Who Has Two Black Thumbs and a New Succulent Garden? This Gal.

There are three big rules regarding the type of things I bring into my home.  Okay, there are more than that, but we’re only going to talk about three of them today:

  1. If a piece of clothing can’t be thrown in the washer and dryer, it must be REALLY special for me to have to treat it separately;
  2. If it is not supposed to go into the dishwasher, it’s going to die trying; and
  3. If it’s a living thing, it should probably be able to bark or speak in order to stay alive.

Number 3 is really the hardest for me.  I love having green plants in my home, but they are so often neglected that I rarely even bother.  I used to try to bring home cute succulents or nice potted ivy, and Tom would remark, “Oh, look.  You picked out another victim.”

It would be offensive if he wasn’t so right.  Of all the plants I’ve brought home in the past few years, only two still survive.  One is the Mother in Law’s Tongue that is nearing it’s two year birthday with me (GASP!  Yeah, I know).  It’s really true that it needs minimal attention, because it only receives water when I think about it and it’s grown so much.  The second is the poor little succulents potted in the playroom.  I walked in on Emma swinging it from the Donkey’s Tail a few weeks ago, but it has proved to be a fearsome foe for a toddler.

Even with my two black thumbs, I still feel the need to have some green life in my home.  Plants just make a room feel more alive.  So, I’ve recently turned to using realistic looking faux plants (not flowers, just green plants), and I think with the right arranging they look very real.

Using Realistic Looking Faux Succulents | Makely School for Girls

My vintage dog planter used to contain real succulents (that I murdered), and I loved the look of the arrangement before its passing.  I decided to move him into my office, but I knew that trying to keep anything alive on my desk in front of the window with lots of direct sun was laughable.  So, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a few varieties of fake succulents.  They were on the end of an aisle containing garlands and swags at my store, not with the fake floral stems (in case you go in search of them in your own store).

Using Realistic Looking Faux Succulents | Makely School for Girls

I really think that these fake succulents are realistic impressions of their live counterparts, with good color variations that aren’t too green like many fake succulents I’ve seen (Target, I’m looking at you).  I chose some Donkey’s Tail, a few varieties of Aeonium and some Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.  I found all of those names on this Apartment Therapy round-up, so I’m not as smart as I sound.

The fake succulents cost about the same as real succulents, but I won’t need to replace these.  Succulents are one of my favorite types of plant, so I was happy to find these fake versions that look so good.  I just had to make sure that the ones I purchased didn’t have any extra bits of plastic on the edges from the factory mold or have any weird imperfections that screamed “Fakery!” to me.

My planter was still filled with dirt from its previous inhabitants, so I added some river rock (little smooth stones) on top that I had picked up years ago at Michael’s.  I trimmed the wire stems from the plants and just stuck them into the rock in an arrangement that I thought looked good in my planter.

Using Realistic Looking Faux Succulents | Makely School for Girls

Now I can enjoy my little doggie worry free.  It’s nice to be able to enjoy the look of real plants without the fear of their demise!

Do you have any fake green plants in your home?  What do you have and where in your home are they?

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. I had to laugh reading this. I’m the opposite, I have plants from when I first moved out (15 years) and they won’t die!
    I can’t dispose of them either because I feel terribly guilty if I kill it….like really guilty!

  2. I feel for you..but I am a plant whisperer (sorta)…as a matter of fact, one of my fave stories regarding houseplants came from a black-thumbed friend who ‘remembered’ to open her trunk and give a plant to me that another friend had given her to pass on to me..over a year before…luckily, it was a jade plant (succulent!) and they are really hard to kill, so i revived it and it flourished for years…
    Ivy? Supposed to be one of the easy ones, but if it’s in the house I kill it every time..
    Succulents actually like lots of sun, and need minimum water, so when you are feeling brave, you could replace those fakes with the real thing..I have two terra cotta planters full of succulents in a hot sun window, and they are thriving…but that’s me…
    Thanks for my first morning (sympathetic) laugh today….

