April Fools’ Day is upon us, and I’m personally hoping to see some lighthearted plant pranks! In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with a little joke, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone (plants included).
To celebrate this day, let’s look back at some hilarious plant-related April Fools’ Day pranks – plus, one very exciting creation that will make you think twice about whether it’s a joke!
1. Spaghetti-tree hoax
If you’re old enough to remember the famous spaghetti-tree hoax, you’re probably thinking that no prank could ever compare! This prank took place over a three minute news report on the BBC’s Panorama show. It showed a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from a tree!
As this took place in 1957 when spaghetti wasn’t as common as it is now, many people believed the prank. Viewers actually phoned in to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees, to which the BBC replied, ‘place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best’.
2. PowerFlower – the USB Sunflower
I, together with Thompson & Morgan, issued a press release about the amazing PowerFlower product, which could charge up an iPad with a waterproof USB port in its stem.
To the dismay of many plant loving, digitally-minded people, this was a prank. But it would have been totally useful if it were real!
3. Grow your own M&Ms
In 2014, GrowVeg published a video on how to grow your own chocolate M&Ms in your garden.
Unfortunately chocolate lovers everywhere were disappointed to find that it wasn’t real – but appreciated the work that went into this elaborate prank!
4. Pop Tulips
Taking on the concept of growing flowers using the ‘popcorn method’, the pranksters at FunnyHowFlowersDoThat.co.uk released a video showing tulips being grown from a bag in the microwave. Definitely don’t try this one at home!
They even released a behind-the-scenes video to show how they fooled everyone.
5. Doughnut seeds
Who knew you could grow doughnuts from seeds? Well, you can’t.
This photo is from the website Printables4Mom, where you can download this packet as a printable, then fill it with Cheerios as your ‘doughnut seeds’!
6. Hosepipe amnesty
In 2012, The Independent published an online news article stating that the Government was holding a hosepipe amnesty, during which British gardeners had to hand in their hosepipe equipment to fight the long drought.
Many people believed it, as The Independent is such an established newspaper. But the outlet updated the article with a simple ‘Check the date!’ notice to clear up the message.
7. Egg and chips plant – this is real, too!
Yes, the egg and chips plant is real! It doesn’t really grow eggs though – this uses the aubergine’s common name, ‘eggplant’, to refer to the top part of the plant. The chips are the potatoes, which grow underneath.
A real space saver, you can grow it in containers, grow bags turned up on end, on the allotment or in a veg patch. It fruits reliably in the UK.
Why not grow some egg and chips for yourself? You can actually buy this plant for your garden here.
8. Growable t-shirt
For April Fool’s Day 2021, I created a t-shirt that you could wear, then grow! I demonstrated how the t-shirt worked through an Instagram Reels video, which you can watch below…
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I managed to catch a few ‘fools’ before posting the reveal…
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Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook – and writes a plant-focused Substack called Grow This, Not That.