The Case for Buying Fake Plants, Whether or Not You Have a Green Thumb

Brittney Morgan
·4-min read
Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images
Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

Plants have always been in style, but in the past few years, houseplants have grown in popularity. Gone are the days when only the greenest of thumbs tended to plants in their spaces—since adding plants is one of the easiest ways to brighten up a room and make it feel more cozy and alive, houseplants have become an essential part of home decor. But even with plants more in demand than ever, fake plants—even the most realistic looking ones (and yes, they do exist!)—can sometimes still feel a little bit forbidden, and they shouldn't! I'm just going to say it: there is zero shame in buying fake plants.

As someone who used to be incapable of keeping plants alive and has since become a knowledgeable plant parent with many happy plants at home, I get the desire to have real, live, growing plants at home. I also firmly believe that anyone can become a houseplant pro, so long as you find the right plants that work both in your environment and with your care tendencies, like how much light your space gets and whether or not you tend to overwater (or neglect) your plants. But just as much as I believe anyone can have a green thumb, I also believe anyone can make fake plants look great in their space.

Besides, regardless of your personal houseplant history, there are some spaces that would benefit from some lush greenery but just aren't ideal for keeping real plants alive. And beyond that, sometimes you have a full plate and you just don't want to have to worry about caring for live plants even though you like the look in your home, and that's perfectly OK—plants can be a lot of work, after all! No matter the reason, if you want deck out your home in fake plants but feel like there's something holding you back, consider this permission to go for it.

When I moved from a well-lit apartment to one that, despite having huge windows, had many a dimly lit corner (not to mention, baseboard heaters that would likely do quite the number on real plants if placed too close) and some of my precious plants started to suffer, I realized that mixing in fake plants was the key to making my apartment feel just right. I'd always been on team "fake plants are great," but I hadn't invested much in them before then.

Photo credit: Brittney Morgan
Photo credit: Brittney Morgan

There were just some spots in my apartment where I knew visually a plant or even a big tree would fit perfectly, but they were certainly nowhere near optimal locations for a live houseplant. Rather than fight nature, I moved the existing plants to the kitchen windowsill where there was more light and room for a grow lamp, and bought a low-light friendly, humidity-loving pothos for the bathroom to brighten it up. And in the living room, where I desperately wanted some plant drama, I invested in a fake fiddle leaf fig instead of buying an expensive real one and setting myself up for disappointment in the not-so-distant future. I'm still working on finding the perfect faux plants for the rest of the apartment, but so far, I'm beyond happy with my not-super-realistic but still pretty fig tree and I'm excited about all the possibilities artificial plants can lend my space.

Whether you plan to mix in fake plants with real ones like me, or you only want artificial houseplants in your home is up to you. The key is to do whatever makes you happy! And if you're worried about others spotting your faux plants the moment they lay eyes on them, don't fret. The good news? There are tons of high quality fake plants like the picks below available now at many of your favorite brands that look much more realistic—meaning most people wouldn't even be able to tell.

Oh, and if you are going to invest in fake plants, here's a pro tip: Don't just leave them in the pot they came in. Dress them up in a pretty new planter (especially if the current one feels small for the plant), and cover the top with dried moss to make it look a little more realistic—and a lot less plastic. It only takes a few minutes, but it makes a world of difference.

At the end of the day, decorating your home is about creating a space that's functional, comfortable, and enjoyable for you—even if it means breaking a design rule or two. Or, you know, tricking your friends into thinking your cactus is real.

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