stress recovery
(Li and Sullivan 2016). Kelz et al. (2015) validated Li and
Sullivan’s ﬁndings by having children play on different
types of playgrounds with varied levels of green space. The
playground with high green space signiﬁcantly reduced
students’ physiological stress levels and enhanced their
psychological well-being. They also perceived the envi-
ronment as being more restorative.
Lee et al. (2014) studied forest activities of Japanese
citizens and found signiﬁcant differences between the
responses of the subjects in forest settings compared with
those in urban environments in salivary cortisol concen-
tration (an index of stress response), diastolic blood
pressure, and pulse rate. Further, subjects felt more
comfortable, soothed and refreshed when viewing a forest
landscape than an urban landscape.
Mennis (2018) found urban green spaces are associated
with lower stress when subjects are away from home,
which is speculated to be due to the properties of stress
reduction and attention restoration associated with expo-
sure to natural areas, and to the inﬂuence of other family
dynamics affecting stress levels within the home. Subjects
may also seek out urban greenspaces at times of lower
stress or explicitly for purposes of stress reduction.
Tree cover is also associated with stress reduction. Jiang
et al. (2016) found a positive correlation between urban
street tree density and self-reported stress recovery. Song
(2015) also found that physiological effects of a forest
environment can differ depending on a subject’s initial
levels of stress and that subjects with high initial blood
pressure and pulse rate showed a decrease in these values
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after walking in a forested area, whereas those with low
initial values showed an increase. There was no physio-
logical adjustment effect observed in an urban area; thus,
these effects are speciﬁc to a forest environment.
Aspinall et al. (2015) also documents that forest-bathing
can cause stress reduction by using an EEG headset to
measure brain waves by amplitude and frequency.
Participants were asked to walk through an urban shopping
center to a 25-ha (62 acres) green space and a busy
commercial district with heavy trafﬁc. The walk took
participants approximately 25 minutes each. When com-
paring the urban shopping center to the green space,
frustration, engagement, and arousal all decreased which is
consistent with restoration theory but meditation increased,
which was novel. When participants moved from the
greenspace to the busy commercial district, their arousal/
engagement increased, indicating that stress/fear also
Horiuchi et al. (2014) took another approach and used
real viewings of forests and non-forested areas and
compared near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as well as
mood state scores, heart-rate, blood pressure, and sAMY
concentration (marker for stress). They found that the
NIRS signal, cerebral oxygenation levels, and mood state
levels were lower in forest settings than in non-forest
conditions, but blood pressure, heart rate variability, and
salivary amylase levels were similar. Interestedly, being in
the forest also caused a spike in cerebral activity.
This is reinforced by results of Im et al. (2016), who
looked at the effects of spending two hours in a forest in
Japan. To test neurological effects, they collected blood
and saliva samples and found that there was a signiﬁcant
change in the level of cytokines that contributing to the
hyperactivity of the inﬂammatory response which is
physiological reaction of a stress response.
Joung et al. (2015) showed through NIRS that total Hb
(hemoglobin) concentration was signiﬁcantly lower of
forest scenery over urban scenery. A lower concentration
of total Hb and oxy-Hb indicates that the quantity of
oxygen transmitted to the prefrontal cortex tissue is small.
In other words, the prefrontal cortex activity in a forest area
is more stabilized than in an urban area.
Vedder et al. (2015) took a different approach. They
used fMRI and asked individuals to imagine beautiful and
non-beautiful environments. Functional magnetic reso-
nance imaging (fMRI) showed signiﬁcantly more cortical
activations when subjects imagined non-pleasant environ-
ments than when they imagined pleasant environments.
The results of this study show that a positive and a negative
frame of reference elicit distinct neural patterns of
environmental cognition. This means that non-beautiful
and non-pleasant environments demand more mental
processing than beautiful and pleasant environments. The
results correlate with previous propositions to explain the
experience of negative environments as characterized by
the demand on more mental resources than the experience
of positive environments. In other words, interacting with a
negative environment requires an additional investment in
emotion processing, cognitive control, and motor function.
These results support Aspinall et al. (2015), Horiuchi et al.
(2014), and Joung et al. (2015) with their claims of
reduction in delta waves (brainwaves for agitation and
excitement). Kim et al. (2010) found similar results when
looking at stress reactions using fMRI.
Students were recruited from Edinburgh University by
Roe et al. (2013a) to undergo an EEG study on natural
settings (ﬁelds, forests, and parks) versus urban sceneries
(buildings, roads, and walls). To control the effect of
people and animals, both were withheld from being
included in the pictures presented to the subjects. Subjects
were asked to rate each slide on four criteria based on how
attractive they found the scene, how likely are they to visit
the scene, how the scene made them feel from sad to happy
and also from calm to excited. The results for the ranking
questions showed that the landscape scenes were perceived
as more attractive, more inviting (willingness-to-visit), and
greater valence. Arousal was strongly correlated to the
urban scenes while interest was correlated to landscape
scenes. This conﬁrms restorative theory, indicating a
positive psychological effect of natural scenes.
