Unusually Clever People

Guest Rant: Worst Plant Tag Ever

Thanks to Steve Aitken, editor of Fine Gardening magazine and one of many blogging at the Fine Gardening blog, for this fine rant. (Dude. Fine Ranting.  Could that be the next Taunton publication?)


The Worst Plant Tag
Ever: Questions for the author of the tag for a plant named “Green Plant”

  1. Couldn’t
    you have at least tried to come up with a name?
  2. Couldn’t
    you have shouted to a co-worker, “Hey, what kind of plant is this anyway?”
  3. Was
    the answer “A green one”?
  4. Why
    don’t any of the numerous plants in the picture look like my Green Plant?
  5. Some
    of the plants in the photo are actually green and white. Would they be
    considered Green Plants, too?
  6. If you
    couldn’t even bother to provide a name, how much can I trust your
    recommendation of “moderate light”?
  7. Isn’t
    “moderate light” just hedging your bet, since you don’t know what plant
    this is and couldn’t possibly know what it needs for light?
  8. Isn’t
    the information provided under “How to Care for your Green Plant” true for
    90% of indoor plants?
  9. Aren’t
    the “key tips for success” merely a restatement of the hopelessly general
    instructions that come first?
  10. Did
    you also want to include the following instructions: Plant in dark soil in
    a pot with the opening facing up. Do not bleach. Do not place in freezer.
    Water should be wet before applying to Green Plant.
  11. Did
    you have a meeting to brainstorm other ways this tag could be less
  12. Do you
    think people should get an “A” for effort?
  13. If so,
    what grade would you give yourself for this tag?
  14. Is
    this a conspiracy?
  15. Do you
    think you can get away with this?
  16. What
    do you mean “I already have.”?
  17. Why do
    you hate me?

Posted by on February 26, 2009 at 5:32 am, in the category Unusually Clever People.
Comments are off for this post

30 responses to “Guest Rant: Worst Plant Tag Ever”

  1. commonweeder says:

    It is amazing the nerve of some companies. Fortunately, I have never seen such a ridiculous tag from any of my local garden centers.

  2. sarahammocks says:

    HA! Where do they sell this amazing “green plant”???
    Did the real “green plant” actually resemble any of the green or greenish plants in the picture?
    I would like to add some helpful care instructions to the already wonderful list:
    18. Small parts may present choking hazards to children under the age of 3
    19.Lather, rinse, repeat

  3. Liisa says:

    I think the best part here is the copyright date — 1992. Does that mean they’ve been selling Green Plant for 16 years?

  4. John says:

    11. Did you have a meeting to brainstorm other ways this tag could be less helpful?

    I can assure you that this sort of thing comes from a succession of meetings, not just one.

    I almost choked on my “wet water” while reading this posting, it’s a hoot!

  5. It looks like the tag is printed with soy ink. Is it a paper tag? Can I compost it and then put that compost in the soil with the green plant?

  6. Elizabeth Stump says:

    Anyone who would actually find this information useful most probably has such a brown thumb that silk plants would be better suited. “Green plant? Hmm, I guess that is a different variety from the brown or black plant. I seem to have a lot of those…”

    I can see it now. “This is the Plant Doctor, I’m taking your calls. Hello?”
    “Um, hi? I have a plant that is dying.”
    “What type of plant is it?”
    “It’s a green plant.”
    “Yes, most plants are green. What’s the name of it.”
    “Green plant? That’s what it says on the label… Honestly!”
    “Next caller.”

  7. shira says:

    i’m speechless.

  8. Benjamin says:

    It’s not gree. It’s every color but green. I think this opens up a philosophical can of worms with which to add to the compost pile.

  9. Michele says:

    That is hilarious! Thanks, Steve. But it’s not so far from the kind of tags I see at Lowe’s and Home Depot all the time.

  10. linda says:

    I’m sure I’ve been gifted a green plant ordered from a florist that had the exact same tag twenty years ago. Ah yes, now I remember – it was the infamous dish garden.

  11. Town Mouse says:

    Ah, but you didn’t even check the patent, proudly displayed on the label:
    Patent 4972616

    A plant coding system used by retail establishments includes a plant wall chart color coded according to groups of plants requiring certain amounts of sunlight, cards similarly color coded and located at the display area for plants of a similar variety requiring a predetermined level of light; and plant tags associated with each plant and color coded to correspond to the light required and shown also on the card.

    (read more about it at http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT4972616)

    Do you know how many meetings that took?

  12. Jean says:

    Too funny! I’ve seen other similar tags in my Big Box store. I get so infuriated when I see something that might be fun to try but it has a generic plant tag. I refuse to buy it then!

  13. Stacia says:

    As someone who designs plant tags and packaging I’m not surprised. It looks like it came from people who don’t speak English as a primary language (no bias here though, because my husband doesn’t either).

  14. Hope says:

    Plant ID fail!

  15. Cassandra says:

    The grocery store where I shop has quite a selection of plants labelled “Tropical Plant”, but they don’t come with care instructions. However, they strongly resemble the plant(s) in the picture, so I see now that they are also green plants, requiring light and water. I feel relieved that if I buy one, I will know how to care for it.

  16. Do these plants only come in green? I need something to match my sofa and drapes.

  17. I have seen tags like these stating ‘Foliage Plant’. Just as descriptive. I wonder if the silk or plastic plants have tags? Why bother?

  18. Looks to me Steve, that they covered all their bases. LOL

  19. luise h. says:

    This could be funny,alas,it makes me question the sanity of Company Owners that would actually issue a paycheck to the “Designer” of this Label.Do they actually look at the stuff that leaves their factory? And what about stores that purchase plants for re-sale?Did they look at this tag?And finally,do they even care?This is another reason to shop at my local nursery where a tag like that will never be attached to a plant that’s on display.

  20. Marte says:

    I think it’s good that in tiny little letters at the top of the back label, it says “not edible.” Otherwise, I’m sure many people would eat this green plant.

  21. ChristyACB says:

    That is too funny. It just goes to show what happens when you put too many people wearing suits around growing things. 🙂

  22. Funny. I’m speechless on this. lol

  23. The Keys to Success are the most helpful part of the label: “Provide good light and avoid water-logged soil.”

    This has inspired me to make some extra cash by writing an article on Keys to Good Health. Here is the article: “Get the right amount of exercise and avoid eating poisonous foods.”

  24. jodi says:

    Oh, good grief. First I land at Plants are the Strangest People for my morning chortle, and then I come in here and see this. You guys win at life for sharing this with us. It’s hilarious, pathetic and even more hilarious again.

  25. Why don’t they GROW WITH US? I just cannot undersand.

  26. I would be speechless if I hadn’t bought a houseplant with a similar tag (and that was from a reputable nursery). I wonder how much someone got paid for coming up with this tag. I also wonder how I could get this gig.

  27. Oh, good gracious. I am laughing so hard I am crying. I tried to read this aloud to my hubby, but kept choking on my laughter. I love the “meeting” and the “A” for “effort.”~~Dee

  28. Torie says:

    Hi. In the future I’m going to keep here links to their sites. But I do not worry about the sites where my link is removed. So if you do not want to see a mountain of links, simply delete this message. After 2 weeks, I will come back and check.

  29. Andrew says:

    oh my, that is so funny, excellent critique. The tag sure looks well made, though! ;0