If you have a shelf of bloomin’ beautiful African violets or if you grow real oranges and lemons on a little bonsai tree in your front room, perhaps you want to stop reading this article now.
On the other hand, if your grocery-store orchid is lying on the carpet gasping for water or the pumpkins and squash froze before you started decorating with them, why not go with silk? These days it’s OK to use fake flowers. It’s also probable no one will know the difference.
“We had one customer who had been given a gift of an artificial plant and he came in with questions on how to care for it. He had questions about how to water it because he was convinced it was a real orchid,” said Bryan Saunders, marketing director for Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens.
You can touch those fakes. You can feel them too but often, the only way to know if they are real or not is to smell them.
“I’ve never heard of any silk flowers that also have a perfume but I’m sure custom fragrances would also be possible if you needed it,” Saunders said.
Silk plants range from little to big, with some trees available up to nine or 10 feet in height.
“These aren’t like the old dieffenbachia plants that people used to have that looked so fake. Honestly I can’t tell whether they are real or fake,” said Carol Arnold, a sales representative at Silk Warehouse in Edmonton.
Arnold finds that the succulents and cacti look the best.
“Plants like aloe vera look very real,” Arnold said.
Silk plants and shrubs look good in planters next to the house, Arnold said.
“You cannot put real cedars or boxwood in pots because they will freeze. They have to be in the ground and you have to look after them. The silk boxwood can be put in pots,” said Arnold, adding she has potted some faux cedars up for her own front yard.
Because they need no care, they are perfect for the gardener who would rather be golfing.
“A lot of people like them if they have a cottage and a city house and they cannot be in both houses to water the plants. You don’t have to water silk shrubs,” Arnold said.
Inside the home, designers often use silk flowers as a focal point. Huge bouquets of white flowers look spectacular anywhere, Arnold pointed out, but the beauty of faux flowers is you can change them out as you tire of them.
“I have silk flowers for summer in front of my house, like marigolds and geraniums and inside I also have summer bouquets. In fall I change them and change them again for Christmas so there are flowers for every season. Then I change them and put them away for a while,” Arnold said.
Silk plants are easily rinsed off or dusted so they look as fresh as a new daisy.
Arnold suggests most silk plants remain at their best for three to four years, but she has had customers who have them for up to 10 years.
Look for faux flowers with UV protection because they will fade.
“Some flowers I know have faded when I compare to the new ones coming in, but they are still red and still look nice,” she said.
The cost of fake flowers varies according to how big they are and how exotic-looking. The most expensive tend to be the same ones that would be expensive if they were real. For example plants such as bird of paradise are more intricate and they are bigger, so they cost more.
Put a bouquet of faux roses on your table and watch to see whether other people notice they are only silk.
“Sometimes real flowers seem fake. With air plants and some cacti and with ferns especially they are so convincing because the makers have put little specks of brown on them so you cannot tell. They look more real than the real ones,” said Saunders.