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Home Depot Houseplant Hearse

When is a shopping cart more than just a shopping cart? When said shopping cart is painted orange and it says The Home Depot on the side. I have to admit that I do feel a bit of guilt because I enable Home Depot when I buy Burpee seeds from them along with other plants including but not limited to my cacti & succulents. But I can't help it, their cheap prices allow the working class the luxury of participating in gardening and general plant growing. Not everyone can afford to be a lazy localvore and pay someone to plant their veggie garden and collect the bounty and place it on their back door once a week. But I digress...

I don't know about any of you but I tend to not use a shopping cart when I visit a Home Depot garden center or shop in the manly section of the store. It gives me the creeps to think about the possibility that the shopping cart I'm pushing once transported dead plants to their graves- er I mean- the trash compactor out behind a Home Depot.

dead houseplants at Home Depot(sorry about the picture quality, it was taken with my cell phone.)

What creeps me out the most is the thought of the still living plants that will go into the trash compactor like the ZZ Plant at the top of this Home Depot shopping cart Houseplant Hearse. How they manage to kill such a forgiving and easy to grow houseplant I will never know. The plant is still alive and if re-potted in a smaller pot and not over watered would make a good recovery. The ZZ Plant above is like the horticultural example of those stories you hear of someone being buried alive. The potted rosemary in the back I can kind of understand, maybe even forgive them the creeping fig- I know I've killed one. Poor thing looks like it jumped from the hanging pole onto the handle so it can be taken away and put out of its misery. But the tray of carnivorous plants at the bottom is really sad.

I hadn't been in this houseplant mortuary, I mean, Home Depot in a while so I didn't notice when the pitcher plants came in but the shipment looked relatively new. Not a single one of the carnivorous plants on display had been sold because they were all dead. I lost count of the number of dead plants in this houseplant hears after 10. The Home Depot should just give away their houseplants and end the charade or at least change their tag line.

Here are my suggestions for a new Home Depot tag line:

The Home Depot: We can kill it, you don't need to help. No... really, watch we'll kill them in no time!

Okay, maybe that one is too long- it has been a while since I was in a copywriting class...

The Home Depot: Where houseplants go to die.

The Home Depot: We hate houseplants this much.

The Home Depot: Pray we never open a chain of skilled nursing facilities.

The Home Depot: We conserve water by killing houseplants.

Maybe one of you readers can come up with something better. Have your say in the comments section.


  1. Maybe The Home Depot: Houseplants? What houseplants? There are no houseplants here.

  2. That's painful to see, MBT. How about the motto : Home Depot : We have plants to die for.

    Seriously, tho' if you get there before they kill them you can get some good deals. They buy in such bulk and pay so little that they don't seem to care whether the plants live or die.

  3. So, did you ask if you could retrieve anything from that cart? I might have! :-)

    Perhaps: "Home Depot - We have plants that are dying to go home with YOU!" ? Oh, sorry.

  4. thanks for the smile

  5. Home Depot: We waste water by drowning our plants. (I think this is more common that under watering.)
    Sometimes if you ask the help they'll give you the throw-away plants, and sometimes they won't. I've gotten a few for free that way. It's kind of fun to see if they can be saved. A few nursery purists think buying plants at any of the big box stores is heresy, but I'm not a purist, except for possible show plants.

  6. Sadistic Home Depot: Not only do we like to painfully and slowly torture and kill plants, but we like to torture you too. No, you can't "rescue" our's all part of our sadistic nature here at THE HOME DEPOT!

  7. I went to our local home depot this summer with DD to buy a bag of soil, and saw all the dead plants waiting for the dumpsters, but that is not as bad as the dumpsters full of food behind grocery stores.

  8. You know what? I have actually asked about those plants in the Hearse. They told me the garden houses get them back! I think I got told a fib because they didn't want me going through them to find the ones with a little green on them for me to try and rescue.

  9. Oh, and it's not just the houseplants! Don't get me started about the number of plants that they have for sale that are marked as "perennials"... but what they don't tell you is that they're only really perennial in zone 7. And the Cleveland area ranges from a zone 5 to a zone 6!

  10. I don't think I can come up with anything better. Sadly, this happens in the Home Depot here and breaks my heart every time I wander through their plant section. (That is, when I'm not feeling infuriated for the same reason Kim mentioned - selling plants that are for much higher zones than here).

  11. Anonymous11:35 AM

    LOL! what a great subject! being such a huge fan of HD myself (how do i count that ways that I have been s___d by that store?) Actually, the garden manager of the HD near me is a CCN pro who does his darndest to stock good stuff and keep them healthy, but he's an exception. But you can't beat the prices on some things there, and I have to admit that I buy from them for my garden and other projects... but no houseplants!

