I adore plants and feel they add life to every space – the bigger the better! I rarely stage houses that I don’t think need a plant or more plants. But I have also gone through stages in my life where I just cannot have one more thing that solely relies on me for its sustenance. Thus my ongoing quest for the perfect faux plants. Plants that look so real your houseguests will offer to water them. Interested? I have a few tricks to share with my fellow travelers.
Go for naturally ‘plastic-y’ looking varieties.
Pick plants that, when they are real, have leaves that already look a bit like they could be plastic. Good examples are: succulents, banana trees, mother-in-law tongue, aloe, fiddle leaf figs, air plants, lotus leafs, philodendrons, maguey stems, monster leaves and certain types of ferns. Since real ones already can look fake, it makes the fake ones look real.
Above, I mixed a faux lace fern with a faux asparagus fern. I got these in Dallas at Nicolson Hardy on Lover’s Lane. Their designer worked with me for free, selecting the perfect planter and helped me styling it. Pro tip – ask for help.
Styling is huge.
When you are trying to emulate a real plant, perfection & symmetry are not what you are going for. Real plants lean toward the light and are not equally full so style them like they were real. I usually re-pot them in something less generic or at least pop them into a floppy basket. Make sure the pot size matches the proportions of a real plant’s root ball. I often add some dirt, stones, or at least moss on top of the faux dirt.
Similarly, putting a plant in a place where it could never ever live is a give away. If it’s a dark bathroom with no windows, pick a different decorating prop.
To look live, add some dead.
Real plants have imperfect and dead leaves. One trick I used for the staghorn fern above is to gather bits of dead leaves and moss and tuck that around the base of the plant. I do that in some form with most all my faux plants.
The ever popular fiddle leaf tree also can look very realistic in plastic. I gave this purchase lots of thought because a 6 foot faux fiddle leave will set you back. For me this is a business expense since I can put this in practical every house I’m staging to sell. And most rooms can benefit from a big beautiful bit of green. A faux tree won’t mind me dragging it around, house to house or room to room in a photoshoot. This extensive Apartment Therapy article helped me make my selection.
Preserved Real Plants
I also use preserved real plants and flowers. One of my favorite tricks to gather rice flowers, limonium, billy balls, or golden yarrow in low dense arrangements. I like these arrangements in solid color containers so you don’t see the stems or the fact they need no water.
These are more fragile than plastic, but if you take care of them they can last a long time.
I also love to mix faux silk flowers with the real preserved flowers like I did here for staging a client’s bedside tables.
That said, I don’t recommend you fill your whole house with fake plants. Defiantly steer clear of bad fakes (run from faux rain drops). Instead, layer in some low maintenance, easy care real plants punctuated by a few strategically placed & styled faux friends.
Do you have any faux friends to share? I’d really love an introduction. Please comment below!
Feature image credits here from Elise Larson’s fab blog “A Beautiful Mess.”