Now that the days are getting warmer and the wintertime blues are starting to dissipate, you may find yourself pining for a few ways to spruce up your yard in accordance with the season. Has the dark lockdown winter of ’20 and ’21 left you yearning for a sunny outdoor haven?
Or do you want to lighten the atmosphere of your backyard for future guests? A few well-placed artificial outdoor plants can go a long way. Keep reading for some practical advice on how to choose (and place) an artificial outdoor plant, and for our top fifteen picks!
How to Choose an Artificial Outdoor Plant
There are several factors to consider before purchasing an artificial outdoor plant. Because this is something that you, your guests, and probably your neighbors will be looking at every day, it’s important to purchase the best one possible for your yard. Here are some key considerations:
Most artificial outdoor plants today are constructed of either plastic or fabric material. Experts agree that plastic tends to be the better option, because plastic:
- is sturdier and more durable than fabric.
- is much easier to clean and maintain.
- can be molded into more realistic shapes.
- can be better protected against UV radiation damage.
That said, the most popular types of fabric material for artificial plants are silk, rayon, and cotton.
You can find artificial versions of so many different types of plants. Before browsing through your options, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of artificial plant do I want?
Trees, flowers, and bushes…oh my! Decide in advance what exactly you’re looking for to avoid the headache (and impulse buying) of scouring endless options.
- Is there a specific subtype I want?
Now that you’ve decided what to look for, you may find it helpful to become familiar with your options in that category. For example, if you want a tree, consider whether a fake palm tree or a boxwood tree would fit best in your outdoor space.
- Do I need one plant or several?
Depending on how large your yard is and what kind of vibe you’re going for, you might want to purchase an entire set of fake outdoor plants. If this is the case, you should plan your theme and design in advance to avoid buying too many (or not enough) plants. If you only need one plant, feel free to take your time and find your best match—who knows? You may feel like adding to your collection later!
Just because your plants will be outdoors doesn’t mean you can ignore the size factor altogether. You can guesstimate the size of plant you’ll be purchasing based on the type (or find actual dimensions online) and measure your available outdoor space to plan accordingly. Purchasing the right size is important for space considerations as well as overall appearance—you don’t want your yard to look crowded or lopsided.
You should opt for an artificial plant that looks like the real thing (or at least pretty darn close). Here are a few things that help make a fake plant look real:
- The plant should not look “manufactured.” The key to a realistic fake plant is asymmetry, or not looking identical on both sides. There should be variation in detail, just like there is in nature.
- The texture of a fake plant can affect both its appearance and the way it feels. If possible, check the fake plant out in person before buying; this will allow you to see the plant up-close and feel it for yourself. Does your plant of choice feel that way in nature? If not, keep looking. Does the one in the store look unnaturally glossy? Find a better one.
- A well-detailed artificial plant can make all the difference! Look for ones with realistic color gradation, delicate root sheaths, and other fine details that make it appear true-to-life.
This is the key area in which artificial outdoor plants vary from their indoor counterparts.
The most important thing here is that your fake plant is protected from UV radiation; this will allow you to keep it outdoors in the sun without it fading, cracking, or melting.
You should also consider the material of the plant; how delicate is it? Will it be able to withstand rain, wind, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at it? Plastic plants tend to be best suited for the outdoors in this regard, as they’re hardier than their fabric counterparts.
Where to Place Your Outdoor Plant
So, you’ve chosen your favorite artificial plant. It looks amazing and boasts some pretty intricate detail work—you’re almost convinced it’s real! To keep that realistic vibe going, it’s crucial that you place your fake plant(s) appropriately.
Here are a few tips for you:
Arrange them just like you would real plants.
After all, what is “real” anyway?
By arranging your fake plants in the same manner you would arrange real ones, you’ll automatically make the plants seem to belong in their respective locations. They can really increase the look of your landscape.
Ensure that they’re located in realistic areas throughout your yard.
In a similar vein, it’s important to place your plants in areas where they…well, belong. If the “real” counterpart of your artificial plant requires lots of sunlight to grow, then place that plant where it will receive lots of sunlight. If its real counterpart typically grows in the shade or near water, place your artificial plant in the shade or near water.
Another key point: Earlier we mentioned that your plant should be asymmetrical. This might mean that one side of the plant is bushier, fuller, or more “alive” than the other; by placing that side in the sunlight (or shade, depending on the plant), you can make the plant appear more realistic.
If you’re not design-savvy, you can find tons of useful resources online for how to arrange your outdoor garden. If you’re short on time, you can also hire a professional to help you out!
Display them alongside real plants.
Are you one of the lucky few who has a green thumb (even a little bit)? Then consider growing or purchasing some real plants to display alongside your artificial plants. Talk about the border between reality and fiction, right?
