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What is Kosmik Kaktus? Painted Succulents

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Succulents are very interesting plants that require little water and attention to grow once the right soil is provided. Kosmik KaKtus or Cosmic Cactus goes a step further to amplify the beauty of the succulent by painting or dying the plant with bright colors.

KosmiK KaKtus are succulents that are either painted or dyed with bright colors to enhance their beauty and attractiveness. Succulents of the echeveria, haworthia and thimble cactus family are normally coated in acrylic paint after which sellers market them for their beauty and ease of care.

Succulents like all other plants use sunlight to make food through photosynthesis and coating these plants with paint can have devastating effects on the health of the plant.

In this article, we are going to provide you with tips to safely remove the paint and provide the care these painted succulents deserve.

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How to take Care of a Kosmic Kaktus?

Kosmic Kaktus Painted succulentsplants

Quite frankly, there is no right way to care for a once perfectly healthy plant that has been doused or dipped in paint. 

Like most cacti, these painted succulents do not need to be repotted very often, as they thrive in low nutrient soil and crowded conditions. 

The care for these plants follows the same regime as any other succulent. Watering once a week, when the soil is dry by misting, and keeping them in a well lit area should do. 

They do not need pruning, are fairly self-sufficient, and require little watering about once a week.

Kosmik kaktus are sometimes glazed with glue after which glitter is sprinkled over the plant to give it a glitter effect. 

Some cacti of the Parodia magnifica, mammillaria plumosa are used in creating kosmik kaktus by gluing and pinning on fake flowers to the tops

Yes these are visually appealing and to the untrained eye, one may think that it is some naturally occurring beauty of nature when it’s not. 

I myself was almost caught off guard once when I saw a beautifully decorated cactus with flowers and all. 

Thankfully I took the plant up for a closer look when I noticed blotches of paint of the same color to the side of the plant pot. It was fake!

I was appalled and immediately placed it down. Then I started questioning the occurrence. 

How Long will a Kosmic Kaktus Live?

Cactus and succulents are very robust plants and survive the harshest of environments. 

Even if the plant is coated in paint it will continue to live for a long time before it starts to show signs of stress or illness. 

Wondering how would the succulent photosynthesize? Well plants normally carry out photosynthesis in the leaves by absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide through the stomata. 


However, Succulents carry out this process a bit differently. They have prickly spines which are modified leaves. 

The stomata are only open at night to absorb carbon dioxide when there is little water loss through evaporation and heat. 

The stomata then close after absorbing carbon dioxide which is then stored until daylight.

Photosynthesis then occurs as the plant absorbs the sunlight during the daylight period. 

Most times the spiny needles and the base of the plant are not totally covered with paint allowing it to still have some degree of food production. 

The restrictive photosynthesis cannot sustain the plant for all its life and as a result, it will first have stunted growth and after some time it will surely die unless the paint is removed. 

Painted Cactus

How to Remove the Paint from a Succulent?

Acrylic paint is used when coloring succulents by dipping them upside down into the liquid. 

Apart from dipping, succulents are also spray-painted with water-based paints and sometimes even glazed with glitter to produce a sparkle effect.

These paints will hold strong on the plant for a long time unless some type of intervention is made to remove it.

But don’t fear, they can be removed easily using the following methods for different paint bases.

Removing Water Based Paint from Leaves

Removing a water-based paint from a plant is as simple as soaking a cloth with water and wiping the leaves until all the paint is removed. If you don’t have a clean cloth you can use a cue tip.

Steps –

  1. Soak a clean cloth or rag in clean warm water 
  2. Remove the excess water from the cloth by wringing it.
  3. Gently rub the paint off from the surface of the leaf using a one directional stroke.
  4. Repeat until all the paint is removed from the leaves.

Removing Oil Based Paint from Leaves

Oil-based Paints require organic solvents to totally remove the paint from succulents. The most non-corrosive organic solvent you can use is rubbing alcohol.

What it does is simply break up the paint bonds releasing it from whatever it is attached to. The paint can then be wiped off with a single one-directional stroke. 

The steps for removal are similar to that of Water-based paint

  1. Soak a clean cloth or rag in rubbing alcohol
  2. Remove the excess alcohol from the cloth by squeezing it.
  3. Gently rub the paint off from the surface of the leaf using a one directional stroke.
  4. Repeat until all the paint is removed from the leaves.

Note: Never use petrol, kerosene, paint thinners or nail polish remover to remove paint from plants.

See our article on removing paint from plant leaves.

colored desert gem cacti

How are Desert Gem Cacti Colored?

Desert gem cacti are normal cacti plants that have been colorfully modified by unnatural means. 

These plants are not colored in the same way as kosmik kaktus. 

Unlike being coated with paint, these plants are actually dyed with colorful water-based pigments. 

You may find that after some time the plant may start producing new growth with a white appearance. 

That white appearance is what the plant actually would look like if they were not dyed.

Although the dye enhances its appearance to us it actually does not benefit the plant itself in any way. 

A move to Save these Painted Succulents 

Our recommendation is to stop purchasing these painted cacti. It’s the only way to curb production. 

With reduced sales, it will. It is a profitable venture for these businesses to continue coating these beautiful creations with paint. 

For now, we can raise awareness on the subject with the hope of curbing the production process. 

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