Real vs Artificial Flowers: Can You Tell the Difference?

15 Sep.,2022


silk flowers wholesale china

I am one of those people who believe that every room should have flowers in it. From seasonal blooms to simple greens mixed with wildflowers from the garden.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

And when your favorite fresh flowers aren’t in season or hard to come by, what do you do? Artificial flowers are the perfect solution. Today’s permanent blooms are far from the bright-colored, flat-textured flowers of yesteryear.

For one, Balsam Hill has floral decorations that are so realistic. In fact, I’ve had guests try to smell them.

Why Choose Artificial Flowers

There are several reasons why you would choose to have artificial flower arrangements in your home. But key things to consider are realism, ease of use, durability, and the overall cost.


When talking about real versus artificial flowers, of course, you want permanent blooms that look realistic. Today’s creations are “fabulous faux” and more popular than ever. From velvety petals to colors that mimic real life, these flowers fool more and more people.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

This is an artificial ranunculus flower next to a real one. See how close they resemble each other, right down to their ruffly layers and warm shade of color.

Ease of Use

Maintenance and ease of use are other things to consider. Artificial blooms are easy to display. All they need is a bit of fluffing. Simply place a vase of gorgeous spring flowers in your room, and leave it there as long as you want. No water or sun necessary.


A benefit of artificial flowers is they don’t need a lot of upkeep. A bouquet placed in the guest bedroom last year looks as fresh as a real one displayed yesterday. No worries about the hydrangeas wilting or real rose petals’ fading. With minimal care, artificial flowers can look fabulous for years.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

These hydrangeas are some of my favorites. And while one is real and looking fresh for the moment, the other looks real and will last.


How much they cost is another consideration. You’re probably thinking, “which is cheaper, real or artificial flowers?” On average, a large arrangement of my favorites: peonies, ranunculus, hellebore, and tulips adds up to $150-$200, depending on the size. Putting that expense into an artificial floral arrangement instead is a one-time investment you can use repeatedly.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

Take these peonies, for instance. Real peonies and artificial peonies are both ruffly and beautiful. Both have a lovely shade and are wonderful to have at home. However, the fresh peonies are cost about $8 per stem. So, a bouquet of 25 to 30 of them will cost somewhere around $200 to $240. For that same investment, you can display artificial decorative blossoms that will last season after season.

Comparing Real vs Artificial Flowers

Today, I’m going to show you a comparison of real and artificial flowers based on a couple of my favorite Balsam Hill arrangements. I sourced nearly all the same flowers in the artificial arrangements, with some out-of-season exceptions and color changes. I then recreated the arrangements with fresh flowers.

Let’s take a closer look at the floral arrangements I recreated. You’ll see how the faux blooms fared compared to the real ones.

Nantucket Hydrangea Arrangement

I’m in love with the Nantucket Hydrangea Arrangement. It’s a beautiful mix of white hydrangeas, thistle, and greens in a charming galvanized bucket.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

I recreated the look with fresh white hydrangea, variegated pittosporum, thistle, and white astilbe.

Which one is real and which one is artificial? | Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

In some of the photos, it is hard to tell which is faux. The artificial hydrangeas and pittosporum are incredibly realistic.

French Market Flower Arrangement

The French Market Flower Arrangement looks like one that was gathered from a flower garden. The difference? It lasts for years. This arrangement comes in a little basket but features several styles, all full of blooms.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

I used fresh thistle, lavender, white lilac, white hydrangea, olive branches, yellow berry, and pittosporum to recreate the arrangement.

Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country CottageWhich one is real and which one is artificial? | Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

Villa Cucina Hanging Basket

Which one is real and which one is artificial? | Photo courtesy of Courtney of French Country Cottage

For many of us, spring décor usually equates to lots of flowers. But the olive clippings and citrus accents of the Villa Cucina Hanging Basket make me think of the beautiful Italian countryside in springtime.

I recreated this arrangement with fresh clipped olive branches. Also, I added lemons and kumquats for warmth. I love how simple and charming this looks, don’t you? It evokes the beauty of both spring and summer. See how I recreated this design along with a matching wreath here.

More Comparisons of Real vs Artificial Flowers

Each of these recreations show how closely the Balsam Hill artificial flower arrangements match the real ones. They add a beautiful touch of spring to your home décor any time of the year.

I asked my friends Kristen of Ella Claire & Co. and Becky of Becky Cunningham Home to create their own versions of Balsam Hill flower arrangements using real flowers. Take a look at their photos below for more comparisons.

Marseille Meadow Arrangement

The Marseille Meadow Arrangement is inspired by the relaxed ambience of Southern France. It features ranunculus and waxflower blooms with silver brunia on a bed of mixed leaves.

When Kristen of Ella Claire & Co. recreated this flower arrangement, she mentioned how it was really hard to tell which is real and which is faux. She admired the realism of the artificial flowers. Also, she noted how the beautiful spring colors cheered up this area of her home. 

Nantucket Hydrangea Arrangement

Becky of Becky Cunningham Home styled her own version of the Nantucket Hydrangea Arrangement. She shared how impressed she was with the quality and realism of these Balsam Hill artificial flowers. In fact, she said it’s hard to tell which arrangement is real and which one isn’t. Her followers couldn’t agree more.

Which is your favorite real vs artificial flower comparison? Let us know in the comments.

Bring joy to your home this summer with beautiful accents made even more affordable.

As the founder of lifestyle blog French Country Cottage and editor of Romantic Homes magazine, Courtney is known for bringing chic aesthetics and vintage elegance to her designs. Courtney offers readers creative ideas and decorating tips inspired by the ongoing renovations on her 1940s cottage home.

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