Fake plants is a polarizing topic among the home decor community and many outside of it. Most people either love artificial plants or they consider them a major faux pas. But l am here to tell you, I love faux plants! I do not have a green thumb nor do I have the patience for real plants (my garden excluded). So let’s talk about the dos and don’ts when it comes to how to decorate with fake plants.
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Fake Plants: Do or Don’t
In my opinion, it’s a do, but there are several parameters I like to follow. But I honestly I think this answer also depends on if you are good at keeping live plants alive or if you are like me and end up killing almost everything. It also depends on where you are buying them and what you are buying.
I stay away from faux flowers and silk flowers because they always look fake to me but under special conditions like the holidays, they seem to be the right fit. The reality is faux plants are a good idea if you can’t or don’t want to grow living plants.
Why I love to decorate with fake plants
Adding greenery to your home décor is a great way to liven up a space and add a bit of color without bringing in unnecessary tchotchkes. Large faux plants like olive trees or a fiddle leaf fig are great options to fill an empty corner and add more natural elements to a room. I personally love using fake stems, a faux tree, or fake succulents because they are low maintenance and can be used anywhere in the house. You also don’t have to worry about your pets getting into mischief in the soil. Yes Marvin, I am looking at you, lol!
I even have faux plants on top of Marvin’s custom dog crate.
Where to find the best realistic faux plants
My favorite place to find faux stems and artificial succulents is Hobby Lobby. I think they have a more realistic look than than other stores. They are usually more expensive but they look more like the real deal in my opinion and most of them are made with higher quality material. The good news is they are on a bi-weekly rotating sale of 40-50% off so I just wait until they are on sale and stock up.
I have purchased a set of small succulents from Amazon before to decorate a small planter and while the quality wasn’t terrible they are VERY small in comparison to the ones I normally get at Hobby Lobby and the color looks a bit unnatural. But in the long run I decided to keep them since I planned to keep them outside and the sun would likely fade them a bit. For reference the large succulent above is from Hobby Lobby and the below are from an Amazon set. The plant on the right is actually real.
When it comes to an artificial tree, I found the best faux olive tree at Costco! I think it is very realistic looking and is reasonably priced compared to some of the high end good alternatives. Quality faux trees tend to be pricey, but I have see some deals on used trees at thrift stores and online market places. You just might have to spray them down because they are often very dusty. I even found this one on Facebook Marketplace and re-planted it for a new look.
Pro Tip: When planting artificial floor plants you can use real dirt or rocks in the planter for a more natural feel. You can also fill your glass vases with water to make artificial flowers look real. It also helps to mix natural plants in with your display to keep people guessing.
When to decorate with faux stems
Decorating with with faux plants is a great way to add greenery to a space without having to commit to being a full time indoor gardener. I like to add a mix of faux foliage to every room especially those that don’t get enough natural light for growth. While my small succulent loves the sun filled guest bathroom, my snake plant seems to be struggling. While I love having real plants in the house, I really don’t like caring for them. My garden is a totally different story but that’s not a year long commitment, lol!
For best results I always mix up my silk plants in planters with a different shape and size or in a variety of vases made from different materials, colors, and textures. I frequently use them on a bedside table, on an end table in the living room, or as a decorative item on the coffee table. Faux plants are also a great idea for short term rentals since consistently watering can pose a challenge.
A good faux arrangement on a console table or an accent table can really give an added bonus to a room.
When to stick to the real thing
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy fake plants, stems, or flowers at the Dollar store! They are cheap for a reason, they are a dead giveaway and do not look real at all! And under no circumstances should they be used in planters or pots on the front porch or any other outdoor space. Just don’t! The best fake plants will cost more than $1 but their more organic feel will go a long way to adding to instead of detracting from your decor.
If you can’t splurge for better quality faux stems, skip the faux greenery or stick to fresh flowers from the garden. You can also decorate with branches or pampas grasses to give an natural feel to a space without waxy plastic leaves.
Just remember, the good fake plants will cost more but they will last you years! And if you have a black thumb it will definitely be cheaper than buying real plants you know will die.
Common Mistakes with Faux Plants
Aside from cheap fake plants, the biggest mistake I see people making with faux plants is they forget to dust them! Faux plants definitely collect dust and need to be cleaned just like your furniture. I usually use my feather duster for small amounts of dust on the leaves, but I have also been known to take my plants outside and hose them off or run them under the kitchen sink sprayer. How you clean them is up to you, just make sure you do it 😉
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