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Faux Flowers For Window Boxes? (Could You? Would You?)

As soon as I get all of my shutters built, I plan to move on to building window boxes. Of course, when I envision window boxes on my house, I picture them overflowing with gorgeous flowers and greenery.

But that vision begins to wither a bit when I remember that I can’t keep plants alive to save my life. I don’t know if the problem is that I don’t have a green thumb at all, or if I just get busy and sidetracked and forget about the plants. But either way, my plants die. If nature doesn’t take care of them for me, they have no hope in my possession.

I was so glad to read this article in the Washington Post yesterday about how faux flowers used inside are becoming more and more common and widely accepted among designers. Of course, I think that’s due to the fact that faux flowers today have come such a long way. They look more realistic, and some of them even feel real. Of course, for the really nice ones, you’ll pay an arm and a leg.

But what about for outdoor use? Are we there yet? Have we reached a point where that’s acceptable, or is it still taboo and tacky?

I’ll be honest here. In our first house that we had built in Oregon, I was determined to have window boxes, even though it was a two story house. I found a picture of the house on Google maps, and those window boxes are still there!

Although I remember them being wider and the same size. Those look like two different widths on the second story windows. Strange.

Anyway, the point being that there was no way to water those flowers without removing the window screens each time. And there was absolutely no way I was going to do that. So after the original plants died (which didn’t take long), I replaced them with faux flowers. In second story window boxes, I can guarantee you that nobody could tell they were fake, at least not in those first couple of months. But then the sun started bleaching out the color, and they weren’t as pretty. They eventually had to be replaced.

It really wouldn’t have crossed my mind to do faux flowers in my window boxes on our current house except that a few days ago I was searching on Pinterest for pictures of window boxes so that I could decide what style I want and how I want to build mine, and I came across this picture…

via Grandin Road

That whole thing — the style of the box, the flowers — was so close to what I envision in my head for my own flower boxes (except that I’d love more color, of course), so I clicked on the image and it took me to Grandin Road, where the image was a product listing for….faux flower window box filler.

As in, that’s an actual thing. As in, there’s an actual market for that and people actually buy it.

So I searched for faux window box filler, and while there’s not a massive selection like you find for indoor faux flowers, there’s still a decent selection available. And the outdoor faux plant selection in general (i.e., not just flowers, but trees, shrubs, ivy, ferns, etc.) is pretty extensive. And evidently the ones made for outdoor use are made to stand up to the effects of the sun so that they won’t fade, or they’ll at least last quite a bit longer.

So tell me…have you ever used faux flowers and plants outside? Have you ever filled your window boxes with faux flowers and greenery? Are we to a point where this is actually acceptable as long as they don’t look plastic and cheap? Or are we not quite there yet?



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160 Comments

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 17, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I see no issue with fake plants. I couldn’t keep flowers outside alive if my own life depended on it. lol! I only have morning glories because they are um… self seeding. lol But they fend for themselves. I do think the fakes have come a long way. Bonus for being able to weather the sun and other outdoor elements.

    • Reply
      Diane
      April 17, 2018 at 11:14 am

      I got some beautiful fake peonies at JoAnn Fabrics 3 years ago and they were so realistic that even when I showed friends there was no water in the vase , they had to smell them to be sure. This year I might clean them with The peony scented cleaner I have!! Hehe! They still look great and they are on the patio at the lake all summer.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    April 17, 2018 at 9:48 am

    If you can find faux flowers that look as good as those in the Grandinroad photo, go for it. I’m curious….never had window boxes myself but I adore them, can you just leave them empty and set containers of flowers in there, where they are easily changed out? Or do you put in dirt and plant? It seems to me that you could buy some quality faux green plants to stay in year round and then add containers of real flowers to change out seasons and colors? Just a thought!

    • Reply
      Marianne in Mo.
      April 17, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Yes, you can do that, but you need to probably water them more often, and they need to be in a pot large enough to let their roots grow out. Not every plant would have small enough root systems.

    • Reply
      Barbara
      April 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      No, you cannot just put plants into a wooden container, it will rot. They must be in a pot to hold the water. And then they are easy to swap out.

      • Reply
        angela
        April 18, 2018 at 9:14 am

        Barbara you can put plants in a wooden container. you just need good drainage. this will be my 4th year with a wood pot.

        • Reply
          Barbara
          April 18, 2018 at 1:46 pm

          Yes, a wooden pot can last 5 years. But it will rot out eventually. If you don’t care about the planter and will just replace it then it will be okay. But I had a beautiful one that I didnt want to lose, and found out the hard way.
          Always use bagged potting soil for planters.

          • Reply
            angela
            April 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm

            I bought it used so it has lasted longer the 5 years. drainage is the key.

            • laura
              April 18, 2018 at 7:20 pm

              I’ve had the same wooden window boxes for 26 years so far and they still look great. I’ve repainted them when we repainted the house or touched up the doors and trim. The key is being sure there are drainage holes in them and using a plastic molded liner made for window boxes (similar dimension to window box) which also has drainage holes. I leave potting soil in mine year round and plant flowers and greens directly in them when i do my spring pots and hanging baskets. I’ve used those plastic pellets the past several years that you mix in with potting soil and they swell up with water and then slowly release again. it dramatically decreases the amount of watering I’ve had to do from daily to every 3rd day or so. Even survived my week vacation ok. After the hard freeze, I put small pumpkins in them sitting on the dirt and layer scrap evergreen branches with red bows for holidays. They are empty in late winter until spring planting.

    • Reply
      Marcia B.
      April 17, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      I knew those were fake before I even read that they were!

    • Reply
      Margo
      April 18, 2018 at 11:11 am

      The picture Kristi showed from Grandin Road is very pretty and realistic, however, that window box has 3 bunches of the flowers that sell for $69 each bunch…..I bit pricey for me. Surely there is something comparable out there in the marketplace for less money????
      To answer your question: I don’t see anything wrong with faux flowers outdoors.

  • Reply
    Wordshipper
    April 17, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I have never used faux flowers outside, the visual of tacky dollar store floral bushes has aways stopped me! But the trend is leaning more and more towards fake and I think it would work if the flowers were good quality and were changed for the season.

    • Reply
      Carol
      April 17, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Changing plants/flowers with the season is a must, otherwise, it will look tacky and all will know your secret : – )

      • Reply
        Jayme S.
        April 17, 2018 at 11:56 am

        I completely agree Carol. That’s what I do with a couple of my containers…. spring/summer flowers and then it changes to fall/Halloween décor etc. Keeps it fresher longer and changes things up.

        • Reply
          Deb
          April 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

          I agree with Carol. I have found that I can cut a kimberly queen fern in half and center that in the box, add sweet potato vines and spring/summer flowers. Because the window box is on the very hot west side with no shade, the flowers always die by midsummer but by that time the sweet potato vine had filled out to cover the bare spots and the kimberly queen, with adequate water, looks amazing. Kimberly queen ferns can take alot of sun. Tuck in small pots of fall bloomers and you’re good. Or add pumpkins and squashes. Or colorful faux birds. Just no silk flowers! Lol

      • Reply
        Jane W Adams
        April 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        Totally agree. Be sure the flowers are appropriate for the growing season.

    • Reply
      Houligirl
      April 17, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Agreed!

  • Reply
    Marianne in Mo.
    April 17, 2018 at 9:53 am

    There is no way I would use faux. Of course I can manage to keep plants alive, but I know many people can’t for some reason. My advice would be to order some you like, and just stick them outside in the full sun to see how they perform. I think the trick with faux plants is that they should mirror the growing season for the real thing. When I see fakes outside in the dead of winter snow, it makes me want to stop and rip them out of the container/ground!!! Or if they have pansies in July – nope – they don’t last until then, at least I don’t think so! I’ll have to check these out that you found, and see for myself. But no, I probably wouldn’t do it anyway. You just need to go outside every day and water until it comes out of the drainage holes, and fertilize at least every two weeks!

    • Reply
      AinOakPark
      April 17, 2018 at 11:25 am

      I agree with most of this. If you can get a base of live green plants going, then changing the flower seasonally my be a good choice for you. Mixing the two might help, especially if you don’t become blind to them. I walk in our neighborhood, and it’s obvious who has fake flowers, as noted by MARIANNE IN MO. That and some are faded. Either way, it’s not an inexpensive option.

      On a side note, I find myself looking at shutters after your post and the link you sent. He’s right! So many are so wrong! So sad. But I kind of wish I didn’t know. It would save me from being annoyed at whomever did the work!

  • Reply
    Debra A Henricks
    April 17, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The only faux flowers that exist outside are in the door wreath.

