The Best Faux Greenery to Liven Up Your Spaces

As we enter mid-spring, the return of flora and fauna has us looking forward to warm days. It may even have you thinking about bringing some plant life into your home. But what if you prefer – for one reason or another – to leave the real greenery outside?

Fortunately, the world of faux greenery (also known as artificial plants) has vastly improved in recent years. Today’s best artificial plants and trees feature details that lend impressive verisimilitude to your indoor faux garden.

Here, we explore the world of faux greenery and artificial plants to help you find the best options for every room of your home.

Who Should Consider Artificial House Plants?

Faux greenery may not be suitable for everyone. Avid gardeners and those who want to fill their homes with plants that look completely real may wish to acquire the genuine article. Even the best faux options fall short upon scrutiny, so if a natural look is of the utmost importance, investing in real greenery is your best bet.

However, plenty of homeowners can add some color and joy to their homes with faux greenery. If you lack a green thumb, artificial houseplants can help you mimic the look without the stress of monitoring water levels, sunlight, and soil pH.

Even experienced gardeners may wish to employ faux greenery in low-light spaces. If you have a dark corner of your home you’d like to brighten with a plant, an artificial option can provide the color you desire, even in a sunless space.

Faux plants or branches can thrive in any environment – even low-light spaces.

Finally, some families with young children or pets may find artificial plants better suit their lifestyle. Real plants in delicate, soil-filled planters can be knocked over during playtime, and many popular houseplants are toxic for dogs and cats.

How To Select The Best Artificial Plants

If you’re in the market for artificial plants, your chief concern is likely realism. What should you look for in faux greenery to give it the best chance of passing for a living plant?

1. Consider Leaf Size

Some plant attributes are harder to fake than others, and large, flat leaves are one of those features.

Wide swaths of uninterrupted surface area, like the leaves of a fiddle leaf fig or monstera, command visual attention. Viewers who focus on those leaves may be more likely to see any less-than-lifelike features. Leaves with smaller surface areas attract less scrutiny.

2. Focus on the Right Plant Species

Instead of fighting the synthetic materials in artificial plants, lean into them by selecting plant species with similar qualities. For example, succulents and aloe plants naturally have a firm, almost rubbery appearance, which makes them easier to mimic than those with silken flowers or lush, leafy greenery.

3. Aim for Imperfection

One of the biggest tip-offs that a plant is a fake is a too-perfect appearance. Some brands intentionally include quirks or imperfections in their faux greenery – an errant branch here, a brown spot there – to mimic the irregularities you’d see in real plants.

Even the healthiest plants will have quirks and imperfections. Selecting a faux plant with purposeful mistakes can help it pass for real.

4. Invest in the Correct Vessel

Many artificial plants and trees come in low-quality, unattractive plastic tubs. Invest in an elegant container for your faux plant to give it an upgrade. A beautiful ceramic planter or woven seagrass basket can take a fake plant from so-so to chic.

5. See It To Believe It

Finally, consider seeing artificial plant contenders in person before making a purchase. No one material is a guarantee the plant will be a reasonable facsimile of the actual item – some silk plants look artificial, and some plastic ones look quite convincing. 

The only way to know is to see them up close and personal. If you do order your faux greenery online, check the return policy to ensure you can send it back if it doesn’t meet your standards.

Our Favorite Artificial Plants and Trees for the Home

So where does our team turn when it’s time to find faux greenery options to enhance a home’s decor? These are some of our favorites, categorized by size.

The Best Small Faux Greenery

If you want to add some color and joie de vivre to a desktop, bathroom shelf, or windowsill, these tiny plants just may fit the bill.

Flueri Designs Sanseveria (Snake Plant) in Chase

Sanseveria, or snake plants, come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and shapes. This miniature faux version seeks to add visual interest to whatever surface it adorns, with its dark green striated leaves jutting forth from a rustic glazed pot.

Real sanseveria come in a range of hues, patterns, and sizes. Some are straight and lean while others feature leaves that spiral outward.

