Last Updated on January 14, 2019 by Kristi Linauer
I have the very opposite of a green thumb, and can’t keep a plant alive to save my life. I took botany in college, so I understand the basic concept. Plants need sunlight and water, in varying degrees depending on the type of plant. It seems so simple, and yet I just can’t make it work.
So if I’m going to have greenery in my home (and I do love the life that greenery adds to a room!), it has to be artificial. But even if I were a master gardener or a plant whisperer with seemingly magical powers to make any plant thrive, I still wouldn’t be able to have real plants indoors because of a little monster I live with named Peeve.
Maybe it’s our fault for naming her Peeve. Maybe her name became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or perhaps when I held that tiny, innocent-looking kitten in my hands 14 years ago and said, “Hi, sweet girl. Your name is Peeve,” she answered back in her little cat mind, “Okay, challenge accepted.”
Whatever the case, I have lived practically live-plant-free for the last decade. And many years ago, I finally banned Matt from sending me any more flowers. I got so tired of enjoying my beautiful flowers for only a couple of hours before Peeve made her way to them to chew the petals and dig around in the vase, usually ending with water spilled all over the place and glass shattered on the floor.
But even artificial plants aren’t safe from her. This used to be one of my all-time favorites. It was a bargain that I found at Marshall’s for about $12 or so.
It’s as fake as they get, but that didn’t (and still doesn’t) stop her from chewing the leaves.
But at least when she chews those leaves, they don’t make her throw up like real plants do. 😀
Interestingly, she’s never shown a bit of interest in this one…
That’s a sage bush I bought at Magnolia Market (looks like it’s discontinued 🙁 ) with some little pinkish red flowers that I found at Hobby Lobby and stuck in there just to add some color.
Anyway, I’ve been on the hunt for an artificial tree that I can use in my entryway. I spent days looking at trees and reading reviews, because there’s nothing I hate more than an artificial tree that just screams, “HEY, I’M FAKE!” from 20 feet away. I finally decided to go with this Nearly Natural olive tree (you can find it here on Amazon).
It didn’t have many reviews, but the ones it did have said good things about the actual look of the tree as long as it managed to arrive unbroken. I ordered it and hoped for the best, and mine did arrive in one piece.
A couple of people mentioned being disappointed in the height, which is right at five-feet. I had hoped for something taller, but I decided to just put it in a tall basket and prop it up on something for additional height.
I found the perfect basket at World Market (this Hyacinth Cameron Tote Basket in the small size, which is actually quite large). I placed an empty 1-gallon paint can at the bottom, and then a piece of 2″ x 6″ scrap lumber on top of that, and then placed the tree on top. Then I filled in the sides with whatever I had on hand — a used plastic drop cloth, packaging material from recent Amazon shipments…
…and topped it off with some extra batting scraps I had on hand.
Then I used some of this green moss that I picked up at Hobby Lobby (I prefer the green stuff over the brown moss), and layered it on top of the batting.
I picked up the empty moss bags to throw them away, and when I stood up and turned around, I realized I (or the tree) was being watched…
I went to the kitchen to throw the moss bags away, and came right back to find her here…
*Sigh* I’m telling you, no plant is safe with her, whether it’s real, artificial, alive, dried…it doesn’t matter. Heck, I used to have a broom with natural straw bristles, and if I left it out, she would sit there and chew on the bristles.
Anyway, I’m very pleased with my new little olive tree. With it propped up in a tall basket, I think I managed to get it to about six feet tall, or maybe just shy of it. Of course, just like any artificial tree, if someone gets up close and studies it, they’ll know it’s fake. But I don’t anticipate anyone actually doing that. 🙂
And I think no matter how long she stares and strategizes, the leaves will be safe from this little monster’s reach.
The moss, on the other hand, is a completely different story. We’ll see how long that lasts. I might be replacing that twice a year or so.
And I have to say that I really love that gnarled trunk. It looks like an authentic olive tree.
Anyway, while I was at World Market yesterday, I saw in person one of the other trees I had considered — their 6-foot fiddle leaf fig tree. It has very good reviews on their website (you can find it here) which is why it was on my short list.
