Artificial flowers have grown a fresh reputation

If there’s somewhere in your home that needs livening up but it’s not practical to use real plants, consider using faux flowers and greenery.

And don’t worry about it.

Decorators, or maybe your mother, used to tell you to skip the fake stuff if you wanted to stay classy. But improved manufacturing and materials are giving artificial plants and silk flowers a fresh reputation.

“The technology has come a long way. They look so real now it’s hard to tell,” said Kathie Chrisicos, designer and president of Boston-based Chrisicos Interiors.

When you’re shopping for faux, pay attention to detail. Manufactured plants and flowers should have the variations in color, texture and density that live plants do, including the look of new growth and old growth, said Doug Hopeman, owner of the Nashville, Tenn.-based Artificial Plants and Trees.

Visible stems, branches and trunks should appear realistic.

People often choose real plants that aren’t native to their region, so don’t feel limited to the varieties found near you when buying artificial ones, says Jo Pearson, a creative expert with Michaels Stores.

Current trends in greenery include palms and succulents, as well as potted herbs such as lavender and rosemary, and small leafy plants and ivies.

Peonies, mums, dahlias, sunflowers and hydrangeas are among popular silk florals.

Artificial plants are easy to manipulate. You can bend stems and branches to make them reach toward natural light or fit into a certain space or container, and then change it up so it doesn’t always look the same.

To arrange petals, stems and foliage on artificial products, check out photos of live plants online.

For Stephanie Norris, the designer behind San Diego-based Cre8tive Designs Inc., using faux plants requires choosing the right containers, and accessories such as real soil, sand and stones.

“It’s a little more texture,” she said. “It’s dressing it up, which is really the finishing touch with using an artificial plant.”

Some homeowners mix artificial greenery into their landscaping in areas where live plants don’t thrive. Norris says she mixes artificial with live plants at her home for a lusher look. Among her favorites are small boxwoods sold by IKEA.

Because you don’t have to prune, water or fertilize faux foliage and florals, they’re perfect for people who don’t have a green thumb, who travel a lot or who have allergies.

Keeping artificial plants looking their best usually requires no more than dusting or wiping with a damp cloth.

You’ll want to replace faux plants whenever you see signs of fading.

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