Rosenbaum used electroencephalogram (EEG) in a
replication-type study with eye-tracking. Given the lack
of neuroscience data in previous studies on consumer
responses and biophilic design in retail settings, they had
participants watch a video of a retail mall or lifestyle center
(e.g. an upscale shopping center or mixed-use commercial
development) with and without plants (biophilic and non-
biophilic). Those participants who viewed the biophilic
video were more enthused and interested and experienced a
higher state of mental relaxation than participants who
viewed the non-biophilic video. Participants who viewed
the biophilic video also reported lower levels of stress,
more attractiveness/focus, and were more emotionally
involved. This ﬁnding conﬁrms previous results that
suggest that shoppers are becoming bored in their
excursions to enclosed malls while lifestyle centers
continue to proliferate.
Attention Deﬁcit Recovery (Attention Restoration
Theory or ART)
Natural landscapes, such as beaches, waters, forests,
parks, and mountains, and availability of public open
spaces used for public entertainment and sports reduce
attention deﬁcit disorders (ADD/ADHD) (Coutts and Hahn
2015, Frumkin 2013, Keniger et al. 2013). Green
restoration improved preschooler spatial working memory
(Schutte 2017) and cognitive functioning improved when
participants walked in nature (Berman et al. 2008).
Children with ADHD concentrated better after a walk in
a park than after a downtown neighborhood walk (Taylor
and Kuo 2009). Wilson (2015) showed that children who
play in greenspace for 30 minutes had increased sustained
mental ability and found greenspace to be restorative.
Taking micro-breaks to view nature can help with attention
restoration (Lee et al. 2015).
Fractals & Visual Response
We are so separated from nature that we make up for its
lack by imbuing our surroundings with those geometric
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qualities found in nature (Salingaros 2012). We try to shape
our immediate vicinity so that those qualities reproduce our
response to natural environments. From biophilia, natural
forms have inherent qualities, reducible to a mathematical
description, that induce a healing effect. Complex biophilic
environments dramatically increase brain size and perfor-
mance on intelligence tests (Salingaros 2012).
Being immersed in nature and vegetation were used as
active components in a therapeutic horticulture interven-
tion for clinical depression (Beute and de Kort 2018,
Gonzalez et al. 2010). Garden walking and reﬂective
journaling decreased depression scores in older adults
(McCaffrey et al. 2010). With patients who have major
depressive disorder (MDD), those who walked in nature
exhibited signiﬁcant increases in memory span after the
nature walk relative to the urban walk. Green spaces also
reduced stress and pain, and increased attention perfor-
mance (McCaffrey et al. 2010). Participants also showed
increases in mood, but the mood effects did not correlate
with the memory effects, suggesting separable mechanisms
(Berman et al. 2012). Bezold (2018) put extensive numbers
to this idea, with a 6% lower incidence of high depressive
symptoms associated with greenness and found this
relationship to be stronger with highly populated areas.
Comparing household medical records and natural ameni-
ties, those residents with only 10% green space within
about half a mile had a 25% greater risk of depression and
a 30% greater risk of anxiety disorders versus those with
the highest degree of green space near the home (Wolf and
In a Korean study involving patients with moderate to
severe depression, participants were assigned to cognitive-
behavioral therapy in either a hospital setting or a forest
setting (arboretum), while a third group acted as a control
and were treated using standard outpatient care in the
community (Wolf and Housley 2014). Overall, depressive
symptoms were reduced most signiﬁcantly in the forest
group, and the odds of complete remission were 20-30%
higher than typically observed from medication alone.
Moreover, the forest therapy group had more pronounced
reductions in physiological markers of stress, including
lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve-
ments in heart rate variability, a marker of adequate
circulatory system response to stress. It appears that the
settings where psychotherapy is conducted can actually
become part of the therapy (Wolf and Housley 2014).
Enhanced Memory Retention
A 2012 experiment in Michigan found that people were
better able to perform a test of working memory (which
measures one’s ability to focus or concentrate) after
walking through a green arboretum, compared to those
who walked on trafﬁc-heavy urban streets (Berman et al.
2012). Subjects who walked through the arboretum had a
20% improvement in working memory. Another study
determined that people who went for a 50-minute walk in
nature, compared to those who went for a similar length
walk in an urban environment, experienced less anxiety
and rumination, along with increased working memory
performance (Berman et al. 2012).
