Growing plants can be hard, but nothing good ever comes from taking shortcuts—like fake plants. Here are some of the reasons why we say no to faux

Heather Arndt Anderson  – January 16, 2020 | Updated January 27, 2020

Look, we get that plants can be demanding, in that, like all living things, they have survival needs and, ergo, the potential to die. And we know that buying new plants can be kind of expensive (though we have some solutions for that). Plants come with a learning curve that, due to limited time and resources, many of us are unable to crest. But we at Sunset feel that it’s worth trying anyway. Messing up is how we learn. And we can’t learn a thing by bringing fake plants into our spaces.

We won’t get into whether or not plants have feelings, but we acknowledge that it can be heartbreaking to keep killing plant after plant. If that’s your case, we suggest you either a) take up collecting crystals and candles instead, b) take a plant care class (or read some books), or c) do your mental health a solid and just be okay with the fact that a plant is going to die in your care once in a while—if it brought you joy while you had it, that can be enough!

It’s up to you whether or not you can handle plant parenthood, but it bears repeating that fake plants aren’t the answer. Here are some reasons why we just say no to faux:

Plastic Isn’t Great for the Environment, Remember?

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It’s kind of ironic that people will not only eschew the genuine article (and its many benefits), but they do it for a plastic knock-off that has absolutely no redeeming qualities other than being water-wise. Unless we’re talking about the state-of-the-art, carbon emissions-removing, artificial trees being tested at University of Arizona or the ones currently being test-driven in London, fake plants are a pollution source—in their manufacture and their disposal. Fake plants are always destined for landfills; they’re not recyclable and they sure as heck aren’t compostable.

Plants Are So Much More Than Just Decor

Sarah Sherman Samuel

In a recent think piece for their website, the folks at houseplant subscription service Horti said it best, if succinctly: “If you think about the ideology behind fake plants, it’s one that values appearance over nurtured growth.” We love the lush look of houseplants, but (real) plants aren’t just household decor; they’re living things. Part of the charm of keeping houseplants is that they respond to our care.

Fake Plants Aren’t Even Cheaper

foliage houseplants
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Fiddle leaf figs are already one of the most expensive houseplants out there, and the fake version is no better. How expensive are they, you ask? Try $180 for a 6-foot tall number or $350 for a 7-foot tall specimen. Think of how many real houseplants you could kill for the price of one fake plant!

You Can’t Pay Faux Forward

Succulent and Cactus Cutting
Thomas J. Story

No matter how convincing fake plants might look, there’s one more reason we think they’re tacky: they can’t be shared. You can’t take a cutting from a fake plant to pass along to your friends, and plastic plants don’t make babies that you can pot up and gift (or keep).

Lest we forget, fake plants are a look; real plants are a vibe. You can’t fake a vibe. Behold:

Abundant Houseplants Designed by Hilton Carter
Hilton Carter © CICO Books 2019