Don’t have time to water your potted plants, but love the look? Try this great hack with beautiful DIY artificial plants for outdoors with twinkling solar lights at night, for around $40 per planter!
My sister has a beautifully landscaped backyard with a pool, and recently she wanted to add some greenery and solar lights. But she lives in the desert and doesn’t want to be watering them constantly.
She came up with this great solution at a fraction of the cost of large faux plants and shared the tutorial with me and all my fellow Remodelaholics who lack a green thumb or who just don’t have the time and energy to keep planters watered.
Thank you Noelle! You are the best!
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DIY Artificial Plants for Outdoors
- Large Outdoor pot (with drainage holes or drill them in, just consider the material you choose)
- 2-3 Pool Noodles (check out the dollar store or local Walmart)
- Wire, string, or tape
- 1 liter recycled bottles with lids (several)
- Wired wood floral picks (bulk here)
- Solar Lights
- Faux Plants
Best Fake Outdoor Plants
For any flowers, greenery, or artificial plants for outdoors, look for the label UV resistant to ensure that your fake plants will last multiple seasons in the sun.
For this tutorial, we’re using inexpensive plant bundles to make a larger outdoor “plant” to fill a larger planter. Here are some good options for artificial outdoor plants:
And for a pop of color:
If you’re looking for potted artificial bushes or small outdoor trees, everyone raves about Nearly Natural brand and Silk Tree Warehouse gets great reviews, too. You might also try a rubber tree or fiddle leaf plants.
- $5-10 – Large planter pot (check thrift stores, dollar stores, and Big Lots!)
- $3 – Pool noodles ($1-2 each at Walmart/Big Lots/Dollar Tree)
- $0 – Wire/string/tape (on hand)
- $0 – Recycled soda bottles
- $6 – Floral wood picks (or buy in bulk = 3 cents each ands lots left over!)
- $5 – Solar lights (Dollar Tree!)
- $15-25 – Faux Plants (see links above)
- TOTAL: ~$45 per planter
Tips for A Cheap Outdoor Planter
- Keep an eye out for cheap large planters at thrift stores, yard sales, and bargain stores such as Big Lots, 5 Below, and dollar stores.
- Look in the patio, organizing, and home sections as well — a large bucket with rope handles makes a super cheap large planter!
- Since you’ll be adding weight, you can choose a lightweight planter or a heavy-duty planter.
- With a bit of time and a few materials, you can build your own large porch planter (or one of these 25 DIY planters).
1. Start by prepping the outdoor pot.
Make sure there are drainage holes in your pot if it will be outside. Carefully drill holes through the bottom. (Just be aware of the surface beneath the container when drilling.)
2. Prep Pool Noodles
These super inexpensive pool noodles are going to act as your floral foam -for super cheap!
Cut the pool noodles shorter than the top of the pot and wire them together. She ended up taping these together. However, she used a lot of layers of tape because the sun is hard on tape and she wants it to last.
3. Place The Pool Noodles in the Pot
Center the pool noodle bundle in the pot. Leave enough space around the edges to add your recycled water bottles in the next step to weigh down the planter.
4. Weigh Down the Container
To keep the pool noodles in place and weigh the planter down, fill small plastic bottles with water and pack them down all around the pool noodles.
Initially, my sister tried rocks, but it was to frustrating to keep the foam in the center. If you are working outdoors, and don’t have to move these, feel free to use whatever you have available, just know it might be a little trickier to place rocks than other options.
Put the bottles evenly all around the noodles.
5. Prep Your Greenery
In order to help fill the post evenly and not have to buy too many greenery picks, she cut the clumps of ferns apart.
Using the wire and wood floral picks, secure together smaller groupings of fake plant stems.
Separating the pieces makes it look thicker and more beautiful for less money.
6. Arrange the Greenery
Start adding the fern leave into the pool noodles, poking through to hold in place like you would if you were making a floral arrangement with floral foam.
By poking them through the foam, this will hold the picks in place and keep the shape and plant looking nice for longer.
7. Fill in Evenly
Continue to fill in the planter with the divided artificial plant stems. Be sure to spread out the plant picks as evenly as you can.
Note: If you can still see the pool noodles, you can add some neutral colored rocks or rubber mulch on top of the noodles and under the plants. Just wait until you have them in place, or they may be extra heavy.
Rubber mulch is a great way to make any fake potted plant look real!
