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The Controversial Case of Painted Succulents: Lowe's, Reddit, and Consumer Concerns


In the realm of home décor, the popularity of succulents has skyrocketed in recent years, gracing countless spaces with their verdant beauty. However, a recent incident involving Lowe's and the sale of painted succulents has sparked a heated debate among consumers and horticulturalists alike.

The Lowe's Saga

In late 2022, several Lowe's customers reported purchasing painted succulents that had been labeled as "natural." The vibrant colors of these plants raised concerns about the use of artificial dyes and the potential impact on their health. The issue quickly gained traction on social media, with Reddit forums becoming a hub for angry discussions.

Reddit's Outcry

Redditors took to the popular subreddit r/succulents to express their outrage. They accused Lowe's of misleading customers by selling painted plants as natural, arguing that the paint could harm the plants and pose a safety hazard. One Reddit user wrote, "It's like painting a pet and expecting it to be healthy."

Lowe's Response

Amidst the backlash, Lowe's issued a statement acknowledging the sale of painted succulents. While they admitted that the plants had been "enhanced with paint for aesthetic purposes," they maintained that the paint used was "non-toxic and safe for plants." However, they did not specify the composition of the paint or provide any scientific evidence to support their claim.

Horticultural Concerns

Horticultural experts weighed in on the controversy, cautioning that painting succulents could indeed be detrimental to their health. The porous nature of succulent leaves allows them to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. Paint can block these pores, suffocating the plant and impeding its ability to photosynthesize.

Moreover, artificial dyes used in paints can contain heavy metals and other harmful chemicals. These substances can leach into the soil or be absorbed by the plant, potentially threatening its health and the environment.

Consumer Safety

Beyond the harm to plants, concerns were also raised about the potential health risks posed by painted succulents to consumers. If the paint chips or flakes off, it could be ingested by children or pets, leading to accidental poisoning.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advises against allowing children and pets to interact with painted plants, as the paint may contain toxic substances that could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other health issues.

Industry Standards

The practice of painting succulents has been met with disapproval by industry professionals. The National Gardening Association (NGA) strongly discourages the use of paint on live plants, highlighting the potential risks to their health and the environment.

Regulatory Action

In the wake of the Lowe's incident, some states and municipalities are considering regulations to prohibit the sale of painted succulents. For example, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is exploring the possibility of classifying painted plants as "adulterated" and banning their sale.

Consumer Awareness

In response to the controversy, consumers are urged to be vigilant when purchasing succulents. Carefully examine the plants for signs of paint and avoid purchasing those that have been artificially colored. It is always advisable to ask store staff about the provenance of the plants and whether they have been treated with any substances.


The painted succulent saga has shed light on the importance of consumer awareness and the potential risks associated with artificial modifications to plants. While it is understandable that people may seek to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their homes, it is crucial to prioritize the health and safety of both plants and consumers when making purchasing decisions. By staying informed and making responsible choices, we can ensure the well-being of our living spaces and the environment.

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