Landscaping With Fake Plants

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Front Porch With Overwintered Ferns

I’m going to let you in on a secret: Those potted Arborvitae that flank our front porch steps. They’re fake.

For years we tried to keep real plants in those pots, but everything we planted died – Boxwoods, Alberta Spruce, even annual flowers.

The process went something like this: buy plants; take painstaking care of said plants; have them die anyway; buy more plants.

Do you have a spot like this in your yard? I think most people do.

And it’s especially frustrating, if you’re a frugal person who can’t stand to waste money.

Which is how I came to have fake Arborvitae in our front planters. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend any more money on something that wasn’t working.

Faux Arborvitae

So, I ordered these 36-inch artificial arborvitae, which sell for around the same price as real arborvitae.

They needed a bit of fluffing when they arrived, but, overall, I was blown away by how real they looked.

Potting Soil in Pot With Artificial Arborvitae

To make them look even more convincing, I buried their pots in potting soil.

Closeup of Artificial Arborvitae Foliage

Since “planting” our fake trees, lots of people have asked how we manage to keep our potted shrubs looking so healthy. They’re always shocked when we laugh and tell them that the plants they’ve been admiring are fake. Ha!

I wasn’t sure how long our fake arborvitae would hold up, but we’re now 15 months in, and they look as good as they did when we first got them. They haven’t faded, and they haven’t lost foliage. It looks like we’ve finally found plants for our front planters that we aren’t going to have to replace.

Fake Arborvitae in Pots

So, while I’m not usually a fan of fake things, I do think fake plants are worth considering, if you have a spot where you’ve struggled to grow real plants.

Here are some spots where fake plants might work better than real:

  • Any area that receives extreme sun or shade
  • Covered porches and patios
  • Window boxes
  • Planters that sit on concrete or asphalt
  • Drought-prone areas that are under water restrictions
  • Rental/vacation properties

Would you consider using fake plants in your landscaping? Do you already? Share your thoughts in the comments. Have any questions about my fake trees, feel free to ask those, too.

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  1. Hi Erin!!!

    All I can say is WoW – WoW – WoW! I was looking for some gardening record keeping and plopped onto your website. I now have a new gardening binder! A new Christmas binder! A new record keeping system put in place and so many other things thanks to your website! I also mix silk plants with real ones. I get instant color waiting for my bulbs, etc. to come up. I’ll put them right in the ground and in all the many different kinds of pots and whiskey barrels I have.

    I can’t thank you enough for all your printables and ideas. Boy, and I thought I was organized. Thanks to you, and all your hard work, I now feel super, empowering organized!

    Thanks again!

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