Monday, September 24, 2007

Plants: Real vs. Faux

Florals in my livingroom, sofa table off the foyer. Click to enlarge all pics.

I'm glad you all enjoyed my yardsale finds for this week! It's always fun to share them with you...and ya'll really appreciate a good bargain, I can just tell! LOL

Over the years, I've been involved in many decorating boards & have seen many discussions on real vs. faux plants & there seems to be a lot of differing opinions on this subject, so I thought that would be a great thing for us to talk about. I have both real & fake plants in my house & have been completely content with that for many years, but recently have begun to wonder if I have "too" many fake ones. Maybe it's time to rethink this. I made all of my arrangements & some of them are over 10 years old & while I still like them very much, perhaps it's time to change some of them.

I really need to get my magazines out & pay closer attention to what they are doing in there now. I know lots of photo shoots have real flowers in them, but you wonder what the homeowners do all the time...every day. It would be nice to have real flowers everywhere, but that's not practical either(or realistic $$ wise). But, this is the real world, so what do we do when we want some texture & life that plants inject in a room?

So, what do you do in your home? Real or fake...I'd love to know! Now ugly silk flowers, I just can't stomach either, but I'm sure if some real designers walked in my house, many of them would probably poo-poo my fake plants...I'm sure of it.

This one I made many years ago too & it's in my livingroom. I probably do have too many, now that I think about it, but what do you put in their place? I can't imagine taking out all the greenery, it would feel so cold & sterile. My livingroom has a floral needlepoint rug, muted colors & these arrangements fit in there so well colorwise.
These 2 iron urns are on the coffeetable with fake plants too.
I made 2 of these sconces a few years ago & this is all dried material. I still like them too, with the artichokes & pomegranites & feathers. These colors work well with the painting here. I love Mary Carol Garrity's style & notice that she uses lots of dried floral material. I'm trying to use more of that too & nothing garish or really fakey looking. I think I've succeeded at that,
at least I hope I have. This is an iron base with more pomegranites & artichokes & feathers. I still like it...and if this wasn't here, what then? I'd love to hear from all of there something else that gives life to a room other than greenery or flowers?
Ivy topiary I made several years ago too & it's on a wall sconce seen from the foyer.
Tin container in the diningroom with more greenery & berries.
Large silk palm in the livingroom..this really adds some drama, so I'm sure I won't change it out. I'd love to do a real one, but I've heard they are pretty temperamental to keep going indoors. That's the main reason I do mostly fakes...real ones require quite a bit of care to keep them pretty.
Faux forsythia in a tin on my desk. These really look real, but of course, forsythia only blooms in the spring.

A faux orchid is on the foyer table & I love the colors in this piece. It has the roots & leaves & I have it in a white urn. I see lots of orchids in magazines & they always look so pretty. We just added all those real plants & trees in my office & that really made me start thinking about all of this.
And here are some of my real plants. In the foyer, this iron basket is hanging on the wall.
And this floor planter is just inside the front door, also real. The ivy in this one is really taking off. This planter was a yardsale find for $5 last year.
Downstairs in the den is another peace lilly.
And I have several African violets in the laundryroom.

So, I do love real plants, it's just that they are not practical everywhere. I know there are so many people who absolutely hate fake plants, florals & greenery & wouldn't be caught dead with them in their house. I'm just not one of those people. I think there is a place for the right balance. I've just been rethinking mine lately & maybe need to pare it back a little. And I do agree that the fakes need to be good quality. I hate the plasticy looking cheapies that you see out know what I'm talking about!? For the most part, I think mine look like good quality, but I'm sure some who walk in my house would hate them.

So, tell me what you think! I'd love to know...this could be a great discussion. What do you do in your house??
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Nunnie's Attic said...

Well since I kill potted live plants, I love the faux ones. The only plant I haven't killed actually is the impatien. I have swags and dried flowers and ivy in every room (except the boys bedroom.) I don't have a lot, just here and there. My wedding bouquet sits on display in dining room and that has roses and magnolias, ivy and glass grapes in it. Of course now I have fall leaves and mums sitting around.


Nunnie's Attic said...

And BTW, I'm not poo-pooing at your displays. They're beautiful.


PAT said...

Hi Rhoda...I think it's quite alright to use faux/silk flowers. I have a wonderful source for great silks at reasonable prices. So that makes me a happy camper.

I'm aware of fresh flowers and fruits and vegetable used for photoshoots and it always looks fabulous. I can understand why this is done. But I certainly could not afford to keep fresh flowers all the time. I do pick up grocery store bouquets quite often. They last a couple of weeks and don't cost a bundle.