  12. Being a garden girl it gives me a great pang to see those littles go to the dumpster. I asked if I could buy them 1/2 price or hang out by the dumpster. They actually lock the dumpster and don't even let employees take 'barely there' plants home. Dust to dust!

  13. Home Depot

    Our Garden Center puts 'ath' in de pot

  14. We have a similar chain in Europe (they even use the orange shopping carts) called Bauhaus. Yes, they treat their plants in the same way too. The best way to get an healthy plant from them is to be lucky and catch it the same day it arrives at the center.

    Home Depot: Having trouble killing your plants? Let us help!

  15. I feel your pain! This summer, I saw a similar scene at a Meijer store and I asked about rescuing the perfectly good plants at a discount price. They could not SELL them to me at any price because they were already counted as dead plants that they were going to be reimbursed for by their supplier. It would not be "honest" of them to sell them to me. it honest to throw away perfectly good plants to get reimbursement???

    But I do business there because they many times have great plants and as you said, the price is right.

  16. Home Depot is one of the WORST places to buy plants - my last experience cured me of shopping there forever. I bought a healthy-looking plant in a 5-gallon pot (much more expensive than the 1-gallon plants!), only to find (when I went to plant it) that it was simply a root-bound gallon-sized plant amid four gallons of soil. I learned that it is worth the money to buy quality plants and support your local non-chain nursery.

  17. Lowes, in Phoenix at least, has a 'save this plant' area of marked down pots that are not prime, but *not dead yet.*

    I would have loved to have found that ZZ on the Lowes rack!

  18. Anonymous7:07 AM

    My vote is definitely for #3. Let's only hope. I've been known to buy almost dead roses (significantly marked down) and bring them back to health and give them to friend. That's how crazy I am.~~Dee

  19. Anonymous11:05 AM

    I've often wondered what becomes of the plants that don't sell there. I too get frustrated with them selling plants that are not for my climate- I always find out too late, but that is my fault too for not researching first.
    How sad that they won't allow anyone to take them home.

  20. Anonymous4:38 PM

    I work in the garden department at a Missouri Home Depot. And this is sadly common at my store. In my store at least we have vendors come in and clear out all of the "dead" plants. They are not always dead, and most can obviously be saved. It is sad, and most of us don't agree with it. The conditions in which our shelves are set up are a big problem in my store. Plants are too close together, not getting enough room, water, sun, or any other sort of care. And then, to top it off, we get another shipment in, and so I am charged with shoving more on the shelves. And it breaks my heart, to have SO MUCH wasted. It is not ecologically friendly and it is definitely not business friendly.
    What is really sad about it is that I cannot do a thing to fix the problem. I am the bottom rung on the ladder, no one is going to listen to me. However, they will listen to you. If you shop your local store, and see this going on, let your knowledge and voice get to the store manager. If they are unwilling to change, make a relationship with the associates, they will get you deals on these "dead" plants.
    I am, however, going to go back to my store (I"m at lunch) and print off a copy of this page for my managers to see... maybe they will fix the problems... or try.

  21. MBT, your treatment of a serious subject--neglected plants--is delightfully funny. I'm sorry I can't come up with any more ideas for HD's new ad, but I do think we should form an international nonprofit group targeting these wasteful box stores. We could call it GRIPE--Gardeners Rehabilitating Ignored Plants Everywhere. Qualified group associates wearing ID badges would show up unannounced and commandeer the contents of the "hearses." After a suitable period of rehabilitation, the plants could be adopted for a small fee.

  22. LOL! I like walk2write's idea, I would join a group called GRIPE for the name alone! I actually HAVE seen extended care facilities that look like they're run by Home Depot...yikes! (BTW-my word verif. was "redampen"! :)

  23. Anonymous2:11 AM

    Home Depot: We just don't give a damn.

    (Actually, most people wouldn't give a damn too - it's too much work. Unless they're *really* into horticulture and are gardening freaks, most would just take the easy way out - toss the old and in with the new! I know a mall near my house - they bring in new orchids every month! That's about 50+ pots or so as the entire front of the mall is decorated with live orchids growing from clay pots! About a month later, the orchids would all have lost their flowers and most of their leaves would be diseased with orchid virus and they would look really pathetic, and they would be tossed out and a new batch of pots would be brought in. Ghastly, in my regard.)

  24. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Ah, Home Depot. So many suffering plants there. But I confess, one year they'd cornered the entire market on Lysimachia 'Golden Alexander', which are now flourishing at clients all over New England. I thought of it as a rescue operation.