I ended up going a different way because (1) the price seemed a bit high to me, and (2) I didn’t really want a fiddle leaf fig. I tend to want to shy away from things that are the “it” thing in blogland, and it seems like the fiddle leaf fig has been the trendy plant (it’s strange to me that there’s even such a thing as a trendy plant) for a while now.
But I do think it’s pretty, and I like the height. The leaves would definitely need some fiddling with (ha! see what I did there?) in order to get them turned and fanned out just right. And as far as the price, they always seem to have sales or coupons available if you sign up to get them. I got 30% off my entire purchase yesterday with one of their coupons that I received in my email. So that would have brought the price of that tree down to $125.99.
And one more that was on my short list is this ficus tree from Wayfair. (You can find it here.)
Out of 18 reviews, 16 of them are five-star reviews. It’s very hard to find artificial plants with such good customer reviews, so when I find them, I pay attention to them. And bonus points for this one for coming in a pretty planter, which means not having to spend additional money on a new planter or basket.
I didn’t purchase it this time around because I was looking for something taller, and this ficus is only 41″ tall. But I’m pretty sure I’ll get it as soon as I know for sure that I have a specific place for it. I don’t want to purchase plants just to have them. I want to actually have in mind exactly where it’s going to go before I spend the money. 🙂
So I’m all about the artificial plants, and I feel no shame about it. 🙂 Perhaps I can mix in one or two live plants here and there. I hear that various types of ivy are easy to keep alive. I’ll just have to see if it’s safe for cats, because Peeve WILL eat it, without a doubt.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
CathyDecember 1, 2017 at 10:52 am
Your pics of Peeve just crack me up, she is DARLING!!!! I always learn new things from you and this was a good one today – something even I can do!
Mary SDecember 1, 2017 at 10:54 am
I’m not sure if this would work with Peeve, but I had a major problem with my cats flinging themselves into the Christmas tree and bringing the whole thing down. Google says cats don’t like the smell of citrus, so I sliced up some oranges and hung them as ornaments one year and the cats never touched the tree again. Hanging orange slices off your plants probably wouldn’t work, but you could try spraying them with water with a few drops of orange extract in it? I’m not sure if it would damage the plants or not, but it might help! Can’t live with kitties, can’t live without them!
KimberlyDecember 1, 2017 at 9:13 pm
Cats indeed to not like the scent of citrus. When I was a brand-new, first-time cat owner, I thought it would be nice and refreshing for my newly adopted rescue if I sprayed the inside of her box with California Scents Orange Squeeze http://californiascents.com/product/household/citrus-spray and could not for the life of me figure out why my otherwise perfect little cat suddenly stopped using her litter box!
Kristi, you might want to use this stuff and spray your moss or the base of your plant with it, or better yet, heavily saturate some cotton balls and tuck them under the moss and around the base of the plant. You might even consider hanging some scented cotton balls from the tree branches temporarily, just to get dear adorable Peeve trained to dislike plants. If she learns that every single plant in the house smells like citrus, she may just be able to trained over the long term to leave them completely alone in future. One can hope!
HannahDecember 1, 2017 at 10:58 am
I’m the same way with plants–no more live ones for me. I managed to find a fake tree in the trash earlier this year: https://househomehannah.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/home-one-mans-trash/
LindiaDecember 1, 2017 at 10:59 am
English ivy is poisonous to cats.
PattiDecember 1, 2017 at 11:14 am
Precious Peeve!! 😻😽😽😽😽😽
MargoDecember 1, 2017 at 11:27 am
LOVE the olive tree and how you “potted” it! Are you concerned about Peeve jumping or climbing it and chewing or swallowing the olives? Since she is the typical “curious” cat, maybe you could spray the whole thing with pet deterrent. Just a suggestion. Have a great day. Looking forward to more of your posts.
KristiDecember 1, 2017 at 11:32 am
With her claw covers on, she can’t climb. 🙂 But she’s never really been a tree climber. The pet deterrent spray may be a good idea just in case, though.
