Best Plants for a Dementia-Friendly Garden

Loveday & Co, an award-winning provider of specialist dementia and senior care in the UK, has realised the power of plants and has made beautiful sensory gardens for their Members to enjoy. Their newest property, Loveday Abbey Road, has a world-class sensory Dementia-Friendly garden which is an enclave of tranquillity for Members, staff, friends and family to enjoy.

Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia. It is a progressive disease that causes memory loss, confusion, and problems with concentration. Activities such as gardening can help by stimulating the senses and memories, reducing stress and improving general mental and physical health.

Rachel de Thame potting up herbs and Dementia Friendly Plants

Rachel de Thame potting up herbs at Dementia Friendly Plants

Robert Speker, Head of Member Lifestyle and Activities at Loveday incorporates gardening into the weekly programmes at all of the Loveday Residences.

“Gardening can be hugely beneficial for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Not only is it a physical and social activity but it can also be rewarding, as people watch plants grow and even enjoy the produce such as fruit and vegetables.”

Dementia Friendly Plants Loveday Abbey Road garden


Meticulously researched and designed, the garden at Loveday Abbey Road is thriving with plants selected not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for scent, touch, taste and even sound. These plants help those with dementia to connect with the outside space.

Best dementia-friendly plants

For those wanting to add dementia-friendly plants to their gardens, Gardeners’ World presenter Rachel de Thame shares her top plants for a dementia-friendly sensory garden:


  1. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – has an evocative long-lasting scent and the flowers can be cut, dried, and used as potpourri.
  2. An assortment of other herbs – Rosemary, Mint, Sage and Thyme all have a beautiful fragrance plus edible leaves that can be used in cooking.

    Dementia Friendly Plants Lambs Ear - Loveday

    Dementia Friendly Plants – Lambs Ear

  3. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) – an evergreen climber with glossy leaves and starry white flowers, producing heady perfume from late spring to summer.
  4. Lamb’s ear (Stachys Byzantina) – forms a carpet of thick, fluffy leaves, with a woolly texture that feels as soft as a lamb’s ear.
  5. Allium – beautiful late spring flowering bulbs in shades of purple, add colour to the garden and lovely decorative dried seed heads in autumn and winter.
  6. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea) – stunning daisy shaped flowers with a distinctive orange cone at the centre, very popular with pollinators.Loveday - Dementia Friendly Plants Echinacea - Loveday
  7. Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) – amazing chocolate scented, deepest burgundy flower.
  8. Tree fern (Cyatheales) – a striking fern with large textural leaf fronds and a tactile main stem.
  9. Feathertop grass (Pennisetum villosum) soft flowers in summer that feel lovely to touch, and arching foliage which creates a rustling sound in the breeze.
  10. African Lily (Agapanthus) – large flowering globes in bright blues, mauve and white, that provide summer colour and structure amid surrounding plants.


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