    For your flower boxes, you might consider a combo of succulents that need less water, thrive in heat. A variety of textures, some flower and some have trailing effects.

    • Reply
      Lindia Gordon
      April 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I am in total agreement with Debra. I would never use faux flowers anywhere. Succulents are the way to go! They are easy and beautiful, especially when they bloom. Of course some are “one and done” (Aeonium and Agave are monocarpic) but most of them aren’t (Echeveria and Sedum). We ripped out our lawn three years ago and started with just 40 succulent cuttings bought off of CL. They’ve done so well, seemingly thriving on neglect here in SoCal, that I now share my cuttings with others- and I could never get anything to grow either.
      🙂

  • Reply
    JenW
    April 17, 2018 at 10:04 am

    If the faux stays looking nice I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Typical faux fade so quickly from sun and rain…and in TX I’m betting you get a lot of sun! My mom does faux outside and after about two weeks I’m cringing.

    Maybe you can get a trial set of faux and just put it in the back yard for now? See how it looks after a couple summer months then decide if you want to invest in flower boxes. Also keep in mind seasonality. Please, please, please don’t keep your summer faux flowers out all year round!

  • Reply
    Carmen
    April 17, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I just couldn’t do it. Spring/summer/fall is just so short here in WI. I love my nightly ritual of watering and checking on my plants. Our yard is my and my husbands pride and joy in those months (don’t tell the kids;)

  • Reply
    Heidi
    April 17, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I’m not a fan of fake flowers, more on principal than anything else. If you did a bit of research, I’m sure you’d be able to find varieties of flowers that are low-maintenance. I tend to forget about my potted plants for days at a time, but have had pretty good success with pansies, geraniums, petunias, and marigold despite that. Mind you, I don’t think our summers are quite as hot as Texas summers. But if you worked to make it a habit to go out and water and dead head your plants first thing in the morning or in the evening before supper or something like that, I’m sure your flowers would do just fine.

  • Reply
    Theresa P
    April 17, 2018 at 10:13 am

    The problem with keeping plants alive in pots and window boxes is that you have to water them gently and frequently, especially in the hot states like FL (for me) and TX (for you). My FIL is a research agriculturist who can grow pretty much anything on his farm, but that’s because he grows it at the right time of year (which for FL is the winter) and has very ecofriendly drip irrigation installed.

    I agree with others that what you put in the boxes should be seasonally appropriate. I do think that you could go with faux flowers, at least during the appropriate growing season. If you go with real plants, you’ll be forced to be seasonally appropriate. But, if you go with real plants, you would need to water them daily (or at least every other day), as suggested, because the pots/box don’t hold enough water to last longer than that. If you can’t water them that frequently because of your schedule, you’d have to figure out some equivalent to my FIL’s drip irrigation! LOL! I’d like to see a blog on that! I like the suggestion that you find some lower maintenance real options, like succulents and certain vines.

    You might want to think about having pots inside the box so that you can swap out plants. If you plan to put in a greenhouse somewhere in your backyard, you’d be able to keep more plants alive and then swap out greenhouse plants to the window boxes as necessary.

    Anyway, just some thoughts from my brain! I’m sure you’ll figure out something that works for your aesthetic and your level of plant maintenance.

    • Reply
      Theresa P
      April 17, 2018 at 11:25 am

      I am cracking up about the fact that, as noted below, the Grandin Rd. picture has a hydrangea in the box. Yes, shrub flowers would never appear in a window box! And, hydrangea really don’t last too long once picked!

  • Reply
    Sheri A Hepworth
    April 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Go for it.

    • Reply
      Gilmer Gal
      April 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Yep! I agree. Those in your photo are really pretty, and you can remove them when the weather gets cold or hot, whichever season you chose. When they are of good quality, there should be no problem to keep them looking nice.

  • Reply
    Kourtney
    April 17, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Yes, I do! I can’t keep perennials or annuals alive to save my life! I bought good quality greenery at Michael’s with the 1/2 coupons they send. Then I change out the color flowers with the season or if they fade. I have had neighbors ask how I keep my flowers alive and so gorgeous all the time and I tell them so fake it 😂

  • Reply
    Rose
    April 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

    I would do faux flowers for certain! Then you can easily and mess-free remove them for the winter if need be (I can’t remmeber if you get snow?) and they’re so easy to change out if you’d like to try new colors.

  • Reply
    Sherre
    April 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Two of my neighbors use fake flowers on their front porch and at their mailbox and I think it looks so tacky. Of course, they also appear to be the Dollar Store variety! But part of it is that the flowers look exactly the same every day, all day. I used to think they were pretty until realized they’re fake, and now I think it’s ruined for me.
    I have a terrible time keeping plants alive as well. The only one I was able to keep alive was one given to me by an ex-boyfriend…I called it my “festering fern” (I eventually dumped it in my compost pile, where it flourished!). Maybe you could fill the boxes with some kind of low-maintenance greenery instead of flowers (I’m thinking something like hastas or juniper but in flower-box size/shape). I tried googling “alternates to flower boxes” to see if anything else would work there. I saw one person filled their boxes with pineapples, oranges, and apples! So…there’s that option. 😉

  • Reply
    Melody
    April 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    I’ve never been a fan of fake flowers outside–here in California you can always tell because they get faded/dusty/never changed for the season–or all three! I would talk to your local nursery about what they would choose for hardy plants for window boxes that don’t need fussing over. Keep in mind any plants in a w. box will dry out quickly in the hot summer–but a nursery could recommend any slow water release options to include in the boxes.

    • Reply
      Melody
      April 17, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Oh yes and fertilize regularly. Miracle Grow is great.

  • Reply
    Missy
    April 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Normally they are cringey if they don’t fit into your hardiness zone, season, etc. Until I found the faux succulents at Hobby Lobby-next to the wedding aisle. And I ADORE them. I have the same mailbox as you, and I used them in the planter box in there, and in an old wooden coke bottle planter out on my back porch. I can’t tell you how many people have been fooled by them. They are a bit pricey per pick, but they are so real looking, that it is absolutely worth it. Think $3-$10 each, and NEVER on sale. You could always just use the 40% coupon and go 50 times. 😀 I’m just a couple hours north of you (Weatherford) and succulents would look normal in our climate, and there is a variety of colors to choose from. 🙂

    • Reply
      Anita Carden
      April 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      I actually found them 50% off at Hobby Lobby just a couple of weeks ago. I loaded up on them! They look so real. No idea how well they’d hold up outside though.

      • Reply
        Missy
        April 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

        Lucky!!!

  • Reply
    Carole Prisk
    April 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

    No, fake flowers are tacky in my opinion.

  • Reply
    Coco
    April 17, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Do what works for YOU! I have luck with some plants/flowers and not at ALL with others. Ugh.

    • Reply
      Julie
      April 25, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      I agree with Coco….do what works best for you! Many live plants look just awful by July, be it from weather or lack of attention! Many faux blooms have UV protection now! I mix mine up, a little of both!

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    April 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I see no need for you to use faux flowers outside since you are not dealing with second floor window boxes anymore. I’m not a fan of using faux flowers outside and agree with other replies that they look tacky. A variety of succulents would be lovely and very low maintenance. (Mine practically take care of themselves!)

  • Reply
    Kay
    April 17, 2018 at 10:49 am

    I would use them in a heartbeat in a window box. I’ve tried window boxes and the ones I had were so shallow that I was constantly watering them. I eventually gave up so the idea of faux ones really appeals to me!

  • Reply
    Veronica
    April 17, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Trust your own judgment. If you find faux flowers you love, then “plant” them in your window boxes. Don’t worry about anyone else. Using faux flowers on your covered porch might be a really good idea since real flowers would not get much sun and watering them could make your porch pretty messy. Consider sticking them in styrofoam and then covering the styrofoam with pebbles, mulch, or moss.

  • Reply
    janpartist
    April 17, 2018 at 10:52 am

    I wouldn’t do it. As soon as I saw the Grandin Rd photo I knew it was fake because it included hydrangea which is a shrub and would never be growing and flowering in a window box.

  • Reply
    Di
    April 17, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Go for faux ….. as long as they are good quality, don’t fade and you keep to the seasons. The time you’d spend attending the boxes would be well spent completing other work.

    Go for real ….. when you have more time and all the other is work done.

  • Reply
    Ris
    April 17, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I can always tell, I see people with Faux flowers even in the middle of winter snowstorm, they honestly look tacky.

