Why Succulents Make Bad Corporate Gifts

By: Hannah McWhorter
November 10, 2021
Why Succulents Make Bad Corporate Gifts
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We love plants at Lively Root, and we totally understand the obsession with succulents. In fact, Succulents are some of our best selling plants and many of our customers tell us how much they love them! We couldn’t agree more and consider Succulents a key part to a plant parent’s green family.

These unique little plants are trending right now, and often can be seen all across Instagram feeds and in the background of videos. Honestly, who doesn’t love a quaint, small plant to add a little green to your life? However, there is a trend with succulents among businesses, that is being pushed by marketing companies, not nurseries or farms. These marketing companies convince corporations that sending their colleagues or customers a succulent in a cute little cardboard box with their logo on it is a good idea.

While these marketing companies do a terrific job of putting your beautiful logo on a container, unfortunately, it's more than likely that your succulent gift will die in the hands of your colleague or client within a few weeks if this complex little plant was not properly potted or is not cared for correctly.

We hear this time and time again, a corporate customer will tell us that they bought their colleagues succulent’s as plant gifts, only to see them die in just a couple of months. How does this happen when these plants are so often branded as being tough, hardy, and impossible to kill?

Succulents are similar to cut flowers - while they look great, without expert care it can be shockingly easy to kill them. We absolutely advocate for plant gifting, but so many companies are lured by the branding opportunities you can do through a small cardboard box and succulents. The company’s offering these options market succulents as the perfect, unkillable gifts when experienced plant parents know that they need special care. The last thing we want for you is to buy a swath of plants for your employees just to end up with your beautiful branded logo on the pot of a dead plant!

So, what makes succulents harder to care for, especially in an office setting? We know that often when you are gifting to your team or to clients, they aren’t necessarily going to be green thumbs. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, succulents have finicky needs that can lead to an unsavable plant without the right conditions. Here are a few ways that you can accidentally go wrong with your succulent: 

Root Rot

A dreaded disease to many plant growers, root rot is one of the most common ways that inexperienced plant parents can go astray with many plants, especially succulents. Growers will notice their succulents changing colors into a sickly yellow, and eventually to a mushy, gross brown. The rot will eventually in the late stages of the disease climb up the plant and become unfortunately apparent. Usually newer plant owners don’t recognize the signs until it is too late to save the plant and the root rot has already taken too deep of a hold. 

Draining Pot and Soil

Something often neglected by cheaper succulent warehouses, succulents require the right kind of soil and pot to give it a better chance at survival. Using a fast-draining soil composite, such as one including sand or perlite, is necessary to help prevent water from sitting in the soil too long and causing root rot. Just this small adjustment can make a huge deal in the survivability of your plants! 

Another big step in providing a safety net for your succulent is using a draining pot. These pots have holes in the bottom that often drain into a holding dish to help protect a plant from overflow. Of course, if you overwatered your plant a draining pot will only do so much, but it can certainly help when a little bit of extra water is poured through your soil! 

Unfortunately though, many of the companies selling succulents are Marketing companies who put their succulents in a small cardboard box that does not include a drainage hole.

What Are Hardier Plants That Increase the Likelihood of Clients and Colleagues Not Killing Them?

We want your giftees to be happy with their gifts just as much as you do. Luckily, there are much hardier plants that work much better in low light settings, and are much harder to kill! Here are a few suggestions that we like to give to companies looking to give the perfect plant gift to show appreciation to their employees! 


Snake Plant


Snake Plant

Snake plants are immediately striking with their unique architecture letting them shine in any space. There are so many varieties to pick from, whether you are looking for something more colorful, a bit shorter, or even a bit more delicate! These plants are fine with just some medium or even low indirect light, and like their soil to get dry before they get watered again.


ZZ Plant


ZZ Plant

Another hardy option for your office, the ZZ plant has great upward growing foliage for a desk corner or home space. These plants are similar to Golden Pathos in that they are totally fine with low to medium indirect light and don’t need to be watered often at all! They are native to the rocky soils of East Africa, if that is any sign of how hardy these beautiful plants can be.



Neanthe Bella Parlor Palm

The Neanthe Bella Palm is perfect to liven up any desk or workspace. It is extremely resilient and thrives in low light. The perfect addition for any countertop!


Golden Pothos


Golden Pothos 

With trellising, green vines that often cover desk credenzas or shelving, Golden Pathos is super popular gifting option due to its ability to survive any situation. Ideally this plant will receive low to medium indirect light, and needs to be allowed to dry out completely between watering it. Even if you forget to water a Golden Pathos for a week or two, it usually can spring back with no issues!


Speaking of showing off your brand, while we don’t currently offer small cardboard boxes for a full color logo, we do offer container engraving and branded plant sticks! We also promise to help you find a plant gift for your team or clients that won’t set them up for failure. With one of our personalized, brandable plant kit offerings, you can brighten up employees office spaces and bring some green into their area! We help make the experience special from the time you order, making even the unboxing experience special for your giftees. To learn how we can help craft the perfect, personalized green gifts for your employees, clients, or events, look at our site here.