Home & Garden

Indoor fake plants are better than real plants—here’s why

Looking for a way to bring the outdoors inside? Try fake plants.

Side by side of indoor fake plants Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

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Plants are having a moment right now. It seems every time I open my Instagram feed, there’s a slew of gorgeous plant pictures. The same goes for my favorite local coffee shops and indoor food markets that all have plans hanging from the ceiling or placed in planters of varying sizes. Let’s just say I’m green with envy.

Plants are a great way to add a pop of color to your indoor or outdoor space and can easily be incorporated into just about any home decor. I’m not one to miss out on a good trend, but I’m no green thumb. I, um, have more of a black thumb, if you will. Since I don’t have much luck keeping real plants alive, I’ve turned to fake plants for all of my decor needs.

Artificial plants offer all sorts of benefits. For one, you can't kill a fake plant (unless you're throwing it away). Fake plants are built to last, so you won't need to replace them often. And you can easily move them from room to room in your home without having to worry about spilling dirt or leaking water. Oh, and manufactured plants don’t care if a snowstorm or heatwave is happening outside since they aren’t impacted by changing climates. Easy enough, right?

Let me share with you a few more reasons why indoor fake plants are better than bringing real plants inside the home. And, maybe you’ll want to make the switch, too. (If that's the case, check out the 10 best places to buy artificial plants and trees online.)

Fake plants are low maintenance

Fiddle Leaf Tree
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

My Pottery Barn fiddle leaf tree is easy to clean with a dry cloth and duster.

One of my biggest failures with real plants was remembering to water them daily. It sounds like an easy and basic task, but sometimes life gets in the way and watering my plants fell to the bottom of the to-do list. It also didn’t help much that I wasn’t sure how much—or how little—water to give them for proper growth.

After continually wasting money on buying and killing real plants, I decided to make the switch to artificial plants. I started out small with a few individual faux succulents from Target. These tiny plants look great on my dining room hutch, in the bathroom windowsill, and on the bookshelves in my living room. Since then, I’ve added a 65-inch tall fiddle leaf tree to my office, a hangable succulent wall in my kitchen, and a small jade plant in the guest bathroom.

I love the way artificial plants freshen up my living space without having to worry if they are getting enough (or too much) sunlight or water.

I never have to think about fertilization, spraying chemicals, bugs, or checking the soil, either. Easy peasy.

That said, artificial plants still need to be tended to from time to time. I dust my fake plants once every week or two. This helps remove any dust or pet here that’s (inevitably) landed on the waxy leaves and petals. The upkeep is pretty minimal and that’s exactly the kind of balance I’m trying to strike at this stage in my life.

Fake plants aren’t toxic

Living with pets or young kids? Fake plants are going to be your new best friend. Indoor greenery like aloe vera, peace lily plants, and, yes, even my beloved fiddle leaf can be toxic to cats, dogs, and small children. Although not all houseplants are harmful to furry friends and little ones, I’d rather play it safe when it comes to bringing the outside in.

My husband and I often joke that we’ve had to “un-decorate” our home due to our very curious 14-month-old son. While our little guy hasn’t had the opportunity to scatter fistfuls of dirt all over the house, I’m quite sure he would if I kept real plants around. Plus, I don’t have to worry about my curious pup rummaging through my indoor plants, either.

Quality fake plants look just as good

Jade plant
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

This small jade plant from Target adds a pop of green to my neutral-colored guest bathroom.

The term “plastic plants” doesn’t sound sexy at all, but imitation plants look pretty darn close to the real thing. I used to be the person who turned my nose up at fake plants because they have a reputation for being low-quality and tacky. And, if I’m being totally honest, some faux plants don’t look great. That’s why it’s important to do your homework before you buy.

In my experience, checking the quality before making a purchase is key to getting a gorgeous and genuine-looking fake plant. Texture, style, and appearance are all important factors. The goal is to fill my house with artificial plants that don’t look fake. Target and Pottery Barn are my go-to stores for beautiful artificial botanicals because the quality is normally excellent and very realistic. However, plenty of other retailers sell artificial plants. Be sure to read the reviews (and the return policy) before you buy online.

But fake bouquets usually disappoint

Eucalyptus stems
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

In my dining room, I like to mix and match different fake plants, like these Eucalyptus stems and mini succulents.

Now that I’ve professed my love for fake plants, there is one artificial plant I won’t buy: I avoid purchasing fake flowers for several reasons. First, I haven’t found a faux flower bouquet or stem that looks realistic enough to my liking. More specifically, the petals generally look flimsy and, due to the fabric materials, can be hard to clean. Fake plants that use fabric, like flowers, can be tricky to match perfectly. My best advice is to opt for fake plants that resemble the real version. Live succulents generally have a waxy look, which is one of the reasons they make such believable fake plants.

Second of all, fresh flowers are easy and accessible for me to find when I’m out running errands and grocery shopping.

It’s no extra effort for me to pick up a bundle or two when I’m out and about. Pro tip: Trader Joes is one of my top choices for buying fresh flowers on a budget.

Finally, while I do love a good fake plant, having a mix of both real and artificial plants keeps my space feeling fresh and lively. If anything, my real flowers give my fake plants a little credibility.

If you don’t have a green thumb, but you still want the look of plants in your indoor living space, don’t feel guilty about buying fake plants. Start by adding a few small plants to your home and let your “garden” grow.

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