  • Reply
    Dale
    April 17, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Kristi, I haven’t read the previous responses so if I am repeating others I apologize. I do not like faux flowers outside. They are fine in some interior arrangements but imo very tacky outside. What sun do you get in the front of your house. If it is morning sun you will most likely be ok with planting. I hope it works out for you. Dale

  • Reply
    Meghan
    April 17, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I think this is really a matter of personal preference. I live on a farm and most days my chickens come up to the house for a visit. Last summer I spent over $100 on flowers for the porch and back deck that got eaten within weeks. Between my lack of green thumb and the animals, I decided that this year I am buying fake flowers so that I can enjoy the look of them without having to worry about them dying or being eaten and that money going down the drain. If you find a good quality fake flowers, most people will not even know the difference until they get right up to the plant. These are the hanging baskets I am considering for my front porch based on the reviews:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004XWDI1O/ref=pd_aw_sim_201_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M1B4EZ59T8GHVB9D42QP&dpPl=1&dpID=714VtB9hDCL&th=1

    Also, you could store them away through winter, or leave them out like I plan to do. My house does not face the road so I plan to leave mine hanging all year to enjoy the look. Bottom line, do what works for you.

  • Reply
    Francy
    April 17, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I have a lovely 5 ft window box that is in direct sun and it is easier than you think to keep basic plants/spikes alive. Just be sure to water everyday. Set an alarm on your phone to go out and water every morning. I think you would be so much happier with live plants, if you can get on a watering schedule!

  • Reply
    karen
    April 17, 2018 at 11:04 am

    never ever no.
    fake diamond? same answer

    • Reply
      Nadine
      April 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Agree. But would take the fake diamonds over faux outdoor flowers any day. Speaking from experience, the faux outdoor flowers gets dusty and faded fairly quick. I don’t have a green thumb either, so I finally settled on succulents and cacti plants since they basically fend for themselves.

    • Reply
      Mariele
      April 18, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Sorry, but I prefer artificial diamonds to a real thing where the only difference is how much someone can brag about spending thousands on a hunk of rock that was gotten in a disgusting system. Save your snobbishness for areas where empathy doesn’t matter.
      https://news.vice.com/article/the-diamond-trade-is-fueling-conflict-in-the-central-african-republic

      • Reply
        Robyn
        April 18, 2018 at 5:04 pm

        My engagement ring is moissanite! It sparkles just like a regular diamond and nobody can tell even if I tell them.

      • Reply
        Brittany
        April 18, 2018 at 10:21 pm

        You don’t know if her diamonds are conflict free or not. I could say that you sound jealous and are full of it, and assume that you are being a hypocrite because you probably own clothing or accessories that were made in Asia, many of which are made by virtual slaves in sweatshops. I won’t do that though, because I don’t know if that’s true – just like you don’t know if her diamonds are blood diamonds or not.

        • Reply
          Mariele
          April 19, 2018 at 1:19 pm

          Personally, Brittany, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what you think of me. Whether I wear ethically produced brands or not is beside the point–what is the point is that I’m not equating wearing some expensive brand that is VERY, VERY likely to be produced with horrific standards of living for the workers with using real flowers in a flower box. 😛 And then looking down on people that wear likely more ethically made clothes and equating it with cheapness and tackiness.
          It’s snobbery. Very distasteful snobbery. And I will call someone out on it when they think the situation is as harmless as using fake or real flowers outdoors.

          • Reply
            Brittany
            April 20, 2018 at 6:25 pm

            You wrote that the other posters were snobby women who just wanted to “brag about spending thousands on a hunk of rock” when nothing in their posts supported your suggestion. You were definitely projecting your own insecurities on to their messages.

            You said “Whether I wear ethically produced brands or not is beside the point–what is the point is that I’m not equating wearing some expensive brand that is VERY, VERY likely to be produced with horrific standards of living for the workers with using real flowers in a flower box. ”

            I never equated wearing expensive brands to using faux flowers. I clearly equated the consumption of one unethically sourced good to the consumption of another unethically source good, and pointed out that criticizing one while doing the other is hypocritical.

            You said “…then looking down on people that wear likely more ethically made clothes and equating it with cheapness and tackiness.”

            What are you even talking about?
            I pointed out that if you own clothing made in Asia then you are likely being a hypocrite. I did NOT include a qualifier regarding the quality or price of that clothing. I NEVER made a judgement about whether your clothes are cheap or tacky. All types of clothing are made in sweatshops, from expensive designer clothing to inexpensive fast fashion. I never suggested one was better than the other or that you wore one or the other.

            Once again, you projected your own insecurities onto someone else’s message.

            You said “It’s snobbery. Very distasteful snobbery. And I will call someone out on it when they think the situation is as harmless as using fake or real flowers outdoors.”

            Give me a break.
            You did not call on people who buy diamonds to consider how their diamonds are sourced and to only buy conflict free diamonds.
            You accused people of being snobby, apathetic, and only interested in bragging about how much money they spend, then linked an article that talked about blood diamonds. You didn’t call anybody out, you made judgments about strangers based solely on your own insecurities, and then tacked a link at the end.

            If her diamonds are blood diamonds, then she is supporting a practice that directly results in human suffering. If any of your clothes were produced in a sweatshop, then you, too, are supporting a practice that directly results in human suffering. Pretending that one is different from the other is hypocritical. Very distastefully hypocritical.

            • Mariele
              April 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm

              Incredible that you had such keen insight that you could parrot back something I said, sarcastically, but you couldn’t figure out that my latest comment was referring to what the original poster said, not what you said. 😛

              Original comment:
              “never ever no.
              fake diamond? same answer”

              Unless you’ve got your head buried 20ft in the sand, you’d notice that *gasp* people tend to disparage faux flowers because they look “cheap and tacky”. (See: about 60% of the comments in this thread)

              My issue was with the original commenter saying that someone using fake flowers was on the same level as wearing fake diamonds. The difference, of course, is that real diamonds are obviously gotten through a hideous process, whereas flowers are grown in your fucking garden. You’re the one that brought up clothes manufacturing, so I was trying to explain that through that simile. Apparently you missed that, but it wasn’t a very good simile on my part, I’ll admit.

              And, yeah, where I buy my clothes from IS irrelevant because I /wasn’t bragging about them and calling more ethically-sourced alternatives tacky/. I couldn’t give less of a fuck if you or anyone else here buys x, y, or z, (ain’t nobody got time for that) but if you prance about bragging about it and look down your nose at a more ethical alternative, then you can’t be surprised if people take offense.

              If you /seriously/ think that your flinging at me the first “bad” thing you can think of (hideous working conditions for clothes manufacturers) makes me a hypocrite, well… I don’t even know what to say. That’s just ridiculous. As if until every single aspect of my life is 100% ethically sourced, I can’t notice someone else promoting unethical products.

              I was clearly calling her out. Maybe we have different definitions. I noticed it, I took issue with it, I said that snubbing fake diamonds was a distastefully snobby thing to do because of all the ethical issues involved, then I linked to an example.

              If you’re still missing my point, then I guess I’m just trying to explain my position to a brick wall.

  • Reply
    Jane
    April 17, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I appreciate all the comments that faux = tacky. But I’m like you: unable to grow anything, yet wanting a spot of color in my window boxes. Faux has come a long way and anyway, I’m not proud; I’d try the Grandin Road faux in a heartbeat .. and probably will, now that you’ve made me aware of them. Thx!!

  • Reply
    Deb
    April 17, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Nooooooooo. But I’m a gardener.

  • Reply
    barb
    April 17, 2018 at 11:06 am

    We live in an area of Texas were deer population is a real deal (along with bobcats, porcupines and rattle snakes! HA) anyways, most homes are built on or around the rim of a canyon so basically, we live where nature actually walks around 🙂 🙂 Flowers planted outside are not an option because the deer feast on them so many homeowners have embraced the faux flower look. The planters that look the best for curb appeal are filled with beautiful faux flowers, but for the most part, we all order from Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn. They are sooo lush and pretty 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply
    Val
    April 17, 2018 at 11:09 am

    You’re right – faux flowers have come such a long way. But, should you decided on the real the real thing, this might help.
    http://www.flowerwindowboxes.com/self-watering-window-box-reservoirs-p/res33.htm?gclid=Cj0KCQjwttbWBRDyARIsAN8zhbJpODP3dcnWSQG_eW3X6bGjWSowrUiY5_vS3fqFJVkB1aDeL2rFbFQaArz7EALw_wcB
    Whichever way you roll, your curb appeal will be enviable. Good luck.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      April 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      I was going to mention those too!
      Also, I water my window boxes right through the screen with my watering can.

