Indoor plants: friends or fakes? [Opinion] | Gardening

Indoor plants: friends or fakes? [Opinion] |  Gardening


The annual cold-weather ritual is underway, testing whether plants that grow most of the year outdoors can survive occasional overzealousness or neglect once indoors.

The last intruders into my house also face the challenge of finding a place in the middle of the established order where access to winter sunlight is already scarce.

Things did not always go well.

I think of the soaked cactus that has dried up to mush. Plants requiring constant pampering (sometimes called watering) whose dry stems have broken off like stale vermicelli. Blossoming foliage doomed to certain death, enveloped in an atmosphere of shadow and shadow. Maybe I should have read this little instruction card saying to stay in direct sunlight, I realized too late.

However, some plants have suffered cuts from a long-ago hanging fern that are well below the magnificence of their parent. These descendants cling to life in their little pots and, because they take up little space and need care without exception, our relationship is harmonious.

And a few rubber factories look as tough as they came in a few years ago. The fact that they are low maintenance and help purify the air is a plus.

Then there is the greenery at the top of a bookcase which gets its light mainly when I flip a switch on the wall. I could put this beauty in a box on the closet shelf, forget about her for a decade or two, and she would look as fresh as that day she rolled off the factory production line. from plastic, or from the factory, or anywhere. is these objects take root.

Many people, including cultivators, would say this is a good place for it, out of sight and out of mind.

Oscar Wilde – a poet, not an interior designer – once said: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay for in greatness. He wasn’t referring to a disparity between fake plants and real things, but he might as well have been.

I wonder what idea Oscar, who hasn’t been around for a while, might have on this topic now.

It seems that the fabricated foliage, the once-sticky horror that only serves to collect dust and watch every piece of plastic it is made of, has left the ranks of the old-fashioned among designers and consumers alike as the use of premium materials, such as silk, took root. Forget about your grandmother’s fake bougainvillea. These wannabes are so cool, they are hot, becoming some kind of weird growing industry over the last decade.

This is my take on a recent Washington Post story on how the appeal of counterfeits has grown among people who struggle to keep real things happy, or who are too focused on families or children. careers to play the role of caretaker of houseplants, or whose houses have dark rooms.

A report released earlier this year by Technavio, a market research company, appears to confirm the trend, forecasting the market for artificial plants and flowers to grow by $ 369.08 million during the period 2021-2025.

The Post’s story, unsurprisingly, drew a strong reaction in its comments section. At least one person has said that the production of the fakes contributes to the woes of climate change around the world. Another scalded that they came from China. A third felt they had all the appeal of one of those imaginary fires you can watch on TV.

Yes, yes and yes. Kind of. Some of these products are made from recyclable materials and others are made in the United States. And if you’re looking at logs or chestnuts, roasting on a flat screen is what it takes to get you in the holiday mood, then go for it.

Buying real plants to help save the planet is a no-brainer, however. And if that puts money in the pockets of the local producers who work American soil to provide these attractive additions to our homes, so much the better.

Fortunately, the multibillion-dollar live plant market continues to thrive, and any threat imitators pose to the industry is just a drop in the watering can.

So whether we want to keep busy or just pretend, there is probably room for both in our living spaces.

I have no plans to add another fake, although this agave in the black square pot that I bought a few years ago to improve a light-proof wall still serves this purpose. and will stay there.

My recent additions seem to adapt to their new premises. A one-inch (much more courtyard-like) plant that once hung over the porch has kicked out smaller species upstairs, its purple-green leaves on long, creeping vines covering a small library table. I also hope that a repotted palm tree will succeed near a west-facing window until it returns next spring to a sunnier spot on the patio. A few low-light varieties may soon be added to this modest menagerie.

Now if I can just remember to water them – and dust them – every once in a while.


Terri S. Tomasini