Real vs. artificial plants
Friends will start behaving strangely. They’ll visit you for a chat and a cuppa as normal, but when they think you’re not looking, they will secretly reach out their hand to squeeze a leaf or bloom. They are carrying out the "touch test" on your plant!
Modern artificial flowers are so realistic and carefully crafted that people simply can’t tell if they are real or artificial by sight alone. Even touching the detailed, silk-based leaves may not give them the answer straight away.
So when it comes to appearance, there isn’t much to choose between real and fake. If you have any doubts, just look at this white orchid. It is so delicate and looks so fragile, but of course it will still look this perfect in years to come.
But, as in most areas of life, there is more to it than just looks. Let’s examine the facts and figures to see how real plants compare to artificial ones. I’ll be considering the vital areas of ease of maintenance, cost over five years and the variety of plants available.
A real plant doesn’t always look its best. This is for many reasons – it may not be the flowering season, it may not have been fed regularly or it may not have been watered correctly. Similarly, it may not have enough light or may have had too much, and the temperature has to be just right for optimum health too. It can be pretty complicated.
Whichever way you look at it, a real plant is a needy member of the household. If you don’t get its care right, and many of us don’t, it may end up looking pretty miserable or even in the bin.
Yet artificial plants do need some love too. Your indoor plants will benefit from a regular brush down to remove dirt and grime (a paintbrush is perfect for this).
Your south-facing outdoor plants will appreciate being turned every few weeks to stop uneven fading from sunlight. Mind you, the beauty of this low-key maintenance is that you can do it when you have time, nothing will die or wilt if you are away or if you forget about it for a while.
For artificial garden plants, you avoid all the pruning and heavy digging too.
Let’s compare two ficus trees, one real, and one false, to see what they will cost over five years. Do note that the real tree is smaller, so you get less for your money at first, but it should reach the same height as the artificial one after five years of careful care.
|The spec||Our variegated artificial ficus tree, 150 cm high.||A real variegated ficus tree, 100 cm high from a reasonably priced online UK garden shop.|
|Larger pot to accommodate growth||Not required||£15|
|Feeding||Not required||Feed monthly from spring to autumn. This will cost roughly £20 over a 5-year period.|
Artificial plants will often cost you less overall and they come fully grown – no patience or feeding is required.
So when you are comparing real to fake, don’t forget to factor in the care costs – in time and money - for a real plant and do consider the risk that it may not survive. With artificial plants, you can be sure to get long-term value for money.
The range of flowers and plants available nowadays is staggering. From fuchsias to morning glory and from cyclamen to flame roses, you will be spoilt for choice. This includes trees and hedges, offering instant privacy too. Most popular real plants have been reproduced in fake form so you are very likely to be able to find your favourites.
Not only that, but life is more flexible with artificial flowers in the home and garden. Real plants need to be out in the light and on display, however tired they look or however bored you are of them. With artificial plants, you can change them to suit your mood, décor or the season. They will store beautifully until you are ready to swap them again.
There are lots of other reasons why artificial plants may be right for you. You’ll avoid the risk of poisoning for pets or children – so many plants can be dangerous. And for those with asthma or allergies triggered by pollen, fake plants will reduce the risk of exposure.
To find the perfect blossom or plant for you, why not browse our range: you can be sure you’ll be saving money, reducing maintenance and getting plenty of choice, and the looks speak for themselves!
Think you can really tell the difference?
Spotting the difference is harder than you think. Try our short 'real or fake' quiz to see just how good your eye is.