Outdoor VS Indoor Artificial Plants
Outdoor and indoor artificial plants are virtually identical, but they do have two key differences:
- Outdoor Protection
While most fake outdoor plants are made of plastic or a polyblend of some sort, the indoor variety is often made with fabric materials such as silk or rayon. Fake outdoor plants are constructed of plastic because this material is much better suited for outdoor use, especially when the weather turns sour.
Additionally, the outdoor variety has protection against damage and fading from UV radiation. The indoor variety does not.
Keep in mind that artificial outdoor plants will be rated as “outdoor.” If a fake plant is not marketed as being outdoor-friendly, it’s best to keep it indoors.
Gorgeous Artificial Outdoor Plants
Now that you know more about what to expect from fake outdoor plants and how to pick the best one for your yard, it’s time to review our top picks. Here are fifteen of the best artificial outdoor plants for you to consider!
Nothing says “SoCal” and “pleasant weekends on the beach” quite like a palm tree does, and what better way to welcome the warmer weather? But if you aren’t too keen on learning the ins and outs of caring for a palm tree yourself, an artificial plant may be your best bet.
The Beachcrest Home Artificial Palm Tree in a Pot is crafted of high-quality plastic and silk, comes in a cute black pot, and boy—is it a beauty! Standing 84 inches tall, this palm boasts several leaves of various sizes and adds a refreshing pop of green to any home or outdoor oasis. For an artificial palm that looks just as stunning as the real thing, look no further.
Looking for something equally attractive but a bit more subdued? Then you’ll love the Primrue Artificial Foliage Plant in Basket. This artificial plant can be used indoors or outdoors; it features a small footprint perfect for office desks or coffee tables and incredible resistance to weather and UV radiation damage. It’s constructed of quality, non-toxic plastic and fabric and it comes in a rattan wicker basket which can be ordered in either Beige or Khaki. Its realistic, elegant foliage will add a touch of nature to any room or outdoor garden—with a fraction of the maintenance a real plant would require!
The Gracie Oaks 3 Piece Clover Trio Grass in Pot Set is another versatile artificial plant option, great for both indoor and outdoor use. But with this one, you get three times the greenery! This set consists of three pots of artificial clover grass, the perfect plant to set the tone for cordial spring afternoons and laid-back summer evenings. The plants are made of durable plastic and their included pots are crafted of gray resin. Standing at a mere 5.5 inches, these might just be the cutest way to adorn your home or yard with a stroke of greenery!
Ferns are about as down-to-earth as you can get, but they still possess a certain grace and beauty. A real fern can be a bit difficult to maintain, especially if you’re an inexperienced gardener, so you may prefer going the artificial route. If that’s the case, we recommend the Rosaline Wheeler 22” Artificial Fern Plant: it’s affordable, made of durable plastic, and fade- and weather-resistant. This one does not come with its own base, but that may be a good thing for those DIYers among us. You can decorate your own pot, planter, or vase, or purchase one from your local home goods or garden store. What are you waiting for? Add a green pop to your desk or garden and get your creative juices flowing when you purchase this cute artificial fern!
If you would prefer a more exotic, vibrant plant, you should definitely consider the Primrue 30” Artificial Monstera Plant in Pot. Nicknamed the “Swiss Cheese Plant,” monsteras are a tropical delight that—unfortunately—are a bit picky about their care routine. But with this high-quality artificial version, you can get the same gorgeous greenery in your living room or backyard with zero worries! It’s made of durable, weather-resistant plastic for peace of mind and it looks so real you might start to wonder yourself…even its touch is true-to-life. The plant is bedded in green moss, inside of an adorable white pot. Place this eye-catching plant piece anywhere to create an unrivaled tropical atmosphere.
If our first plant selection brought on a “SoCal” vibe, this 10 Piece Succulent Set from Wrought Studio will transport you right into the gorgeous deserts of Arizona. If you’re going to go artificial, a succulent set really is the way to go: these stunning plants already have a “plastic-y” look about them from a distance, and they’re hard to come by outside of the desert areas where they thrive. This set provides you with ten artificial succulent plants of varying shapes, sizes, and colors, each of which is resistant to fading and the weather. Use them to decorate your living room or office, or place them near your outdoor rock garden for a natural—and simply alluring—look.
The Charlton Home Artificial Boxwood Topiary in Planter is a simple yet attractive plant décor piece for indoors or outdoors. Its leaves are constructed of durable, weather-resistant plastic that gives the plant a realistic look and keeps it looking great no matter the weather outside. You and your guests will appreciate its unassuming cone-like shape that tapers toward the top, as well as its ivory-colored cement base with brick details. Whether you need a couple to grace your front door or just one to add a touch of nature to your home office, this is a topiary that will look gorgeous for years to come.
Standing at 36 inches tall and boasting a winsome double ball design, the Pure Garden Artificial Ball Podocarpus Topiary in Pot is another great artificial topiary option for your home or yard. Its realistic plastic leaves cluster into two dense balls and are resistant to fading and weather, which means this plant will still be looking vibrant and fresh several years from now. It comes in a cute black pot, but you can always swap it out with another pot or planter of your choice to better suit the environment. Interested? Then get yours today and see how it adds life to your outdoor space.
