Our home has always been our embracing cocoon, a cozy nest that reflects our style and personality. It is more important than ever to live in an environment that brings us joy. It has been proven in many studies that plants and flowers make us feel happier. So it begs the question, should you fill your comfortable home with real or artificial plants?
I have been against owning an artificial plant for one main reason — they looked fake. Well we have come a long way with artificial plants and floral arrangements. There are some houseplant imposters that, after a thorough touching and examination, I assumed they were real. There are also real houseplants that no matter what you do they never look great. These plants I give the old heave-ho and start over. My choice in the past was to replace it with another living plant, but I have since crossed to the dark side (or should I say the artificial side). With design and production improvements, I have a new appreciation for a variety of artificial plants.
I must admit, I do have a bit of a green thumb. Not totally green, as I have killed my fair share of indoor and outdoor plants but on average, but I am solid A-. I attribute two reasons for my green thumb success: choosing excessively low maintenance plants and self-watering containers. Honestly, I think the latter has made the most significant difference with my plant’s healthy longevity. With a few tips, almost anyone can maintain thriving, real houseplants that will live for years.
My preference would almost always be to choose real. However, there are pros and cons to both sides of the live or fake plant controversy. Although I do not think it is all black and white. A blend of both will make your artificial plants appear more real amongst the living while cutting down on the number of real plants that you need to maintain. There are several live and fake plant options based on your level of care.
Advantages of Living Plants
- Allergy Relief – Leaves and other parts of the plants act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles
- Adds humidity – Houseplants add moisture to the air
- Purify the Air – Houseplants can soak pollutants.
Advantages of Artificial Plants
- Bug Deterrent – Insects and bugs will not live in fake dirt or eat artificial leaves (however, my cat still tries to eat a phony leaf every now and then)
- No Watering – No concern for mold, mildew or over/under watering a fake plant
- Sunlight Levels – An artificial plant can be put anywhere and thrive. Some are even SPF rated for covered porches, patios, and balconies.
- Stays Beautiful – It will never die.
Real Houseplant Containers
Choose living plants that are super duper easy to maintain. If you do not know, ask the staff that oversees the houseplant area in your local garden center or home improvement store. If you feel like you are a beginner or you typically kill everything, then I suggest NOT replanting your real plant. Instead, put the pot that you bought it in, into a decorative planter. When it needs water, just take it out of the decorative container and water it per the plant’s directions. You have less opportunity of overwatering the plant. As always all of my options listed go from least to luxe in price point.
If you are more of an intermediate gardener, then I would suggest a self-watering container. Usually, after planting, you maintain the plant’s regular watering for two-four months. This gives time for the roots to grow downward. Then water through the reservoir which then waters the plant from the bottom upward. The roots naturally take what they need without sitting in water.
Artificial Plants for Every Decor
No matter your design style, there is a fake houseplant calling your name. It does not matter if you are more traditional or modern, choosing a specific houseplant is just as crucial as any decorative element in your home. The more harmonious everything looks, the more pleasing to the eye. If the plant is in a container that doesn’t match your decor or that makes itself look artificial, then change the container, basket, or planter to one that I recommended above. Most fake or artificial plants come with containers that would be much too small if the plant were actually alive. Selecting a container that is the right scale for your artificial plant will also help it look more real.
For a floral arrangement, the same design considerations hold true for the environment. I have found that genuinely realistic, artificial (that is an oxymoron of terms – LOL) plants tend to be more expensive. Unlike evergreen houseplants, floral arrangements require more specific design elements and manufacturing processes. I also feel that an artificial arrangement needs to be moved into different locations throughout your home frequently. Otherwise, everyone knows you have the same arrangement in July as you did in January. Heavens to Betsy, no!
Finishing Touches to your Real or Fake Plants
The pièce de résistance to any houseplant, either real or fake, is in the finishing touches. These details are what make the plant look more professional and polished. Whether it breathes or is plastic, wiping, and dusting the leaves with a cloth or air canister keeps your plant looking fresh. A great way to improve the overall appearance of your plants is to cover the dirt (albeit real or fake). Select decorative sand, pebbles, rocks or moss to cover the dirt. Choose a medium that is the right scale for your plant and matches your design theme.
Simple Choices for Real and Artificial Plants for Your Home
Hopefully, these few tips for choosing between real or artificial plants for your home might help you decide between one, the other, or perhaps both. Having beautiful plants in our surroundings boosts our mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity. Visually looking at plants in nature helps to reduce stress and fatigue. Why do you think there are so many screensavers that showcase plants? So bringing a few more of them into your life to encourage your positive mindset!
I would love to hear about what is your favorite houseplant. What do you often kill or what has stood the test of time? Also, where did you get your favorite artificial plant? Almost every retailer is carrying a wide variety.