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How to Make Fake Plants Look Real

Artificial succulents and plants on a shelf
Lena Kudim/Shutterstock.com

Over the last few years, more people have decided to become “plant parents” than ever. The rise in houseplant popularity really started during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were spending more time at home. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a plant parent but don’t have a green thumb. Thankfully, there are plenty of faux plants out there that look pretty realistic, and even more hacks you can use to make fake houseplants look real.

There are plenty of perks to investing in fake plants that look real. They’re less work, they won’t die on you, and you don’t have to ask your less-than-responsible neighbor to water them whenever you head on vacation.

So, what can you do to perk up your faux plants? What should you know when it comes to making fake plants look real?

Embrace Imperfections

Living room with gray armchair and couch, coffee table, and potted houseplants
Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

Real plants aren’t perfect. Leaves are different shapes and sizes. Stems and vines twist different ways. One thing that’s working against you, even with fake plants that look real, is that everything is probably going to look pretty uniform.

Try to make things look more imperfect by pulling off a few leaves in certain sections. This will create an asymmetrical look that feels more natural. If the branches or stems are all the same length and direction, bend some of them and twist them in different directions.

JC nateva 16 Small Fake Plants

A little cosmetic work can go a long way in making a fake plant look real.

Choose Plants That Make Sense

A Philodendron plant

If you live in rural Indiana, having a tropical plant in your house will be a dead giveaway that it’s fake. If you want to ensure your plants have a realistic vibe, a little research goes a long way.

Look up plants that are native to your area, and choose one that would work well in your home. If it makes sense that it would grow there, people are less likely to question whether it’s a faux plant or not.

Mkono Macrame Plant Hanger

An indoor hanging basket is a great way to make your faux plants look and feel more decorative.

Keep Them Clean

Woman dusting plant leaves with cloth

When you have real potted houseplants, you’re probably going to water them regularly. Plus, plants are always moving and growing. So, the leaves are less likely to collect dust. That’s not the case for fake plants.

If you want to know how to make fake plants look real, keep the leaves shiny and dust-free.

You can dust your faux plants as often as you dust other decor and furniture. Use a wet cloth or regular dusting spray, or invest in a spray specifically designed to keep fake plants clean—they won’t leave residue or spots behind, so the leaves will look even better.

NuDell Nu-Leaf Cleaner Spray for Artificial Trees and Silk Plants

Don't forget dusting duty when it comes to your faux plants.

Get Dirty

Faux plant in white pot on a small white stool
Kat Buslaeva/Shutterstock.com

There’s no rule that says you can’t “plant” a realistic-looking faux plant in a pot with real dirt or stones. It can make it look more natural, especially if it’s in a location where people can look closely at it.

Even if you don’t want to fill a pot with dirt for a fake plant, consider adding a layer of real moss to the top—even if it’s dried moss. Adding an earthy touch can go a long way.

If you choose not to use real dirt, stones, or moss, consider being a bit more strategic about where you put your plant. Chances are, no one is going to come into your house and inspect your plants all that closely. But, if you have an obviously fake ficus sitting right next to your sofa, your friends and family are likely to notice. Place plants on shelves, hang them from the ceiling, or put larger plants or trees in corners so guests aren’t able to look too closely.

Sophia Mills Mid Century Plant Stand

Plant stands filled with dirt or stones can give your faux plants a more realistic look and feel.

It’s Okay to Splurge

A collection of potted houseplants in a line on the floor.

When you purchase a live plant for your home, you’re not just buying a plant. You might have to buy a special kind of food or fertilizer, bigger pots as it grows, and potentially some solutions and topical ingredients to add if it ends up with any kind of root rot or other diseases.

Fake houseplants are a one-time investment unless you decide to change out their pots or vases once in a while. Since you’re saving money on maintenance, make sure you invest in high-quality fake plants that look real. Read reviews, check out the materials they’re made from, and look for keywords like “realistic-looking” or “lifelike.” While you might pay a bit more upfront, it’s worth it for a realistic faux plant you’ll be able to enjoy with minimal care.

Briful Fake Snake Plant 16 Faux Potted Plant

By spending a bit more, you can enjoy a more realistic-looking plant that will last for years!

Now that you know how to make fake plants look real, you can invest in faux plants that fit the style and personality of your home. You can still be a plant parent without having a green thumb, and by taking proper care of your fake plants and strategically placing them around the house, your guests will likely never know the difference!

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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