Horticultural Therapy

Course CodeBHT341
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Use Horticulture to Improve People's Lives

Horticultural therapy (also known as ‘social and therapeutic horticulture’) uses the activities associated with horticulture such as gardening, plant propagation, plant care, visits to natural environments and gardens and parks etc. in personal development; to engender a feeling of well-being, improve physical health and encourage social interaction.

The therapy may be focused on either:

  • Improving or maintaining muscle function, and other aspects of physical well being.
  • Psychological well being (e.g. helping elderly people stay active in their declining years, helping disabled people to have a sense of worth, providing an opportunity for social interaction, etc.).
  • Providing a pathway to rehabilitation; or perhaps providing an alternative lifestyle.
  • Developing practical skills.
  • Developing social skills.
  • Rehabilitation of physically or psychologically damaged individuals.


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Horticultural Therapy
  2. Understanding Disabilities and Communicating with people with disabilities
    • Communication, Teaching and Counselling Skills
  3. Risk Management - Hygiene for vulnerable people, What extra risks are to be considered in a therapy situation.... chemical, physical
  4. Accessibility and Activities for people with Mobility issues (e.g. wheelchairs, on crutches,
  5. Enabling the Disabled -with restricted motor skills
  6. Producing Things –Vegetables, Propagation, Fruit, Herbs
  7. Growing in Containers -Vertical gardens, pots, Hydroponics
  8. Creating a Therapeutic Garden
  9. Generating Income

What are the Benefits of Horticultural Therapy?

There are many benefits to be gained from horticultural therapy. These benefits are both physical and psychological. 
People of any age can participate in horticultural therapy. The horticultural therapist can individualise the work they do with a person, according to their abilities, so activities in horticultural therapy should be accessible for all.
A horticultural therapist needs to be part horticulturist, part health care worker, part counsellor, and sometimes other things beyond these.

They can work in medical or health care institutions (e.g. Hospitals, Homes for Elderly), community centres, special schools (e.g. for people with disabilities), Sheltered Workshop, Prisons, or any other relevant situation.

Horticultural therapy is used for people with a wide range of cognitive, physical and social skills, including those people: 

  • Suffering from heart disease
  • Suffering from stroke
  • With sight impairment (the blind and the partially sighted
  • With dementia
  • With learning disabilities
  • With physical disabilities (including amputees)
  • With underdeveloped social skills
  • Chronically unemployed
  • Disengaged teenagers
  • In substance abuse recovery
  • Recovering from illness
  • Coming to terms with grief
  • Adjusting after personal difficulties in their lives
  • With terminal illness.
  • Rehabilitating after a period in hospital.
  • With physical restrictions  - such as the elderly.
  • Children – in general


  • People working in rehabilitation.
  • Horticulturists that want to work in this field.
  • Health care professionals wanting to extend their knowledge.






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