Are you craving something “tropical” after a long winter? Dreaming of warmer days soon to come? Then bring a little bit of that feeling to your home or garden early with the Bay Isle Home Bamboo Tree in Planter. This piece will provide an ambience of warmth and comfort to your home or outdoor space, constructed of quality fabric made to look like the real thing and a real bamboo stem for extra durability. Place it in a quiet corner of your living room or sunroom, or find the perfect location for it in your garden—it’s sure to make the final days of winter more bearable (and less wintery).
This darling Spring Boxwood Topiary in Planter is similar to the last one we saw from Charlton Home, but has more tapering and a slightly different design. Its realistic plastic leaves and coloring will add delicate flair to any yard or home, and you’ll have a hard time telling it apart from the real thing! You’ll also love its unique square-shaped wood planter—it lends the plant a rustic yet sophisticated air that is sure to inspire!
Looking for something exotic yet laidback? Then you should consider the Primrue Artificial Snake Plant in Pot! This artificial plant is constructed of weather-resistant polyester and looks nearly identical to the real thing. You can purchase this plant in one of two colors: green for a more subdued look and yellow for a more striking impression. If you have kids or fur babies running around, it won’t take you long to see the intrinsic value of its solid cement base which prevents any “I-told-you-to-stop-playing-ball-in-the-house” accidents from knocking it over. Quite a deal-breaker, no?
Ensure your guests always feel welcome by placing a couple of these whimsical faux boxwood topiaries by your front door. The Darby Home Co Boxwood Topiary in Pot boasts an alluring spiral design that’s sure to liven up any home entrance, sunroom, or garden. Better still, it’s made of quality plastic that’s fade- and weather-resistant, so you’ll never have to worry about leaving it out in the sun or rain too long. Get a couple yourself and get ready to hear lots of compliments—people will be asking how much it costs to have your “tree” professionally manicured each month.
If the previous faux bamboo plant on our list caught your eye but wasn’t quite a fit, you might prefer the World Menagerie Bamboo Tree in Pot. This beautiful plant has so many fine details that make it look like the real thing: color gradation, a real wood trunk, and leaves of varying lengths and sizes (the seller claims this plant has exactly 460 leaves, by the way, so you can count to make sure if you ever get bored one day). The plant’s unique features are complemented by a cute black pot that will blend well with any space—see for yourself and turn your home into a tropical paradise!
The Primrue Croton Tree in Pot is a prime choice for anyone who wants something a little different. This faux plant is a near-perfect imitation of the gorgeous croton found in tropical countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. The plant is made of quality plastic, and its leaves feature the same defining variation of length and size as the real thing does. You’ll fall in love with its vibrant, true-to-life colors: greens, yellows, oranges, and reds all meld and gradate naturally throughout its lush leaves. This plant has a real wood trunk, is CSA-certified, and is resistant to fading. Order yours today and start figuring out where to place it for the best effect!
To wrap up our list, let’s look at the Darby Home Co Brooklyn Floor Boxwood Topiary in Pot—an attractive faux plant with some fantastic reviews! This plant stands 60 inches tall, comes in a black resin pot, and boasts a classy triple ball design with vibrant coloring. Because it’s so tall, this plant will make not only a lovely decoration but also a privacy wall of sorts (no more worrying about that nosy neighbor always peeking through the hole in the fence…). The high-quality plastic it’s constructed of is weather-resistant and non-fade, while its weighted bottom will keep it from being blown over when the harsh winds roll in. For a faux plant that’s both gorgeous and practical, look no further!
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions we haven’t answered?
Can I leave my artificial plant outside all the time?
Yes, but there are a couple of caveats. Your artificial plant must 1) be rated for outdoor use, and 2) have adequate UV protection.
How can I clean my outdoor fake plant?
Fake plants are pretty much no-maintenance, but they should still be cleaned from time to time. Luckily, this is super-easy to do!
For a simple cleaning to keep your fake plant looking fresh, you can use a duster to remove any excess dirt or dust from the leaves.
For a deeper cleaning, mix together a concoction of half-vinegar and half-water. Pour it into a spray bottle, spray the plant, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe the plant clean using a damp cloth.
What are some of the better outdoor fake plants?
This really depends on your personal preferences and your budget. As mentioned, faux plants made of plastic tend to fare better in the outdoors than those made of fabric; you should also make sure that the outdoor plant you choose is resistant to fading and is rated for outdoor use.
There are many types of fake outdoor plants on the market today, each one with unique qualities and properties. If you’re looking for the best fake outdoor plants, check out our Product Roundup section below—we’ll introduce you to our top fifteen picks!
In this article, you learned what to look for in an artificial outdoor plant, how to place and care for it, and which ones are actually worth your hard-earned money. Now go forth with this newfound knowledge and create the low-maintenance outdoor paradise you deserve.