Search My Garden Blog with Google Custom Search


More Cacti Abuse

Plastic Eyes Glued On CactiOn a previous entry I wrote about the practice of gluing fake flowers on cacti . If you're not aware of it cacti and succulents growers glue straw flowers on cacti when they aren't blooming in order to increase sales of these plants. Those pink, green, red and blue flowers you see growing on cactus in the big box stores are indeed fake. The most common cactus that you'll encounter decorated with the the straw flowers is one that is referred to as "Fairy Castle Cactus."

One of the wholesale growers that participates in this practice is a company by the name of Altman Plants. This fall I noticed for the first time that Altman Plants was not only distributing cacti with those colorful fake flowers but they also had cacti and succulent plants decorated for Halloween. Some of the changes they made for the Halloween season make sense and are completely understandable even forgivable. For example, using these decorative cups instead of the usual plastic pots or even the miniature cardboard masks I saw on some of their plants. All of that I can understand but I can't go along the practice of gluing things on perfectly healthy plants.

It is a shame that Altman Plants has to resort to these tacky practices in order to get retail outlets like The Home Depot to buy more plants. Altman Plants is a perfectly respectable company and I'm a big fan of their "Cactus Collection" line available at The Home Depot. Because of them I'm able to buy some rare and interesting cacti that I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to buy locally in Chicago. But they really need to stop with these silly holiday decorations on their plants on top of ending the practice of gluing fake flowers on cacti.


  1. You should check out our airport terminal gift shops and local tourist shops. They always have these types of ludicrous additions to their tiny cactus specimens. One would think that tourists would want a true representation of Southwest, not some novelty crap. I doubt that toursits frequent Homw Depot locations. I can't imagine anyone living here actually buying this stuff! All our home improvement garden centers carry the Cactus Collection with the fake flowers, so someone must be buying it.

  2. Hi, I'm from Spain, and it is common (and a shame)to see fake flowers on cactus here too.
    All the users from the cactaceae forum I visit has the same opinion about this humillation of cactus and succulents.
    Sellers put on the flowers to make the cactus more atractive and sell more, but the most people don't know how it harmful is for the plant.
    If they knew that the cactus grow their own beautiful flowers, they think two times before buying the fake ones.

    Besides of the flowers stuck with glue or silicone, I've seen "festive" editions for Christmas or Halloween.
    For example THIS where the eyes are glued, and the Santa's hat is stuck with a metal wire crossing the entire cactus, and if you want to remove it you will sure get "fungi" (sorry I don't kwnow how it is in english ^^U) and the cactus dead.
    Or this you can see the haworthia covered with green glitter.

    By my side, I don't buy these. I use to search for the commerces that bring the cacti without this "ornaments", and it seems that more of them realized that people don't buy the "glued" so much like before.

    Well, I only hope that this practice stops someday...

    I like your blog a lot (I think I get here from
    Greetings ^^

    PS:and sorry for my "$&#@~ english :D


  3. Someone's buying these things, Mr. Brown Thumb, or they wouldn't find it lucrative to continue. Spur of the moment decisions? Bad taste? Who knows why. Or hey, maybe people are buying them as practical jokes? We can only hope!

  4. no rain,

    When I lived in AZ I worked for a bit in a tourist trap. Though it was a classier tourist trap than most because it didn't suffer from "rubber tomahawk syndrome." But I know what you mean about some of that stuff. At least at home depot I haven't seen the cacti potted to make it look like it was growing out of the pants of an old man.

    Glad you stopped by and commented. I actually think the Santa cactus are very funny! I wonder if I'll see something like that around here for Christmas. Thanks for sharing your pics with me. And don't apologize for your English-I was born speaking it and mine is worse ;0)


    I'm one of those people that buys these. Although in my defense mine went back today and was exchanged for a nepenthes picture plant. ;0)

  5. There seems to be a resurgence in popularity for these decorated cactus. To date, I haven't seen any eyes added, although I'm sure they will arrive here eventually.

    Those Christmas cactus that Nusuki showed are incredible!

  6. I agree that this is too bad. Maybe if they would include a card with each cactus that has a picture of the REAL flower it can produce, along with cultural info on how to do it, that could assist sales and spare the poor cactus.

  7. Kate,

    Well I guess you're luck that you haven't come across these yet. Maybe you all up north have better taste.


    That makes too much sense. You can't expect professional growers to treat us like intelligent people. ;0)

  8. That looks completely ridiculous. But I guess tacky sells.

  9. Blueblue,

    You're right tacky does sell. Did you see the pics in the comment above? Those Santa ones are pretty funny looking.

  10. I once rescued a bonsai from Target, a cute rectangular pot with hardly any soil, topped with a half-inch of gravel mixed with glue to make it rock-hard. Embedded in the gravel was a ponytail palm, miraculously still alive despite there being no way to water it. I took it home, chiseled out the gravel, and today have five or six healthy ponytail palms. It's kind of like pet stores and puppy mills; you know it's wrong to buy puppies there because it encourages the industry, but you just have to rescue them!

    I was at HD the other day and didn't see any Halloween-themed plants at all. Disappointing; they sometimes sell cool plants at holidays.

  11. And maybe the funniest thing about those horrifying photos NuSuKi posted is that the haworthia is labeled as an Ilex!

  12. Diane,

    I haven't been to HD because I'm afraid of what I may find that I don't have room for. Fall/Winter is such a good time for buying cacti & succulents at Home Depot that it is dangerous.

  13. Marlene1:10 PM

    Wait, you're trying to tell me that those eyes aren't real? So, should I stop trying to teach the cactus to talk too? I'm devastated.



Feel free to leave a comment. You can always use the search box for my blog or the search "Google For Gardeners" if you're looking for gardening information. If you're looking for seed saving information check out "Seed Snatcher"search engine.

Do not have a blog yourself? Comment using the "anonymous" feature. If you have a Twitter or FB account feel free to use the "Name URL" feature so other people can find you.

Thanks for visiting.