I admit that I’ve turned my nose up at artificial plants. I feel a bit sad anytime I see a dusty, sun-faded plastic bouquet in a building lobby. And while I can appreciate the kitsch of an indoor grape trellis situation, it definitely doesn't accurately evoke the Italian countryside.
But back when I wrote a story about what to do with the space above your kitchen cabinets, I spoke with Karen Asprea, an interior designer who enthusiastically suggested using faux foliage to decorate that particular area because it likely doesn’t get the light required for healthy plants.
The truth is that some people simply can’t keep plants alive, and maintaining vases full of fresh-cut flowers is a pricey luxury. Artificial plans can liven up an otherwise stale space and provide naturalistic visual intrigue without the cost or hassle of living ficus plants or orchids.
I got back in touch with Asprea to go in deeper—and she provided a few helpful rules for the use of imposter greenery. Read on below for her advice and for some quality faux foliage options.
How to choose high-quality artificial plants
Choose pliable plants
Obviously, you’ll want to look for fake foliage that’s believable. “A good faux plant has pliable metal inside so that you can shape the plant, which will make it look more alive,” Asprea says. “You can even look at a photograph of the real plant and bend the leaves to look like it.” This, Asprea notes, mostly applies to larger, more leafy artificial plants.
Leafy over flowery
Asprea recommends opting for green plants rather than any kind of flower: “I find that greenery is much more believable than flowers,” she notes. Think of plants that you might typically find indoors, like monsteras or pothos, as opposed to a spray of faux magnolia blooms. Fake succulents are also a good choice; they tend to be the most convincing thanks to their thick, glossy leaves.
Muted over vibrant
If you insist on a flowering fake plant, opt for a neutral color palette, like white or cream. “Flowers that are heavily saturated with color tend to look more fake,” says Asprea.
Dried over faux
Some plants, like eucalyptus, ornamental grasses, and certain branches, look great dried out, and choosing the dried variety is a much more eco-friendly choice than a synthetic version of the same plant. One exception: wreaths or other arrangements that you want to place outside. Dried plants likely won’t hold up to the elements.
Location still matters
“It’s important to be mindful of what kind of plant you are putting in a space, because if the intent is for it to be believable, the plant should be able to survive in that environment to some degree,” explains Asprea. While poor conditions might be the reason you're investing in an artificial plant, a general commitment to putting a plant in a somewhat believable place (e.g., not in complete darkness) will do wonders toward creating a convincing illusion. This also means that plants that you’d normally never find inside, like green turf grass, for example, are big no-gos.
Don’t be afraid to mix
Faux and dried foliage doesn’t have to stand alone, and Asprea suggests using a combination: “I mixed some faux foliage with some bunny grass and pampas grass and the composition of everything together looked nice and a lot more thoughtful than an arrangement that’s entirely fake.”
Good-looking preserved and artificial plants to buy online
$300.00, The Sill
$45.00, The Sill
$85.00, The Sill
Originally Appeared on Epicurious