Yes, they're colorful, but they're also doomed.

By Steve Bender
December 10, 2018
Credit: Steve Bender

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of gardening consumers. At least, that's the impression you get walking through greenhouses of some of the biggest home and garden centers. Just the other day, I came upon the abomination show above—succulents painted in a rainbow of vivid colors. Surely, you want a red, purple, pink, or blue aloe decorating your kitchen counter for the upcoming holidays!

Here's the rub. See, real aloes have green or gray leaves. That's boring, isn't it? You'll never impress people with a gift of a green Aloe vera plant, even if juice from the leaves is good for treating burns. Most everybody has a green burn plant already.

What they don't have, though, is a red, orange, yellow, or magenta one. And they want one, desperately. How can retailers provide colors that nature doesn't? Two words. Spray paint.

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Yep, just pick up a can of any color and spray that sucker down. In less than a minute, they'll have created something nature never could. They'll also have doomed that plant to death by starvation.

That's because painted leaves can no longer absorb energy from the sun to make food for the plant. It'll hang on for a while until its reserves run out and then it'll die.

Call me a looney-toon, but Grumpy believes plants have feelings. They can sense discomfort and pain. I refuse to countenance buying painted plants, thereby giving the retailer an incentive to order even more.

Faithful readers, it's time to stop this shameful practice. Don't buy painted plants! If you want to own a plant in some weird color nature never intended, I have one word for you. Plastic.