Crate & Barrel Faux Succulents in a Pot

This assortment of faux greenery, with several types of succulents, is elevated by its slate-gray pot. The visual interest created by the variety of succulent types can help distract from any of the faux greenery’s shortcomings.

Afloral Angel Wing Begonia Leaf

The angel wing begonia is a unique plant that feels straight out of the Alice in Wonderland universe. The actual plant has leaves with bright white, circular spots that look painted on.

Even the real angel wing begonia’s leaves look too fanciful to be real.

The plant’s inherent whimsy makes it a bit easier to fake, and these branches from Afloral allow you to customize the size of your faux angel wing begonia. Purchase one branch or several, “plant” them in floral foam blocks (or an eco-friendly alternative), and select a beautiful pot and some moss to complete the look.

The Best Medium-Sized Faux Greenery

These mid-sized artificial plant options fit between their dainty desktop cousins and the larger trees meant to occupy floor space. These faux plants are ideal for larger tabletop surfaces, like a side table, or for use in a tall urn on your floor.

Pottery Barn Faux Potted Maidenhair Fern

This fern succeeds in its mimicry in part because of the natural plant’s small leaves. The polyester leaves have a translucence that looks similar to the genuine article when the light hits it properly.

This real maidenhair fern has leaves that look very similar to the faux version from Pottery Barn.

The plant stands approximately 16 inches tall and comes in a plastic vessel with a 6-inch diameter, making it the perfect size to decorate a coffee table, kitchen island, or entryway console table.

Fleuri Designs Roses, Ranunculus, Skimmia and Berries in Pacific Cachepot

While faux florals can be harder to approximate, this bouquet achieves what others can’t. It’s all in the details, with the lightly embossed veins on the rose petals and the voluminous blooms of the ranunculus effectively mimicking the real flowers.

If you look forward to ranunculus season each spring and wish you could enjoy these delicate beauties all year, this arrangement is ideal for you.

With its understated, white-glazed pot, this arrangement would be an elegant centerpiece on your family dining table.

Afloral Green Grey Spiral Eucalyptus

The white mottling on a eucalyptus branch is captured well here in this faux branch from Afloral. The “by-the-branch” nature of this faux greenery allows you to purchase as many stalks as you’d like to achieve your desired look.

At 40 inches tall, the branches would be at home in a large amphora on the entryway floor or a tall, elegant vase on your living or dining room sideboard.

The Best Large Faux Greenery

These large faux greenery options are designed to take up space and pack a visual punch. Each tree stands several feet high, making them the correct scale to occupy substantial space in any room.

Weston Suburban Retreat kitchen
These real topiaries in Acampora Interiors’ Suburban Retreat project flank the table in the sunlit kitchen. Photo by Jessica Delaney.

West Elm Faux Potted Rubber Tree

Even real rubber trees have a, well, rubbery appearance, and this facsimile from West Elm captures not just the texture but also the color of a burgundy rubber tree.

Consider incorporating a potted tree into your home office scheme to add visual interest to your Zoom background.

CB2 Faux Money Tree

The leaves and trunk of this faux money tree combine to provide a strong approximation of the real plant.

At five feet tall, this artificial tree would be perfectly at home in any sparsely-decorated corner. If you’ve been searching for some greenery to fill out a reading nook or stand by the china cabinet in your dining room, this may be your tree.

Threshold designed with Studio McGee – Triangle Ficus Tree

The largest of our faux tree options, this six-foot-tall triangle ficus is sure to become a commanding presence in any room.

This real ficus brightens a nook in Acampora’s Brookline Historic Refresh project. Photographer: Kindra Clineff.

The tree is polyester, and its container is a durable rattan, making it a strong contender for busy family spaces. The triangle ficus would serve you well in your living room, children’s playroom, or a high-traffic hallway.

As spring advances, you may wish to welcome some greenery into your home. But if real potted plants are unsuitable for your space or lifestyle, you needn’t abandon your dream. Whether you’re looking for a tabletop succulent to enliven your desk or a potted tree to fill out your family room, there is undoubtedly a faux plant option to fit the bill.