Tips for Buying Fake Orchids

How to fool everyone with a fake.

The scale of the events I usually work on forces me to look for ways to sometimes trick the eye in order to keep mine on the bottom line. And at any party—no matter how grand—that I do, I can promise you that there are some really great fake flowers around, though you would never know it; I tend to keep them out of arm’s reach. Orchids, however, are different. I gave up on keeping my office in fresh flowers years ago. I replaced those with plants and orchids, but they eventually died, too, and replacing them became too expensive. Instead I keep the plant and its terracotta pot and swap the bloomless stick poking out of it for the best silk flowers I can find, ones that imitate reality with varying petal and bud shapes. The great thing is, no one ever really touches the flowers of an orchid, so they are none the wiser. If they do touch the silk flower, generally all they want to know is where they, too, can get a fake that looks so much like the real thing.

What’s Fake?

Instead of wasting a perfectly good plant, buy a silk orchid and place it in the soil. This one, from Duomo in Chicago, replicates the individual blooms and differently shaped buds of the real thing. $68; 312-795-9131;

The Secret

The real-fake combination works so well with orchids because people rarely touch the bloom. No one goes up close to smell an orchid, and most think the blooms are too delicate to handle. Without touching these silk flowers, no one would know the difference.

What’s Real?

The trick is beginning with a live orchid plant, complete with leaves, roots, and soil. Orchid flowers are delicate and tend to die in about a month or so, but the plant and leaves live for years—why throw them out? Orchid from Dry and Silk Flowers, from $35; 212-239-3684