People have an ancient and strong bond to flowers, which are known to have a positive effect on the mood. During the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of ornamental plants increased, and many turned to gardening, possibly as a way to cope with ubiquitous increases in negative mood following lockdowns and social isolation. The nature of the special bond between humans and flowers requires additional elucidation. To this means, we conducted a comprehensive online mixed methods study, surveying 253 individuals (ages 18–83) from diverse ethnic backgrounds and continents, regarding their thoughts and feelings towards photos of flowers, nature scenes and flower drawings. We found that looking at pictures and drawings of flowers, as well as nature scenes induced positive emotions, and participants reported a variety of positive responses to the images. More specifically, we found associations of flowers with femininity, and connotations to particular flowers that were affected by geographical location. While nature scene photos induced positive reactions, flower photos were preferred, denying a mere substitution of nature by flowers and vice versa. Drawings of flowers elicited less positive emotions than photos, as people related more to the art than to the flower itself. Our study reveals the importance of ornamental flowers and nature in our life and well-being, and as such their cultivation and promotion are essential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science