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Plants

Fake plants look better than ever. Here are our favorites

Can you tell the difference between real and fake plants?
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
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Gone are the days of dusty fake arrangements and blue silk roses on living-room tables. Faux Monsteras, ZZ plants, trendy succulents and elegant orchids have become realistic enough to fool a foraging herbivore. (Also, unlike many live houseplants, fake ones are generally nontoxic to animals but still aren’t recommended for eating.)

Brianne Bird, store manager at Rolling Greens on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, says the reason the home and garden store stocks up on fake plants corresponds to its large selection of lush, live greenery.

“People come in, and they are swept away by the idea of putting this beauty in their home,” Bird says. “Then they realize they’ve got a room where the lighting is compromised and think, ‘You know, that would be dead in about 10 minutes flat.’ This way, you get the same vibe. You fill that corner where there is not a window to be found, and it looks like it’s alive. It’s beautiful and it’s foolproof.”

Today's faux plants look real.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

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So what’s different about the fake plants of old and the fabulous ones of 2020? “In decades past, what was overlooked was the underside of the foliage,” Bird says. “You want to make sure you’re getting a beautiful view from the top of the leaf, but the veins that run underneath the leaves on a real plant are exquisite. It’s really part of the beauty of that plant, and when that gets overlooked, you can tell it’s a fake from a mile away.”

Take a look. Can you spot the difference?

Faux yucca tree
Faux yucca tree.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux yucca tree, $74.99, and a handwoven banana leaf basket, $49.99, at World Market, worldmarket.com.

Faux ZZ plant
Faux ZZ plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux ZZ plant, a.k.a. the Zamioculcas zamiifolia plant, $131.25, and a stone planter, $45, at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, rghomeandgarden.com.

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Faux Monstera plant
Faux Monstera plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux 29-inch potted Monstera plant, $69.95, and a lineal large white planter, $89.95, at CB2.com.

Faux rubber plant
Faux rubber plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Potted faux rubber plant, $29.99, at World Market, worldmarket.com.

Faux orchid.
Faux orchid.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux orchids and a 18th century-inspired brass Indian urli bowl set, $745, at Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com.

Faux EVA Hosta
Faux EVA Hosta.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Three faux stems of EVA Hosta, $18 each, arranged inside a white, textured Benji pot, $48, available at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, rghomeandgarden.com.

Faux pothos plant
Faux pothos plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux pothos plant, $87, at the Sill, thesill.com, inside a white, geometric flux planter, $28, at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, rghomeandgarden.com.

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Faux aloe plant
Faux aloe plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Potted faux aloe plant, $39.99, at World Market, worldmarket.com.

Faux string of pearls plant
Faux string of pearls plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Potted faux string of pearls, $24.99, at World Market, worldmarket.com.

Faux taro plant
Faux taro plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux taro plant, $160, and a white Sabor planter, $95, at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, rghomeandgarden.com.

Faux snake plant.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Faux snake plant, a.k.a. the Sansevieria plant, $132, and a gray concrete planter, $32.50, at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, rghomeandgarden.com.

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