DaleDecember 1, 2017 at 11:30 am
Looks great and she is do cute!
MaraDecember 1, 2017 at 11:33 am
I bought that tree from World Market a year ago and LOVE it! It is the best artificial tree I’ve ever seen or own. Everyone that has seen it in my home, never believes it’s fake! I scored it when World Market was having their huge annual sale and got it for less than $100. I’ve also purchased artificial trees from QVC and Hayneedle and have been extremely disappointed, to say the least!
Esri AllbrittenDecember 1, 2017 at 11:37 am
Big fan of artificial plants here, mostly because of travel, but some because of laziness. Is Peeve an indoor only cat? (She’s adorable.) You could see if some of that potted cat grass sold at pet stores would distract her from your fake ones.
KristiDecember 1, 2017 at 11:45 am
Yep, she’s indoor only. I bought some of that grass for her years ago. She loved it…of course. 😀 If I can keep it alive, it would be good to grow something indoors that’s just for her. Or I could try growing her some catnip. 😀
Esri AllbrittenDecember 1, 2017 at 11:51 am
It’s pretty cheap. If it gets sickly, just pitch it and buy new. Catnip might wind her up so much that she attacks your fake plants with extra vigor.
JanaDecember 1, 2017 at 11:39 am
Pet stores do have sprays which deter kitties from objects. May take a couple of weeks for them to loose interest but they do. Just make sure you can tolerate the smell. Your tree is out of the way so shouldn’t be a problem. I’d spray the moss.
ValDecember 1, 2017 at 11:42 am
Peeve is a star!!! Bless her! Haven’t laugh so much for a long time 🙂 🙂 🙂
JustinDecember 1, 2017 at 11:46 am
I wonder if there’s anything you can spray on the plants (live or fake) to make them unappealing to her without hurting her. Like some sort of essential oil or castile soap. Or even just something bitter that’s not too smelly.
We recently adopted a cat and I was worried about her eating the aloe (apparently, very poisonous to cats) and the bay leaf tree (also poisonous to them). So I tucked the bay tree into a spare room (it usually sits outside during the summer anyway) and prepared to take the aloe to work.
So far, she eats nothing that is in her food bowls. Like literally NOTHING. She won’t even eat cat treats out of my hand and will let people food (like Thanksgiving turkey) just sit there (except for tuna). Strange for a cat. But I’ll gladly take not having to worry about her getting sick.
DebraDecember 1, 2017 at 11:48 am
You kitty is so beautiful. Confession: I have several wonderful flower gardens. If there is a temporary bare spot I have filled in with… ah…fake.
SueDecember 1, 2017 at 11:53 am
I like the tree in your entryway. It is great placement and looks real. Greenery is always nice.
Rochelle ThompsonDecember 1, 2017 at 11:55 am
She’s gonna jump ….. from credenza to tree……already checking out the distance. 🙂
KimberlyDecember 1, 2017 at 9:19 pm
Yeah, I thought the same thing. She was up there giving it the “cat scan” — has her kitty protractor out inspecting the new tree and doing the math on angle, speed, and best time to attack!
SuzanneDecember 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm
My cats eat live and fake plants aa well. Thwy also eat fake garland, fake fall leaves and so much more. Peeves is adorable though! I’ma sucker for calicos.
AnnDecember 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm
I like your tree selection out of all of the ones you mentioned. It has the most realistic look, especially the trunk, and it looks great in the area in which you have placed it.
Carla from KansasDecember 1, 2017 at 12:15 pm
I have a calico girl that is like that with absolutely everything. She is the nosiest cat I’ve ever owned. If a drawer is open she MUST get in it. Same for a box, cupboard, etc. I have no flowers/plants because of her.
DevraDecember 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Your post gave me a big smile . Love seeing Peeve in your home. Does she like the new place for her litterbox??