  • Reply
    Cindy
    April 17, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I’d totally use faux flowers if I could find some that looked semi real….it’s a way from the street to where my flower box will be, once we get to that part, so I think we could get away with it. Now, will my husband allow me to use faux….probably not…..he LOVES to work in the yard and all that. I on the other hand can’t keep a plant alive…..my super power is with flour, sugar and butter….his is construction and green stuff. LOL I think faux would allow you to change out the flowers for different seasons more easily too.

  • Reply
    Carla from Kansas
    April 17, 2018 at 11:10 am

    No. Couldn’t do it. I love to work outdoors in the summer with plants. Buy good ones, fertilize, water. They will grow.

  • Reply
    Ruth
    April 17, 2018 at 11:11 am

    They are only slightly less maintenance than the real thing. Good ones are costly. You still need to change them out seasonally, pull out and replace the faded/dead ones. I have neighbors who stick them in the ground in their front beds. If you see a tulip in August, sun faded or not, it screams FAKE. Colors that are not found in nature scream FAKE. For me the answer is just no. For other people, it makes them happy – just like a purple house makes friends of mine happy. Not my call. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I think it is fine to use them. I never have, but I have considered it. Just keep an eye on them for fading…if they look bad please replace them. I personally would not spend a huge amount of money. I actually would get some from the dollar tree or something. (think seasonal, daisies…geranium…then I would get some greenery from hobby lobby to fill in.) I also agree with the succulent idea. I live in east Tennessee and I have some planted outside and they have done great, even made it through the cold winter we have had this year!

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I hate fake flowers so much. Inside, outside… even the expensive ones aren’t nearly as beautiful as a living plant. If you have trouble remembering to water, invest in a window box irrigation system. Also, talk to someone who can recommend plants that will grow well in your yard without requiring a lot of upkeep. There are plenty of really beautiful flowers that just don’t do well in my shady yard. Finding plants that grow well in my climate and my specific yard was a game changer for me!

    • Reply
      Martha
      April 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      The window box irrigation system is the answer! I’ll bet you can buy the components, put it together yourself, and there’d be no more watering issues. My son installed a Rainbird watering system in my borders, it’s totally programmable to suit you he changing weather and seasons. You can have your real flowers without the hassle… you still have to give them some fertilizer, but that’s easy, and not so timing intensive.

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I couldn’t do it. I struggle with keeping stuff alive too, especially container plants that need more frequent watering, but even the good fakes just look too fake. Either you end up with blooms that don’t belong (like the hydrangeas above that grow on a shrub, not as individual blooms) or you have bright blooms in the middle of January when everything is dead except kale and pansies. I use the nicer fakes inside some, but I just never see them used in an outdoor setting that doesn’t come across tacky to me…

  • Reply
    Gayle
    April 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Nooooooo way should you use faux plants! Go to your local nursery and have them tell you what plants work best in your area. Also look into window boxes that require less water because they have a water reservoir built in and you are so talented that maybe you could make one yourself.

  • Reply
    CLHays
    April 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I think you should do what suits you and your lifestyle. I agree that pricey succulents from Hobby Lobby look pretty real but growing real ones are pretty easy if you have access to water. The size and color of your boxes will determine how well your plants do . The more soil to plant less watering and if they are white less heat on the roots. I always lined mine with heavy plastic then poked holes for drainage. This allows the water to stay in the soil longer so less watering . Selection of soil is also very important and dressing to tops so the water does not evaporate out as quick . All this said I feel your pain keeping things alive in our climate(Louisiana) in the sun in pots. So if it makes you happy to do color artificially go for it. Trends change all the time .Good heavens they use artificial grass what’s the difference?

  • Reply
    Carla from Oregon
    April 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Hi Kristy,
    I do not have a green thumb and kill most plants, but I LOVE flower boxes and planters on my deck.
    My husband went to Home Depot and got a little system called Rain Drip (there are other names as well). It is extremely easy to install and use. You will need a Y splitter on your outside faucet so the you can still use a hose on it. The splitter has little valves for each side so that you can use one at a time. In hot weather turn it on once a day and everything gets watered at once. You can also put them on a timer, which my husband did and I didn’t have to worry about it. Also make sure you are getting the right plants for the amount of sun each box will get, it makes the difference on whether some plants survive or not. Miracle grow work wonders as well.
    If you don’t think you can do real, they the fake ones that are made for outside might be a good alternative. I have seen good fake ones outside and I have seen very bad (dollar store) ones outside. If you get quality ones it would probably be nice.

    • Reply
      Jules
      April 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Carla, this is exactly what I was going to suggest.

  • Reply
    Christine Czarnecki
    April 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

    If you use real plants, you will attract birds closer to your breakfast room windows for you and your husband to enjoy.

    So here’s what a friend of mine did for her own house (she’s a professional stager, by the way). When they remodeled their house, she had new window boxes built, and she had them fitted with irrigation bubblers/misters, and had drains in all her boxes. There is, if I recall, a false floor with holes or screening where the plants sit, then the drainage water runs into a small hose which runs against the house wall and is painted the same color. She has the boxes on an automatic watering timer. Her boxes are second story and continue to look good all summer long.

    She also changes out her plants several times a year with the seasons.

    So, when it’s spring, plant the pretty green stuff and seasonal flowers, or better yet, pots with bulbs like pink Amaryllis, daffodils and paper white Narcissus. In the summer, you might need heartier flowers (zinnias? Supertunias?). In the autumn, fill the boxes with leaves or straw and colorful squash and pumpkins. If you mix in a few real ones with larger, better quality faux pumpkins, no one will know the difference. After Thanksgiving, switch out to cuttings of mixed evergreens and potted ivy with some timer controlled, battery operated fairy lights. But even if you put faux stuff in the boxes, consider putting in that drain, so that the Texas torrents don’t fill up your window boxes with stagnant water.

    By the way, I always decorate my house, inside and out, with real evergreen cuttings. Most Christmas tree vendors, including Home Depot, will give you trunkfuls for free, because they generate dumpsters full of the stuff when the trim up the bottom of the trees. Keep some fresh in reserve in a cool shaded place in your garage, if you find that your climate is too warm to keep the pine boughs green for as long as you want them up. I also tie in real green branches to my (very high quality Frontgate) faux lighted garland that goes around my double front doors. When you tie in some fresh greens, everyone things that the entire thing is all fresh greens.

    • Reply
      Theresa P
      April 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I can’t even keep up with the season on the inside of my house, but if I could these are great ideas!

  • Reply
    Rochelle Thompson
    April 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Sorry, fake, faux, artificial, plastic…whatever you want to call them…. are still a NO for me outside.

  • Reply
    Adele
    April 17, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I urge you to use real flowers. Even the nice fake ones are obvious.

    When you build your window boxes build them large enough to accommodate the long-ish trough-style planters inside. You may need to fill in with a regular flower pot at an end or the middle. Mine were built open at the bottom so everything will drain well. The rails on which the planters sit are a couple inches up from the bottom so you can’t see them and the planter top sits about an inch below the top.

    I do not have a green thumb. One thing that made a big difference in my window boxes was mixing those little water holding beads into the soil–I can’t remember what they are called but the garden shop will know. I also put in some water dispensing thingys that you fill with water and they release it gradually into the soil. Garden catalogs will have the whole thing or you can buy the spikes and attach them to a soft-drink bottle which is used as the reservoir. The flower grow up and hide them. My window boxes have trailing vines and flowers in a variety of colors. These usually last from spring to frost, longer if I cover them in the evening as temperatures drop. In winter, if I am feeling fancy (rarely), I put in cut boughs of holly or evergreens and even some shiny balls at Christmas time.

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 17, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I use silk flowers on my front porch because they don’t get enough sun to maintain ‘real’ ones. If you decide to try live flowers in your window boxes, because they dry out so quickly, check into a drip irrigation system. These can be very simple or extremely elaborate, but will regularly water your containers so you don’t have to trek around with a watering can twice a day.

  • Reply
    B Davis
    April 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I live in Texas and fake flowers in the window box make me think of countryside cemeteries with urns (or swans)filled with sun bleached flowers and foliage, don’t do it! Plumbago and bougainvillea come to mind immediately as colorful, sun loving and drought tolerant plants that work well in window boxes. Window boxes are easy to tend by opening your window to give them a drink and a bit of food.

    • Reply
      CLHays
      April 17, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Screens have to be removed to tend from the inside which I find a pain.

      • Reply
        B Davis
        April 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

        You’re right. I like my windows w/out screens, here in San Antonio there are few days they are practical as it is either too cold or too hot. Mostly hot.

