When fakes are better than the real thing

Artificial plants have come a long way since the seventies monstrosities that were more yucky than yucca.

These days, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a quality fake and a real plant wall or spectacular lobby arrangement.

Adding eye-catching artificial plants and florals to strategic positions around your accommodation allows year-round decoration that doesn’t wilt, fade, die or drop leaves.

Artificial greenery will not need sunlight, soil, fertiliser or trimming. It will happily sit in a dark, cold corner without turning brown or stretching wizened tendrils toward the light.

Nature at its best may boast a spectacular array of flora and foliage, but its high-class imitators are not as susceptible to drafts, humidity, cold or the destructive bent of malevolent children.

They can be tailored around a particular theme or brand, whether you’re aiming for cutting-edge modern, country hotel or sub-tropical hideaway.

Floral displays announce your business as customer friendly and create a space where people enjoy spending time.

Well-kept plants also signal a well-kept business, just as withered pot plants can represent neglected upkeep.

And remember, while real plants may create oxygen to help your guests breathe, they can equally be responsible for high pollen counts which make them wheeze.

There are two main options for fake greenery and floral arrangements.  Silk plants should ideally not get wet but can be wiped down using a duster or dry cloth. The more common are plastic plants, which display better strength and durability and can be cleaned using water.

Cleaning your artificial greenery

While some manufacturers claim artificial plants are maintenance free, in reality they only look their best and last longer (at least five years) if they get a regular spruce up.

Regular cleaning should be carried out at least a few times a month, particularly when placed in high-traffic areas like a hotel lobby.

Cleaning is a straightforward process: 

Dust – like real plants, artificial ones collect dust, the amount varying on where they are placed. Using a feather duster, or for more delicate flowers a paint brush, lightly dust leaves and stems. Remember to start dusting at the top of the plant and work your way downwards so no debris falls onto clean leaves.

Spray – after you’ve used the feather duster, you can spray the plants with a non-abrasive window cleaner or multi-purpose spray. Some manufacturers recommend this practice, while some just advocate water. If plants are silk, avoid chemical cleaners as they may cause colours to run. Allow to dry a little.

Wash – after around ten minutes, wash off the product using warm water from a bowl or a shower head. If your plant contains flowers or is delicate, a wet cloth or paint brush may be a better alternative.

Wipe – wipe over the stems and leaves with a soft dry cloth.

If that sounds like too much work – never fear. Some suppliers offer artificial plants on a rental basis and will deliver a new display every season. ‘Technicians’ arrange the pick-up and delivery and displays are totally maintenance free.

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