    • Ha! That’s hilarious about the jade in the truck. I do have some succulents outside that our thriving, but they seem to shrivel up in my house. I have serious plant-killing talent.

  3. I have a few plants from when I moved into my first apartment 12 years ago – they are now planted in my garden at my home – they aren’t high maintenance though…..those i do kill. I like real plants in my house – I have a fern, a fiddle fig, and 2 plants I don’t know the name of (it was a gift). I love succulents too, I stole some from my mom’s yard growing randomly in a corner from having broken off the planted plant. I do love Hobby Lobby’s floral stems, they have the best look to them than any other store……..I’m might have to check those succulents out, I’m all for a no-care plant!

    • Oh, I should mention that my mom keeps them watered when she comes to babysit thekids……otherwise, I’d end up waiting until they were droopy. :)

      • See? I need my mom to live closer to water my plants. No, wait. She’s a plant killer, too (perhaps it’s genetic?). My mother-in-law can save any plant, but she only comes twice a year or so. LOL

  4. Too cute. Very lifelike.

  5. Those look real! I will have to try that. (I JUST killed my two succulents – boo) I don’t have a Hobby Lobby near me, any suggestions where else to try? BTW, I’m in LOVE with just about everything you do :)

    • Oh, thanks Kristi! what a sweet thing to say!

      Do you have a Michaels? Sometimes I have luck finding good looking greens there. Just watch the color variation to make sure they look realistic.

  6. I love succulents. I have a large crop of succulents outside enjoying the cold weather. I don’t have trouble keeping them alive, but two cats who love to chew on anything that takes attention away from them!!!! Maybe the beautiful fake-ulous ones are the way to go!! Loved the article!!!

    • Ha! I had forgotten how much cats love to chew on plants. Of course, my cats used to chew on plastic, too. I assume real plants are better for their digestive system than fake ones. 😀

  7. Lindsay
    I don’t have any artificial plants in my house – however, your story gives me some ideas. I agree with you completely that plants indoors just give the house a really fresh feel.

    I only have 4 real, living plants – two pots with avocado seeds growing (they won’t see adulthood) and two orchids. I’ve had those orchids since I adopted them from and ex-boyfriend in 1991! They just won’t die, I can’t seem to give them to anyone, and they keep hanging around. One will usually bloom once a year – it has really scraggy looking foliage; the second one had great-looking, healthy foliage and has never bloomed!

    I thought those succulents in the dog were real!! Even the close up photo makes them look real. I may try that just so I can have some plant in the windowless bathroom.

  8. WOW, they look great! I would have never guessed that they aren’t real.
    The only real plants that I can have are orchids, since my cats won’t eat them. Anything else I want to put into my house has to be fake, or I’ll have lots of puking in my house :(
    Love the vintage dog planter!

  9. I too am a plant killer–however I have a number that survive drought and overwatering! I also say that if it doesn’t bark/meow/tweet or speak I won’t notice it “dying” of thirst. I also have lots of artificial plants. I pick up realistic ones at garage sales and thrift stores. A good shower and they are like new. I have gotten arrangements for $5 that when new likely cost $80!

  10. I have a black thumb too, except for Mother-in-law’s tongue! I had one and it grew so much over the years, I had to separate it into four different pots. Eventually, I got tired of them. I stuck one in the garage and never touched it for months – even over the winter. That thing would not die! My mom finally rescued it and took it to my grandma’s house. I have no living plants in the house right now. I really don’t care for them. They always have some part that looks brown and droopy, or they shed dried up leaves everywhere. I’ve had a few fake plants, but they get so dusty, I’ve decided I don’t like them either. What I really need is a cleaning lady who will water all the live plants and wash all the plastic ones once a week. Ha!


  1. […] for me, Hobby Lobby had all of its faux succulent picks for on sale for 50% off last week.  I’ve already used some in my office, so I knew that they are very realistic looking – the only kind of fake plant I will allow […]