  • Reply
    Jean S
    April 17, 2018 at 11:51 am

    This is just me, I respect other choices and opinions, but if I couldn’t use faux foliage/flowers in a window box, I just wouldn’t use window boxes. Your shutters are beautiful, perhaps they are enough??
    I have very small boxwood at either end of my window boxes and fill in the center with a seasonal planting of flowers-quick and easy, but they do need water and fertilizer on a regular basis. Eventually the boxwoods will outgrow the space and will need to be replaced, but they can go into a pot or my landscape.

  • Reply
    Jean S
    April 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

    OOps, I meant “REAL” instead of faux foliage/flowers..duh!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 17, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I’ve never used fake flowers outside, but I have fake flowers and plants all over my house inside. My good friend “plants” fake flowers IN THE GROUND 🙂 at her house. Every couple of months when they start to fade she puts out new ones. She does this all year round for every season/occasion.

  • Reply
    Pam
    April 17, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I had flower boxes and took them down. Water would go down the house. If I had put them in pots and set in the boxes would have been better.

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I have used fake flowers in my window boxes for years. I change them seasonally and when they start to look worn out and tired. If they are in keeping with your other landscaping no one really knows. I do not use dirt in my window boxes but foam to keep them in place. I think they look great and they are much easier to keep…

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 17, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    How about looking into self watering systems so you can have REAL plants? 🙂 Here is one to consider: https://www.flowerwindowboxes.com/Self-Watering-Window-Boxes-s/142.htm
    If you could add water only once or twice a week, that might be the trick for growing real foilage and flowers. The other trick is to choose easily maintained, easy growing plants (your local nursery would give lots of help. Here’s another one: https://www.windowbox.com/watering/automatic-watering.html. And one more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCMbv3ssGYg

    • Reply
      Chris
      April 17, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      I live where there’s typically only a few really cold days here and there in the winter and I love to garden including weeding. It’s so relaxing I’ll ignore my housework in favor of it so faux flowers are completely out for me. I recommend self-water inserts as well but it’s best for non-gardeners to put watering on their calendar so they don’t forget. Windowbox.com has inserts for window boxes as well as planters. You can make the inserts less intrusive by putting coupling some ABS pipe where the fill pipe comes out of the soil.
      https://www.windowbox.com/watering/planter-reservoirs.html
      Using Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting mix or mixing in Miracle Gro Water Storing Crystals to another potting soil would also help.

  • Reply
    Jana
    April 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I am not a fan of window boxes. – they are high maintence. They look so sad if not kept lushly full. Plus poor construction often leads to damaged siding. That said, I like the suggestion of succulents. I have a home in AZ (& WA) and have yet to see fake flowers which hold up against sun. I’d go to a good nursery and pick their brains. Also your local nature conservcy groups to help you choose plants for boxes and garden (especially since you want to attract wildlife). Your home is becoming so charmig, you want the garden to accent it.

  • Reply
    chiflipper
    April 17, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    “A woman has to know her limitations” and IMO, any type of flower box is not for you. When you’re ready to landscape please select a hard-piped irrigation system with several valves (one for turf, one for shrubs, one for flowering plants).That’s the ONLY way you (a self-confessed plant killer) will have a pretty yard. And it’s OK…really…we who “garden” cannot do the things you can. You’re a Pro and you KNOW all those lovely photos of faux flowers are staged…and that they only look that good for the photo.

  • Reply
    Chelle Ellis
    April 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I couldn’t do fake, especially when real is a fraction of the cost, brings in butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and looks correct. Even though the faux you listed looks okay enough, it doesn’t make sense in the collection of blooms and even the way some are jutting out like an afterthought.

    I’d do potted plants that do well in your part of the world, the right height, size, color, drape, aroma and with the amount of sunlight they’ll be in. If you’ll be having your coffee out there each morning as you plan, just add them to the schedule and spray them down well while your outside.

    I know, this is about you and your habits but I can’t imagine any scenario with fake plants outside where it wouldn’t look as off as the backyard lawn on The Brady Bunch.

    Just my two “scents”, your mileage may vary.

    • Reply
      Chelle Ellis
      April 17, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Here in North Mississippi, if it were in full sun, I would do petunias and verbena and call it a day. They are super hearty, as well as super cheap and fill a container fast. Not sure what grows that well in Texas though. Maybe look at what your neighbors are growing in containers successfully.

  • Reply
    Dana
    April 17, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    this may have been stated already and I apologize if so. I would recommend mixing real with the fake. If there is anything that you have remotely had success with in the “real” department, Such as greenery or impatiens or other flower and mix in the fake. I have been fooled by that combination!

  • Reply
    skt4me
    April 17, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    When we lived in AZ I had fake cactus in planter by my front door. Cactus in the yard grew like weeds, but not in that pot. People walked right by it and never noticed. After awhile, I forgot about them. They just have to fit naturally. Pull the flowers in the off season.

  • Reply
    Houligirl
    April 17, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Agreed!

  • Reply
    Mae
    April 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Hi, I’ve added faux flowers to my pots along with real to fill in and add color.

  • Reply
    Houligirl
    April 17, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I have three very large window boxes. Each spans the width of two windows. The two on the first floor are manageable but the one on the second floor requires either moving the screen or aiming the hose. The later gets my windows dirty so I gave up and only plant in the first floor boxes. That said, I just found a Youtuber who shows how to install a drip system. This year our home project is the garden so my husband and I are so on it. https://youtu.be/kWezSowIZVU

  • Reply
    Dottie
    April 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    This comment is more for people above who were musing about how to use real plants in window boxes, Kristi, than for you with your question about faux flowers. For healthy, good looking, real plants: My husband is a researcher who, as one of his jobs, gives the “ornamentals” industry (trees, shrubs, flowers) growing advice. Leaving the plants in pots the size that fit in window boxes is very hard on them, even if you water every day. My husband would tell you to water at least twice a day, and not with a watering can–with a hose, until the water starts running out of the bottom of the window box. That’s when you know the soil has taken up all the water it can for the time being. For people who think they can’t grow things, he always suggests hardy plants, like sweet potato vine and geraniums, or whatever works in your area. Get a decent starting size so you don’t have to do a lot of planting, but dig those 4 or 5 holes per box and get them out of those pots. They may then need only one good watering a day. From my husband’s mouth to your ears!

    Every year, our neighbor spends a lot on potted plants, which she leaves in their pots, for her porch window boxes. Every year she has to change them out a couple of times because they get ratty and leggy. Every year, she asks my DH over to consult about what has gone wrong. Every year he counsels her about the small-size containers, the lack of consistent, good-quality watering, and the need for rich, well-drained soil. I can recite this info in my sleep! I love lots of hanging baskets on our deck. He insists that they be the very biggest we can find, even though they cost more. He waters them every day unless a solid rain is forecast. He says the normal size container baskets need watering twice a day, and we don’t even live in a hot or dry area. Container gardening is a thing, but unless you are willing to hover over them, little pots don’t work well.

    We have a short growing season where I live, but I love lots of flowers. So we plant hanging baskets in the ground in our flower beds and then do bedding annuals around them. Otherwise, our garden would be sparse until the end of July. A big secret there, too, is watering, checking the soil in various parts of the flower beds to see whether it has taken up the water. Many of our flowers last into October, when every other house on our street has given up a month before. Our hanging baskets often last through the first and even subsequent frosts. They start looking a little tattered, but still beautiful enough to keep hanging around. We have had people stop and ask to take wedding or graduation photos in our yard. When our kids were in high school, we had lots of prom couples coming over for pre-dance photos. I’m telling you this because it’s not that my DH slaves over the flowers after the initial planting. It’s that he attends to things like planting flowers how they like being planted, nurturing them with well-prepared soil, consistent applications of water, oh–and fertilizer once or twice a summer when they start looking a bit peaked.

  • Reply
    BobsGal
    April 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Kristi….. I. Raise orchids as a hobby… at one time we had over 600 of them growing in a 12×10 greenhouse…..because we have a programmed watering system…they have a chance…. if you were to decide on live flowers living in Texas they wouldn’t stand a chance w/o daily watering no matter what kind of planting medium you used! I live on the coast of north east Florida….. any live plants that I have in pots are connected to a drip system…… don’t forget that the pots/boxes are also exposed to the sun….that means that roots of your live plants are “baking”. Also you will have to deal with the water issue in the box itself……so with all that being said……go for the most natural looking “fakes” you can find…. choose vines that trail over the front and upright ones to go behind them. Don’t be skimpy…FILL THE BOX TIGHTLY & COMPLETELY….from the street no one will notice they are fake as long as you keep them looking new…and definitely change with the season…. you have better thinks to than be a slave to your flower boxes…..Pat

  • Reply
    Dottie
    April 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    As to the faux, flowers, Kristi, I was going to suggest Grandin Road to you when I first started reading your post. A neighbor uses their ivies and some flowers, and they do look good. If tending flowers isn’t your thing, and flowers make you happy, why not have some bursts of color with some well-made faux flowers? I personally would rather see those bursts of color than a plain, uninteresting facade. If I went that route, I would do mostly greenery with a few flowers here and there. The outdoor faux greenery seems a bit more real looking, and it doesn’t go through big changes as the summer goes on, unlike flowers, which you expect to plump up, then have this or that petal shrivel, and so on. You could also do the combination of faux and real, as some people have suggested. In that case, I would go with a backdrop of quite a bit of real greenery–some vine that grows like a weed, perhaps!–and use faux flowers that you can change out.