  25. Anonymous12:28 PM

    I dont think wining on the internet or talking about this stuff to managers is enough to make a point. But you did give me an idea. Im gonna make 100 copies of this page and place a stack of them in the garden center or somewhere so all the gardening people who shop there can read what happens and join in the out rage. I also have alot of other maltreatment stories like their bonsai trees.. they GLUE the rocks on which dissolves into the soil and eventually seaps into the roots, and the cement rocks choke the poor bonsai off. Their jade plants are almost always over watered and lacking proper light [they have no red on the leaves and very poor roots] but it is true that other than plants that are exotic or sensitive they do have great plants for the price. I'm also gonna try to snap some picks of the plants being thrown out and post them in the news paper, if i cant get them in there then i will at least post them in my school newspaper. (surprisingly alot of people my age get pretty outraged about this kinda stuff) I mean we are trying to go green and recycle and giving away and or donating those plants that get thrown out is RECYLCING i dont even care if they give them to costumers they could donate them to charities and such. It may not be food or clothes but plant really do affect the vibe of a room. the could also rather than fibbing about what they do with the plants also just send them bacc to the nurseries. 3/4 of the plants start as cuttings there anyway. They could take cuttings of the liviig plant, grow it and then sell it back to homedepot so the same plant can get recycled 3 or 4 times rather than only getting 1 chance to be bought not to meantion it would save the nursery money becuase they would not have to buy as many new plants to propgate and intern homedepot can buy the pants back in bulk for even less that what they are presently buying them for. and who knows with the money they would be saving may go towards better plant care as well

  26. Oh man. I totally forgot about this post and the comments. Thanks to everyone for commenting and the funny lines. I'm cracking up reading them.

    crosstongue-Glad to see that younger people care about this kind of stuff. I've been thinking of creating a blog about the greenhouses at various Home Depots I come across in Chicago but I don't have the time. If you're this passionate about it I say start your own about what the plant quality is like in your area and maybe you can bring about some changes.

  27. Anonymous5:54 PM

    I would love for any of you to write to the higher-ups of Home Depot. Or come walk a day in our shoes at the store. There is no way we can keep all the plants alive, and though admittedly there are a lot that die, there are exponentially more that don't. You just see the tiny bit once in a while that don't make it out the door. And with our guarantee without requiring a receipt means we can't sell a plant that is failing or someone will return it for full price. So please. Come work here for a month and see if you can affect the system. I assure you it isn't as bad or as easy as you think.

  28. Anon,

    Thanks for stopping by to comment. I don't know that there is "no way" HD can keep "all" the plants alive. All it takes is a bit of watering & assigning that duty to people.

  29. What I shame. I LOVE my local Home Depot. I spent $160.00 in citrus trees and I'm very happy with them. Plus they are very generous to the community that I am a part of.

  30. I believe that there definitely is much room for improvement at Home Depot. It's true that you can't keep 100% of plants alive all the time..but they could keep a whole lot more alive than they do manage to.

    I used to visit several Home Depots as a service vendor, and they all made me sad. Since I got to go in the back for my job, I got to see the carts and carts of dead/not really dead plants.

    They also wouldn't have to worry about that guarantee quite so much if they did a better job at matching plants to their regions, for starters :)

    They need better training on watering too (better training overall, too, but I digress). Saw a lot of African Violets ruined because they were watered from above in a general sprinkling. Watering really shouldnt be done in the middle of the day most places unless absolutely necessary, since it just evaporates too fast anyways.

  31. Kathy1:55 PM

    I can't believe I ran across this blog just one day after all but begging the Home Depot sales manager to allow me to rescue a perfectly good (well, it would be perfectly good within about a month with the proper care) peace lilly from their trash can! He flat out refused...."Well, technically once we write a plant off and throw it away, we're not allowed to sell it OR give it away....we just have to throw it away." I just shook my head and walked away, but when I got to my car I mourned the death of the poor little thing with true tears! I hate Home Depot for this!!!!!

  32. Carol Ann7:55 PM

    Just offered them a small price for such a cart filled with orchids. I was told that when they dump the plants they ALSO dump the containers they are in.... And we wonder what's wrong with lure enemy....

    Carol Ann

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Anonymous6:51 PM

    Ikea is just as bad, they used to have brown thumb section, but they discontinued it. You would think that since they have so many dead plants they would either lower the price (I've watched the price steadily go up for house plants) or that they would sell them at a discount before they died. I too have asked if I could purchase a brown thumb plant and was told no. :( I'm going to take Moni's suggestion and mention it in the survey. Goodness knows how many times I have stopped an employee to suggest they throw a little water on a dry wilted plant. SMH



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