You know the world needs a good laugh when a Facebook anecdote about tending to a plant for two years before realising it is fake goes viral. But that's exactly what happened when a woman from North Carolina took to social media to express her disappointment over discovering that the succulent she had loving nurtured turned out to have Styrofoam roots, a fact she discovered when she was trying to re-pot her beloved plant.
At the time of writing, Caelie Wilkes's post had been shared nearly 7,000 times and commented on 6,300 times. Here's what she posted, along with images of the impostor.
The viral post
"Story time. I’ve had this beautiful succulent for about two years now. I was so proud of this plant. It was full, beautiful colouring, just an overall perfect plant. I had a watering plan for it, if someone else tried to water my succulent I would get so defensive because I just wanted to keep good care of it. I absolutely loved my succulent.
"Today I decided it was time to transplant, I found the cutest vase, that suited it perfectly. I go to pull it from the original container it was purchased with to learn this plant was FAKE. I put so much love into this plant! I washed its leaves. Tried my hardest to keep it looking its best, and it’s completely plastic! How did I not know this. I pull it from the container, it’s sitting on Styrofoam￼ with sand glued to the top! I feel like these last two years have been a lie."
Ironically, Wilkes had been gifted the succulent after she managed to kill a previously owned plant, perhaps explaining her feelings of possessiveness for this one.
The comments it elicited
Comments ranged from the amused to the sympathetic, with many people reassuring the grieving plant mother that they had made the same mistake (although how long their charade continued is anyone's guess). One user urged her to hold on to her still beautiful-looking plant, noting that she herself had "managed to kill an air plant", while another user noted wryly that she'd even had "entire relationships like that".
Green-thumbed commenters took the opportunity to dish out gardening tips, with one noting it's always "best to take the bottom leaf for propagation" and hence avoid being fooled.
The revelation caused some to investigate the authenticity of their own flora, while still others lamented how real and fake plants have come to look alike in every way.
The post's tragicomic value aside, one has to wonder about Ms Wilkes's sense of touch, though, given that every so often she lovingly ran her fingers over what we now know are shiny, hard plastic leaves that, as one critic noted, should have been noticed when they didn't "grow a millimetre or change colour at all".