    With faux, I would worry about the fading and tattering. My neighbor has hers under a covered deck, which isn’t your situation. Hers seem to last and look good, but I also don’t know how often she replaces them. My guess, knowing her, would be at the first sign of wear.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    April 17, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I live in the PNW, so drought is not an issue. I do not have window boxes and don’t have a problem with good fakes exchanged for the season. Using drought resistant succulents that trail and bloom can be interesting. I have a greenhouse full of them. One big PLUS….. the birds love and need real flowers. You want birds? Use succulent trailers and use drought resistant flowers for fillers. 👍🏻

  • Reply
    Barbara
    April 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Absolutely not!
    Get some plants that are hardy and easy for your climate. Here plain old geraniums are great they come in an amazing variety of colours and just keep blooming. In the winter I switch out to pine branches.
    I have drip sprinklers to my window boxes, set and forget. My window boxes are integral to the house, one of the reasons I fell in love with it.

  • Reply
    Keven
    April 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I’m not wild about fake flowers in window boxes because I love seeing butterflies and hummingbirds enjoying the flowers up close through the windows. My window boxes are mounted on posts because I didn’t want to put holes in the siding. Each box is on a single post centered underneath. The posts aren’t extremely visible in the summer because there is a long swath of shrubs and flower plantings beneath them and the plants in the boxes drape down. It adds to an outdoor look of layering colors and textures. Flowering vines can be trained up the posts as well.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 17, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I would do both. Maybe put in real ivy or other trailing plants which are easy to grow with some other real greenery and then just tuck in some fake flowers for color.

    • Reply
      Sandra
      April 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      That’s what I do….real, trailing groundcover and then faux flowers. Looks great and saves a lot of hassle.

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 17, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    My 2 cents – skip the boxes since you are not a gardener. Plant nice foundation shrubs under the windows and put a couple of large pots of real flowers on your porch for easy care. Plant flowering bushes in your water fountain area for the birds. Boxes dry out quickly and are high maintenance. Again, it is your house so if you like fake foliage in the boxes so be it.

  • Reply
    Danna
    April 17, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    No faux!! Tacky! I agree with the person before me. Skip the boxes if you aren’t going to do real and do nice shrubs. I do not have a green thumb either but outdoor plants do much better than indoor. You have to commit to watering them everyday, but you can get shade or sun, depending on your need and add a little miracle grow every couple weeks and they thrive!

  • Reply
    Kathrine Anderson
    April 17, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    If you like the faux flower selection they have then I say go for it. Whatever makes your happy and keeps your life is easy is the way to go.

    • Reply
      Crystal
      April 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Oh I forgot. This reminds me of a new home development my husband and I were touring, when we realized the builder had sprayed the front lawn with some type of green paint. There was a little overspray on the walkway. We turned and left. They just didn’t seem trust worthy.

      Just my thought 🙂

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I hate the idea of fake plants in the window box. I must admit I have put fake mums in a pot of dirt on my front steps years ago. Although it looked pretty good, I felt like a cheat and a fake myself when my mother walked up the walkway, squinted at the ever blooming annuals, reached down and touched them and shook her head.

    The next day, they were gone. Never again. I try to use vines and annuals that are drought tolerant and fast easy growers. I would rather have okay real flowers than superb fake ones.

    Just my opinion 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura H.
    April 17, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I’m not a fan of outdoor faux flowers that are planted to try to look real. I can usually tell the difference. My advice is to find a local nursery that specializes in native plants and flowers for your area. If you plant some that are more hardy and drought resistant, you shouldn’t have to water quite so often. You can also buy some glass bulb type things that you fill with water and insert into the boxes which will slowly release water so you don’t have to physically water them as often. There are several different options in this area that should help you. I go out every day or two to water our flower beds and enjoy it. I love seeing how the flowers are growing. It took a while for me to get to that point because I used to be like you and couldn’t grow anything either. Once you start doing it, you might find that you enjoy it. Once you get your beds put in, they will also have to be watered unless you have an automatic sprinkler system. Neither of these tasks takes more than a few minutes every day or two.

  • Reply
    Tracy
    April 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Real! I spoke of it before… a mister type head that connects into your sprinkler system. Very small tubing that needs to snake up the siding which can disappear once painted. Make your flower boxes so they fit the planter box trays (Lowe’s) and it makes them easier to plant and set inside your box. Also preserving the life of your box without the moisture in constant contact. Plant, set timers and forget!
    I think it’s just a mind set that you can’t keep things alive, I used to be that way, but only because I forgot about watering.
    That being said I have used a combo of real and artificial but only for Fall and Christmas, so they are more vignette type plantings (and they still needed water) i would never use artificial for spring and summer.

  • Reply
    Pat
    April 17, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I live in Charleston where window boxes are everywhere and needless to say I could never use faux flowers. Some of my neighbors would faint at the prospect. I don’t have a green thumb and doubt there is such a thing but have learned to love caring for plants and flowers even in this hot climate. Liberal water and Miracle Grow (in dilute concentration) daily does it for me. I have no doubt you could do this!

  • Reply
    Ellen Shook
    April 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Well, fake would look better than dead. My neighbors have second story window boxes, and theirs are always dead.

    I have used fake sunflowers from time to time on my porch which is recessed. It is not as obvious from the street as it would be to have them right out in plain view.

    Both my parents abhorred “artificial flowers” as they called them. Every year when I go to the cemetery to change them, I always apologize.

  • Reply
    Debi
    April 17, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Remember the bees, butterflies and humming birds rely mostly on real plants for food. I think the faux you showed looked fantastic, but make sure you have real elsewhere in your yard to make up for them.

  • Reply
    Dolores
    April 17, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Never..fake flowers outside always look impossibly fake, and tacky.:-)
    Sorry for voicing such a strong opinion, but that’s because I have to look at my neighbor’s three window boxes, which are now filled with fake, hot pink geraniums and some sort of vile green filler. I’m in NJ- we woke up to 35 F, and seeing these heat loving summer geraniums just is a mirage..
    My Dad’s neighbor added big spherical, expensive faux box wood to her front door urns- and they look silly because the color is so obviously fake, and contrasts badly with her foundation plantings.
    In the winter, I just use pine and evergreen branches to fill my window boxes- cheap and pretty..

  • Reply
    Diane
    April 17, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Kristi, my husband isn’t crazy about faux floral and plants inside, but I do have a few that have passed muster. LOL Outside… I wouldn’t dream of having fake plants… but that’s me. I LOVE tending plants in the morning. It’s part of my summer routine… water plants… go for a walk… get ready for work and start the day. Watering my containers might seem like a chore, but it sort of gives my day a solid footing and puts me in touch with nature. Planting containers is something I love, so watering is a nurturing process for me. If you choose to use living plants, you’ll want to make it a habit, so that it’s what you do every day.

    However, having said all that… if you’re up for the expense of quality faux flowers as in the photo above, go for it… but PLEASE take them out the second they start to discolor or look anything like fake.

    I haven’t done it and don’t know if it would work for your window boxes. But if you can discretely add a drip irrigation, you won’t have to deal with watering daily. It’s something to consider.

  • Reply
    Michele
    April 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Do you feed and water yourself daily? Thought so. No excuses. Establish a new habit of early AM watering. If you want great looking window boxes you will plan for it and take care of them. Build those boxes deep and wide so there is adequate soil for healthy growth – and for water. Look for a liner that has a reservoir in the bottom that remains filled. The roots will grow down to it and when the Texas sun broils your plants they will still be healthy. Grow a variety of plants and greens so they look lush even if the blooms aren’t too prolific. Also – feeding schedule. Make one. Stick to it. Any woman that can build the things you build can do this.

