Today's Artificial Outdoor Plants: Not Your Nana's Fake Cemetery Flowers


There's an understandable yuck factor about the word "fake." Forgery, counterfeit, bogus, imitation, false, phony... or the 5 -star vocab words of spurious and ersatz. When used in the context of counterfeit money, bogus claims, forged artwork, phony address, imitation cheese or false promises, it's not a pretty picture. Fake outdoor flowers? Instant cemetery visions of plastic plants in hallucinatory colors.

But fake has made a long, arduous journey to the classy end of the spectrum. There are now fake eyelashes, fake tans, fake diamonds, fake boobs, fake leather (often all one person) (not a bad thing) that are amazingly realistic and used even by those who could afford the real thing. It's smart. It can be very economical. And the quality bar keeps moving higher. But always remember—it's how you use it. Do it heavy-handedly and it's laughably, obviously awful.

This leap of quality has made its way to fake outdoor plants that are UV-protected and available to-the-trade only. These are NOT craft store items. It's a professional product that I, an experienced landscape designer, source and select to design container plantings with the same skill and creativity I would with real plants. My job is to produce a planting that's so natural, no one would ever think, "Is that real?". There's a definite talent to taking what products are available and using them creatively, keeping in mind the proper size, scale and suitability of the planting.  

The essence of having artificial outdoor plants is the zero maintenance. Zippo. I can't begin to tell you how many clients start by saying, "I don't want to water anything." Here in southwest Florida, having plants on a lanai guarantees daily watering. Yes, there are worse things than hauling out the hose or the watering can, but it's an annoyance that can be crossed off your to-do list permanently.

Container plantings that won't lose their looks.  No watering. No cleanup. No bugs. No dead plants. No kidding.