Artificial Plants That Look Like the Real Thing: A Buying Guide

We all want to create an oasis of beautiful plants in our space, but some of us do not have a green thumb. Artificial plants are the answer to this dilemma, and they have improved so much in recent years that it is hard to tell a good fake plant from the real thing.

Artificial Plants
Rustic Reach

While we all might prefer live plants to faux plants there are many benefits to the artificial varieties. When it comes to fake plants there is little to no upkeep needed in contrast to real plants that require constant care and watering.

You don’t have to worry that pets or small kids will ingest poisonous leaves.

Further, you can place a fake plant in a location where real plants could not go such as in a corner with no sun.

Artificial Plants: The Basics

There are plastic and silk varieties of faux plants with a wide difference in appearance. Thus, while silk looks the most natural for some faux plants, plastic is ideal for other varieties like succulents. You should expect to pay more for either silk or plastic faux plants of good quality.

Artificiial plantsView in gallery
Rustic Reach

There are both artificial indoor plant varieties as well as outdoor artificial plants. Some products can be used indoors and outdoors, though indoor artificial plants are not as waterproof as those that are made for outdoor use.

Artificial lemon treeView in gallery
Rustic Reach

The key to keeping an artificial plant long term is keeping it away from direct sunlight and in a location where its exposure to the elements is limited.

List of common faux plants:

  • Fiddle leaf figs – These have become popular indoor tree because of their bold and interesting shape. This plant was named after the instrument because of its broad fiddle shaped green leaves.
  • Snake plants – Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s-tongue or sansevieria, have broad and dark sword shaped leaves with variegated patterns in silver and gold.
  • Palm trees – Palm trees bring a lush quality to any room. These have fan-like leaves made up of smaller leaves that resemble grass. These are stunning alone or as part of a group.
  • Succulents of all varieties – Succulents are plants that keep water in their leaves and come in a variety of shapes and colors. Their shape works well as faux plants because their texture can be imitated with plastic.
  • Bird of paradise – These are a tropical variety of plant that adds a rich and exotic flair to any room. They have dark glossy leaves and interesting architectural appeal.
  • Ferns of all varieties – Nothing says classic style quite like a fern. Ferns are part of a broad group of plants that reproduce with spores rather than with seeds or flowers. These plants come in many varieties and styles.
  • Olive trees – The indoor varieties of olive trees have a topiary shape that is slender and spare with a gathering of soft gray-green leaves at the top. You can use these lovely trees to accent home decor of all styles.
  • Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus, a native plant of Australia, has long been prized for its beauty and medicinal qualities. It has a gray-green leaf with an interesting shape that looks wonderful and sophisticated in the home.
  • Flowers – Who doesn’t love flowers in any room? Of course, the real varieties fade and die. Faux flowers bring a pop of color and interest into every room of the home.

Artificial Plants For Inspiration

Common faux plantsView in gallery
Rustic Reach

We have done the research and read the feedback to gather some of the best-looking artificial plants out there. There are some with more affordable prices than others, but you should expect to pay more for a plant that looks natural.

Potted eucalyptus from CB2

Potted eucalyptus from CB2View in gallery

This is one of the best artificial indoor plants that we have seen. This plant has a lush texture that drapes in a natural way. The edges have slight discolorations that make it seem realistic. It comes in a modern gray textured pot that would look perfect sitting on a desk or perched on a window sill.

Faux potted snake plant

Faux potted snake plantView in gallery

Snake plants are a favorite in modern and contemporary home decor. This artificial snake plant from AFloral looks natural with dark variegation on the leaves and delicate edging. These work as artificial plants for outdoors as well as indoors.

Artificial planter magnolias

Artificial planter magnoliasView in gallery

Magnolias are a cornerstone of Southern style and garden design. With these glossy faux trees, it is impossible to tell that these are not the real deal. You can fill the planters on your porch or in your home with this elegant tree from Joss & Main.

Elegant olive tree

Elegant olive treeView in gallery

This is not the most budget-friendly option on the list, but if you invest in a purchase like this from West Elm, it will look great in your space for years to come. Indeed, tall artificial plants like this can serve as a beautiful focal point in many rooms and work with a variety of styles.

Potted burra’s tail

Potted burra's tailView in gallery

Artificial succulents are one of the best artificial plant varieties out there. Their rubbery greenery can be replicated using plastic in a way that is more difficult with other plants. This burra’s tail from CB2 has a striking natural texture.