We have a few living plants indoors, as well. That's J's forte. I tend to stay away from them, because I would probably kill them with kindness or neglect or something!

You have some great arrangements. I make all my arrangements too, except for the great, red tag, deal I got last winter. From time to time, I take them apart and rework them. A sort of use what I have approach to florals, but with a change or two.


Michelle said...

We as a retired military family, I rarely had living plants in the house since we couldn't transport them easily. Now that we're retired, I have a mixture of both. For many reasons (money, ease of care, variety) I prefer artificial but I like my tropical plants (Plumeria, Antherium and orchids) and I keep an herb garden indoors.

The floral arrangements in your home are beautiful!

Kari & Kijsa said...

Love your plant arrangements (a little feathers make them FABULOUS!) Thanks for the fall inspiration!

blessings, kari and kijsa

ValleyGirl said...

Well, coming from a complete BLACK-thumb (meaning I've managed to kill pretty much every plant I've ever tried to keep in the house -- or outside, for that matter!) I'm a big fan of faux flowers and plants. Obviously, there's varying degrees of quality, but your plants are all really great looking. After 10 years, I can see how you'd maybe be looking for a change, but seriously, if it ain't broke, why fix it?!

Michelle said...

Hey Rhoda,
I definitely think it comes down to personal taste, really. I LOVE all of your arrangements and I think they look very classy - not cheap looking like I have seen in different homes. You are very gifted in the art of floral arrangements - silks & dried!

Personally, I only have one live peace lily at my house and I can't tell ya how many times I've forgotten to water it! (I'm thankful it always bounces back, though :)So, I know I'm not exactly a good candidate for REAL plants! LOL Everything else in my house is silk or dried...

Have a beautiful day!

Bonnie said...

Hi Rhoda........You know I had a garage sale when we built & started out fresh but I did keep some flowers (faux)like the DR table arrangement that a designer at interior's store did for my other house. I just added some red roses to it & took out the peach colored flowers to change it. I am looking for some beautiful new ones like you right now but am having problems finding them. Looks like I may have to do my own & copy pictures. Pat was kind enough to post one of hers for me to copy. I think all of yours still look lovely and you might could just rework some new colors or textures to them to change them if you are tired of them the way they are. YOu have a beautiful home & a great decorating eye! Bonnie

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Well, I am not surprised at the lovely arrangements you made...:)
if you really don't want them anymore you can send them on to me LOL.
Myself, I have a mixture. I have some silk floral arrangements I LOVE and they make me happy when I look at them...and the big bonus is they don't die. I say do what makes YOU happy, after all it's your home.

Don't let a supposed "expert" tell you how to live or what to what pleases you...

Alice said...

Your arrangements are gorgeous. I have a mix of live and fake flowers throughout my home. For my kitchen table and my desk I pick up cut flowers from the farmers' market each week.

When I was a kid, plastic artificial flowers were all the fashion. My grandmother had a little bouquet of plastic violets that I absolutely adored back then. Thankfully the age of plastic flowers has passed.

Cre8Tiva said...

yours are beautiful...i have real flowers in the great room and on my bedside table...i change each sunday...i have dried hydrangea on my dining table...then loads of real plants that live on the lanai about 10 months a year and inside the rest...i do have a few silk green plants in high places that make it impractical to water...blessings, rebecca

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Rhoda~ I am doing the centerpiece of the month next month... this would make a fun entry (hint-hint)

Steph said...

I have two cats that will eat most any green plant! So, to keep them alive, I have mostly all silk greenery! I always buy high quality and I think that makes a difference! In fact one day, years ago, someone was housesitting and tried to water some of the fakes!
If I want color, as in flowers, then I tend to go out and purchase fresh. I get them at Costco and they don't cost an arm and a leg!
I love all of your arrangements!

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

I think your flowers look fabulous!!!

Rosemary said...

Well Rhoda,
I love the real thing of course, but sometimes it doesn't work. I have only 2 faux ivy topiaries on my mantle. It doesn't get enough light for the real thing. The ivy looks real though. I like anything dried. I dry out my hydrangeas all the time. They look great. I have seen some really good fakes, where you have to touch them to be sure.
Yours look good in the pictures, I have to say.
I like them if they look real. You know what Oprah says,"there are no blue flowers in nature." there kind of are, but not really. Maybe a purply blue.
Thanks for that post today,

Tonja said...

I have both. I like a very natural looking arrangement when I have fresh flowers. I tend to put them in a Mason jar or a small watering can or such. I think faux flowers are fine as long as they are real looking. You have some beautiful arrangements. Have you noticed how many photo shoots are using fruits in large vases and even in water? In the summer, I like the look of sand and shells in a clear glass urn.

Wanda said...

