If you are looking to add some color to your space, filling up empty corners with new greenery can help. Fake plants are a solution for those who don’t have the time—or knack—for taking care of real houseplants. Today’s fake alternatives look more realistic than ever. So if you have a less than desirable track record of keeping plants alive, it might be time to consider these low-maintenance substitutes.
Available in a variety of different species, fake plant options range from tall trees to tiny succulents. With a renewed popularity in the design world, there are now plenty of options to suit your taste. When choosing the best fake plants for your interior you don’t have to worry about light exposure, watering, or any other concerns that real plants need, but you will want to consider the fake plant’s material, size, placement, and how realistic the plant’s detail and texture look. Keep reading to learn how to navigate the fake plant selection process and review some top recommendations:
- BEST OVERALL: Vickerman 4-Feet Artificial Natural Ficus Bush
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Butterfly Craze Artificial Lavender Potted Plant
- BEST FERN: Nearly Natural 6032-S2 40” Boston Fern (Set of 2)
- BEST FICUS: Nearly Natural 5208 Ficus Artificial Tree
- BEST PALM: Fopamtri Artificial Areca Palm Plant 5 Feet
- BEST SUCCULENT: Veryhome Fake Succulent Plants
- BEST HANGING PLANT: CEWOR 2pcs Artificial Hanging Plants
- BEST LEMON TREE: XiaZ Artificial Lemon Tree with Flower
- BEST FIDDLE-LEAF FIG: BESAMENATURE 30” Little Artificial Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fake Plants
The best fake plants will fool most visitors, especially if you consider the materials, lifelike qualities, and proper placement before making a purchase. Keep in mind the following factors when shopping for your faux greenery.
Fake plants can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, foam, paper, or fabrics such as silk and polyester, and even cotton or rayon. Silk and plastic tend to be the most popular options for the best fake plants on the market. Wire and glue often hold the plant together, while a foam filling can add a more lifelike quality to the leaves.
Silk has long been a go-to material for fake fauna, since it can bend and shape to offer a realistic substitute. One downfall of this medium is that over time, silk can show wear such as fraying edges or become discolored from sunlight damage.
Newer technologies have made plastic a popular choice for artificial greenery design. Today’s plastic plants aren’t the shiny versions of yesteryear; the newest options offer lifelike, durable replicas of houseplant favorites. Makers of faux greenery can mold leaves, as well as stems, berries, and seeds, from plastic and paint them the appropriate color. Plastic plants might be slightly harder to bend or manipulate than silk versions.
There is a large range of sizes when it comes to the best fake plants. For counters and shelves, mini succulents might do the trick. As small as a couple of inches, these tiny accents often come in groupings that you can display together or separately.
Common houseplants such as a fern or a spider plant often come in medium sizes of about 2 to 3 feet tall or long for hanging options. At the tall end of the spectrum are the 5- to 6-foot trees, such as fake palm or ficus plants. These taller options are perfect for those empty corners where nothing else seems to work.
Like most things in nature, plants aren’t perfect from every angle. The real versions have a naturally asymmetrical form, with varying leaf distribution and twisted stems and tendrils. Consider this while shopping, since this characteristic in artificial substitutes will offer a more realistic look. Steer away from options that look too even all around with little variation in the stem and leaf placement.
Once you choose the best fake plant for you, take a wider look at it; if it appears too perfect, consider what you can do to reduce the symmetry, such as trimming leaves or twisting stems.
Realistic Detail and Texture
When you look at plants outside of your home, you’ll see plenty of dissimilarities in their makeup. Each leaf might have a varying color gradation, vein pattern, or shape. There might even be small holes or rips where insects and other creatures have nibbled. A plant with zero imperfections is a giveaway that it was created by a person rather than grown in nature. Look for ones that have these realistic qualities.
The first thing people will do to test if a plant is real is touch the leaves. If it feels hard or plasticky, then the verdict is usually that it’s fake. Even silk versions might have a synthetic feel to the touch. Newer technologies such as soft-touch processing produce plants with a more velvety texture. There is a category of “real touch” flowers and foliage made from polyether polyurethane (PU) foam. In this process, the manufacturer pours lightweight foam into molds to create the flower. This method of molding also allows for replicating the veins from real versions versus printed-on petals.
Fake plants are usually sold two ways—either potted (and potentially glued) in a vase or vessel, or placed in a standard nursery pot. For the latter, you’ll want to pair your greenery with a container that meets your design tastes. Another reason you might choose to repot is if you love the plant but don’t love its vessel. Whether it’s a raised ceramic planter or a wicker basket, there are plenty of available options to suit taste and decor. A bonus with fake plants is you don’t have to worry about how your container will hold or drain water.
If you select your own planter, you’ll want to consider your base material as well. Soil, dirt, rocks, or moss will create a more realistic look with these organic textures.
It’s a good idea to consider placement of your faux greenery, especially if your goal is to make these fake versions look like their real counterparts. A good rule of thumb is to place artificial plants where you would place real ones; in sunny corners or on wide windowsills where they might typically thrive. Hiding your fake plants away in dark nooks and crannies is a surefire giveaway that they’re not real.
Another design trick for a realistic aesthetic is placing your fake plants alongside living ones, varying in species and size to create a more realistic environment and make any discrepancies less noticeable.
Our Top Picks
The best fake plants meet your needs and look like the real thing. Consider some of the following top look-alikes for adding greenery to your space.
Vickerman’s 4-Feet Artificial Natural Ficus Bush is made of both plastic and silk. For a realistic look, two real hardwood trunks hold 950 leaves that vary in shade and size. This adds to its natural asymmetry.
