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The 11 best outdoor artificial plants

The 11 best outdoor artificial plants
Posted at 1:07 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-17 08:14:48-04

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No green thumb? No problem. Today’s outdoor artificial plants — also known as replica, faux or fake plants — are so convincing that you (and your neighbors) may even be fooled into thinking they’re real. Artificial outdoor plants are typically made with UV-resistant coatings and durable materials that can withstand the outdoors. They can liven up your landscaping and, over time, possibly save you time and money you might otherwise spend on expensive fertilizer and compost.

As with anything else, you get what you pay for with replica plants. Choose high-quality artificial plants that look realistic and are made with quality materials. “Don’t be enticed by surprisingly low-cost options,” says Matt Mosher, a landscape architect and the co-founder of Dzinly, a home design platform.

Jump To: Best Faux Wisteria | Best Faux Plume Grass | Best Faux Succulent | Best (Budget) Faux Succulent | Best Faux Palm Tree | Best (Budget) Faux Palm Tree | Best Faux Pine Tree | Best Faux Bougainvillea | Best For Privacy | Best (Budget) For Privacy | Best For Adding Color

To find the best outdoor artificial plants, we talked with Mosher and other experts, including a home stager, for their recommendations.


What To Look For

Aesthetic

Aesthetic is subjective, but when it comes to faux plants it refers to how comparable it looks to the real deal.

Durability

Fake plants come in all shapes and sizes. But for the outdoor variety, it’s important to choose ones that can hold up to all kinds of conditions, from rain and snow to extreme heat. This means looking for plants that are made of outdoor-safe materials or are UV-rated for outdoor use.

Value

Artificial plants are available at just about every price point, from under $50 to over $800. All of the experts we spoke with emphasized that you get what you pay for in the world of artificial outdoor plants. Still, $800 is probably out of budget for most home gardeners, which is why we’re also providing affordable alternatives to some of the pricier picks while keeping the expert-backed criteria in mind.


What’s the Difference Between Artificial Indoor and Outdoor Plants?

High-quality artificial outdoor plants can last for years, even under harsh weather conditions, which means you won’t have to buy them as frequently as annuals. “To be sure you are getting the real outdoor replica plants, they must be plastic and fully UV-rated,” says Jim Mumford, owner and president of Good Earth Plant Company, a plantscaping design company founded in San Diego in 1977. “This way, your plants will last for years, even if they are in the hot Vegas sun or the Florida coast.”

How Do You Care for Outdoor Artificial Plants?

Though faux plants require very little attention, you should spend a little time each year maintaining them. Spray your replica plants with UV-protection spray and re-apply yearly, says Mosher. Earthflora’s UV outdoor foliage spray sealer and Krylon’s UV-resistant clear gloss are good options. Don’t leave your replica plants outside all year long, unless your climate permits it. To clean your artificial plants and keep them looking their best, wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any dust, dirt and debris that’s built up. After a year or two, gravity may cause them to droop, so walk through and straighten them out.

How Can You Use Outdoor Artificial Plants in Your Own Yard?

Artificial plants might be best used in areas where real plants might not thrive, such as in low-light areas or in areas with extreme temperatures. If you are using artificial plants, choose ones that are native to your area, Mosher says.

That said, you don’t want to rely only on artificial plants. Both Mumford and Mosher recommend using them in combination with real plants to create an illusion. “Our designs utilize living plants up close, and the replicas are in the back or higher up,” Mumford says. “Our eyes see a few imperfections of the live plants, leading us to assume that they are all living.”


Our Recommendations For Best Outdoor Artificial Plants

1. Best Artificial Wisteria — Laurel Foundry Silk Hanging Wisteria

Wayfair

$39 at Wayfair

Aesthetic: Relatively realistic | Durability: Made of outdoor–safe materials | Value: under $50

Ideal for combining with other plants to create a full, lush design, these cascading vines replicate the beauty of wisteria blooms. “Hang it from a pergola, trellis or arbor to create a magical and romantic atmosphere,” says Tess King, owner and lead designer of Key & Co. Staging and Design, an interior design and home staging company in Denver. “The flowing vines and delicate flowers add a charming touch to any outdoor setting.”

  • Pros: Affordable
  • Cons: Less realistic

2. Best Artificial Plume Grass — Nearly Natural Artificial Plume Grass

Amazon

$88 from Amazon $180 from Nearly Natural

Aesthetic: Highly realistic | Durability: Made of lasting materials, though typically recommended for indoor use according to its product page | Value: under $100

Use artificial plants such as this faux plume grass to add color and texture to landscaping areas. “It’s made of high-quality materials and has a realistic appearance,” Mosher says. “I like how detailed this grass is to even depict accurate plumes.”

  • Pros: Realistic appearance, relatively affordable
  • Cons: Though made of durable materials, manufacturer indicates it’s design for indoor

3. Best Artificial Succulent — EarthFlora Natural Touch Large Agave

Earthflora

$161 from EarthFlora

Aesthetic: Realistic | Durability: Designed for outdoor use | Value: under $200

This 25-inch frosted green replica plant is perfect for adding a touch of Southwestern flair to your yard — even if you live in a climate that gets plenty of rain. “The agaves are fantastic succulent replicas,” says Mumford.

