My husband jokes that our home is a “hospice” for plants. I’m not mad at him at all because I am well-aware that I have a very black thumb. I’ve killed my fair share of plants including the “indestructible” ones like air plants and succulents. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully for years to take care of plants. A few years ago, I jokingly gave what I thought was a dead cactus to a friend, and within a month he had the plant looking like a fresh baby cacti! I’ve tried to do real plants and I’ve failed miserably; and I wouldn’t dare settle for faux plants.
Several months ago I was in one of my favorite places on earth, Target, and I saw a reeeeeeeeaaallllyyy convincing faux succulent. As I stood inspecting it for its fake giveaway – I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t look so tacky. I was genuinely perplexed. As I placed the thing in my basket I had an epic inner battle with whether or not I should buy a fake plant *gasp*! I bought it and surprise! … it’s dead! Just kidding, it still looks so freakin good! It’s the one plant that I haven’t killed … yet.
I’ve visited so many relatives who could easily sub for one of the Golden Girls, and their homes are chockfull of sun-bleached, frayed, dusty, silk-plants. It’s a bad look. Y’all know what I’m talking about! I’m sure you’ve experienced your fair share crappy artificial plants too but times are a-changin! While artificial plants have a bad rep., faux-flora has certainly come a long way!
A once cardinal sin in the interior design realm, I officially give you permission to use fake plants! But before you run off to your nearest craft store, let’s go over a few things.
Why would ANYONE want to buy fake plants???
Well, if you’re like me, the number one reason why someone would opt for artificial plants is maintenance. I’m a busy professional woman, who would forget to feed herself, child, and cat if I didn’t have Jo to remind me to do so. Remembering to take care of a plant???? Hahaha! Cute… but no. While I don’t want to paint the picture that there is no maintenance with faux plants, it’s light-years easier than the real deal. Seriously, the most maintenance that you’d have to do is dust your fakers regularly.
Some other reasons why you might want to go with a replica include allergies, limited natural lighting in your space (I’m looking at you, New York), and pets. I am in love with the simple and elegant look of eucalyptus, but it’s toxic to cats so it obviously wouldn’t work for our household. If your pet is like mine, she’d definitely nibble away at your plants. Also, as I already stated, I am very skilled at killing plants. It’s quite embarrassing since my mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law are all master-gardeners; but as the dignified Jill Scott once said “Everything ain’t for everybody.”
How does one go about selecting a faux plant?
Easy peasy! The number one guideline that applies here is stick to something that is high quality. Now don’t get it twisted, high quality does not have to equate to expensive. Not true at all. But if you are going to go down the artificial plant road, I would advise you to commit to the top-shelf. Your artificial plants will appear more realistic, which we all know is a win!
There are two primary types of faux plants: plastic & silk.
When looking to purchase artificial flora it’s best if you opt for ones that resemble real plants that already have a “plastic-y” look to them. Some of my favorites are succulents, air plants, banana leaves, magnolia branches, snake plants, philodendron, cordyline palm, some ferns, fiddle leaf, spiked agave, and dracaena.
Go ahead and diss any and all faux plants that are egregiously tacky such as plants with fake water droplets, leaves that have an abnormally shiny look about them, or eerily perfect plants. Just say no.
Are there any other tidbits that I should know to curate a “convincing faker?”
#1: Repot your fakers. Usually, the containers that they come in are pretty crappy, but repotting your faux plants shows attention to detail and care – which is something most would not expect a person to do with an artificial plant. And while you’re at it, cover the base with real soil (especially if your plants have that weird glossy aquarium gravel at the base). It’s the little details that help to pass your plants off as the real deal.
#2: Stage your plants in places where a real one could grow. Don’t be afraid of a little light. If you opt for silk plants this might not be a good idea because the sun can easily bleach silk plants. If you opt for plastic sunlight is usually fine.
#3: DUST. Now one of the main draws to artificial plants is that they are super low-maintenance, but they are not no-maintenance. We’ve all seen dusty, gross looking fake plants. No, you do not have to regularly water, prune, or fertilize your artificial plants, but do not neglect dusting them every once in a while. If you’ve failed to dust a plant and the dust is caked up, turn the plant upside down and use a hose on a low setting to remove the dust. If you have moss at the base of your plant be sure not to wet it.
Okay, okay. Where can I buy them already??
I’m really excited to share these resources with you! Like super excited, guys. BTW, click images for direct links to the products.
One of my absolute favorite artificial plant resources is Afloral. I learned about Afloral from a girlfriend who opted to make her wedding bouquet from their faux flowers. Afloral has a very large and convincing selection of artificial plants, as well as a phenomenal selection of dried plants.
If you are looking to really invest in the highest-of-the-high of faux flora, NDI should be your go-to. Expect a mid-high price range for their lovely arrangements. The quality of their plants are second-to-none.
Slightly Browning Fake Plants (yes, that’s the real name) has an interesting selection of fakers. They really focus on fake plants that appear slightly neglected – and thus more realistic. The names of their plants are hilarious and are based on the amount of neglect they have. My favorites are 3-Week Vacation and First Apartment.
In addition to their lovely fresh plants, Terrain also has a staple selection of artificial plants that are reasonably priced. You have to do a little digging on their site to find them, but they are worth it!
Winlyn on Amazon has cute plant sets, most of which are succulents. Many of them are un-potted and are perfect for creating your own arrangement with them.
Years ago I would have not expected this, but I’ve also had much success finding faux plants at World Market! They are reasonably priced, however, some look better than others, so there may be some hunting involved.
I really hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed making it! I’m really hyped about buying artificial plants now so that I can add some greenery (albeit fake) to my space. Fakeness for the win!