The ficus comes with a dark brown decorative rattan basket for an easy design option. Moderately-sized, at 4 feet tall and weighing 7 pounds, this tree is easy to move around if you ever want to relocate it to a different room. Real ficus bushes thrive in medium to bright light, so a somewhat sunny corner would be a great home for this choice.
The planters holding the Butterfly Craze Artificial Lavender Plants contain silk flowers that are soft to the touch and stems that are pliable enough to arrange to your preference. For a realistic look, the stems are finished with a light white dusting to mimic real lavender blossoms. The fake plants lend a pop of natural-looking color in a small and inexpensive package. Each wood planter and plant combine for about 10 inches of height (and the box is 5 inches wide x 4 inches deep), so they can be used as table centerpieces or decorative accents for any room, or even on a covered porch or enclosed deck.
Real ferns will do well in shade or spotty sunlight, so the Nearly Natural 6032-S2 40-inch Boston Fern set of two should work well in most rooms. With a pinnate, or feather-like, shape to the small but long-hanging leaves, this fake plant provides a realistic appearance. This duo does not come potted, so shoppers can choose their own containers to complete the look—these will work in either a hanging basket or a decorative planter. Each fake fern measures 40 inches high and 15 inches wide and can be placed apart or together for a fuller look. Since they are made out of polyester, you can shape and style these fake plants to your preference.
Realistic features of the Nearly Natural 5208 Ficus Artificial Tree include varying color leaves, a winding vine, and an asymmetrical design. Three trunks hold more than 750 leaves for a full and natural appearance. Made with silk, plastic, and wire, the stems can twist and tweak to your desired shape. Its 5-foot size can fit into a room’s corner or as a backdrop behind smaller real or fake plants. This tree weighs 9 pounds and comes in a plain nursery pot so you’ll have to shop for your own decorative planter. For a more authentic look, add some soil or stone to the base of the trunk.
Made to mimic a real Areca palm, the Fompamtri Artificial Palm Plant will look at home in a sunny corner. It’s easily moveable, rising to about 5 feet high and weighing in at less than 12 pounds. Made of polyester with interior wires, each trunk can bend to accommodate your taste and space. Realistic color gradations give the leaves a natural look. For a tall fake plant, it’s also safe; if you have children or pets running around, the cement base will help prevent tipping. Use the simple black pot it comes with or place it in your own planter.
The set of four succulents in the Veryhome Fake Succulent Plants grouping offers a compact size of just over 3 inches, which makes the plants well-suited for windowsills, shelves, or perhaps bathroom sinks. Each succulent is potted in a white, hard plastic container with small stones at the base. If you prefer your succulent in a different planter, you can remove it and place it elsewhere, but you’ll need new stones since the included ones are glued down.
The real-touch process Veryhome uses for these succulents is molded polyethylene (PE) foam for a realistic feel. The varying natural hues in the succulents will add a touch of color to your space.
Vining or draping plants like the CEWOR 2-piece Artificial Hanging Plants place plenty of natural-looking greenery up high. This can add color and warmth to sterile-looking ceilings and corners or atop tall bookcases. It also keeps curious hands or paws from reaching for your plants. This hanging duo of fake ivy vines offers two plants that can be hung separately or together to create one larger display. Each of the 320 fabric leaves has five stems, which are made from plastic and bendable iron wire.
This option comes without a basket or hanger, so you may want to shop for one that suits your style. You might also choose to hang it from existing shelves or atop other wall décor, without a pot.
Lemon trees are pretty and popular among those looking for a whimsical citrus motif, and the XiaZ Artificial Lemon Tree can fit right in. Growing fruit indoors can be challenging, but you can have constant yellow “fruit” and pretty white flowers with this small tree made for indoor and outdoor use. The 2-foot tree’s materials are fabric and plastic, and the entire tree weighs only 1.2 pounds, so it’s easy to find the right spot with trial and error. The six lemons have a realistic textured design, each attached directly to the stems. Eighteen small white flowers complement the look of the plant, which comes housed in a small black pot that is ready to display out of the box.
Fiddle-leaf fig trees have become quite popular in recent years, so this BESAMENATURE 30-Inch Artificial Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree can add some realistic texture. The manufacturer uses real-touch technology to closely replicate the plant’s leaves and stems. Internal metal wires allow for easy manipulation, helpful for reshaping the tree after shipping.
At 30 inches tall, this waterproof plant comes in a basic black planter, but you can place it in a vessel of your choice. It weighs only 3.24 pounds, so it is easy to replant or move around your home. The real fiddle-leaf figs can be difficult to care for, but not with this fake option. Fiddle-leaf trees like a lot of sun, so it’s best to choose a bright spot for this purchase.
FAQs About Fake Plants
Wondering how the best fake plants are made or how to place them in your home for an appealing design aesthetic? Get answers to commonly asked questions about faux greenery.
Q. What are fake plants made of?
Fake plants can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, foam, paper, or fabrics such as silk and polyester, even cotton or rayon.
Q. How do you arrange fake plants?
A good rule of thumb is to place fake plants where you would place real ones, in sunny corners or on wide windowsills where they might typically thrive. Another tip is to put them alongside their living counterparts for a fuller, but more realistic environment.
Q. How do you make fake plants look good?
Fake plants will look better if you spend time shaping or even trimming their leaves to create a natural asymmetrical appearance. Also, don’t forget to clean and dust your greenery to keep it looking fresh.