8. Add Lighting
Insert a few dollar store solar lights (or these even cheaper lights!), super affordable easy to replace.
9. Place in Yard
Here is what they look like all done in the daytime:
Ultimately she did three different plant styles: Fern, Grass and Ivy. These are listed and linked in the materials above
And at dusk, the magic happens when the solar lights turn on!
You will notice all three kinds of artificial plants for outdoors in the image above: ferns, grass, and ivy. To make the fake plants look thicker, separate the clumps into smaller clumps and attach them to the picks with wires above.
Aren’t these DIY artificial plants for outdoors so beautiful! Such a great option to add greenery and light in your backyard with NO additional watering, wiring or work!
Huge thanks to my sister Noelle for sharing — be sure to go check out her website, Big Clock store, for a personalized clock!
Shop for Artificial Plants for Outdoors
Click these links for our favorite artificial plants for outdoors, plus the plant picks that are the key to making a BIG planter full of FAKE plants, on a budget (and our favorite large planters, too).
Outdoor Artificial Plant FAQs
Is it OK to put fake plants outside? Can I put fake plants on my front porch?
Yes! Fake plants outside are great options for front porch planters and patio planters. No watering, no weeding, no dead plants. Modern artificial plants made from high quality materials can fool even many horticulturists — most people will never even know that the plants are fake!
How long will artificial outdoor plants last?
Most fake outdoor plants will last several years (especially if you bring them indoors during the winter/off-season). This will depend on your weather conditions (harsh sun vs. overcast regularly) and the location of the plants. Plants placed in full shade or partial shade will, understandably, last longer.
Plants made from high-quality materials like silk will be more durable and, as an added bonus, typically look more realistic, too, so it’s worth spending a few extra dollars.
What should I look for when buying fake plants for outdoor use?
For long-lasting artificial plants for outdoors, look for plants labeled as “UV resistant”, “UV treated” or “UV protected”. High-quality materials like silk or polyester plants typically will last longer (and look more natural) than plants made from only plastic, such as PVC.
You can also add another layer of UV protection by applying a UV protectant spray for outdoor plants to keep them from fading.
For the most realistic-looking outdoor artificial plants, look for plants that aren’t perfectly symmetrical. When you make your own outdoor fake plant pot with our instructions, you can “build” your plant to be filled but asymmetric to look more natural and real.
Can you leave artificial plants outside?
Like any outdoor material, artificial plants for outdoorswill be impacted by snow/rain and direct sunlight. And just like those outdoor materials on your patio chairs and umbrellas, it’s best to bring outdoor artificial plants inside during the season(s) you’re not outside to enjoy them.
What can I use to weigh down artificial plants?
For a free and eco-friendly option, fill plastic bottles (like soda bottles) with water to weight down artificial plants in a planter. You can also use rocks, leftover building materials like bricks or lumber, or fill and place a sandbag in the planter.
To cover the material and make your fake plant look real, add a layer of rubber mulch on top.
How do you clean outdoor artificial plants?
Upkeep on fake plants is minimal, very low care required. Once or twice a year, inspect for damage and clean your outdoor fake plants.
To clean outdoor artificial plants, simply spray them with water once a season.
If you have stubborn hard water spots from your sprinklers, spray the artificial plants with a 50% vinegar, 50% water solution. Let it sit for a few minutes, then spray with distilled water or wipe with a clean cloth.
- Large Outdoor pot
- 2-3 Pool Noodles
- Wire or string
- 6-8 liter recycled bottles with lids several
- Floral wood picks
- Faux Plants
- Hanging Ivy Option 1
- Ivy Option 2
Start by prepping the outdoor pot, making sure it has holes at the base for draining.
Prep the pool noodles by wrapping in wire, and setting them centered in the pot. You can also wrap in tape, but this may not last quite as long.
Fill the soda or water bottles with water. Set around the noodles in the post to weigh it down.
Prep your greenery, by splitting apart the large fronds, branches or grasses. At the base of a smaller groupings of 1-2 branches, place the wood pick. Then wrap the wire around the bundle, to secure the greenery to the pick.
Arrange your greenery by sticking the picks into the pool noodle foam.
Fill in evenly. If you can still see the pool noodles, then cover them with small rocks- but you may want to wait til you get it in place to do this.
Add solar lights into the pots by pressing into the spaces of the the pool noodles.
Place in yard and enjoy!
Servings: 1 Faux Potted Plant