Add a bunch of colour to your surroundings with these stunning artificial flowers
Artificial flowers are a low maintenance dream. Perhaps you’re a serial sneezer around particular blooms, or you have an overzealous cat who won’t stop munching on your houseplants. Maybe you’re planning an event and have your heart set on out of season varieties, or simply don’t have the greenest fingers for decorating your outdoor space. That’s when artificial flowers are a fantastic alternative. They won’t wilt or fade, can sit happily in the darkest corner, and the only maintenance they need is an occasional dusting.
But how authentic do artificial flowers really look? There’s a big range on the market and quality can differ. Flowers made from plastic and foam aren’t too lifelike but they’re cheap, cheerful and best used for outdoor displays, whereas silk and latex flowers are more luxurious and ‘real touch’ but often have higher prices to match.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a guide for choosing your perfect artificial flowers. Whether it’s single-stemmed roses, a silky orchid in potted moss or a big, extravagant display that’s entirely out of season, our picks of the best artificial flowers will give you all the beauty for none of the upkeep.
Best artificial flowers: At a glance
- Best artificial flower in a pot: M&S Large Orchid
- Best artificial flowers for easy elegance: Wayfair Touch Stem Single Cabbage Rose
- Best pet-friendly artificial flowers: John Lewis Artificial Lavender
- Best out of season artificial flowers: OKA Faux Delphinium Stem
- Best flowers for a bright arrangement: Bloom Sunny Marigold Arrangement
- Best bouquet on a budget: Amazon Kirifly Artificial Flowers
- Best luxury artificial flowers: Bloom Odelle Bouquet
How to choose the best artificial flowers for you
What’s the best material for artificial flowers?
Silk flowers look the most realistic. They’re actually made of a cotton and polyester blended fabric that is dyed, heat moulded, and carefully detailed. The result is a material with a soft matte finish that mimics the way real flower petals move. It’s especially well suited to big flowers with large petals to really maximise impact.
Latex flowers are known as ‘real touch’. They’re made using moulds of real flowers so they feel incredibly realistic, with thick petals and firm stems. Roses, orchids and lilies all work well in latex form. It’s worth bearing in mind that those with latex allergies shouldn’t opt for latex flowers though.
Plastic flowers are the most common budget option. They’re best used in outdoor displays, for foliage, or for ‘filler’ flowers that add texture to an arrangement. Flowers that naturally appear waxy or a little shiny work well in plastic form.
Foam flowers are a relative newcomer on the artificial flower scene. They’re lightweight and extremely robust but as there’s no detailing on the petals they can look a little artificial up close. Foam flowers work best when combined with other types of flowers and are a popular choice for weddings as they’ll retain their shape while being carried around.
Although the material of artificial flower petals can vary, stems and leaves are almost always made from plastic or latex. Stems typically have wire running through the centre for bending and styling, and flowers with sealed stems can be put in displays with real water to look even more realistic.
How much should I spend?
You can run the spending gamut when it comes to artificial flowers. Buying a single stem is pretty cheap, starting at £10, but a big bouquet or arrangement can run as high as £500 or more. Because they’ll last a lifetime, it’s worth spending a little more on artificial flowers than their freshly cut (and quickly wilting) counterparts, but bear in mind that artificial and fresh flowers don’t have to be mutually exclusive. To keep costs down you can mix faux flowers with fresh greenery and vice versa.
Top tips for styling artificial flowers
It can be tempting to go for a wide range of colours when arranging artificial flowers, but it’s better just to stick to a few complementary shades along with some greenery to fill out the space. If you’re displaying a few single stems in a vase, go for odd numbers, and when you’re making larger arrangements aim for lots of texture and different blooms at varying heights. Style each stem individually first, remembering that real flowers droop a bit instead of standing straight up, and don’t be afraid of snipping at the stem’s base to shorten it. Just make sure you use a pair of wire cutters as you can easily damage the blades on kitchen scissors.
The best artificial flowers to buy in 2023
1. M&S artificial large orchid plant: Best artificial flower in a pot
Price: £40 | Buy now from M&S
Orchids are a beautifully luxurious flower to keep at home, but they’re notoriously tricky to care for. Luckily, M&S has taken the temperamental watering schedule out of your hands with a stunning potted orchid available in small (£13), medium (£20) and large (£40) sizes. These orchid flowers are intricately detailed with soft highlights painted at the base of each petal, and come in two colours: a classic, elegant white, and a pink version for a pop of colour.
The stems do look a little plasticky from close up but, let’s face it, the beautifully realistic flowers are what grab your attention the most. We think the large-sized orchid is perfect as a statement piece for a bathroom or hallway: just place the sturdy pot (which is filled with realistic-looking moss) on an end table and you’re good to go.