Joanne BDecember 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm
Just have to laugh at your pics of her “watching” you as you were primping and planting your tree! She truly is a she-devil, isn’t she? How about attempting to ‘re-train’ her to stay away from it? Try a spray bottle of water from across the room anytime she goes near it. Not a word needs to be uttered! She will soon realize anytime she ventures near the tree the squirt comes and she will soon avoid it! Maybe that and the citrus slices would deter her and she’ll go elsewhere (hopefully NOT to the love seat) She IS awefully cute though, I must admit!
LenaDecember 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm
Your cat and both mine must be very close relatives. Although I have one who is also known to chew electrical cords – particularly my laptop one.
Anyways for the moss issue you could potentially replace it with pea gravel on top. That has seemed to make things safe for us as it also weighs things down a bit. When one of mine were a kitten he’d scale and climb everything. Now we only have one who climbs and likes to lay in the Christmas tree, besides being encourage by the spray bottle to stay far away.
JaneDecember 1, 2017 at 12:47 pm
Looks like your Peeve might be related to our Bigfoot! We stopped our cat from digging and climbing by adding some kinda large landscape rocks instead of moss. Rocks were about palm size and purchased at Home Depot. Hope this helps!
NancyDecember 1, 2017 at 1:07 pm
We have multiple cats and yes, no live plants are allowed here. Yes, they also like to eat artificial ones too.
IshtarDecember 1, 2017 at 1:08 pm
If Peeves is that obsessed with chewing on greenery, it might be a sign that she’s got some form of deficiency and/or has trouble with hairballs.
Cats are naturally supposed to chew on grass, and other plants, both to aid digestion, as well as to get some minerals and vitamins from.
It might be that her behavior is caused by a real biological need. If I were you, I’d try to offer her some cat grass. Her being indoor only, she might be lacking biological materials in her diet, and it might actually be causing her distress.
If you resolve that lack by offering her healthy plants for her to chew on, she might end up leaving your moss, fake plants, and flowers alone.
KimberlyDecember 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm
This is something to consider, Kristi. I had a gorgeous, sleek and shiny solid black queen of a cat (RIP Sabrina) who would get into my salads if I left them unattended with her in the same room, and she also tore through lettuce if I left it out. I got the cat grass (I think it’s actually wheat grass?) seeds at the pet store and grew her some grass. It was super easy to do, especially because I got the kit that had the container and medium in it, so it was a “just add water” thing. She LOVED that grass, and I would pick out a number of grass blades for her every meal time and she would eat them from my hand until she lost interest and went on to eat her cat food. I’m sure it helped with her digestion.
LaurieDecember 1, 2017 at 1:13 pm
Pet stores have cat repellent sprays…or you could sprinkle dry hot red peppers into the moss. Seems like there are a couple of other herbs or spices that tend to naturally repel as well.
Theresa PDecember 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm
I’m dying! The Peeve pictures are hysterical! Love the tree! Can’t wait to see all the other layers you build into the room.
Rebecca BDecember 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm
I really enjoyed the precious pictures of Peeve. But I know that when its your cat that is destroying your stuff, it’s not quite so precious. My cat liked to chew wood. She has grown out if it now, with help from Grannick’s Green Apple spray. I highly recommend it. It was recommended to me by a cat psychiatrist! But a have alot of chewed up corners on my furniture. I got good with wood filler, wood stain pens, wax furniture crayons, and clear nail polish. I did not have the heart to throw that poor cat out. She is now a perfectly behaved kitty.
I like your artificial olive. I think the leaves are too big on the fiddle leaf fig, for my tastes anyway.
SheilaDecember 2, 2017 at 10:10 am
I’ve also had good luck with Grannick’s Bitter Apple spray (the label on my says “for dogs” but it works for my cats.) Every year, I spray the bottom branches of the Christmas tree and leave it undecorated for a day. My kitty boys usually take one sniff or nibble and then stay away!