Being in nature and greenspace can also help improve
memory retention of patients suffering from strokes and
dementia (Detweiler and Warf 2005). In children, nature
exposure can inﬂuence cognitive development through
improved working memory and a reduction in inattentive-
ness (Dadvand et al. 2015).
Greater Happiness/Life Satisfaction
Interacting with nature, especially with the presence of
water, can increase self-esteem and mood, reduce anger,
and improve general psychological well-being with
positive effects on emotions or behavior (Barton and
Pretty 2010, Keniger et al. 2013, Mensah et al. 2016,
Windhager et al. 2011, Wolf and Housley 2014). In fact,
moving to homes with greener areas positively inﬂuences
mental health even after three years post-move (Alcock et
al. 2014). Moving to a less-green area signiﬁcantly worsens
mental health within one year post-move, but returns to
pre-move mental health status thereafter (Alcock et al.
2014).This is true for public green spaces as well. City park
area quantity and accessibility is a strong predictor of
physical and community well-being (Larson et al. 2016).
Similarly, studies in Perth, Australia found that people in
neighborhoods with high-quality public open spaces had
better mental health than those with low-quality public
open space (Francis et al. 2012a). Features that made an
open space ‘‘high quality’’ included irrigated lawns,
walking paths, lighting, water features, playgrounds, and
birdlife. Mental health was assessed based on symptoms of
psychological distress such as nervousness and feelings of
hopelessness (Francis et al. 2012b). Findings were not
affected by the quantity of open space in the neighborhood,
nor by how frequently residents used the open space
(Francis et al. 2012a).
Pro-environmental behavior and subjective well-being
are positively associated. Those who are more connected to
nature and exhibit environmentally-conscious behaviors
tend to experience more positive vitality and life
satisfaction compared to those less connected to nature
(Capaldi et al. 2014).
Van Dillen (2012) determined, through meta-analysis,
that quality and quantity of green space was correlated to
good health. Greater species diversity positively affects
personal well-being (Dallimer et al. 2012) and neighbor-
hood well-being (Luck et al., 2009). Visiting protected
natural sites (e.g. state parks) improves perceptions of
psychological, emotional, and social beneﬁts (Lemieux et
al. 2012). Results from a meta-analysis in Toronto, Canada
suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a
higher density of trees on their streets report signiﬁcantly
less cardio-metabolic conditions. Having 10 or more trees
in a city block, on average, improves personal health
perceptions in ways comparable to a $10,000 increase in
annual personal income or being 7 years younger (Kardan
et al. 2015). The study also found that having 11 more trees
in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic
conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual
J. Environ. Hort. 37(1):30–38. March 2019 33
personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood
with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years
younger (Kardan et al. 2015).
Park et al. (2017) found that when subjects observed
plants, Oxy-Hb (oxyhemoglobin) concentrations in the
right prefrontal cortex were signiﬁcantly lower, indicating
a physiological state of relaxation. Subjects also reported
more positive emotions (feeling more comfortable and
relaxed) when viewing foliage plants.
Mitigation of PTSD
Veterans with PTS (post-traumatic stress) treated with
Nature Adventure Rehabilitation (NAR) experienced an
improvement in emotional and social quality of life, post-
traumatic cognitive inventory, and hope and functioning
(Gelkopf et al. 2013). NAR seems to work through a
process of behavioral activation, desensitization, gradual
exposure to anxiety evoking situations, and gaining control
When victims of natural disasters, who are at a high risk
of PTSD, participated in horticulture therapy (HT)
programs, they showed an increase in regional gray matter
volume (rGMV) of the left subgenual anterior cingulate
cortex and left superior frontal gyrus compared with the
stress education (SE) group (Kotozaki et al. 2015,
Sekiguchi et al. 2015). They showed greater salivary
cortisol and alpha amylase levels, which are all signiﬁ-
cantly reduced in individuals experiencing PTSD (Koto-
zaki 2014, Kotozaki et al. 2015, Sekiguchi et al. 2015). The
HT group also showed improvement on PTSD reactions,
post-traumatic growth, and positive states of mind
(Kotozaki et al. 2015). Post-traumatic growth refers to
the positive outcome of people who have experienced
traumatic events through recovering their quality of life.
People identiﬁed themselves with plant growth and gaining
a chance to be happy once more (Kotozaki et al. 2015).
Ling and Dale (2011) found a link between landscape
plants and creativity and considered how this may reﬂect
the potential for cultural diversity and thus sustainable
community development. Taking short walks in attractive
green environments can boost creativity and vitality
(Tyrvainen et al. 2014). These same areas can also be
used for ‘walking meetings’ which help boost creativity
(Oppezzo and Schwartz 2014).
