While visiting a local home improvement store today, I took a look at the garden section to see what grotesqueries the plant wholesalers have cooked up lately.  They did not disappoint.  I am, by now, inured to things like paper flowers glued to cacti or Phalaenopsis orchids with dyed blooms–If you desperately need a cheap grafted cactus, you can pick off the fake flowers, and when the garish dye fades, you’ll have a reasonably nice white-flowered Phal hybrid.

But today’s offerings…Shudder.


How about a Hippeastrum bulb dipped in wax?  Judging by the label, the flower is a big red tetraploid, probably ‘Red Lion,’ and someone has obviously thought, “Hmm, that’s a very striking flower, how can we make it look worse?”  The answer was to dip the bulb in wax even more brightly colored than the flower, so that the inflorescence will emerge from something the right size and color to choke Snow White.  And speaking of snow, what goes better with a subtropical flower than a coating of fake snow?

According to the label, the wax means that you don’t have to water the bulb at all.  It also means that the bulb won’t be able to grow roots, and is doomed to the trash can as soon as the flowers fade.

What’s that you say?  “A waxed bulb the color of Rudolph’s nose is pretty bad, but this is the land of inflatable snowmen and nativity scenes with Santa Claus adoring the baby Jesus.  A certain lack of taste is expected during the holidays.  Don’t you have anything worse?”

I do:


I actually picked up a couple of these to see if they were made of plastic.  Nope, they’re real.  Someone has dipped a variety of cacti and some Gasteraloe hybrids in paint.  You can choose fluorescent red, blue, or a particularly nasty shade of blue-green.  The painted leaf tips of the Gasteraloes are already shriveling, but the plants might eventually recover as new leaves emerge. The cacti are surely doomed.  They’ve been completely covered, and I’m reminded of that scene in Goldfinger where Bond’s latest amour dies after being coated with gold paint.

Why?  Why would anyone do this?  Who would buy it?

13 thoughts on “Abomination

  1. I clicked “like” although I am not sure why. I like it that you shared the post but I sure don’t like hearing what they are doing to the bulbs. I haven’t see that one before! I have seen the Aloe (etc.), painted and it is a downright shame. One year I saw Sanseveria all painted in various colors. We have humam right and humane societies to protect people and animals but nothing to protect plants against the industry. Plus, people who buy them will be dissappointed when they eventually die. It doesn’t encourage people to grow plants when what they buy eventually dies and it isn’t their fault. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think that’s why the succulents bother me more than the bulbs. A lot of people treat indoor bulbs like cut flowers and expect to toss them when the flowers are done. But cacti are supposed to be long-lived potted plants. No one buys a cactus thinking they’ll throw it away in a couple of weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A friend had one of those dipped in wax amaryllis last year and said it did fine. She gave me the bulb instead of pitching it and I stripped off the was and planted it in my garden. I’ll bring it in soon and replant it next spring where it might bloom as have other amaryllis that I store for the winter.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh my! I am outdone! I will be posting my picture of the waxed bulbs on Wednesday, but I had not seen the painted cacti and Gasteraloes! That really is horrid! Well, I will post my single picture too. If those painted Gasteraloes come to a store near me, I would be so tempted to buy one, just because it is so unbelievable. I have seen prickly pear cacti painted out in landscapes, but they of course just make new foliage. Every third pad gets painted red, every third pad gets painted white, and every third pad gets left unpainted.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s