Amazing agave

Amazing agaveView in gallery
Crate and Barrel

Here is another succulent variety that looks and feels realistic. This faux agave plant from Crate and Barrel is the perfect addition to a dining table or desk because of the low pot and the fact that there is no fear of leaving a water stain.

Fiddle leaf fig

Fiddle leaf figView in gallery
World Market

If there is one tree that is having a moment, it is this one. The fiddle leaf fig of all sizes has become a part of cool and trendy home decor of all kinds. The dark green leaves and the compact shape of this tree at World Market is hard to beat. The price point is less than you would find at upscale retail stores, but the look is as on-trend as they come.

Staghorn ferns

Staghorn fernsView in gallery
Rustic Reach

Outdoor plants require more maintenance than indoor plants in places where the outdoor temperatures are hot. Artificial hanging plants like this staghorn fern from Rustic Reach are a good addition to outdoor spaces like patios because they look lush. You can use them to supplement the look of your outdoor patio plants to minimize the watering needed.

Majestic palm tree

Majestic palm treeView in gallery

This wispy and romantic Kentia Palm Tree comes to us from CB2. While it is one of the taller artificial plants and trees in this list at 8 feet in size, it does not appear bulky or overwhelming. Rather, it provides an enlivening texture to any spare corner with just the right amount of form.

White spruce wreath

White spruce wreathView in gallery
The Cranberry Creek

Evergreens of all varieties are a wonderful addition to holiday decor. It can enliven a room throughout the long month of winter even after the holidays are over. This white spruce wreath from The Cranberry Creek works well both indoors and outdoors adorning anything from a front door to a mantle.

Polypodium fern plant

Polypodium fern plantView in gallery
Rustic Reach

This fern is more architectural and less lush than other varieties but just as interesting. The faux plant from Rustic Reach comes in two sizes. One that is a little over 3 feet high and the other that is a bit smaller at about 2 1/2 feet high.

Phalaenopsis orchids

Phalaenopsis orchidsView in gallery
Jenny Silks

Some of the most appealing artificial plants for home decor are flowers. However, many artificial flowers look like, well…artificial flowers. One easy exception to this is orchids. These potted flowers have an architectural elegance that is unique among flowers making them one of the best-loved flowers of the moment. With its elegant concrete pot, this orchid arrangement from Jenny’s Silks can elevate any space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Are artificial plants tacky?

Artificial plants have come a long way in recent years. While they still have a somewhat negative reputation, many people are beginning to see the benefits of having good quality fake plants.

Why are fake plants so expensive?

You can find fake plants that look natural and fake plants that look fake. In general, plants that look natural are more expensive. These plant products use higher quality material and are constructed to last over many years.

How long do artificial plants last?

If you buy a good quality artificial plant, they can last forever. However, if you decide to spend less money on a cheaper plant, these can wear down and fade over time.

How do I protect my artificial plants outside?

Outdoor artificial plants are the most difficult to maintain because they are exposed to moisture, wind, and sun. You can move your plants to a covered location during rain or during the summer months when the sun is at its brightest. Of course, this is inconvenient. Another option is to spray your plants with a UV protector like TriNova UV Protectant Spray. To do this, make sure your plant is clean and dry. Next, spray in a systematic way working around the entire plant. Make sure to coat at least every six months.

How do you keep fake plants clean?

There are a couple of methods that you can use to clean a faux plant. First, use a soft-bristle brush working over the entire plant to clean away any accumulated dust. Next, you can use a soft microfiber cloth that is damp and clean each leaf. If you have dust that is sticky, use a solution of half-vinegar and half-water to clean off the stubborn dust.

What can you spray on artificial plants to make them shine?

There are official cleaners for artificial plants that can bring the shine back to your artificial plants. If you want a DIY option, try hairspray which adds shine to the leaves of faux plants. If that doesn’t work, others recommend Orange Glo that you can wipe on the leaves of your plant.

Artificial Plants: Conclusion

Gone are the days when you would be embarrassed to be caught using artificial plants in your home. Instead, most of the time, no one will even notice. The quality of faux plants has increased so much in recent years that these have become a tenable option for all of us.

While good quality plants may cost you more at first, their stylish looks and durability will save you money and trouble in the long run.