8 Hacks That Make Fake Plants Look Surprisingly Real

Lush, but low maintenance.

While real plants are ideal, there are times when opting for faux plants makes more sense. For example, if your living space doesn’t get enough sunlight for real plants to thrive. Or perhaps you travel too often to maintain real plants. 

There’s just one problem with fake plants: they often look fake. However, with proper styling, it’s possible to trick the eye. Here are eight hacks to make fake plants look real, according to the pros. 


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Add Moss

Want to instantly elevate a faux plant? Sara Johnson of Sara Johnson Interiors suggests styling faux plants in a cache pot and then adding moss on top of the faux soil. “It elevates the whole look and extra styling makes the plant feel more intentional in the space,” she explains.

Made It Look Imperfect

Real plants and trees never look as perfect as faux ones do, so be sure to change things up accordingly. “If it’s a faux tree, pull off some leaves in sections so the tree has some asymmetry. A natural tree will never be perfectly even,” Johnson explains.

Along the same lines, some faux plants look more realistic with bent branches, according to Anastasia Casey, founder of IDCO Studio and Design Camp. “Faux ferns, monsteras, or any leafy faux houseplants look more realistic with their branches bent, curved, and turned in different directions.”

Choose Outdoor Plants Native to Your Area

Don’t waste your money on faux plant species that wouldn’t grow where you live—it’s a dead giveaway. “For instance, if you live in Michigan, don’t buy a faux palm tree; guests will instantly know it’s fake,” Jaimee Longo of The Layered House tells me. 

Invest in Quality Faux Plants

Just because you can find faux plants at the dollar store doesn't mean you should buy them there. “Don’t skimp on faux plant quality. Invest in a high-end faux plant and you’ll save in the long run by not having to replace it with a real one,” Longo says.

Use Real Dirt

It’s harder to tell if something is fake if it’s mixed with something real. “When we are doing larger scale faux plants, like fiddle leaf fig or olive trees, we always put real dirt and moss in the pots. Adding some life to faux can make a world of difference," says Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors.

Don't Forget to Dust

Dusty leaves are a clear indicator of fake plants. So be sure to dust your fake plants regularly. Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors also recommends periodically spraying faux foliage with Chrysal Silk spray. “It helps to clean the leaves and imparts a nice sheen so the leaves look more like the real thing.”

Carefully Consider Placement

Paris Lalicata, The Sill's plant expert, suggests placing faux plants in areas that are hard to see, especially where real plants would be a challenge to maintain. “Consider placement in hard-to-reach corners, tall shelves, or distant corners where you want to add greenery but not worry about the maintenance.” 

Mix Up Real and Faux Plants

It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake if both types of plants are presented together, according to Lalicata. This works best if the plants are in close proximity. If you have a large collection of live houseplants, peppering in some faux plants will add to the look without adding to the maintenance.

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