I love plants. Really. I do. And I can even keep some of them alive as long as I can reach them easily with a hose while standing on my deck with my morning mug of tea.
The pots by the front entrance require a concerted effort and a couple of trips with my gigantic water pitcher that requires 2 hands to lift when it is full (but hey, that counts as ‘weight-bearing exercise’ right?).
The window boxes are impossible to reach from outside and after killing off many defenseless plants over the years because wrestling the screens out and back in often enough to keep them alive required more effort and time than I was capable of spending, I switched to faux plants in my window boxes. I know – the horror. All the gardeners reading this just winced. I consider it a kindness to the plants that would otherwise have suffered a cruel death. And, as I mentioned, my window boxes are up too high to reach so they don’t get terribly close inspection. I ‘plant’ my window boxes with faux plants the same way that I would with real plants – a base of potted junipers fills the bulk of the boxes year round, then I tuck in some dangling greens like ivy sprigs that spill generously over the edges, and finally I add stems of flowering plants for the summer. This year it will likely be geraniums for the summer, and I’ll switch to something else for the fall. The trick to using faux plants outdoors is to use greens that that are colorfast. Inexpensive plants from the craft stores turn odd blue colors with prolonged exposure to sunlight and you really can’t fake it with aqua blue ivy dangling from your window box – it’s fine to use inexpensive for this purpose if they are a believable shade of green and are not going to be viewed close up, just plan on replacing them when they start to turn blue! Also, use faux flowers that would actually be blooming during the season in question which usually means annuals…impatiens, begonias, ever-blooming hydrangeas, geraniums and petunias are all safe bets.
Here are a few faux plants that are designed to be UV resistant for outdoor use (click on image for more info):
And here are some new exquisitely realistic designer quality plants from NDI that are formulated specifically for outdoor use. I have included a few of their containers as well.
Faux plants are sometimes a necessity inside as well. A surprising number of common houseplants are toxic to pets, so faux may be your safest option if you have curious furbabies. Inside my house, all bets are off. My house doesn’t get an abundance of sunlight and I am pretty much resigned to nothing staying alive except pothos and philodendron plants – they are quite resilient even though I don’t remember to water or feed them until they remind me by looking sad and droopy. I use faux plants for tree size foliage where needed.
And I get my organic fix with cut flowers from the market, cut flowers and branches from the yard (where God waters them), and some really good faux plants and flower stems. Really good is the key here. Your fake plants should look real enough that the cleaning lady tries to water them, and guests touch them to see if they are real. Orchids and hydrangeas are among the best pretenders. There are also some excellent faux greens available through specialty stores and designers. Good faux plants are not inexpensive, but they can be a great way to enliven a room in the lowest maintenance way possible. They do need to be dusted occasionally or taken outside for a little shower during a spring cleaning binge! And don’t put them anywhere you would never put real plants (we’re looking at you, top of the kitchen cabinets…).
Here are some great faux flowers, plants and urns (click on each image for more information):
Containers for plants are another way to further the design of your room and there are wonderful choices available both online and at your local garden center.
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