I'm with you. I don't like the cheap ones, but sometimes, they all look cheap to me. I do like a few nice arrangements, but don't have many - any. And I certainly don't have your talent for arranging! The one stick bouquets work best for me. LOL I think a balance of fake and real is fine, but I have a friend who, like you said, doesn't do fake at all. She really dislikes them, but then again, she's not an inside floral person. I am. I need to see flowers, which usually translates into fabrics for me. I try to lean toward dried naturals. What to use instead of flowers? Why, stuff, of course! So that's my take for the whole penny it's worth.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

I have no real plants in my house because my thumb is blacker than black. I can barely avoid killing poinsettias over the short holiday season. I'm not much into dried flowers/florals but I do have my share of fake greenery. As you said, fresh is nice, but not economical for the large majority of us. The only thing real I can see to deal with is hydrangias. Have you ever been to Boxwoods here in the Buckhead area? They get a large delivery each Wednesday and they are $10 or $15 each and are perfect for a table or sidebar. I take a planter with me and they plant it for free.

daisy cottage said...

Any arrangement that you display in your home Rhoda is always beautiful. Tastefully and artfully done. The ones you are showing today are gorgeous. After I moved in to Daisy Cottage, I have slowly "weeded" out my "fakes", although the center hall still has one that I still love. I get a gathered "bunch" of flowers once a week, if possible, from Publix and come home and divide them up and put them in the kitchen and my office. Sometimes I put a few in a little glass container in the guest bathroom. I use fruit in cloches and other tall glass containers and they last quite a while. Where I have "dead" spaces, I need to get live plants and haven't done so yet. Great discussion! And may I add, that I am SO glad we can still "visit" even though you are working outside of the home now! Thank goodness!


DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

I have both too but I do think that faux greens can be overdone. But faux is so much easier to care mess. What can you use to soften a space like plants do?

All your arrangements are beautiful. I love how the ivy at your front door is trailing down.

Jacki said...

Have just started reading your blog and really enjoy it. I only have real plants outside; the cats would have way too much fun chewing up anything real I put inside!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Nunnie's Attic - I don't seem to have the patience or the time to keep live plants living, so I use fake plants instead. The only thing I don't like about the fake variety is the amount of dust they collect.

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Well, as usual I am coming in a bit late on this. I think you can do either or both effectively. In fact, MIXING them is a wonderful idea. You cannot even tell the fake ones if they are mixed in, so you can double the impact.

Certainly there are some tacky faux greenery and flowers, but I think that advice to not use faux plants is a bit outdated, from back when faux used to be hideous. Now there are really beautiful ones out there.

As with everything, if it looks beautiful, USE IT. After awhile you probably need to get rid of them as they do tend to get dusty and dated. Then you can start fresh and get current with the wonderful new stuff out there!

Thanks for sharing, Rhoda!

Anonymous said...

I use fake. I try to get the realistick ones as I see you do. I mean i like real for seasons I put in my windows and such, but not into just green plants.

Shirlee said...

I think all your arrangements are beautiful and classic. You seem to have a nice balance of faux and real. The real plants look very healthy and full. I have cats and my male kitty enjoys digging up plants and be-heading flowers so I currently have neither. I would definately have a mix of both in my home. I just have to figure out how to keep kitty out of the real ones and put together a fab arrangement like you can. :)

Kari said...

All I can say is, THANK GOODNESS FOR FAUX PLANTS! My brown thumb wouldn't allow me to have real plants throughout my house. But I also agree that the faux plants really shouldn't be glowing with plastic parts and unrealistic colors. lol Although I have to admit, I have one fake plant in the upstairs hallway that really needs to be thrown away. I don't know why I still have it - it's the most pitiful thing you ever saw. Maybe I'll take the plunge and get rid of the stupid thing. Soon. Not today. But soon. lol

Deserae said...

Hi Rho- I have to agree with others that they make some very nice faux plants these days.You have some very stunning arrangements!!! Faux...real....who cares as long as it looks good :o)

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

I think ALL of your flowers/plants look wonderful. I can't keep real ones alive. They end up looking terrible for me, brown, dropping leaves, etc. I've also watered them too much before and the water has run out of the pot and ruined furniture, carpet. No more real in my house. Too much mess and damage. I don't have to worry about them being watered when I'm on vacation either. That's another perk!

Also, those darn little fungus gnats are another reason NOT to have real plants. They live in the soil and it's so hard to get rid of them.


KJ said...

I do both, but lately I have been into the real deal... I have a perfect kitchen for growing plants and they all seem to be quite happy. Then, I have been buying fresh little bouquets every week from Trader Joe's here in California. I go in spurts and with moods. (With mental pause, there are lots of moods.)

