Synthetic flowers have long been branded as a serious faux pas but technology and style have come a long way in the creation of these bogus blooms and now, they can look as good – if not better – than their organic cousins. Here’s what you need to know to go faux.
Most high-quality, realistic looking synthetic flowers are made from silk, resin or latex, or a combination of all three. If the flowers you’re considering aren’t, pass. They won’t last.
High quality synthetic flowers come in every colour palette, says Michael Pellegrino, co-owner of Teatro Verde in Toronto. The key is to make sure that the faux version of the flower matches the real version. For example, blue calla lilies don’t exist, so if you want your arrangement to look realistic, don’t choose blue synthetic ones.
Synthetic flowers are available in nearly every flower that grows. The key to choosing flowers is to think seasons. If you’re creating an arrangement that will be on display year-round, avoid seasonal flowers such as poinsettias or amaryllis (which tend to be associated with the holiday season) or hydrangeas, which are more common in spring and summer than the colder months, so the arrangement might look odd. However, some flowers, such as roses, are season-less, and make a nice addition to a year-round arrangement. Similarly, if you’re looking for a seasonal bouquet, keep the flowers of the season in mind when choosing synthetics, so it looks realistic. The key to a realistic arrangement is in the details. “We call a synthetic flower that looks like the real thing ‘botanically correct,’” says Pellegrino. While there’s no trick to discerning whether a flower is real or fake, it’s all in the eye. “If the flower fools the real eye, then it’s probably a good quality synthetic reproduction,” he adds. “If you can’t tell that it’s not real, no one else likely will, either.”
Synthetic flowers can last years and need little care. “They’re very low maintenance,” says Pellegrino. Good quality faux flowers will be UV protected and won’t discolour, even if set in direct sunlight. If they get dusty, Pellegrino suggests simply shaking them outside to dislodge any dust particles, or carefully vacuuming each petal and leaf.
Synthetic flowers are not cheap – not if they’re good quality. “Be prepared to spend $10 to $25 on each bloom,” says Pellegrino. While some flowers (such as flowering branches, available in the spring) can run $60 to $75 a branch, most flowers will run $10 to $15, with the average medium-size arrangement costing $300 to $350. While this may seem like a lot to pay upfront for one arrangement, it will last years (even a lifetime with proper care), longer than any real bouquet – without water.