Plants Improve Recovery Time in Patients

Find out how keeping plants in the classroom can improve student performance

Improved Recovery Time in Post-operative Patients

So, not only do plants improve our attention span, improve students test results, make us more relaxed and improve air quality – they also improve recovery time of post-operative patients in hospitals.


This was the overwhelming discovery in the study conducted at the Kansas State University by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson.


They state “To promote the speed of postoperative recovery and to improve the quality of life during hospitalisations, it is important to provide patients with not only the best treatment possible, but also to remove such sources of stress and to counter them with positive distractions.”

So, what did they find?

The mean length of hospitalizations for the plant group was 6.08 d which was significantly different from that of the control group at 6.39 d.


They also found the patients in the plant room required less pain-relief through the course of their recovery. Analgesic intake was significantly different for the plant group compared with the control group at Days 4 through 5 after surgery.


Results indicate that female patients who were recovering from thyroidectomy in hospital rooms containing plants had significantly shorter hospitalizations, less need for analgesics, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their hospital rooms compared with patients without plants. This study extends earlier research,which showed male and female surgical patients with a window view of trees had shorter hospital stays, fewer negative comments in nurses’ notes, and fewer intakes of analgesics than did patients with a window view of a brick wall (Ulrich, 1984).


Interior hospital spaces can be made healthier with the presence of living plants. Previous research has indicated that indoor plants reduce sick-building syndrome by removing pollutants (Darlington et al., 2001; Wolverton et al., 1989; Wood et al., 2002), increase relative humidity up to human comfort level (Lohr, 1992;Wolverton and Wolverton, 1993), and improve indoor air quality by reducing the quantity of mould spores and airborne microorganisms (Wolverton and Wolverton, 1993).