Enhanced Productivity and Attention
Biophilic workplaces with views of nature and daylight
can lead to higher productivity and attention with
employees (Elzeyadi 2011, Windhager et al. 2011).
Workers in ofﬁces with poor light quality and views used
more sick leave hours and this effect contributes as much
as 6.5% to sick leave use. Moisture released into the air by
plants helps with a dry atmosphere, reducing headaches
and improving concentration. Visible greenery, both
indoors and out, reduces stress and increases the ability
to concentrate (Alker et al. 2014, van Duijin et al. 2011). In
one such concentration test, employees who had a view of
plants completed the test 19% faster than employees in a
room without a view of plants (Nieuwenhuis et al. 2014).
Ofﬁces in the Netherlands and Great Britain experienced a
15% increase in worker productivity when plants were
included in ofﬁce space (Korpela et al. 2017, Nieuwenhuis
et al. 2014).
The Heschong-Mahone Group studied productivity at
the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Call Center
where employees were either seated with views of
vegetation through large windows or were excluded from
the vegetation view. Employees who had a vegetation view
made 6-7% more calls per hour than those with no view.
The initial investment of installing the windows was
recovered in 4 months by improved productivity (Alker et
Jumeno and Matsumoto (2013), however, did not ﬁnd
that plants in the workplace had a signiﬁcant effect on
productivity or attention but found a signiﬁcant difference
in the employee perceptions of friendliness, comfort,
freshness, and cleanliness of the workplace. Erzsebet et
al. (2014) suggests that improved employee productivity
and attention can be positively affected by the air-
purifying qualities of plants in the workplace by reducing
various allergies, irritations, hypersensitivity, asthma,
drowsiness, and eye problems, while also improving mood.
Jumeno and Matsumoto (2016) sought to quantify the
number of plants in a room that it would take to generate
positive results and found the more plants in a room, the
better the mood of the subjects. Their study also found that
the number and the size of plants affected the perceived air
quality and reaction times and as few as three small-to-
medium sized plants can make a positive difference. Even
a brief view of a green roof can have positive effects on
mood and productivity (Lee and Maheswaran 2011).
When asked about plants in the workplace, 97% of
employees would like to have more plants (Husti et al.
2015) because they perceive plants provide a sense of
relaxation, make the work environment more similar to
space at home, cheer up the image of the ofﬁce, give a
sense of relief, and improve work motivations. Employees
without an outdoor view from their desk are ﬁve times
more likely to put a plant in their ofﬁce than those with an
outdoor view (Bringslimark et al. 2011). Ofﬁce employees
with an outdoor green view were happier and had
positively associated higher productivity and job satisfac-
tion levels (Lottrup et al. 2015).
In elementary-level classrooms, green walls (described
as a wall with green plants) can provide restorative impacts
to school children. Results show that children in class-
rooms where a green wall was placed scored better on tests
for selective attention (van den Berg et al. 2017). The green
wall also positively inﬂuenced children’s classroom
evaluations. When integrating a school garden into the
curriculum, children’s physical activity was increased and
sedentary behavior decreased (van den Berg et al. 2017).
Children who received breaks and time outside exhibited
improved concentration (Duvall and Sullivan 2016). Just
placing plants in the classroom improved performance,
with children progressing through school curriculum 20-
26% faster (van Duijin et al. 2011).
34 J. Environ. Hort. 37(1):30–38. March 2019
Reduced effects of dementia
Participants in outside horticultural therapy activities
such as gardening or landscaping are more actively
engaged, have reduced incidents of aggressive behavior,
and improved cognitive capacity (Gigliotti and Jarrott
Natural green space has long been used in the promotion
of human well-being through green exercise (exercise in a
greenspace or outdoors) for improvements on mental
health and self-esteem (Townsend and Weerasuriya
2010). A multi-study analysis assessed the best regime of
green exercise that is needed to improve self-esteem and
mood (Barton and Pretty 2010). Dose responses for both
intensity and duration showed large beneﬁts from short
engagements in green exercise, and then diminishing but
still positive returns (Barton and Pretty 2010). Every green
environment improved both self-esteem and mood and the
presence of water generated greater effects. Both men and
women exhibited similar improvements in self-esteem after
green exercise, though men showed a more positive
difference in mood.
Consumers have historically shown an inclination to
purchase products that enhance their quality of life (Hall
and Dickson 2011), meaning they will purchase items that
positively inﬂuence their social, physical, psychological,
cognitive, environmental, and spiritual well-being. Plants
in native and improved landscapes (and interiorscapes)
have been documented to inﬂuence each of six quality of
life constructs. This paper focused on providing evidence
from the literature regarding the emotional and mental
health beneﬁts associated with plants, thereby inﬂuencing
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