CarolineDecember 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm
Oh my gosh, our cat does the same thing. She’s a monster about it. My husband grew pineapple plants from used pineapple cores a few years ago. Started at the end of the summer. Let the roots grow in a glass of water all winter long, then planted it and kept it inside for another year. Put it out for the summer and it was getting huge. Brought it in that winter (so he had been growing it for 2 years) and she chewed it to a nub in about 2 days. I thought he was going to cry. When we brought all our plants in this winter, we put them in the downstairs bathroom and kept the door shut to keep her out until we figured out where we were going to put them all. She just sat outside that bathroom door, twitching her tail. One time, Chris opened the door to the bathroom and found her gnawing on some plants, even though both of us are sure we hadn’t let her in. We think she wished it so hard that she was able to walk through the closed door. *Sigh* Good thing we love them!
IshtarDecember 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Same thing as I’ve said above: this kind of behavior/obsession is often a sign of nutritional/digestive deficits. Cats are supposed to chew on live plants, especially on grasses.
Cats may like to chew on things out of mischief or just for fun. But if the behavior turns this obsessive and desperate, it’s often because their system is crying out for them to fix the deficiency the same way a starved person obsessively thinks about food.
I’d try to offer her some cat grass, and it will probably get her over her obsession with general houseplants because it solves the underlying problem that’s causing the behavior.
chiflipperDecember 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm
One bar of “Castile” brand soap / two gallons water / put soap bar in one quart water and let sit until dissolved. Spray anything you don’t want chewed / eaten (fruit trees, flowers, etc.). Non-toxic, it just tastes really bad.
Cynthia | Home BeautifullyDecember 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Oh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sage bush. So pretty! And the tree defintiely doesn’t scream IM FAKE — at all! It looks lovely. And makes my palms all twitchy to get one for our new house LOL.
PattyDecember 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm
Your Peeve looks like our Lucy and our Lucy is a devil. She liked to sit on the buffet and knock the things onto the floor. Someone told me to put some tin foil up there and she wouldn’t go back up there. It worked. Put some tin foil around the bottom of your tree and see what happens – can’t hurt.
MarilynDecember 1, 2017 at 3:10 pm
What an adorable little monster!
I do like the tree you chose. I prefer some fullness of foliage rather than the long bare trunk with a topknot that the fiddle leaf tree had.
BetsyDecember 1, 2017 at 3:16 pm
My orange tabby eats the moss at the base of our fake tree too and leaves a mess. If I buy a container of $2.99 kitty grass he eats that up in about 5 minutes and the stubby leftovers die because I, too, have a black thumb. I like the way Peeve’s caramel spots coordinate with your woven wood shades; that was very designerly of you.
SophiaDecember 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm
Does Peeve also enjoy stealing food off your plate? Our cat while growing up loved to eat unguarded food off the table. My mom made the mistake of once leaving a salad with shrimp, sitting on the dining table, I saw the whole thing and laughed, I did not even feel bad for my mom because she knew this. She also had a thing for baby’s breath. eat if right out of the bouquet, or off the chirstmas tree, my mom used instead of garlands.
ConnieDecember 1, 2017 at 3:39 pm
Well, it has nothing to do with your little plant eater’s name because none of mine are named Peeve. Our first kitty, Winston J. (see, not even close to Peeve), started with my real bamboo plant and then went on to the fake plants. Like you, I have a brown thumb and my favorite cut flowers are lilies of any kind. Unfortunately, anything in the Lily family is extremely poisonous to cats. The list of plants that are poisonous is long and, if you have plants AND pets, is well worth looking up. I just do a search to find the lists. Oh, I do have one African violet that is still hanging on but they are not poisonous. It probably won’t make it much longer anyway. Oh, and they chewed on the cat grass too. You know, the plant that was just for them and to provide a distraction.
So, our foray into the land of faux plants helps me out since I am considering using the same thing. I wouldn’t count on the leaves being safe from teeth prints in my house. Looking at the sturdy, gnarled base I can already see Lacey up in the low branches, or at least up where she can reach the low leaves. But, I may give it a try anyway. I like that raising it worked so well to give it more height.
ChrisDecember 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm
You’re entry and living room are really looking great. I love the colors and can’t wait to see the blue chairs redone. I have my own version of Peeve but I don’t think he’s quite as bad. He does keep me on my toes as to what plants and flowers can come into the house and where they’ll be placed. I try to thwart him by keeping small bowls of fresh grasses around.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center keeps a fairly comprehensive list of plants and flowers both toxic and non-toxic to pets (cats, dogs, and horses) on their website. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested.
