Succulents are incredible plants and can withstand a lot of abuse. There are a few things that some plants have to endure that really make your toes curl.
The most ill treated succulents seem to come from big box stores - the growers who supply these chain stores are without mercy when it comes to making a sale. They come with their own succulent problems and succulent pests, which leads me to an important tip; always quarantine your new plants in case they have a pest.
Here are a few examples of the type of mistreatment of succulents you may find.
One of the worst is the way that some growers treat their cactus plants. I guess we're to blame, because we're suckers for anything with a flower.
Most cacti don't really look like much (unless you're truly infatuated with them) and the way these unscrupulous types have figured out that we'll buy the plants is if they stick a pin holding a dried strawflower onto the plant.
Here's something completely different; it's not a cactus at all, it's some kind of Delosperma, but the growers have disguised it as a cactus by sticking some little starry things on that look like spines.
This solves the problem of the flowering or lack of it, because Delosperma have a much longer bloom time.
The plant is less likely to keel over from too much water too, yet another of the things they have to put up with.
They can get away with this because most people are aware that they'll get stuck with the spines of a real cactus, so no-one is going to touch it, which would give the game away.
And then there's painting succulents. This is something that has disturbed me ever since I saw them in a box store 'garden center' waiting for some sucker to come along and buy them.
As if the real, natural color wasn't good enough...
Having said that, one completely acceptable use for paint and succulents is to decorate your wedding flowers that way.
Done right, and with the right kind of paint, these look fabulous.
What's the right kind of paint? There is special floral spray that quickly wears off to allow the plant to continue to live just fine after the big day.
There are other ways that these poor plants get treated badly.
One plant I received as a gift just seemed to sit there.
It was obvious why, when I unearthed it and looked at the roots. You can see more about that story here.
All in all, I would say that succulent plants are among the toughest and most willing to stand almost anything just so they can stay alive, but really, that's no reason not to treat them with a little respect.