They may have been the plague upon many a Seventies home, depressingly gathering dust in the downstairs loo, but decades later, faux flowers are in full bloom again. This renaissance has less to do with dodgy decor nostalgia than it does modern manufacturing developments, which make it difficult to tell the best from the real deal (short of sniffing them, that is). Realistic texture, colour gradation and intricate attention to detail is key: tell-tale, tacky nylon is out, replaced by delicate, hand-dyed materials. High-quality faux flowers are often made from wax-coated silk or high-grade, plastic-based fabrics such as latex.

The joy of artificial flowers is that you can indulge your creative side, mixing and matching species that may not grow in the same season naturally. They are also pollen free, to the relief of allergy sufferers and pet owners (flowers including lilies and tulips can be poisonous to animals). Purists can save money by bulking out organic bouquets with “fauxliage” and you can have fun using it to decorate mirrors, bed frames and even yourself, rather than being confined to a vase. Like anything, you get what you pay for, but bear in mind that faux flowers will last for years with care. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to stop creamy petals from yellowing and clean them using a hairdryer on a gentle setting. 

There is a huge range available but the quality varies. Check for signs of fraying (common among cheaper silk flowers) and, if your budget allows, choose brands that handcraft each stem individually, mimicking the beautiful spontaneity of nature. Ideally, malleable wire will run through the stems and leaves, allowing you to bend and style them into an artistic and realistic arrangements. Here is our pick of the faux bunch, all closely examined in person and displayed around our flat before recommendation so you can be sure to make an informed choice.

Garden Rose Bunch: £98 for large, £42 for small, Oka

Made from a mix of the finest silk and synthetic materials, design-led British brand Oka’s flowers are the go-to for interior stylists and fussy celebrities. There are over 100 varieties sold individually or you can buy ready-made arrangements. This bouquet of red, white and pink roses will be a sure-fire hit for a special occasion. Fat-headed blooms packed with expertly-dyed petals are offset by closed buds and others that have only just begun to unfurl, making for a brilliant deception that adds instant class with its cleverness. The stems have prickly plastic thorns. Try adding a few drops of oil or burning a rose-fragranced candle nearby for authenticity.

Wyld Home Romantic Valentine’s Bouquet: £65, Wyld Home

If you want to surprise a special someone but think roses would be too much, we recommend this classy bouquet from independent Shropshire boutique Wyld Home. The dainty gypsophila is extremely realistic – a tough feat to pull off when the real flowers are so delicate – the purple ranunculus add a pop of colour and it is refreshing to see so much attention paid to the leaves, all of which have different textures from waxy to velvety, and are shaped as they would be if plucked from the hedges. Each arrangement is custom-made and hand-tied, with the stems wired for further personalisation. Delivery is free. You can also buy over 80 stems separately – this range is particularly good if you want to create a natural looking wild flower arrangement.

Abigail Ahern Hydrangea Green: £15 for one, Trouva

This bestselling stem from maximalist hero Abigail Ahern is a strong staple to add to your collection as it looks lovely paired with anything, from more flamboyant flora to understated foliage. Hand-painted fabric has been attached to resin stems that can be put in water to ramp up the illusory effect. Despite this, Ahern recommends popping your flowers into an opaque glass to hide the “distracting” stems and maximise the impact of the blooms. She suggests stocking up on flowers of one type or colour if you are daunted by the prospect of arranging. These hydrangeas would look fantastic tumbling over a vase en mass as a centrepiece, their dainty-looking yet sturdy heads promising to fool guests. There are also a small selection of bouquets to choose from.

Aranthine Blooms Blue Agapanthus: £10 per stem, Amaranthine Blooms

Hong Kong and London-based Amaranthine Blooms has an impressive selection of high-quality stems. Amid its 100-strong range, the variety of greenery and foliage stands out, as well as its flowers in colours less common in the faux world, such as the blue agapanthus. Natural looking leaves and stems are free from that tell-tale plastic shine. The delicate, veined petals on the flowers are some of the most realistic we’ve seen and soft wires make stems easy to style. Amaranthine also offers bunches of six stems and bouquets if you need a helping hand with your display.