Key specs — Dimensions: H65cm x W44cm x D29m; Material:Plastic
2. Wayfair Touch Stem Single Cabbage Rose: Best artificial flowers for easy elegance
Price: £48 for three | Buy now from Wayfair
The classic single stemmed rose is an effortlessly elegant way to make a floral feature at home. These cream-coloured cabbage roses from Wayfair come in a pack of three, and each blooming flower is made from gorgeous silk and is accompanied by plenty of dark green leaves. The flexible 71cm stems allow you to bend them into your desired shape, so you can display all three roses in a tall vase by themselves, or tuck them into a bigger arrangement for long-lasting realism. They’d even look lovely as part of a bridal bouquet!
Key specs — Dimensions: H71cm x W14cm x D8cm; Material:Silk
3. John Lewis Artificial Lavender in Cement Planter: Best pet-friendly artificial flowers
Price: £20 | Buy now from John Lewis
The rich scent of fresh lavender may be glorious and the bright purple blooms are a lovely colourful addition to your home or garden – but there’s a downside to this popular plant, as unfortunately, lavender is toxic if ingested by cats and dogs. If you’re a concerned pet owner, a happy alternative is this life-like lavender plant in a cement plant pot, which comes with sprigs of green foliage and tiny lavender buds in shades of blue and purple. Sit this on your kitchen windowsill or even at your desk with a scented candle close by, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the real thing.
Key specs — Dimensions: H32cm x W28cm x D28cm; Material: Polyethylene, Iron Wire, Cement
4. OKA Faux Delphinium Stem: Best out of season artificial flowers
Price: £12 | Buy now from OKA
OKA is well known for its luxurious home decor, and now it’s branched out into artificial flowers, with a dedicated faux flower manager and OKA Flower Shops in three of its showrooms. We’re pretty keen on OKA’s wide range of single-stemmed flowers, and our favourites include the eucalyptus, sycamore leaves, pussywillow and pale mauve dogwood berries.
These delphinium stems are particularly pleasant to look at, and they’re a great addition to a colourful arrangement. The delphiniums come in shades of pale blue or violet, and feature tiny clusters of flowers that graduate in size as they move down the stem. Paired with some camellia branches and a few larger petalled flowers (all arranged in one of OKA’s rustic looking vases), you’ll have a gorgeous display with minimal effort.
Key specs — Dimensions: H91cm; Material: Silk
5. Bloom Sunny Marigold Arrangement: Best flowers for a bright arrangement
Price: £69 | Buy now from Bloom
Have you ever dreamed of casually running your hand through a countryside hedgerow and ending up with a perfect bunch of wildflowers? Well, you’re in luck: this marigold arrangement from Bloom is exactly what your kitchen table has been missing. Along with bright orange and cheerful red marigolds, there are a dozen white and yellow blooms, sprigs of heather and plenty of delicate green foliage.
Bloom also carries a range of scented oils that pair wonderfully with arrangements like this. Try the rose geranium oil (£7) or summer fields scent (£7) by adding just a few drops into the bouquet. If that’s not enough, this arrangement arrives at your door in its own miniature milk churn. We can practically see the idyllic cottage.
Key specs — Arrangement dimensions: H55cm x W45cm; Milk churn dimensions: H21cm x D11cm; Material: Silk
6. Amazon Kirifly Artificial Flowers: Best bouquet on a budget
Price: £10 for two bunches | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re on a budget and planning a DIY wedding or colour coordinated celebration, these £10 bunches from Amazon will do the trick. Advertised as table centrepieces or wedding bouquets, each order comes with two bunches worth of flowers. Per bunch, you’ll receive seven stems of hydrangeas, carnations and peonies, filled out with pale green foliage. We were particularly intrigued by the tip of using the steam from boiling water to readjust any flowers that were misshaped in transit, then using the cold setting on a hairdryer to dry them. Maybe use one bouquet as a practice bunch when trying this out.
We also love the fact that the bouquets are available in five different shades – white, pink, light purple, pale blue and light green – which could be really helpful for any last-minute colour theme changes.
Key specs — Dimensions: H32cm x W20cm; Material: Silk flowers and plastic stems
7. Bloom Odelle Bouquet: Best luxury artificial flowers
Price: £65 | Buy now from Bloom
This bouquet from Bloom might be pushing the boat out, but we can’t stop staring at it. It’s a stunning example of how to make a statement with your flower displays, and this one features a veritable explosion of pincushion-like astrantia and spiky thistles contrasting with soft petalled chocolate cosmos and half-closed pink and white ranunculus.