Best Blessings, KJ

Felicia said...

Love all your beautiful flowers. Mainly I have real plants with only a couple of faux ones. The secret to the fauxs is throw them out when they start looking whoabegone.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Well, I'm glad ya'll like a mixture of real & fake too. That just seems to be the best thing to do when real plants won't grow in every area. I was just thinking that I have gotten rid of all my fake ficus trees (which I used to have several!), so that's probably a good thing. I replaced them with the fake palms which I really like a lot better anyway. Fake plants really have come a long way, thank goodness! I may spruce up some of my old arrangements & update them just a bit, but don't think I'll be getting rid of them either.

Thanks for coming by & leaving a comment on this. I loved hearing what you all do in your homes too!

Cheryl Wray said...

That forsythia looks SO real!
All your plants are beautiful!

Sandy said...

Hi Rhoda! Well, since you asked .. I have a few fakies. But they have to look real for me to decorate with fakies -- LOL!
Also, I went "fake" with our xmas tree a couple yrs ago (when we moved into our current house with high ceilings) when I drove by a garage sale and saw this beautiful tree. I got it for $100. She had pd. $400 for it 10 yrs. prior!
Always love to come visit you.

bellacolle said...

Well, I think your faux plants are lovely... no cheesy faded flowers at your house I see... I love real at my house, I only have recently added a dried arrangement on my entertainment center... I just have such bad allergies, with real plants you can wipe the leaves and get alot of the dust off... silk it's not so easy. Classy arrangements like yours certainly have their place!

forfun said...

Your faux flowers are beautiful but I think also what makes them so pretty are the containers that they are in,JUST BEAUTIFUL!

Ginger said...

Hello Rhoda,
I just wanted to let you know that that last post was from me Ginger, I forgot I started a practice blog with my husbands email account, and I was still on that.I love your new background it very pretty also.

Robyn said...

Really love the photos! And love your cute signature at the bottom! How did you do that?

the feathered nest said...

I went through a phase where I had quite a few faux arragements but my husband really dislikes them so I got rid of all but two. Plus you do have to dust them and I don't need one more thing to dust. One is a combination of faux hydrangeas mixed with real dried ones and one is in my foyer. The foyer one I change out for the seasons so I never have a plant or flower that you wouldn't really find blooming at that time. I do buy fresh flowers every week at the grocery store for my diing room table- they're about $4. I do use some faux arrangements for fall & Christmas displays. But even at Christmas I use mostly live potted plants.


justabeachkat said...

I prefer real, but I hate the watering part. :-) I have a combination. It's amazing how real the faux ones look nowdays. Plants make a difference, for sure. I loved seeing all of your arrangements. Love them all.


Betty said...


Well, I'm a user of both....I have many green plants in my home and sun room.....and I also use some silk...silks are a million miles from the old plastic ones years ago.......

I like your arrangements.....Betty

Abbie said...

How do you get the signature at the bottom of your posts, it's so neat.

Anonymous said...


I too use both.....but just like clothing there are I am forever adding and subtracting. Just like rearranging the furniture it makes it a bit more interesting.

Did you ever have the Ficus trees with little white lights on them ??? They were so in a few years ago.....

I say keep and do what you like... :)

Thanks.....nice post
Kathy :)

PamperingBeki said...

I'm not a huge fan of faux plants, but I tend to like cleaner lines and a more simplistic style. I'm a 'less is more' kind of gal. I have a few faux plants, but not many.

I love those yellow ones though!

Susie Q said...

I think that anything you add to your home will be done with style, flair and good taste. You have such an elegant manner and an inborn sense of what is right. I think a mix is always nice...and there are such really pretty faux out there. I have a large peace lily in our bedroom and one downstairs. They were gifts 2 years ago and I have kept them alive and thriving thank goodness! More because THEY are hardy and not because I am any good with plants!

I have faux vines here and there and faux sunflowers...on top of our kitchen cabinets and added to displays here and there. Real would not be practical there!

I think you should just go with what feels right to you! You have such great taste so I would never fear anything you do!


Bella Casa said...

Everything is beautiful, Rhoda!


Darlene said...

Well, I just LOVE your faux plants!! They are LOVELY!

The Nester said...

I heart forsythia! I had a next door neighbor who "planted" fake forsythia in her yard--ALL year!

Nancy said...

Great Fakes, Rhoda! Nancy

new every morning said...

So many beauties!

I love the artichokes!
Feathers add so much!

As usual, your post is beautiful.

Ann said...

Love your faux palm in the living room!! That is a keeper!!

Meghan said...

Everything looks great.

I am so very much a faker myself.
Got to go with what I can keep alive!!!