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Question: The inside of my house does not get much sunlight and it’s difficult to grow plants ...

Updated: Feb 11

Can you suggest some fake plants that don’t look fake?


(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)


It’s true that many artificial plants look fake. Even the silk ones can look like plastic or paper. But there are companies whose potted plants and a rare few floral arrangements can fool your eye. The company that comes to mind is Natural Decorations, Inc. and their website is ndi.com.


The choice of plants may be just as important, or more important, than the company that makes them. NDI is not an inexpensive product line and even so, not all items are passable or attractive. On the other hand, I once purchased artificial plants at Home Goods on Soscol where they were on sale and a bargain at that. I chose them for a photo shoot at the end of one of my design projects. They looked so authentic that my clients thought they were real.


The key to choosing such winning plants? Succulents. Nine times out of ten, you can’t go wrong with succulents. The ones I chose were in contemporary white bowls which were perfect for the Japanese-style space I was photographing. By the way, you might consider real succulents as they can grow well under low-light circumstances. If you opt for artificial plants, make sure to dust them off once in a while.


Another factor to keep in mind while choosing an artificial plant is the style of your home decor and architecture. If you have a modern Eichler, for instance, traditional plants like African violets, peperomia, and philodendrons will be out of character. Tall and slim and architectural choices like palms, zz plants, and dragon plants would be more fitting.


Think, too, about your reason for putting a plant in a space. Is it to fill an empty corner, soften a hard edge, or to create a focal point? In the first two cases, you’ll want fuller and graceful options and for a focal point, you’ll want to give this some strategic thought. Sometimes a pair, or a repetition of several, identical vessels or pots filled with the same type of plant can create an artistic attraction. Don’t think of repetition as boring or uncreative. Think of it as emphasizing the design.


If you want to give real plants a chance, and you don’t have cats, think about Maidenhair ferns. If it weren’t for my own furry friends, and the intense sunlight in my house, I’d put them in every room. They are graceful, pretty and versatile and work in any home decor style. Since they love humidity, they do exceptionally well in bathrooms.


Rex Begonias are another option. They come in an array of leaf colors and shapes and can live happily without direct light. Also take a look at parlor palms and pepperomia and if you have filtered sunlight, look at rubber plants and fiddleleaf figs.

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