    • Pros: Highly realistic
    • Cons: Pricey

4. Best (Budget) Artificial Succulent — VeryHome Artificial Aloe Plant

Amazon

$20 from Amazon

Aesthetic: Relatively realistic | Durability: Designed for indoor and outdoor use | Value: under $20

For an affordable outdoor-safe succulent, this faux aloe plant is a good option for under $20. Artificial plants look best when displayed like the real deal, so potting it in some succulent soil will go a long way in creating the illusion of realism.

  • Pros: Affordable
  • Cons: Less realistic, smaller than pictured

5. Best Artificial Palm Tree — EarthFlora Double Robellini Palm Tree

Earthflora

$287 from EarthFlora

Aesthetic: Highly realistic | Durability: Made of UV-resistant material and designed for outdoor use | Value: under $300

Standing over 5 feet tall, this replica palm tree can help fill out your backyard landscaping if you’re going for a tropical look. “The palms make a dramatic background plant with some height,” says Mumford.

  • Pros: Realistic
  • Cons: Expensive

6. Best (Budget) Artificial Palm Tree — Nearly Natural Golden Cane Silk Palm Tree

Amazon

$90 (was $169) from Amazon

Aesthetic: Highly realistic | Durability: Designed primarily for indoor use, but can also be used outdoors in “covered outdoor locations” | Value: under $100

This option from Nearly Natural is an affordable alternative to create a tropical oasis in your landscape. Consider applying a coat of UV-resistant clear gloss to ensure the leaves are protected from UV rays, which can lead to fading over time.

  • Pros: Affordable, oversized
  • Cons: Only suitable for “covered outdoor” areas, customer reviewers claim it’s not as pictured

7. Best Artificial Pine Tree — Grandin Road Cedar Pine Tree

Grandin Road

$299 from Grandin Road

Aesthetic: Highly realistic | Durability: Designed for “covered outdoor” use | Value: under $300

Standing 6 feet tall, this replica cedar pine tree is made of durable materials and has a natural appearance. To help solidify the illusion, it even has realistic-looking dirt in the pot. “Artificial plants that are too large or too small can look out of place,” says Mosher. “I like the size of this tree, as it can be used as a standalone decoration or as part of a larger hedge.”

  • Pros: Realistic, adds height, holds up in extreme weather
  • Cons: Recommended for “covered outdoor” usage

8. Best Artificial Bougainvillea — Nearly Natural Bougainvillea Artificial Tree

Nearly Natural

$110 from Nearly Natural

Aesthetic: Colorful and realistic look | Durability: Holds up well in the elements, easy to maintain | Value: under $150

Though replica flowering plants can be hit or miss, Mosher likes the realistic look of this bougainvillea. To extend the life of your artificial plants, especially those with faux blooms, take the time to bring them inside when the weather turns. “When the outdoor season is over, store your artificial plants properly by cleaning them and placing them in a cool, dry location,” says Mosher. “Many artificial plants can easily crack in the winter if you are in a northern climate.”

  • Pros: Good value for money, realistic, easy to bend into shape
  • Cons: Customer reviewers say it could be fuller

9. Best For Privacy — Enduraleaf Faux Boxwood Hedge

Authenteak

$980 from Authenteak

Aesthetic: Highly realistic | Durability: Made of durable UV-resistant materials | Value: Under $1,000

If you’re waiting for live plants to fill in or you just want to create a sense of intimacy in an outdoor space, this artificial boxwood hedge is an ideal option. “It looks incredibly real and authentic,” says Mosher. Plus, it’s made with materials that should resist UV fading for five to 10 years.

  • Pros: Highly realistic, highly durable
  • Cons: Expensive

10. Best (Budget) Pick For Privacy — Afloral Faux Gardenia Trellis Fence

Afloral

$140 from Afloral

Aesthetic: Realistic | Durability: UV-treated and designed for outdoor use | Value: under $150

For a more affordable solution to creating privacy with outdoor artificial plants, this faux gardenia leaf trellis is a realistic option. It’s been UV-treated and designed specifically for outdoor use, and its willow lattice frame is a charming design. Use it to create privacy on a patio or a balcony.

  • Pros: Relatively affordable, relatively realistic, UV-resistant, durable
  • Cons: Recommends treating with additional UV protectant spray if using in high-sun areas

11. Best For Adding Color

Wayfair

$123 (was $220) from Wayfair

Aesthetic: Relatively realistic | Durability: Made of UV-resistant material, designed for outdoor use | Value: under $150

This brightly colored artificial hibiscus plant is perfect for “instantly brightening up any outdoor space,” says King. Add eye-catching pops of color by placing these in pots around your garden or patio area. They’re made with UV-resistant materials and are designed specifically for outside use, so you don’t have to worry about them fading.

  • Pros: Affordable, large sizse
  • Cons: Less realistic, recommended to apply a UV-protectant spray coating in high-sun areas

Sources


Other Outdoor Artificial Plants We Recommend

The 11 best outdoor artificial plants by Sarah Kuta originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money

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