The perfect plant or floral arrangement to take your fall decor to the next level might not be made by Mother Nature.

High-end retailers, craft and specialty shops as well as florists offer an array of fake plants and faux flowers, also called permanent botanicals.

What was considered something best avoided by those trying to add an element of class to their decor is often seen as a go-to design solution today, experts say.

“They are especially good in fall and winter,” when fresh cuts from the garden are extremely limited, says Jane Jillich, a local American Society of Interior Designers professional. But choosing high-quality reproductions is key, say Jillich, Raleigh Beasley of Creech’s Florist and Susan Epstein of the Charleston Horticultural Society.

“You want to make sure they are individually wired and don’t have plastic but wrapped stems,” Jillich says.

She also recommends against those with features that don’t occur in nature.

“You don’t find many magenta flowers out there,” she says.

Wide variety

A variety of faux options are available through businesses known more for their real plants and flowers, such as FTD, which has the Jayne Seymour Botanicals Collection.

In addition, they are available from high-end retailers such as Pottery Barn, which offers a big selection on its website. Current offerings from craft stores such as Michaels are more realistic as well.

“The great thing is that artificial flowers and plants offer the flexibility to choose what you want, when you want, regardless of the season or your region,” says Jo Pearson, a creative expert with Michaels.

“When it comes to creativity, there is no right or wrong way to choose.”

Jillich says those inexperienced at arranging may want to choose something already made up. They also may choose to mix a few individual flowers, because less can be better.

“There has been a change in people’s views about fakes,” Raleigh Beasley of Creech’s Florist says. “At the higher end, we sell more than we used to. People use them for table or foyer arrangements.

“There are some you can’t tell are fake until you touch them,” Beasley says. On a scale of one to 10, they are an eight or nine, she says.

Most people purchasing faux florals for their homes will choose an arrangement with a high- and mid-quality mix. Their choices are based on a personal preference, not what is native in their region.

Artificial orchids are a popular choice, because there is the perception that real ones are hard to care for, Beasley says. Roses, calla lilies and hydrangeas are big in this area as well.

Fakes have their places, says Epstein.

“If they are done well and made of high-quality material, there is a place for them,” says Epstein, tours manager for the Charleston Horticultural Society. “If you are a gardener, they probably don’t have a place in your house.”

The fakes are an option for people who don’t have a green thumb, want greenery in a place where watering will be a challenge or travel a lot and don’t have a housekeeper to water them, Epstein says. When choosing faux flowers and plants, she suggests going for the subtle ones.

“Some of them are in clear glass vases and look like they have water in them,” she says. “Sometimes, I will go up to them and (discover) they are real. A friend gave me a calla lily that appeared to be in water.”

No matter how attractive they are when you purchase them, once they are tired or faded, it’s best to get rid of them, Epstein says.

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.