Artificial plants: when it’s time to embrace fake

05 February 2018

The word ‘fake’ has had a bad rap of late, but when it comes to plants, going artificial can be the perfect solution.

When you think of artificial office plants or plants for the home, you may picture a sad, plastic-y object, way out of the league of its beautiful living counterpart. But this image is now woefully out-of-date.

These days, you can get very good quality artificial plants which are so lifelike that you need to touch them to be sure they’re not real.

In our industry, we use them a lot, confident as we are that their looks won’t let us down.


Perfect anywhere

Artificial planting arrangements are perfect for homes and offices where there is little light, or where the temperatures and level of care, can fluctuate dramatically. In short, they are perfect for places where living plants wouldn’t survive.

And where better to place a plant, than in a dull, dark spot, where there is no uplifting natural light? Subterranean office floors, shuttered spa treatment rooms, windowless offices… there are many places where only an artificial plant would do.

In reception areas, for example, where sliding doors are forever letting in blasts of cold air, and visitors come and go, perhaps brushing against the branches, this is abuse which would harm a living plant, but to which an artificial office plants bears no mind at all.

With this in mind, you can shift an artificial plant around wherever you please. Something which requires much more care and consideration when it comes to living specimens. In fact, we can even supply them in wheeled planters, to make it even easier to try them in different spots.

UV-rated artificial plants are popular with restaurants and bars, where they dress up and screen off outdoor terraces with planting without having to worry about the harsh British weather changes or the odd drink or cigarette butt finding their way into the topsoil.

In addition, indoor artificial plants can come with inherent fire retardant properties, so they tick a few safety boxes too.

Beautiful anytime

An artificial planting arrangement also saves the cost-conscious home or workplace considerable financial outlay by cutting out the need for regular maintenance.

They will look good for years and really just need to be dusted every once in a while, and we do recommend you do this: a dusty plant is a truly sad sight.

Not to mention the fact that artificial office plants have none of the flaws that nature creates on live planting.

Now, as nature-lovers, we see the odd wonky flower or varied leaf tone as all part of the living world’s beautiful variety. But if you are a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to appearances, then a flawless fake house or office plant could be just your thing.

However, even if you do embrace nature’s imperfections, but don’t have the right conditions for a real plant, there is always the preserved option.

Unlike replica, preserved plants are real plants, but expertly treated to last up to ten years, without the need for any care. The water is removed from a live plant and replaced with a saline solution, so the plant looks alive, but is preserved at its prime.

Preserved plants come in a range of options, from big-leafed palms and figs, to fan plants and trees. They will suit any indoors location, as long as the humidity isn’t too high (pool-side locations are a no-no) and are truly lifelike.

Artificial plant, real benefits

We go on, a lot, about the many health and productivity benefits of plants in the home and workplace and it’s true that most of the time we’re talking about live plants.

A living plant can filter the air of toxins, regulate humidity, remove dust and bring out our innate nurturing side by needing care and attention.

Yet this doesn’t mean that artificial plants don’t help bring a boost to our day-to-day lives.

Studies into our need to stay connected to nature for good health and spirits is termed ‘biophilia’, and this connection doesn’t just happen when we are surrounded by living plants.

Just to see something natural, such as a view of greenery from a window, or a picture of forests or fields, can provide a nature connection which will give us a tangible boost.

So, it follows that a replica plant can bring the look and feel of nature to a room or office enough to brighten our day.

At a time when we spent a lot, perhaps too much, time indoors, anything to join us back to with nature, with its nurturing effects, can only be a good thing.


Brighter days

What’s more, we can supply artificial flowers, so that you can guarantee having colourful planting displays in your house or workplace even in deepest winter.

At Urban Planters, we often suggest a replica flowering display for welcoming areas, such as hotel reception desks as an alternative to live cut flower arrangements, which would naturally require regular refreshing.

Live flowering plants can easily be substituted with artificial flowering plants, such as the striking, bright Guzmania, a tropical beauty of a plant which sports vividly-toned exotic flowers.

Again, replica flowers are these days very hard to tell from the real thing, particularly to passers-by, so you can get all the joy and appreciation you would get from live flowers but, with artificial flowers, this is a joy which lasts longer than the fleeting real thing.

“Living” walls

Green walls are really going from strength to strength, as the perfect solution for adding greenery where space is at a premium, or where maximum visual impact is the order of the day.

Now, a living green wall is a truly wonderful thing, bringing beauty with remarkable air cleaning skills, but an artificial green wall also has its benefits.

As mentioned above, any plant, real or fake, can bring us back to nature for the good, so a wall full of greenery can bring that biophilic effect in spades.

Moss Wall UK

What’s more, you can really go to town on design with a green wall full of artificial plants. Without the restrictions of matching the planting to light and temperature levels, the possibilities abound.

By choosing from a wide range of shades and textures, living walls can be planted to create a multitude of designs, including pictures, patterns and logos.

They can also be planted around corners, on ceilings or up and over window arches: there is certainly a freer rein on creativity when it comes to artificial living walls.

When you can’t keep it real

I’ll be honest: despite all I’ve said here, I still prefer live plants, but I am a horticulturalist, so that’s natural.

A living plant, in all its changing, dependent beauty, is still nature at its best. But in our modern living and working spaces, we can’t always accommodate planting, and that’s just the way it is.

Thank goodness, then, that artificial plants are now so lifelike and come in such a wide range, that there should be something to suit all tastes and spaces.

For more information on our range of high-quality artificial office and house plants, click here.