I’ll be the first to admit that I am NOT a fan of fake plants..or at least I didn’t used to be. I’m pretty sure that having fake greenery and floral stems has always been at the top of the designer’s list of “10 Things to NOT decorate your house with” but after 18 months of living in a relatively sun deprived climate, I am officially throwing in the towel when it comes to trying to keep real plants and flowers alive. It’s been a bit eye opening to live in a place where you literally can’t even find house plants and fresh flowers at the flower mart or elsewhere much of the year. Plus, I didn’t have much of a green thumb to start with, so the odds were not in my favor trying to keep anything alive, much less during winter. 😉 I’ve been spoiled living in a place with an eternal summer for my entire life, so living through two winters now has really helped me to appreciate artificial flowers and plants. Combine that with the fact that technology has come a long way and those cheesy fake house trees and plants are a thing of the past. Today’s faux greenery is SO realistic and beautiful, it’s no longer a decorating faux pas (HA, see what I did there?!) to use them in the house. (Affiliate links are included in this post.)
Most realistic looking artificial plants and nearly natural plants can cost a small fortune, so I have spent the last few months really looking for high quality silk plants that won’t break the bank. Adding an artificial plant to a table, or an artificial tree to the corner of a room can really brighten it up and make it feel alive, so I’m hoping these ideas for finding and creating the most realistic artificial plants for your home will be a help to the decorating budget!
WHERE TO BUY THE MOST REALISTIC ARTIFICIAL PLANTS (on a budget)
Artificial flowers and plants are popping up all over the place this year! I have seen a large variety artificial flowers and stems over fiddle leaf fig trees at Target along with the artificial fiddle leaf fig trees that they started carrying a while back. Over the past few months I have ordered artificial trees and plants and stems from Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, McGee and Co, and World Market, and I have also purchased artificial plants and realistic fake succulents at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods. I really wanted a good sampling of different types of plants and artificial plants and trees from a variety of stores so I could compare.
It used to be that if you wanted something that felt real, you needed to spend a little more, but I think many of the latest faux florals look great even for the budget conscious designer. Plus, when buying artificial plants keep in mind the amount of time and energy you are saving NOT having to take care of it, and not needing to replace it when you forget to water it or it doesn’t get enough sunlight. You will come out ahead!
I always have a basil plant next to my kitchen sink. I love some greenery in the kitchen! A real basil plant runs me between $4-5, and I have to replace them about every other week because they start to look sad, even when I am taking good care of them. If you think about that cost in terms of over a year, that is roughly $120 on basil plants a year! Whoa! Instead, I took a chance on this faux basil plant and it’s AMAZING! Even John thought it was real. For $30 I now have something that will last me for years and ALWAYS look good, with little maintenance.
A few things to look for when trying to buy the most realistic artificial plants:
Color: Pay close attention to the color of the artificial plants you are purchasing. Anything overly green…as in an unnatural shade of green, or too on dimensional in color probably doesn’t look very realistic. Think of the color of the plant in it’s natural state and see how closely the fake plant imitates it. I saw these the other day…and while they are super cute, the color is SO unnatural looking it definitely lets you know they are fake!
Texture: Avoid any fake plants that look like plastic. There are so many materials now that make a more realistic looking, nearly natural plant. You want some imperfection…not all the leaves the same color, size, shape…just like they would be in nature. The fabric like texture on this fern is awesome and so realistic looking!
Pay attention to the trunk and stems: The leaves are important, but so are the trunk and stems that hold the leaves together. Make sure these parts of the fake plants look as realistic as possible too.
I have purchased a few artificial fiddle leaf fig trees in the past couple of years and I’m always on the hunt for a good one. Recently Target has been selling this one, which is decent, but I think the best one I have seen is found here. With over 200 nearly 5 star reviews, I’m apparently not the only one that thinks it looks pretty great! If you are in the market for the best artificial fiddle leaf fig tree, be sure to check it out! I have found a couple of really nice looking ones at HomeGoods too. I just picked one up for Andy’s room, and we’ve got one in the family room too.
I have been wanting some olive trees and a lemon tree for the house, so I took a chance and ordered these on sale. The lemon tree is quite pricey, so I waited for it to go on sale…and I’m so glad I bought it! The dirt in both of these trees is incredibly realistic looking…it smells a little funny at first too. The olive trees are a great size for decorating a mantel or accent table, and the lemon tree is going to go in the entryway. The lemons are realistic looking, and while I think the leaves could be more realistic, the trunk is awesome!
Succulents are a great way to add some faux greenery in the house. If done right, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between real and fake succulents. I picked up some super inexpensive realistic fake succulents at HomeGoods and they are the perfect accents around the house…I love this one in it’s little cement pot. It has great color variation and some imperfections which is what makes it perfect!
TIPS FOR MAKING ARTIFICIAL PLANTS LOOK REAL
Not only do I do my best to find very realistic looking fake plants, but I also tend to do a few things to them once I’m home to make they look even better. I DIY my fake plants a little to make them look even more real. Here are a few tips for making artificial plants look real that I like to use:
- Change up the pot. You don’t have to use the pot they come in. If you can easily remove the fake plant from it’s original pot, great! If not, you can set the old pot inside a new basket or pot and then cover it with real dirt…yep! Real dirt!
- Add different types of moss to the bas of your plant, or hot glue around a few of the branches. I like to use an assortment of colors and types of moss to make it look more natural. I start with this around the base of the plant, and then add some of this. This is a great variety bag with different colors and textures to start.
- Place them in a spot in the house where a real plant would thrive. Plants like ferns thrive in shady conditions, and they look great as artificial plants as well, so they make a great option for darker corners of the house.
- Be sure to clean your plant regularly. Fake plants get dusty just like everything else, so be sure to keep them clean and the leaves dust free so they look more realistic.
- Whatever you do, don’t just pull the plant out of the box and set it on your table. Carefully bend and shape the leaves and branches one by one, (being careful not to damage the plant or trunk) like you would with a fake Christmas tree, to make them look more natural and realistic. This makes ALL the difference!
I hope these ideas on where to buy the most realistic artificial plants for your home and tips for making them look as real as possible are helpful! Plants really do make a house feel more alive and it’s nice to have pretty greenery around even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate!
Here are some of my favorite fake plants and what I think are some of the most realistic artificial plants on the market right now:
(click on any image for more information about the plant)
Be sure to check out our design gallery for all kinds of design ideas. You can see all of the progress on our 1987 Fixer Upper and take our current home tour here.
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