Designer Confession: I Use Faux Plants and Here's Why

Related To:

Let's get this out of the way: I love faux plants, I use faux plants and I give you full permission to use them, too.

Sage Dining Room With Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Sage Dining Room With Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

For a tone-on-tone effect, the formal dining room is equipped with several tints and shades of spring green. This subtle change in color adds a layered effect that’s elegant and understated but tonally in check with the greens seen in the adjacent great room. Layering several shades and tints of the same color is an excellent way to introduce color into your home without the hues becoming too contrasted or intense.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Now, if you're an awesome gardener, botanist, plant lover, green thumb wearin' gardenista , I take my hat off to you. HARD. Please know that I fully support your efforts and wish you endless luck and deeply-felt support as you grow plants and grow them well. I, on the other hand, am a plant serial killer that is currently wanted in 17 states.

I am now madly in love with faux plants. I stand up loud and proud for faux plants. Follow these important faux plant tips and you'll soon be a card-carrying member of the "I never have to water these babies again, and they will look amazing forever" club.

Only Buy High-Quality Faux Plants

Plants Accentuate Window Sill

Plants Accentuate Window Sill

Usually, when you think windows, you don't think decoration, but this window has become the focal point of this space. The two slender mirrors add plenty of natural light to the space, which is reflected off of the small, starburst mirror in the center. A green plant sits in front or each windows to add a touch of nature, while fresh pink flowers in a turquoise vase give the window a little splash of color.

Photo by: Stephanie Bradshaw

Stephanie Bradshaw

If you're going to go faux, you have to commit to top-shelf materials. Trust me on this one: only the very best faux plants will trick everyone into thinking your thumb is green and not black. This means you're going to have to spend a bit more money, as the best faux plants are pricey. Just remember, this plant will last you a super duper long time.

Here are some good things to look for: a real looking trunk or stems, imperfect leaves, a beautiful pot (though don't worry too much about this one cause you can always switch it up!) and something that looks kind of like dirt.

Not Every Type of Plant Looks Good as a Faux

Tillandsia Plant Centerpiece

Tillandsia Plant Centerpiece

A Tillandsia plant makes a perfect centerpiece for a beachfront dining room.

Photo by: Brad Nicol

Brad Nicol

Personally, I'm not at all into any sort of faux flowers. I know that some good ones exist out in the world, I just think they're few and far between.

I also think they eventually give you away, as it’s not possible that you would have a beautiful arrangement of peonies on your dining room table that looks exactly the same and never dies.

Certain plants really lend themselves to the faux treatment, with succulents being at the top of the list. 

Put Your Fake Somewhere It Could Grow if It Wasn't Faux

Sleek Modern Living Space Filled With Indoor Plants

Sleek Modern Living Space Filled With Indoor Plants

Tons of indoor plants add a lovely natural element into this sunny, modern living space. Floating shelves and recessed lighting keep the space open and clutter free.

Photo by: Tana Nesbitt

Tana Nesbitt

This might seem obvious, but it’s a good reminder to think about the placement of your faux plant. If you stick it down in the basement, where there is no natural light, that will be a dead giveaway (no pun intended). Put it in a spot in your home where it easily could grow, and that will help to convince people that it might be real. 

Make Your Plant Look Less Fake

Contemporary Pergola With Plants

Contemporary Pergola With Plants

A contemporary wooden pergola features a ladder with several potted plants.

and The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie

There are a few things you can do to help your faux plant look less faux. A great trick is to re-pot the faux plant in a new container, and when you do, use real dirt. Also, make sure to dust your plant regularly. I sometimes will even put one of those self-watering devices in the pot to throw people off.

If you do still want to keep some live plants around as well, you can also mix the faux plants with the real plants. You can even try using your faux plant outside if you live somewhere with a mild climate.

Match Your Faux Picks to These Real Favorites

See All Photos


Bromeliads come in a variety of colors and sizes. They're known for their thick leaves and red flowering spikes, a feature that only comes once in its lifetime. Proper watering is key to the growth and well-being of bromeliads. When watered too much, the plant can suffer from root rot; however, when not watered enough, they can quickly dry out. Bromeliads thrive best in sunny rooms with indirect sunlight.

©Rustic White Photography

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Open up the pages of any home decor magazine and you're certain to find designer homes filled with fiddle leaf fig trees. These natural beauties are loved by designers for their sculptural qualities and their ability to grow more than eight feet tall. These trees thrive in areas with plenty of indirect sunlight and temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to tell if a fiddle leaf tree needs water is to stick your finger into the soil. If the top of layer of soil is dry, but the lower layers are moist, that means it's in great shape.

©Rustic White Photography


A beautiful way to dress up small surfaces around your home is with groupings of young succulents. They come in a variety of species and cost approximately $2 per plant. For succulents to thrive, they must be placed in rooms with direct sunlight and watered generously in the summer -- but allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. During the winter, you can water every other month.

©Rustic White Photography


Tropical plants, especially philodendrons, are popular with designers due to the shape and large scale of their leaves. In order for philodendrons to flourish, they should live in spaces which receive indirect sunlight and offer plenty of shade. In order to ensure proper growth, keep their soil moist at all times and make sure the room's temperature remains above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

©Rustic White Photography

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair ferns are known for their flowing, feminine style. But unlike most ferns, the maidenhair is a bit more fickle and requires special care. These particular ferns require a shady environment with no direct sunlight or bright light, otherwise its leaves will quickly start to discolor. Since maidenhair ferns love humidity, place them on top of a watering tray to regulate the dampness of their environment, and be sure to spray frequently.

©Rustic White Photography

Lemon Button Fern

Lemon button ferns, also known as a southern sword ferns, are commonly found in shady, wooded areas. These beauties are drought tolerant, easy to care for and thrive in shady rooms. Just make sure their soil never completely dries out.

©Rustic White Photography

Peat Moss

Once houseplants are placed into their planters, camouflage the soil and fertilizer with a decorative top layer of Spanish or peat moss. The moss will trap escaping moisture, preventing plants from drying out too quickly. This top-coat isn't a perfect fit for all plants, though, because some plants prefer a more arid environment.

©Rustic White Photography

Keep Reading

Next Up

12 Designers and DIYers You Need to Follow on Snapchat

Design and DIY ideas on Snapchat? Yep, these accounts exist. Check out our favorites.

14 Fashion-Forward Rooms for Every Design Lover

As we head to Paris for the last week of Fashion Month, let's take a look at these "holy chic!" spaces that blend the best of fashion and interior design.

The 3 Colors You Hate Most + The Right Way to Use Them

Some colors can be tricky to get right. A designer weighs in on the most-hated hues and how to use them.

Make Old Furniture New Again With These Designer Tips

Revitalize thrift store finds with these modern fixes.

Halloween Pumpkins: Faux Can Be Fabulous

Forget fresh! For crafty Halloween pumpkins you can display year after year, faux is your new best friend.

Designer Confession: I Love Shopping at Big-Box Stores

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here browsing the dollar bins.

23 Signs You're a Complete and Utter #PlantLady

"I can't go out, my plants need me."

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts