Is it perverse to paint a plant?

Who sees a plant and says, “Oooh, I must paint that!”? While out scouring what’s in store a the garden stores this early in the season, I came across these poor painted plants. I mean, if someone asked me if I wanted to paint plants, I’d break out some acrylics and stretch a canvas. Some person has the responsibility of hand painting or airbrushing paint onto these succulents. 
I cannot imagine a plant is at its best when it can’t do its photosynthesis thing. Isn’t this suffocating them?

Didn’t nature make them perfectly beautiful and functional to begin with? Didn’t it take tens of thousands of years of adapting to get to where they are today? If bright colors were good for them, wouldn’t they have evolved that way?

I wanted to buy them all and take them home and give them a good scrubbing and then set them free.

But I held back. I didn’t want anyone to see me buying painted plants. I do have a reputation to uphold.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Is it perverse to paint a plant?

  1. I haven't seen this. I hope I don't! I think it is perverse. This is about the worst marketing idea I can think of. Are he plants meant to be actually planted in the garden? If so, why would you set them up for failure like that? I have to think they were never meant to be actually planted.


  2. I agree with you – 100%! Poor plants!!!


  3. Sad, very very sad.


  4. Oh these are just ugly…poor, poor plants.


  5. I totally agree. That is just twisted. I have painted plants … but only on canvas or paper. They remind me of these small cacti I saw once that has these beautiful little flowers only problem was that they were fake flowers stuck into the plants with litte pins.


  6. I am dismayed that many garden writers this season have decided to pay attention to painted and dyed plants as if such plants are a blight upon our civilization.Sometimes we forget that there is consumer activity divorced from the real world, nature, and true gardening.Adherents to that behavior respond to marketing that transforms reality into fantasy to echo what is in people's imagination. Dyed plants may be abhorrent to us, but just look at how many are sold at retail. Clearly there is a demand for them.Perhaps we should regard painted plants as the junk food of gardening:- gold to some but garbage to others.


  7. For goodness sakes. I have never seen such a thing. I hope never to see such a thing. This is as bad as those companies that create blue poinsettias and then sprinkle them with glitter at Christmas. UGH… You do have this painting thing going. Are you really thinking about painting strawberries on rocks. That sort of made me giggle. I can just see you sitting there on the patio with your paint pots and brushes. Have fun…


  8. These particular plants may last in our Zone 5/6 gardens but they're very small. Looks more like container gardening product.


  9. You are certainly right. These plants are not aimed at me or others of my ilk. The company is taking a risk to serve an audience they must have found worthwhile. I'm in advertising — I love capitalism!


  10. Companies only make these things because people will buy them! I'm thinking about the strawberry painted rocks. At least with rocks I won't be harming a rock's nutritional intake system.


  11. … At least with rocks I won't be harming a rock's nutritional intake system.“–and killing it.


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