Effects of plantscape colors on psycho-physiological responses of university students Academic Article uri icon


  • Studies have shown that people benefit from viewing environment or plants. It has been reported that plant colors have both physiological and psychological benefits to people. This study investigated the effects of plantscapes with red, yellow, green, purple or white flowers, respectively, on human physiological and psychological responses. The physiological reactions of 30 college students (15 males and 15 females) were measured using electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure [BP, including systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP)], heart rate (HR), galvanic skin response (GSR), and fingertip pulse (FP), while participants' psychological responses were tested by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Respondents exposed to all color plantscape treatments exhibited physiological improvements as indicated by decreased SBP, DBP, HR and FP and increased GSR. Moreover, participants viewed green and purple plantscapes had more positive psychological responses evidenced by lower ratings of irritability, fatigue and anxiety, higher scores of vigor compared with the other groups. In conclusion, findings of this research suggested that different colors of plantscape evoked human different physiological and psychological responses. As compared to red, yellow and white plantscapes, green and purple plantscapes were more effective in relaxing the body, reducing anxiety and improving mood. It is suggested that landscape designers and horticulturists pay more attention to the choice of plant/plantscape colors. Green and purple plants can be used to create relaxing environment for patients and medical workers and to improve energy, efficiency and self-confidence of employees in the office. In residential areas, public parks and university campuses, red and yellow plantscapes can be incorporated in children's activity areas, while green, purple and white plantscapes are appropriate in quiet recreational areas.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, X., Zhang, Z., Gu, M., Jiang, D. Y., Wang, J., Lv, Y. M., Zhang, Q. X., & Pan, H. T.

complete list of authors

  • Li, X||Zhang, Z||Gu, M||Jiang, DY||Wang, J||Lv, YM||Zhang, QX||Pan, HT

publication date

  • January 2012