Artificial flowers and faux foliage used to be somewhat frowned upon. They were cheap, plastic looking and tacky and there were very few options on the high street. But let’s just get one thing straight: while we would obviously prefer to have real flowers and foliage in our homes at all times, the upkeep is a pain in the ass. They need love and attention and they die so easily which, in turn, makes us feel really bad about ourselves. We’re too busy trying to keep ourselves – and at a stretch, our pets – alive; coming home to wilting flowers does nothing for our spirits. Not to mention the cost of fresh flowers on a weekly basis. Unless you are one of those people who is naturally connected with nature and take pleasure in nurturing your plants and flowers, giving them a trim and feeding them and replenishing their water, you will – like us – have been secretly hoping that artificial plants would up their game. In 2017, they have.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the high street brands who have the best offering. You don’t want to spend too much money but if you buy cheap, they will look cheap – just like everything else. While it may seem absurd to spend five euro for one faux flower, you have to remember that you won’t have to dump it this time next week. What you do need to keep in mind is that they require dusting, much like the other permanent fixtures in your home. Here you’ll find the places to go, the info you need plus some visual inspiration.
1. Meadows & Byrne
M&B regularly update their faux flower offering and they keep things super seasonal. We’ve picked up the best artificial peony roses here and they still look amazing, over a year later. The quality is high and the petals aren’t plastic. They look the part. If you have a spare room or a hallway that needs a little bit of colour, M&B is worth checking out. Each peony, when we bought them, cost €2.50 and some larger sprigs and sprays (that’s what they call them) will go up to €10 and beyond. They also sell lots of artificial plants and trees in pots and these cost a significant amount of money, up in the hundreds. In this instance, we probably would just buy the real thing and set a reminder to check it’s still breathing.
2. EZ Living
We would never have thought to come here for this reason but they just might be the best high street store when it comes to choice. They have SO MUCH to choose from, be it eucalyptus sprays or olive tree branches. We found them better for foliage than for flowers and the prices are a little bit more affordable than Meadows & Byrne. Where we’ve found faux foliage really handy is not just for one-off events or seasonal decoration – such as some autumnal berry coloured leaves around a mirror – but in places where you have no light. A real green plant will not thrive here so if you feel you need something, go fake. We got ourselves a large vase and cherry-picked a selection of sprays. When you mix and match them it keeps things looking more natural, and in a dark space, you’ll definitely get away with fakes. Unfortunately, they don’t have a whole lot of imagery available of their faux plant offering, so you’ll have to take our word for it.
3. Mia Fleur
Now if you’re wondering what’s available on the upper end of the scale, it doesn’t get better than Mia Fleur which you’ll have to shop online. A vase full of pussy willow or an artificial trailing fern will cost €20 and above but again, think about longevity here. They have everything from Euco – which is just eucalyptus for those in the know – and areca palms to zebra grass houseplants.
Penneys have started to introduce more and more faux planting options but we find they are best if you want a cactus or small succulent. And as you can imagine, you won’t pay much more than a fiver for this AND it will come in a trendy chic terrarium or vase. Really ideal for awkward shelves that you’re just not sure how to style.
Ikea’s artificial flowers are another option if you’re sticking to a budget and you need to buy in bulk. Their faux plants are better than their flower stems but they, like Meadows & Byrne, keep their stock turning over very regularly, so there’ll always be something new and suitably seasonal to choose from.
While it’s hard not to lose your mind in HomeSense because you will literally want everything and be convinced that everything in your home needs replacing, go straight to the artificial flower section and get creative with putting together a bouquet that will effortlessly add colour to a bathroom or hallway. They have everything from hydrangeas to peonies to orchids – though orchids are becoming less and less popular. Today it’s no longer about one solo flower but a mixture of mismatched leaves. Greenery definitely trumps flowers. These are really affordable here and you can choose from shorter stems or longer ones, depending on how you want them to to be used.
What we’re still waiting on is a high street store with faux greenery garlands to offer. Not just relevant at Christmas time, these work wonderfully draped over a mirror standing up against the wall or if you’re trying to mask a not so pretty mantlepiece. Here’s what we mean…