How faux plants and flowers can liven up living spaces

Undated Handout Photo of faux lilac stems, faux hydrangea panicula stems and faux clover plants, from �6 per stem, from a selection at OKA. See PA Feature INTERIORS Faux Plants. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Faux Plants. WARNING: This picture must only be used with the full product information as stated above.
Undated Handout Photo of faux lilac stems, faux hydrangea panicula stems and faux clover plants, from �6 per stem, from a selection at OKA. See PA Feature INTERIORS Faux Plants. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Faux Plants. WARNING: This picture must only be used with the full product information as stated above.

If your home isn’t blessed with natural sunlight, artificial flowers can be a godsend, especially when you consider the vast array of faux bunches and stems that sometimes look better than the real thing.

But what about your outdoor space? If it’s looking a little lacklustre, you could give it the wow factor and fake it with plants that keep on giving, come rain or shine.

“If you’re time short, not naturally green-fingered, or the growing environment isn’t conducive to natural plants, you can always use artificial greenery,” says George Brooke, senior design manager at Cameron Landscapes & Gardens (camerongardens.co.uk).

“Plants are getting more and more realistic, although we always recommend using a combination of natural and artificial for the best effect.”

Real plants may not flourish on balconies or terraces if there’s not enough light, it’s too hot, too cold, too damp, you’re not there to care for them, or they trigger allergies.

For springtime inspiration on artificial greens you’ll enjoy for years to come, here, we take a look at the art of faking it...

1. What can faux plants do for a garden?

“They can provide instant impact,” says Brooke. “Many plants take years to establish, so introducing artificial ones to bulk out the initial real planting gives an immediate sense of maturity and volume to the foliage.”

2. Do you recommend mixing faux plants and real foliage?

“We like to use a blend of artificial and real, which helps reduce maintenance and provides a lush feel. For instance, natural plants encourage wildlife, offer scent, texture and colour, while artificial climbers are fantastic. So are green ‘living’ walls, and internal palms, trees and shrubs are incredibly realistic and effective.”

3. Where’s best to use artificial plants and make them look as natural as possible?

“Use them where real plants will not thrive, such as small dark corners,” Brooke suggests. “Don’t over-complicate your arrangement by using too many species. Finer leaf faux plants tend to look more real, as the large leaf plants can be too shiny. On a terrace, a series of pots containing a mix of real and faux plants bedded into soil or preserved moss can look brilliant.”

4. Should people consider a fake lawn?

“[They] are particularly good for smaller areas, or where you have children or pets who will churn the lawn into a muddy mess, or a garden that lacks light or is overhung with trees, so turf won’t survive,” says Brooke.

5. Do some gardeners regard ‘faux’ as cheating?

“I’m sure they do. We love real plants and always use them where possible.

“However, we also understand the reality of people’s lives today, and believe there’s always an argument for the right material in the right place.”

6. How do you protect faux flowers, plants and shrubs from the outdoor elements?

“Like lamps, cushions or any fabric/furniture, they do need cleaning and dusting,” says Brooke. “Artificial plants are plastic, so they do survive a long time, and if you’re worried about them fading in the sunshine, you can get UV stable options which can withstand the elements.”