The best affordable fake plants for those of us who just can’t with the real ones

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January 9, 2020

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Here on Everyday Mamas we’ve been running a series about the benefits of real houseplants, how to grow them, how much healthy air (and joy) they can bring to your home and even how it’s possible to do it as a mom of multiple little ones.

But despite the best of efforts and intentions, some of us just cannot seem to keep those real ones alive.

Some of us, meaning me. My plant hit list is embarrassingly long and ranges from fresh basil, to a way overly ambitious olive tree purchase that smelled horrible as it rotted in our yard, to the supposedly unkillable varieties like rosemary and succulents.

Sometimes they’re even dead within hours of crossing the threshold of our home.

So as far as the beautiful and more complicated plants like orchids, fig trees and lemon trees that adorn so many sunny corners on Instagram, I just know my house would be death row and it would be irresponsible (murderous, honestly) even to attempt. I might be able to keep my kids alive, but apparently, that’s about it.

But if you’re in my boat—wanting beautiful plants, unable to grow them, and also unwilling to pay an arm and a leg for fake ones that look real— welcome aboard. There are actually a lot of options for us.

The best faux fig tree

Because this particular plant is all the rage right now it quickly became top priority for me, the easily influenced. I was deterred by some of the steep prices I saw online, and by some of the very plastick-y fake looking leaves I saw at more budget-friendly prices. But then, I found this beautiful one from QVC.

It’s about 5 feet tall, and at $60 (regular price but sometimes goes on sale, too), it’s not only the most real looking but the lowest price I’ve seen for a tree this size. The leaves are’t plasticky/reflective at all— in fact, they’re a soft, rich green, and the branches bend easily to be shaped in whichever directions you’d like.

I will say that the pot it comes in is ridiculously small and very obviously fake (like most artificial trees). You’ll want to “repot” it by sticking it in another pot or a basket like this one, but otherwise it looks super real and it will make you happy every day with 0 maintenance.

Here are a few runners up that I’ve also seen and admired in homes and in stores:

The best faux olive tree

Shortly after procuring my fig tree I became aware of the olive tree, which I found looks even more elegant, delicate, and beautiful and I thought that it would really add a lot of life and color to an otherwise bare corner of our home.

Of course I fell in love with this one from Crate and Barrel but couldn’t stomach the price (but seriously, isn’t it gorgeous?)

After hunting around for a long long time for an actually affordable tree that was real looking and TALL, like the Crate and Barrel one, I finally settled on this one and couldn’t be happier especially for 1/4 of the price.

When I later bought a real olive tree for outside (a fiasco, not sure why I thought I could do it), I was surprised at how similar the leaves and branches looked on the two. Again, you’ll want to “repot”, but this one looks so beautiful.

We have it in our master bedroom next to a cozy chair and it really brings life to the room — and it makes me appreciate the natural light so much more, too, seeing it filter through the leaves every morning.

And, my toddlers have only picked off a few fake olives (they’re attached really well).

Here are a few others that I really like (at different heights and price points):

Other faux plants that look amazingly real

I’ve had a lot of luck at IKEA with small potted plants that go on bookshelves and other places around the home. Here is a potted vine on my mantel that was less than $10 (or if you’re not close to an IKEA you can also order on Amazon):

Keep in mind that the fluorescent lights at IKEA are very very bright and everything will look more reflective and fake in the store than in your home.

When I’m shopping there (or anywhere), I tend to look primarily at the shape (does it look like the same shape as real plants I’ve seen, or are the leaves in all the wrong spots? How easily can the branches be bent or fluffed as needed?) and color, and I know I can work with the rest at home.

@halleynet

We also have a Monstera from IKEA in the corner of our home office, and I really love that, too, as it brings some life to this little corner and draws attention to the beautiful gold icons on the wall, too (a gift from my mom). I picked up the pot at Target.

We had these SUPER inexpensive faux tulips in our kitchen at our old house. They look just like Joanna Gaines’s tulips that you can find at Magnolia in Waco, but they’re a serious fraction of the price and they’re on Amazon Prime, so win-win. They’re a fun and affordable spring addition and come in several colors.

I also love the artificial eucalyptus stems I’ve found at Target. They look great in a glass vase in any room.

So to you, mama with the black thumb (or maybe just pressed for time): hope is not lost. You too can have happy plants in bright corners of your home, bringing a smile to your face without breaking the bank.

Welcome aboard the plant-killing boat. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

Comments +

  1. Erin says:

    Thank you for this post! I have had the worst luck trying to keep plants alive, but I also hate the fake, plastic-ey look of artificial ones. I’m definitely going to take a look at the ones you recommend!

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