Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Faux or Fake? And Does It Matter?

I used to be more of a purist at heart and I guess I still am about some things, but plants are NOT one of them!  First of all, I've never had a green thumb.  As a matter of fact, I pride myself on being able to kill just about any kind of plant thats come my way!

This isn't to say I don't appreciate the real thing. There's nothing like the beauty of real flowers, not to mention the beautiful scent!  But when realistic fake plants started making their way on the market, I took the plunge and bought some.

As with anything though, you have to be careful.  Some types of plants are more conducive to "fakeness" than others!  And the very realistic ones are usually much more expensive.  But I think they're worth it if you really like the look of plants but hate the upkeep, the mess, etc.  It also saves on the frustration encountered when you've spent good money and time on something that ends up looking like a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Trust me, this is what invariably happens when plants are left in my charge for any length of time. 

At any rate, my oldest daughter Laura agrees with me and two weeks ago, the two of us spent an entire Saturday searching our favorite shops for a good variety of fake plants.  The criteria was simple.  They had to be very realistic and, perhaps most importantly, they had to be in her price range.

I have to admit, we were exhausted at the end of the day, but we found some stunning examples and we had a great time doing it!  As a treat for her, I spent the next day redecorating her small atrium that had previously housed nothing but the real thing, but which had succombed to that lovely shade of death I'd given her so many examples of over the years.  Here are the results; see for yourself!  

I wish these were better photographs, but I'm having some issues in this department ever since going to my new computer.  Anyway....can you tell which, if any, are the real thing? If you're interested, here are some tips you might find helpful!

1.  Always use REAL DIRT and regular plant containers for a look of authenticity that's hard to beat!  I can't stress how important this is.  If you've gone to the expense of buying good "faux" plants, then don't skimp on the dirt!  Plant them just like you would any other plant; it lends to the overall "look and feel" of the real thing.

2.  Keep them clean!  There's nothing like a pile of dust bunnies to give your secret away!  Yes, there is some upkeep, but it's minimal.  And even real plants need cleaning to keep looking their best.  Just keep watch on how often they become dusty, then periodically clean them before they get "bunny-ized".  My favorite method is holding the plants under cold running water.  Even better, I frequently walk them out, container and all, to the deck and hose them off.  It's quick and easy and I just set them aside to dry after I've given them "a good shake" to get the majority of water off them.  Flowers may "bleed" a little, but I continue to wash mine this same way.

3.  Look for plants that are in keeping with the area in which they will live in.  Since this atrium is such a little "hot house", I knew  succulents would look very well realistic. And succulents tend to be my favorite faux plant anyway.

4.  For faux flowers, the best advice I can give is to put out only those flowers that would already be in bloom at that time. I have to admit though, I put out what I like, when I like it, regardless of the season.   Hey, I said it was good advice (which it is).  I didn't say anyone had to follow it! Ha Ha

5.  Mix plants together! Just as you might put two kinds of real plants in a garden pot, do the same with faux plants.  The hanging baskets in the hotos use this type of "underplanting".

6.  Another favorite tip - when you have a real plant, such as aloe vera that you want to keep on hand for burns and the like, and it starts to look a little scraggly, put in some fake stuff to "pretty it up". Consider it "make-up" for your plants!

7.  Consider how close people will be standing to them to determine the quality needed to withstand "the inquisitive eye".  Those plants positioned farther away may not need such a look of realism and can perhaps be less expensive.  Put your money into those which are going to be given close scrutiny.

Bottom line - do what works for you!  That's the beauty of today's market!!

May God Bless, Jan