The Succulent Trend

April 4, 2011

vintage printable succulent public domain via

Have you ever heard of term Jump the Shark? (wikipedia defines: something (usually a tv show) has broadened beyond television – indicating the moment in its evolution when a brand, design, or creative effort moves beyond the essential qualities that initially defined its success, beyond relevance or recovery – in a moment characterized by absurdity.)

I thought of that this morning when I saw this video.  Do you think that it is possible for horticultural trends to ‘jump the shark‘?

This makes me think so.  I really hate when something (like in this case the popularity of succulents) goes to a point of stupidity.  Here, they are being used in a promo video that has nothing to do with plants, their usefulness, their ease of growing, their appropriateness to a site, or really anything even related to gardens or horticulture.

I think the succulent craze may have jumped the shark with this one.  What do you think? Has the succulent craze hit its crescendo yet?  Can horti trends (or even design trends in general)  jump the shark?  I am curious what you think?

In the mean time, lets take a moment of silence for the little plants that are surely all dead now after what was certainly a long photo shoot to create this irrelevant little video.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not some sort of PETA-ish plant protector, plants die, it happens all the time.  Flower shows are hard on plants, TV and other demonstrative activities can kill delicate ecosystems and visiting gardens can alter the environment permanently and irrevocably.  But these have a point, education, health, fresh air, design, teaching, inspiring, etc. etc…..

Here though, these little plants are being used as objects that in no way relate to the brand and their use accomplishes nothing…..except that they are trendy. I just don’t get it.

Est (the brand) –  is a new online shelter magazine from Australia — and even though I am (probably) overly grumpy this morning about this little video, the magazine very much worth perusing. (online here)

REgister now!

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  1. rosekraft says:

    Another example of trendy design trumping horticultural sense is the tillandsia in a terrarium craze.
    One of the prime requirements of most tillandsias is air movement – not exactly something a terrarium is known for.
    If the people marketing these things pointed out that the life span is limited under these conditions, that would be great – at least the decision to buy one would be an informed one.

  2. Stephanie C. Miller says:

    Yes, they have! Also, as rosekraft says above the terrarium craze is sadly misguided, as is the air plant craze. It’s sad to see fashion trump life, the preservation of life. Today though I was thinking about flower shows. They are amazing, but it doesn’t seem very “green” to spend so much energy setting up false, temporary environments in a climate controlled building for kicks. Hmmmm, mixed feelings on that.

  3. Andria says:

    Just thought I would update you on the status of all those plants in the video..
    Every single plant apart from one which got flooded out of its pot is alive and doing well.
    (So no moment of silence required) .

    This video was a mood board, that is all. A typographic design intended to reflect the theme colour of est magazine. Not sure how that’s a difficult concept to grasp?

    In response to Stephanie’s comment, Flower shows create a domain for florists and designers to use natural products to create design, I don’t see how this could be a bad thing? Its all done using perishable products, Yes there is waste, but it breaks down. Lots of designers are out there creating plastic monstrosities and this doesn’t anger you?

  4. Sian says:

    HI Rochelle,

    I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words about Est – we love that you liked the mag – we are just sorry that it made you grumpy!

    As you now know – no living plant was harmed in producing this beautiful mood board for Est.
    Every plant is alive and kicking which is why we chose succulents for the design. As you know not only are they perfect for our harsh summer climate here in Australia – they are also beautiful for design and display and terribly eco friendly as they can be repotted and can sustain life long after their design use.

    Did you notice the beautiful works of Clinton Freidman, the South African photographer, that was profiled in Est. He produces stunning works of art by photographing the succulent medicinal plants of Africa after they have been pulled from the ground before their juices are harvested for ancient and traditional medicinal practices.

    Freidman too has made a career out of nursing these plants back to health once they have served their purpose for man.

    I have heard of the phrase ‘jump the shark’ but was surprised to see it referenced to Est because of a mood board we had created to set the tone for the magazine style and ethos.

    The succulent craze is huge, granted, but there is a reason – climate is dictating. We realize it is silly to expect an english garden to grow here in the warm climate of Australia. After going through summer after summer of water restrictions it seems only natural to look to those plants which grow well and look beautiful simultaneously.

    Est is about showcasing new design and talent, all with an Australian twist that does not take itself too seriously and that respects nature and its beauty – as you can see from the features shot in nature not only on the front cover but throughout the magazine.

    Thanks again for reading Est – we really do love any feedback!

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