Wellness Benefits of Gardening

Written by: Pard Bharaj



Time to read 5 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.


Gardening has offered me a heap of health benefits that have helped me to enhance my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It's definitely a place that helps me return to a more balanced state especially after more challenging days.

In this article, we will explore the key wellness benefits of gardening, along with a review of relevant scientific studies which have been summarised in the "references and further reading section" towards the bottom of this article.

By the way, the images and videos in this blog are from my allotment, which I have been trying to cultivate for the past two years :).

5 Wellness Benefits of Gardening:

1. Physical Health:

Gardening provides excellent physical exercise, helping to improve strength, stamina, and flexibility. Activities such as digging, planting, weeding, and watering engage various muscle groups, promoting overall fitness. 

Regular gardening reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by offering a moderate level of cardiovascular exercise. Additionally, it aids in weight management by burning calories and keeping you active. Regula gardening, can help enhance your physical health significantly.

Just ensure you warm-up and start slow so the body can get used to it.

2. Mental Health:

Scientific studies have shown that contact with soil can have beneficial effects on the brain. Soil contains Mycobacterium vaccae (bacteria), which has been found to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that enhances mood and reduces anxiety. This exposure can help improve feelings of happiness and relaxation. Also, exposure to natural light while gardening increases vitamin D levels, which is essential for mental health and helps regulate mood.

Additionally, the repetitive tasks involved in gardening can induce a meditative state, promoting mindfulness and reducing negative thoughts. The combination of physical activity, natural light, and interaction with nature creates an amazing environment for enhancing mental health. Regular time spent in the garden can enhance attention, concentration, and cognitive function, contributing to a healthier mind.

3. Social Benefits:

Gardening also offers significant social benefits by fostering community and connections. Gardening with others, whether it’s family, friends, or community groups, creates opportunities for social interaction. Working together on gardening projects promotes teamwork and strengthens relationships.

At the allotment, meeting with other gardeners provides a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Sharing tips, exchanging plants, and discussing gardening experiences can lead to new friendships. These social interactions not only enhance your gardening knowledge but also contribute to a sense of community and shared purpose. Gardening can become a collective activity that helps to boost health. We all need social interaction.

Wellness Benefits of Gardening - A bird feeder I put up at the allotment

4. Nutritional Benefits:

Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs means you can enjoy food that is free from harmful pesticides and chemicals (unless you buy organic), leading to a healthier diet. The produce from your garden can be richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (depending on the soil) compared to store-bought options.

Moreover, gardening promotes healthier eating habits. When you grow your own food, you are more likely to add a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits into your meals. This not only enhances your nutritional intake but also improves your overall health. 

By cultivating your own garden, you take a proactive step towards better nutrition and overall health.

Wellness Benefits of Gardening.  My strawberry planters

5. Environmental Benefits:

Gardening can offer numerous environmental benefits and encourage sustainability. By growing your own plants, you reduce the need for commercially grown produce, which often involves significant transportation and chemical use. This contributes to a smaller carbon footprint.

Gardening also supports pollinator populations and biodiversity. By planting a variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, you create a habitat for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators essential for a thriving ecosystem. This biodiversity helps maintain ecological balance and promotes a healthier environment.

Additionally, gardening reduces household waste through composting. By turning kitchen scraps and garden waste into compost, you create a natural fertiliser that enriches the soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilisers. This practice not only minimises waste but also enhances soil health, promoting sustainable gardening practices. Through gardening, you actively contribute to environmental conservation and sustainability.

Wellness Benefits of Gardening.  My Apple Tree

References and Further Reading:

1. Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening

Summary: Frequent gardening, specifically at least 2-3 times per week, is associated with significant improvements in well-being, reduced perceived stress, and increased physical activity. The primary motivator for gardening is the pleasure it brings rather than the health benefits.

Authors: Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui, Alistair Griffiths, Jenny Roe, Timothy Heaton, Ross Cameron.

2. Community Gardening: Stress, Well-Being, and Resilience Potentials

Summary: Community gardeners reported significantly higher levels of subjective well-being and resilience than individual/home gardeners and non-gardening control groups, indicating the superior effects of community gardening on mental health

Authors: Wendy I. Koay and Dillon D. Browne

3. Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening

Summary: Exposure to plants and green space, particularly through gardening, significantly benefits both mental and physical health, potentially reducing pressure on NHS services. Gardening lowers blood pressure, increases vitamin D levels, provides aerobic exercise, and enhances social interaction, thus improving overall health.

Author: Author: Richard Thompson

4. Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis

Summary : Gardening has significant positive effects on a wide range of health outcomes, including reductions in depression, anxiety, and body mass index, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community. The meta-analysis of 22 case studies demonstrated consistent health benefits from gardening activities.

5. Why gardening makes us feel better – and how to make the most of it

Summary: Gardening improves physical and mental well-being by providing physical exercise, reducing stress, and enhancing mood. The activity also promotes social interaction and a sense of community, contributing to overall happiness and quality of life.

AuthorsRoyal Horticultural Society (RHS

6. Does gardening have health benefits?

Summary: Gardening offers substantial physical and mental health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, increased vitamin D levels, enhanced mood, and reduced stress. It also promotes physical fitness through moderate-intensity exercise, supports cognitive health by reducing the risk of dementia, and encourages healthy eating habits by growing nutritious food.

Authors: The Ohio State University

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some other wellness benefits of gardening?

Apart from the five wellness gardening benefits listed above, here are some others:

  • Boosts Immune System : Exposure to sunlight helps in the production of Vitamin D, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
  • Enhances Sleep Quality : Physical activity and time spent outdoors can improve sleep patterns and quality.
  • Therapeutic Effects : Horticultural therapy is used to enhance rehabilitation and healing in individuals recovering from illness or surgery.
  • Promotes Patience and Persistence : The process of nurturing plants fosters a sense of patience and persistence.
  • Sensory Stimulation : Gardening engages all the senses, which can be particularly beneficial for those with sensory processing disorders or cognitive impairments.

What are the benefits of gardening for children?

  • Physical Activity : Promotes exercise, enhancing motor skills and physical health.
  • Nutritional Awareness : Encourages healthy eating habits by connecting children with the source of their food.
  • Educational Value : Teaches responsibility, patience, and life cycles of plants and insects.
  • Mental Health : Reduces stress, improves mood, and boosts self-esteem.
  • Sensory Development : Engages all senses, enhancing sensory processing.
  • Social Skills : Fosters teamwork and communication when done in group settings.

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