AlmaDecember 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm
At least the chewed leaves make the plant look more natural. Peeve is very pretty. Who can scold a face like that? My Dakota chews any paper she finds. I have been unable to return some items because she will get inside the purse to steal receipts.
Marianne in Mo.December 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm
I don’t have a cat (right now, anyway!) but I think most of them are plant eaters! Stinkers! When we DID have a cat, she was notorious for eating my plants, so they went to a neighbor, and I bought fakes. She seemed to only like the fakes like your one that has been chewed. The big leafed ones were not so interesting to her. I love Ivy, but so did she, fake or real.
My daughter has a plant lover too, and can’t have fresh flowers either. My other daughter has a cat who has trained her to dispense chilled water from the dispenser on her fridge, and will purposely knock over any cup or glass left unattended so he can play with the liquid. And our puppy has trained my husband to give her an ice cube when he dispenses ice from the fridge. They all learn quickly what they like, and challenge us to give in to their antics!
I love your Olive tree, it looks nice (now! LOL) and I hope Peeve will play nice with it and let you enjoy it! Do try the orange scent though, or you can also make a pepper spray by soaking hot peppers in hot water overnight, then put the water in a spray bottle and spray the plant. They don’t like that either!
JodyDecember 2, 2017 at 7:48 am
This whole post made me smile. I also have a car who persistently chews on fake plants. I gave up live ones years ago as well. I have even sprayed the bitter tasting stuff on fake greenery that is supposed to keeps pets away. My Jasper will chew on it while gagging the whole time until he gets the bitter stuff licked off. Chewing then resumes as normal!🤷🏻♀️ I have decided he is part goat, but can’t imagine life without him. 😻
bethDecember 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm
I have a number of live plants and 2 kitties. Because they showed an extraordinary interest in the dirt I covered it with river stones. I think it looks nice in the planters. If Peeve likes the moss too much maybe you could try stones.
SimpleDecoratingTips.comDecember 3, 2017 at 8:37 am
Kristi, So funny what people with cats have to deal with! I saw a video yesterday of cats attacking the Christmas tree… so funny! And I totally get what you mean about shying away from what’s ‘it’ in blogland! I’m that way too… 😉 Liz
BridgetGDecember 4, 2017 at 7:20 am
Try spraying the moss with firm-hold hairspray to hold it together and hopefully discourage Peeve.
SamanthaDecember 4, 2017 at 7:27 am
Hi Kristi! New to your blog and so glad I found it, your blog post had me cracking up. Cats and other pets make our lives so interesting and Peeve seems like a hoot. I wish your olive tree a long and fruitful life,and so you know your not alone my cat used to use my houseplants as her litterbox the struggle is real ;).
janpartistDecember 4, 2017 at 11:09 am
Ha. The tree is really nice. Alas, I’ve had dogs my whole life. Mine stay away from my plants but have their own set of “problems”. But it all makes a house a home!!
AlisonGDecember 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm
I searched for a source for the art work and couldn’t find it. Where oh where did you get it please? If you made them, will you make me some too? 🙂
KristiDecember 13, 2017 at 6:06 pm
I actually did make them. 🙂 But I am considering selling prints of them. I feel silly saying that, as if I’m claiming to be some great artist, but I’ve had several people ask if I’ll sell prints. So I’m really considering it, if I can figure out how the heck to even do that. 😀
AlisonGDecember 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm
I kept searching and found the post showing them and your process. I would buy some in a different colorway if you were so incline. I second the request for you to post a video of you making these. This is the coolest/prettiest artwork! You are so talented in many ways.
Eva @ Fantastic HandymanDecember 18, 2017 at 9:17 am
I really like how real this olive tree looks. It gives an amazing touch to the whole room.
I love your cat, she’s really cute. I’m in the same position as you. My little monster doesn’t allow me to have a real plant in my house. This is our first Christmas with him and I hope the Christmas tree will be safe. 😀