A Cactus of a Different Color

So how bored must a plant-lover be to want to get the latest in (artificial) color couture? Euro Cactus out of the Netherlands has come out with a wide array of colorful succulents. And in order to leave nothing to chance, they have been spray painting them to make sure people notice.
A friend of mine who is well-versed in horticulture, picked up an unusual succulent with absolutely no tags or signage while shopping at Alsip Nursery in St. John, IN. It was the novelty, obviously. What plant sports leaves of this color? And as a gardener who has picked out thousands of plants in her lifetime, why couldn't she find any sign of a tag that would tell her about the plant?

I'd been talking to Dan Biernacki of Ted's Greenhouse in Tinley Park, IL about succulents in general, and he mentioned the insurgence of fancifully-colored Echeverias and other plants that have been coming out of Europe. By the time I'd gotten home I'd forgotten about it, but the next day my friend showed me this Echeveria of a different color that she'd purchased.

Dan Biernacki said: "The company doing it claims it is a 'special' paint, but in my youth I made many a delivery to florists who had a plethora of "floral" paints that they sprayed on open blooms to achieve various effects. I would gather that if you can spray the delicate tissue of a rose, you could most certainly paint a succulent as well. The paint does seem to remain adhered to the plant quite well but as the cells elongate and the plant grows, the new growth will be the original color of the leaf, usually some shade of green. Also, I have noticed that the growth tends to be "soft" looking, perhaps due to the fact that with the paint on the leaves, the plant cannot perform photosynthesis through the painted areas?"

So now we know how it was done and why the plant actually looks nearly natural as it grows out. But here's the thing that bothers me. Nowhere in the pot or on the plant does it tell the consumer that it has been artificially colored and that the new growth will come out green. It won't stay that color! And let's face it, the color is the reason it was purchased! If you look closely at the photo you can see overspray on the rim of the pot.

Weigh in on whether you think living plants should be spray painted in order to be noticed, and therefore purchased!


20 comments:

  1. Pretty, but, hey, I won't by a Christmas tree painted green. Then there are green eggs, green beer, shocking magnetic blue orchids in the depot. Enchanting until you think about it...

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  2. I would not knowingly by an altered plant like this. That is probably why there was no notification on the package. I see it as falsifying goods and should be illegal, if it isn't already.

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  3. Count me out.
    It is fake, worse than dyed carnations.

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  4. WalMart sells pot mums, poinsettias painted and glittered like this! I have never seen any kind of notification on any of them. HATE the stuff!

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  5. Yuck! What's wrong with the natural beauty of plants? I also hate when they try to pass off straw flowers as blooms on cacti. It's very misleading to those who aren't paying attention or don't know any better. If I want extra glam I'll find a neat planter to stick it in!

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  6. That sounds as bad as painted fish. Yep. They look good for the sale. They grab your eye when you're looking for something different, but both fish and plants grow out the natural color. In either case I'd prefer to know. I might still buy it...

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  7. This is disgusting, I'm actually shocked people don't realize the colors are fake and even your horticultural- ist friend who Should know such things.... it disgusts me to paint and glue fake flowers to cacti and succulents i just wish people would stop buying them soo they would stop doing it and stop selling them. I always make a point to tell the store people when i buy a cacti or succulent with fake flowers on it, that I'm buying it cause i like the plant and im really bothered that i have to spend hours trying to remove the s**t they stuck to it to draw in people who don't know crap about what these plants should look like and how beautiful they are without it being like that....

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  8. JP, succulent loverMarch 2, 2015 at 5:36 AM

    Well...I actually think it is a whimsical idea! I think I would realize it had been altered and created by a human for fun!

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    1. Agreed, JP! I think of them as just a decorative whimsy! A row of them in white rocks & long, narrow, galvanized tub/tray would make a great centerpiece. I love to garden because I approach it as play, & love to experiment all the time. I say, as long as you know, why not?

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    2. I agree there are non toxic sprays that should only lightly be sprayed so as not to suffocate. But as the plants grow ( and they do just fine) they become somewhat bi colored and mostly grow right out of it eventually. I bought some very small variety of sprayed cactus for fun and they look wicked cool a year later!

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    3. I agree that it is all for fun and flash...nothing wrong with it! And the colors can be very beautiful.

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  9. I saw some of these and other various succulents at our local Home Depot. Very eye catching. However, I didn't purchase because if the paint. Also, there weren't any tags here either.

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  10. FALSE ADVERTIZING!!! ANY THING TO MAKE A BUCK.

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  11. You know if they can't produce a plant in of itself to make you want to buy it then I wonder about the quality of the plant. The not labeling only says to me they don't want the consumer to know because they probably wouldn't buy it in the first place.

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  12. I think it's fraudulent to paint a plant and not tell the consumer. I wouldn't buy a plant that wasn't tagged anyway because the tags tell you how to care for your new plant. It should be illegal.

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  13. In general, we paint our houses, our faces, our bodies and even fruit trees (white). Nothing is 'real' and art imitating nature is a conundrum.

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  14. No to paint or anything that would harm the plant's ability to photosynthesize. Unfair also to those of us who would use the plant to propagate more, thinking that they will come out blue...if we can't start thinking about the harm we are doing to plants, bees and other insects, etc, then we need some therapy.

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  15. I dislike all the spray painted succulents and cactus. I really dislike when they glue those silly straw flowers on those beautiful cactus, it's like what's wrong with the natural beauty of the plant itself?

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  16. I have seen these. It did catch my eye, but when I looked closer I noticed the paint. NO, I didn't waste my money purchasing one. I prefer natures color tones. It can be awesome in its self!

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  17. I feel it is unfair to the plant. It can't be good for it. I too hate to see flowers stuck onto cacti, sometimes affixed with a toothpick that pierces the poor plant.

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