  • Reply
    Elaine Ness
    April 17, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Faux? Only if you put a plastic pink flamingo right underneath the window boxes. eek! I am not a fan of them, especially outside. I have occasion to visit lots of homes and so getting within any reasonable distance of such screams “fake” to me and immediately lowers my estimation of the property. Okay, call me a snob. K: “Okay, I will: “SNOB!'”

    Realistically, are you really sure you want to be concerned with the upkeep of real plants suspended in air or ‘plastic-keep’ of the alternative? Or, even with window boxes in the first place?

    I am going now. 🙂

  • Reply
    Char
    April 17, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Kristi,

    Faux flowers outside are only noticed when they’re done wrong. Believe me I’ve done arrangements with silk and no one has known. Yes, I do them in season and sometimes added real trailing vines within.

    However, if you decide to do real, I suggest adding “soil moist” which is little absorbent beads which retain water. This will helps keep the soil moist obviously. lol And an irrigation system. In the heat of summer, I have to water my window boxes daily so it would be nice to have a drip/irrigation system. Put it on a timer and enjoy the benefits.

  • Reply
    Judy
    April 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Faux flowers outside in Texas fade VERY fast. It reminds me of an old country cemetery. By the time you buy the really good stuff as often as needed, you could have had your entire yard landscaped.

    • Reply
      Judy
      April 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm

      Oh, and if you do decide to do them, change them with the season! Tulips in August just aren’t right!!

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    April 17, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I started using fake flowers in pots by my front door and on the lanai as we’ve both retired and travel a lot. They are gorgeous! I use lots of fake plants in the house too, they look fine!

  • Reply
    Mark Tisdale
    April 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    This is the reason I’ve never looked at flower boxes and thought they were for me. I like to plant in the earth where there’s less work for me. Any sort of container is going to have more needs to keep the plants alive. Even ones in the ground will need help if mother nature doesn’t deliver on the rain! Now make it a magnitude more when it’s in a container. They look pretty but they look like a lot of work.

    I’m not sure what my feelings are about artificial plants outdoors. If I didn’t recognize they were artificial, I don’t see why I would care, so I guess it falls on how realistic are they and how tough are they against the hot sun and rain? I agree with someone further up who suggested buying a small batch of them and putting them out in similar conditions and see whether they last rather than buying enough to fill all your new flower boxes.

    Alternatively, if you want outdoor plants and are certain they won’t survive if up to you, maybe it’s time to find “some people” for outdoor lawn/garden care? Sort of like how you’ve cultivated a relationship with a few tradesman who do the building type things that you know you can do but would rather pay someone else to do?

  • Reply
    Marcia B.
    April 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    You’ve gotten so many comments that you’ll probably not be able to make it this far, but here goes anyway:

    NOT IN A MILLION YEARS WOULD I USE FAKE FLOWERS OR PLANTS! Even if people driving by couldn’t realize they were fake, I’d cringe every time I approached my home and thought, “Oh dear, I live in the Stepford House!”

    Go online and Google for plants you can’t kill. Use pots. If I couldn’t use real plants, I wouldn’t have window boxes.

  • Reply
    Betsy Hastey
    April 17, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    I have been using them for years. i switch them out and move them around. I have thrown so much money into plants in the front of my home that I am not gonna do it anymore. There are some live ones I have in a pot and then I mix the faux in with them.

  • Reply
    Irene
    April 17, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for not judging too harshly….not everyone can do plants. No green thumb, allergies, forgetfulness, etc… That being said, I have shed. It has window boxes. In those boxes are lush, plastic, faux greens that hang beautifully. I add the silk flowers to them, and switch them up. I start with dark flowers because they will fade over time. It works for me.

    I also have a large iron planter at my front door…it is filled with beautiful greens and hydrangea…all faux. It always looks pretty, and I really don’t care what the neighbors think….it makes me happy. Two cents added, LOL.

  • Reply
    Melanie
    April 17, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    No faux

  • Reply
    Eileen
    April 17, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve tried faux and they will fade. I have baskets of succulents and they thrive, not much watering. Lowe’s sells flats of them now. I just bought one. Put large cheap ferns in the back. I buy from Food Lion, 11.00 and they lasted all summer with little water.

  • Reply
    Cyd
    April 17, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Well, well, well. Some strong feelings here perhaps? 🙂 My mantra is survival of the fittest. It’s been trial and error over the years but I’ve found what survives. But I’ve never attempted flower boxes because the smaller the amount of dirt, the more difficult it is to grow. Watering while warm can produce boiled roots! Concentrate on something else. Your door and shutters are the flowers of your home. If you need more, find hardy shrubs with varied colors of green. Or a few pots with a drip system.

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 17, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I say do what you want and don’t listen to the naysayers! Everyone has their own opinion and has no clue your circumstances. I have a black thumb and use FAKE succulents outside. They are gorgeous. No one knows the difference.

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    April 17, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Kristi lives in TEXAS she should use whatever doesn’t melt. I’d use fake and fill them with lots of white. White won’t fade and would look awesome with her grey, Navy and coral. No need to shame her
    ..whatever she does, it won’t be tacky.

  • Reply
    Nancy Lord
    April 17, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Last year I bought salmon colored geraniums and but them in my hanging baskets. It was great! No watering, no dried leaves to pull off, and I just stuck them into the dirt from the year before. They still look great for this year and I did leave them out all winter too. I live in Kansas.
    The trick if you buy a bush (which is cheaper than single stems) you need to cut the stems off the bush stem and arrange in the pot. This makes them look more realistic.
    I did pot up some bright orange hibiscus and they faded some but I just bought some more this year and am adding to the pot. Will have light and bright colored hibiscus this year! Go artificial!!!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 17, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Ha! I have had fake flowers in a pretty basket hanging on our side door for about a year now. They haven’t faded (they face west), and we live in the South. Some battles just aren’t worth it. 😉 I will tell you that every once in a while, I have a very determined mama bird that gets really intent on building a nest in it, but as soon as I see her starting, I clean it out, and she gets the message. 🙂 We really don’t want to chase birds out of the house!

  • Reply
    Deborah
    April 17, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    I have a shed that I have decorated. One of the windows has a window box and flowers with greenery was appealing. But let’s get real. Not in Southern California where water can be scarce and the heat relenting. I thought about doing fake plants, but decided the sun would be brutal. I finally decided to put an old and new selection of floral plates turned on their sides and stuck in pebbles for support. It is adorable!

  • Reply
    Betsy
    April 18, 2018 at 12:07 am

    I wish I could find the photos that I have of the window boxes on my former home. I would plant real flowers in them but due to the amount of shade that we had there, the flowers that I like best never really flourished. That, and I can’t be bothered to pinch off, so my flowers tended to get leggy. So I supplemented them with fake flowers and NO ONE knew! They filled out my containers and looked great!

  • Reply
    Irene
    April 18, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Well it is interesting to see so many polarized opinions on this question! I live in an area of short summers ( just had an ice storm on the weekend) and I use faux flowers outside in a few planters. I do not have a green thumb and do not enjoy tending flowers. Play to your strength and focus on what you do so very, very well. I am amazed at your talent with the projects you show us, but also appreciate all the thought that goes into each project. That you explain the thought process and any corrections along the way never fails to impress me

    Not everyone is a gardener and I am sure that if the readers who are aghast at faux flowers were to attempt many of your projects they may have a very difficult time. I know you will keep the planters seasonally appropriate and change the flowers as needed. I have faux geraniums on my deck and a friend, a very good gardener, admired them one day. She was very surprised that they were not real. We have seen over and over that you always work out the best solution to any decision, so if you want faux, you go girl!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    April 18, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Why not mix faux with real? On an episode of Desperate Landscapes, Jason Cameron put in faux grasses with real plants in a home that livid in a hot area – I want to say it was Austin, TX, but could be wrong. And honestly if it works for you, who cares if anyone thinks it’s tacky or should match the season.Sometimes we focus too much on what other might think of our decisions. You should do what looks best to you, fits your life, and makes you smile. Whatever you choose will be beautiful.

  • Reply
    Colleen
    April 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I have two custom window boxes that my dad made for me when I bought by first house 12 years ago. When we moved six years later, I brought them with me. The only windows they fit on my current house are two on the north side. Our landscaping is a narrow gravel path between the house and the fenced property line- it’s just wide enough for pushing a wheelbarrow through. The windows on that side of the house are under a deep eave so they don’t get any rain and only very little sunlight, and I don’t have a spigot for water on that side of the house. So after killing a batch of shade-loving plants due to lack of watering, I tried some Ikea faux greenery in them in an act of desperation. Turns out I LOVE it! I clean them twice a season by running a broom over them. The color is still good and the texture is nice after about 5 years. We rarely have our blinds to those windows open, since we peer directly into our neighbor’s yard. For us, faux greenery was a perfect solution.