Wild Hive Paper Valentines Roses: £15 for one, £85 for six, Wild Hive

These scene-stealing roses are handcrafted from luxury crepe paper by botanical artist Bee Watson. This limited-edition bloom brought a huge smile to our faces, both on account of the presentation (it arrived poking out of old-fashioned brown paper) and the sheer artistry of the petals, inspired by the flowers grown in Watson’s Devonshire garden. The rose feels robust and holds its shape and the stem bends for customisable display. If you aren’t sold yet, 40 per cent from the sale of each rose goes to social enterprise Blurt, dedicated to helping those suffering from depression. Get your order in before 10 February to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day and stock up on anemones, posies and even paper succulents while you’re at it. Bee also welcomes commissions if you want a bespoke design.

Cox & Cox Faux Pink Peony Sprays: £50 for three, Cox & Cox

Beaten in the romance stakes only by the rose, pretty peonies have long been a firm favourite of flower lovers. These faux versions look every bit as delicate as the real deal but thankfully do not drop their petals. The pliable stems are long at over 70cm, making them ideal for displaying in your favourite tall vase. For appreciated authenticity, subtle hints of red and green have been added to the edges of outer petals, one of each stem’s blooms is closed and there is a generous helping of believably veined leaves. Cox & Cox also has around 40 other blooms and botanicals to choose from, with flowers mostly coming in bunches of three.

Bloom Ava Dahlia Stem: £8 for one, Bloom

Get ahead with the predicted trend for dark and dramatic interiors this year by picking up one of these moody dahlia stems from British company Bloom. Founder Tiffany Davies discovered the “new generation” of silk flowers on a trip to California and set about making her own in 1999. She claims they are “so realistic they even fool bees” and it’s easy to see why. These are handmade and each petal has subtly different colouring, with no giveaway fraying off the edges. The unwired, plasticky-looking stem is a slight disappointment but for £8, with a 3-for-2 offer currently running online, it is a top option for the price. There are over 100 different varieties and the dahlias come in a selection of colours – peachy cream, blood red and hot coral are also available – and pop in a scented oil to trick even your most beady-eyed guests.

Audenza Artificial Tulip and Pussy Willow Arrangement: £64, Audenza

Make a statement with this striking display of rich plum parrot tulips, fluffy pussy willow and lush eucalpytus. Eight stems are included in the price, enough to fill a narrow-rimmed vase, with each also available separately. The grey pussy willow buds are fabulously tactile and the eucalpytus is great for adding height and structure, but the tulips steal the spotlight with dazzling attention to detail that finds textured pollen hiding within the petals and the most convincing leaves on this list. The stems are high at 75cm but can be trimmed to your desired size with wire cutters if you are short on space. Audenza also has a range of fool-proof artificial houseplants if greenery is what you’re after.

Posy & Pot Burgundy Peony: £16.50 for one, Posy & Pot

Born and raised in Thailand, Krititka quit her full-time job in 2016 to pursue her passion for artisanal handicrafts. Her first range for new venture Posy & Pot is paper flowers, handmade by fairly paid craftswomen in her homeland using local sustainable materials (mulberry weed tree, which farmers must get rid of) and traditional dyeing techniques. There are over 80 stems in the collection. The peonies, such as this burgundy stunner, are a favourite, as are the elegant, vintage-inspired roses, available in seven colours. Remember that paper and water don’t get on, so keep them away from moisture.

The Flower Studio Wild English White Garden Arrangement: £85

If your fingers are anything but green, head to The Flower Studio, a buzzy florist found in the Buckinghamshire town of Marlow, where the in-house florist designs artificial arrangements alongside the real deal. There is a small collection available as individual stems, including an unusual blackberry spray, as well as some of the prettiest mixed bunches we’ve seen. Our pick of those is this arrangement that includes wild poppies, garden peony roses, stocks, cottage garden veronica, birch and textured, trailing foliage. The mouldable stems on the handcrafted flowers allow you to create your own naturally-shaped arrangement, but these look splendid popped straight into a vase as they come. Be careful though: the flowers look spectacular but are fragile and the thorns on the roses are as sharp as those you’d find in your garden.

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