When curating the perfect workspace, many people opt for plants.
Besides delivering a touch of green that softens the hard lines and strong lights in modern interiors, indoor plants can transform a lifeless, dull space into a great place to work.
The question is – can you still get the same effect with artificial greenery? In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of both real and artificial plants to help you find the best fit for your workplace.
Real vs Artificial Plants: Weighing your options
Understanding which plant qualities are most important to you before weighing the benefits of artificial plants vs real plants can help clarify your choice.
Factors you may consider include budget, available light, office design, space and layout.
Let’s dive into each type individually.
Image: Artificial Plant Installation at The Ink Factory, Dublin
Artificial plants have come a long way.
With the right supplier, faux plants can be high-quality replicas of their living, breathing counterparts, which often look so lifelike you need to touch them to tell if they are real or not!
But are they right for you and your workspace? Let’s explore their pros and cons.
✔️ The Pros
Unlimited creative options: We can source an extensive range of products across various budgets, planters, sizes, species, and much more. Allowing you to get super creative with your indoor plant decor and utilise plants in countless ways, like hanging them upside down or in inaccessible hard-to-reach locations.
Longer-lasting: Artificial plants are always in season, regardless of the style. While living plants will undoubtedly lose foliage and colour over time and will eventually need replacing, a fake plant can last for years, making considerable savings over time.
Low-zero maintenance: Skip the management of pruning wilted blossoms or cleaning up dropped leaves. Aside from a bit of occasional dusting, your artificial plant won’t require any maintenance. You won’t have to think about checking the soil, fertilisation, or pruning. Being able to skip these steps can save you time and money.
No risks: While some live indoor plants, such as peace lily plants, can be toxic to pets and small children, faux plants do not have any toxicity risks.
Flexible placement: Your artificial plant doesn’t need to be in a prime location to thrive. No matter the lighting or temperature, a fake plant will not wilt or shrivel up. Whether you place your faux plant front and centre on your windowsill or in the coldest, darkest corner of your house, it will continue to look as spry as the day you bought it. Artificial potted plants are also far more resilient than real plants, especially in high-traffic reception areas or hallways.
✖️ The Cons
Prone to fading:Depending on where your artificial plants are placed, the leaves can fade over time due to extensive light/sun exposure.
Dust-prone: Faux pants tend to be dust collectors, with dust sticking to the plastic leaves.
No health benefits: Unlike their natural counterparts, faux plants don’t offer all those feel-good health benefits.
Environmentally unfriendly: Many artificial plants are made with plastic, meaning they areNon-biodegradable and will eventually become landfill.
Image: Living wall installation at Etsy Dublin HQ
If artificial plants look like the real thing, can be placed in any location, and require very little maintenance, why would anyone choose live plants for an office?
In short: for their health benefits:
✔️ The Pros
Improved indoor air humidity: Plants release approx 79% of the water they take in. Grouping several plants in one spot can increase the room’s humidity, which can help prevent dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs.
Many real plants are natural air purifiers. Plants absorb toxins and purify the air, removing harmful VOCs such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene found in indoor office environments. NASA research suggests that potted plants remove impurities from the air, which is particularly important for anyone living in cities with more chemicals and pollution in the air!
Easier to clean: Dust does not stick to foliage. Often, a quick wipe with a damp cloth is all that’s needed to keep your plant looking happy & healthy.
Noise reduction:According to studies, workers lose as much as 86 minutes daily due to noise distractions. Plants have the power to reduce noise by absorbing noise vibrations through their leaves. In many incidents, the careful positioning of plants around the edges of office spaces can significantly reduce (up to 60%) noise and reduce common distractions caused by chatter & video calls.
Boost productivity: Research shows that people who work with plants in the room have a higher productivity level and take fewer sick days than those who work without plants. Another study found that students worked 12% faster and were significantly less stressed when a plant was nearby.
Therapeutic effects: Working with plants can increase feelings of well-being among people with mental health conditions. Specifically, horticultural therapy may benefit those with anxiety, depression, and dementia.
✖️ The Cons
Real plants require regular maintenance such as watering, fertilising and pruning (our team will take care of this for you!)
Without a proper care routine in place, indoor plants can sometimes become unhealthy or pest-infested.
Unhealthy, dead or dying plants can have a demoralising effect on employees (again, if you hire Plant Store to maintain your plants, we will make sure this never happens!)
Which plants are best for my office?
Whether you pick artificial or real plants, both will make a great impact on your workspace. With the right collection of plants, you can inspire creativity and productivity to build a stronger workforce.
If you’re looking to make your office greener – with real or artificial plants – Plant Store Ireland is here to help. We specialise in tailored indoor planting schemes, and with decades of experience, we can help with your green office needs.