We Ordered 3 Fake Snake Plants and This $15 Find is the Best One

updated Sep 10, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

If you, like me, are new to plant parenthoodcongrats!—there are a few things to consider when you’re bringing home your first plant babies. First and foremost: While you’re learning how to take care of your greenery, it might make sense to opt for hearty over trendy. 

Prime example: I really wanted a fiddle leaf fig in the early days of the pandemic, but my plant-loving friends convinced me to consider a plant that was easier to take care of. (Read: easier to keep alive.) My disappointment quickly turned to glee. I wound up with two beautiful snake plants (also known as sansevieria): a giant one in my living room and a tiny one in my home office. And folks, I am obsessed.

Not only are snake plants a dream to look at with their stately, vertical foliage and green stripes; they’re also a dream to take care of. Just water when you think about it, and admire when you’re not. All was going well until we introduced a pandemic puppy into our home. A pandemic puppy who liked to topple over my plants. 

Nipping that problem in the bud was as easy as moving my snake plants to a more isolated room. That solved the dirt problem, but now there was a sad, gaping hole in my entryway. That got me thinking: Why not try a fake snake plant? The pros: I never have to water it, my dog won’t spill dirt all over our beige carpet, and I still get to enjoy some greenery (though you do have to clean fake plants). I’m in. The cons: I had no idea where to start.

Like any artificial plants, not all fake snake plants are created equal. To figure out which one is the most realistic, we ordered three of the most-popular and top-rated faux snake plants from some of your favorite home stores: Crate & Barrel, Target, and Amazon. Here’s how we did it—and which one we loved the most.

How We Compared Fake Snake Plants

First, we set out to figure out which artificial snake plants other buyers loved, at any style, size, and price point. Five-star ratings and rave reviews helped us form our short list, along with realistic photos of fake snake plants. To round out the list of options, we did a little more digging for convincing snake plants on some of our fave home blogs and IG accounts. Then, the team narrowed down all the options to the top three choices—the artificial snake plants we’d be most likely to put on display in our own homes.

Check out our other fake plant reviews:

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

The Contenders—I Mean, Pretenders

Once we had our top three options, we brought them into the Apartment Therapy office, along with one real-life snake plant to shoot photos and compare. Here’s our list:

The Best Fake Snake Plant

Target! We fell in love with the Project 62 snake plant primarily because it looks the most realistic (even up close). The leaves have a “waxy” look in parts, which is really true to live snake plants, and the edges of the leaves looked more like real snake plants than the other options. Plus, this was the only faux plant of the three that showed the yellow variation some real snake plants have. Finally, the best part: A real-looking snake plant doesn’t have to be expensive: This one costs just $15.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

The only potential downside we could think of with the Target option: You might be turned off by the yellow in the leaves. If that’s the case, or if you want a larger snake plant, the Amazon one is a great option. But for the price and believability, Target’s snake plant can’t be beat.

How to Tell if a Snake Plant is Fake

If you’re still not convinced that an artificial plant is up your alley (we get it), then it’s worth considering a live one. Snake plants are easy enough to keep alive—they actually thrive on neglect and low light—so you might want to consider just shelling out the money for a real one versus any of these fakes, unless having it arrive “fully-grown” is a priority to you. 

Considering a fake snake plant? Given how realistic the Project 62 faux snake plant looks (and felt), we don’t blame you if you can’t identify a real snake plant in a line-up. But there are a few telling characteristics that make a snake plant look more convincing. When you’re searching for a faux snake plant, look out for these convincing traits.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

1. Leaf Markings and Color

Real snake plants have distinct leaf markings and color, just like the Target snake plant. If you look up close, a snake plant should have more intricate, detailed markings than, say, the Amazon option—some AT staffers felt like that plant’s leaf markings looked like a cartoon printed on. Some snake plants have yellow edges (like the Target one), but others are two-toned.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

2. Leaf Shape/Clustering

Snake plants also have a distinctive shape and cluster pattern. If you want a convincing snake plant, keep an eye out for clusters of leaves that look, well, organic. For reference, the Amazon option is bunched together the way a real snake plant’s leaves are, with a slight wave, while the Crate & Barrel and Target snake plants were too neat, grouped together in three, distinct bunches.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

3. Soil Texture

Finally, consider the texture of the snake plant’s soil: It should look somewhat like actual soil. Compared to the Target planter, which is filled with rocks, the Crate & Barrel plant’s soil looked the most real (although it’s glued together, so it won’t spill). The Amazon planter has moss in it, which isn’t typically used for snake plants, another signal that it’s fake.

Shop These Fake Snake Plants

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Buy: Project 62 Artificial Snake Plant, $14.99 at Target

Affordable and believable, even if it is on the smaller side.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Nice shape, with a beautiful planter included, but the texture and feel isn’t right.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

Buy: Artificial Snake Plant in Pot, $59.95 at Crate & Barrel

Realistic-looking leaves, as long as you don’t get too close. Great for appreciating at a distance.