  • Reply
    Shari
    April 18, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I think that the real beauty of window boxes is when the flowers and vines start to overflow out of the boxes as they mature. No matter how realistic the artificial flowers are, that look can only be achieved with the real thing!

    You can use liners, water retaining potting soil with time release fertilizer and those self watering contraptions. Also, since all of your windows are on the main floor, you can customize hoses with irrigation lines that are meant to be used with potted plants and planter boxes. Once the system is in place, all you have to do is turn on the hose. You can even use timers on the main spigot.

    No matter the quality, I just find artificial flowers super tacky. Why invest the time and money making beautiful window boxes and then cheapen the look with anything artificial?

    Artificial flowers are right up there with that white crushed stone as my garden pet peeves.

    Hey, you could write a great blog post in how to create a DIY garden irrigation system!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    April 18, 2018 at 8:52 am

    I am like you. I can’t keep flowers alive inside or out. But those flowers in those window boxes were beautiful and as talented as you are I am sure you can do it. I say Go For It.

  • Reply
    Cathy B.
    April 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

    I am clutching my pearls at the thought of you pouring your heart into your beautiful home only to accent it with fakery. Granted, I’m a master gardener in my county, but there are so many varieties of greenery and sturdy flowering plants that can withstand a container in TX heat and humidity.

    Also, the extension office in your county surely has a master gardener group that would be happy to offer free advice (that’s why they exist!) or even send someone out to help you. Here’s a link I hope is helpful … http://www.finegardening.com/article/10-plants-for-year-round-containers

  • Reply
    Mariele
    April 18, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Who would have thought that this would bring on such controversy? You might as well have asked if you should paint or restore a MCM dresser.
    Do what works best for you. If it makes you happy, have fake. If you’re going to be bothered by the disapproving looks of flower snobs driving by, use real. The only thing that will make a difference is how much you’re influenced by the disapproval of other people.

  • Reply
    Fiona
    April 18, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Why not try the real thing before you resort to the faux version? I added drip irrigation with a timer to my containers last year and it was so easy. I bought all of the parts online but Home Depot stocks the parts too. The 1/4 inch drip lines used for containers are easy to disguise so you won’t even notice them.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    April 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I see NO reason not to use fake flowers outside. I use them in my outside planter buckets for the fall – to add color to an otherwise dreary yard. I add scarecrows, fake pumpkins and they look great. I have gotten several compliments on them in years past. In the summer months, I use real flowers but once Labor day rolls around, I let them die and then add the fake ones for the fall.

  • Reply
    Sue
    April 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

    If gardening is not your thing and you are comfortable with using fake plants, go for it. Planter boxes do take a lot of time tending to real plants and they need water almost every day because they dry out quickly so it might be your best option.

  • Reply
    Hil
    April 18, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Do whatever works for you! But I guess the main thing that bothers me about fake plants (especially outside) is the thought of more disposable, plastic stuff that will just end up in a landfill. Real plants provide for wildlife and are biodegradable 😉

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 18, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Whatever works for you, but they do make self watering window boxes.

  • Reply
    Lorin Small
    April 18, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Faux flowers cost $$$. And die in the sun……fade, fade, fade! Invest that money in a small drip system hooked up to your hose bib and a battery timer. (5 years and counting for mine)

    Sweet potato vine and white mini zinnias will get you a similar look. You are so luck to have a warm zone to grow stuff.

    I just posted a quick tip using diapers to keep plants alive.

    I do minimal work on my container gardening and take several (2 week) trips every summer and they grow wonderfully while I’m gone. You need to have thing on automatic to make your life easier but beautiful.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Lunday
    April 18, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I also (a) forget to water plants and kill them with alarming regularity and (b) love the look of having flowers around my house.

    What has saved me is drip irrigation. You can order all of the parts to set up an automatic drip irrigation system online or buy them at Lowes or Home Depot. It will connect to an outdoor hose connection. Planning the system and figuring out what you’ll need will take the most time–maybe a few hours. Setting it up will take you less than an hour. I suggest investing in the best timer you can afford–the biggest problems I had my first year were with the cheap timer that crapped out on me.

    Otherwise, IT’S MAGIC. I live just north of you, in Fort Worth, and we have to water our plants in the summer. The drip system just does it, without me having to remember for a minute.

    Then look up the Texas A&M suggestions for heat tolerant plants. There’s a variety of alyssum called “Snow Princess” that bloomed for me (ME!) from May until October. Plant them. Admire your beautiful plants. Then stay inside, where it’s air conditioned and there are no mosquitos. Good luck!

  • Reply
    HeatherB
    April 18, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    I would only do faux if I was completely sure no one would know they were faux.

    Personally, I love the look of window boxes but know I would never do the upkeep–real or faux! I would probably try the suggestion of a good green base and stick some small pots of seasonal flowers for color, and when they die, replace with some appropriate for the next season. Easiest, not too expensive, and not screaming “FAKE FLOWERS HERE!” 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Personally I would never use faux flowers. But if you do then please be prepared to tend to them. Keep them clean and inplace, replace when faded or tattered, keep them seasonal.

    If you want to give growing another try your window boxes have to be big enough to retain and drain water, provide root growth, keep the roots from baking and not overcrowd the plants. Think about incorporating a drip watering system. If the soil dries out it is necessary to dampen the soilless mix gradually until it holds water like a sponge otherwise your watering efforts are futile, it will simply flow around the soil block and away. Think carefully about your plant choices, you are probably not going to dead head, pinch back and coddle your plants so be realistic about what you a prepared do.

  • Reply
    Robyn
    April 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    I’m the same with plants!! I totally have a brown thumb! I’m in New England and this spring that isn’t a spring has made it impossible to really do anything yet, but I plan to stop by a garden center and ask them for ideas on plants for me because I want window boxes as well. I think they look so pretty and charming. I see some great tips, though.

  • Reply
    Michelle Wilson
    April 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Can’t read all the responses. Evidently strong feelings. I used faux flowers for 5 years, changing twice. No one could tell from the street. If you KNOW you won’t tend to real flowers, faux is your only choice. Or why have flower boxes? Dead flowers look worse than faux flowers. Are you SURE flower boxes will be practical for you?

  • Reply
    Brittany
    April 18, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    This makes me think of two things.

    (1) I had a neighbor who had faux flowers planted in her front yard and it was seriously the tackiest thing I’d ever seen.

    (2) Other neighbors have faux floral wreaths and faux topiaries on/by their front doors, and those look great.

    I think the difference is that the wreaths and topiaries look more like exterior decorating elements rather than garden elements, so it doesn’t seem as weird.

    I initially hated the idea of faux flowers in your window boxes, but after thinking about it, I think it would actually look fine (but no shrub flowers like those hydrangeas, that’s looks just awful!).

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 19, 2018 at 6:36 am

    They look fine…. But personally, I’m all about the real deal. I would no more want an artificial flower box than I would want a toy pet. Plants live and grow and change.

    That being said, I’ve seen this done well. I’m looking forward to find out how these turn out. If anyone can make it look amazing, you can 🙂

  • Reply
    Martha K Gish
    April 19, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Years ago, we had a gazebo built, and I envisioned lush hanging ferns on four of the eight sides. But, alas, I can’t keep plants alive either. Add to that, two sides got sun and two sides were shaded. So when the really nice fake ferns were on sale at AC Moore, I got four for each pot, and made beautiful hanging baskets. People did not know the difference….even my neighbor who had the greenest thumb I ever saw, had to ask me if they were real. And from the street, NO one knew. I say go for it!!

    • Reply
      Theresa P
      April 20, 2018 at 8:20 am

      This is a really good point! If the windows don’t get equal sun/shade/rain/etc., then Kristi won’t be able to get a uniform look across the front of her house (if that’s what she wants).

  • Reply
    steph
    April 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    The whole thing with plants and keeping them alive is simple as “right plant-right place”.
    Monitor how much sun those boxes will get and plan appropriately. Drip irrigation to keep them
    watered and you’re golden.

  • Reply
    Susan Davis
    April 25, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Twenty years ago my neighbor built a tall tudor with darling windows in the tall two story gable, added rustic window boxes to match the timber on the house and filled them with bright red geraniums…they were selling the house. They were gorgeous…so go for it!

  • Reply
    designdreamer
    June 10, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Seems like a good idea for those of us that are green-thumb deprived! LOL!
    And my mother had a VERY green thumb! That’s one of her traits that I didn’t inherit. 🙁

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