They’re loved by celebrities and are an Instagram staple, but fake flower walls are said to be damaging for the environment and have been branded ‘tacky’ by experts.
Restaurants and shops all around the UK have used popular floral displays to seduce their clientele and make their business Instagram-friendly in recent years, but in order to bypass the costs of using fresh flowers, many have turned to fake blooms, which last longer and are budget-friendly.
And with influencers like Stacey Salomon and Kim Kardashian leading the trend, demand for fake flowers online – be it on Tesco’s website or Amazon – has risen in recent months, reported The Observer.
But experts have not shared the celebs and the public’s enthusiasm for the walls, with etiquette expert William Hanson branding them ‘tacky,’ and others insisting on how damaging the plastic-made plants are for the environment.
Are fake flower walls trendy or tacky? Celebs and British influencers like Stacey Salomon, pictured, swear by them, but experts call them damaging for the environment
Love Island star Demi Jones, 23, pictured, celebrated her 22 birthday in 2020 with a floral wall for her Instagram pictures
Starting the trend: Kylie Jenner, 20, had a pink flower wall during her baby shower ahead of her daughter Stormi’s birth in 2018, and posed in front of it with her friends during the pyjama-party-themed bash
Flower walls have become especially popular over the past few years and have turned into a fixture in some of the most lavish social media posts, where they are used as whimsical backgrounds for photo sessions.
Kim Kardashian, 37, notably tied the knot with Kanye West, 40, in front of a cream flower wall back in 2014, and Kanye gifted his then-fiancee a similar arrangement for Mother’s Day of that same year, not long before their nuptials.
Kylie Jenner, 20, had a pink flower wall during her baby shower ahead of her daughter Stormi’s birth in 2018, and posed in front of it with her friends during the pyjama-party-themed bash.
Instagram influencers like Stacey Salomon and Mrs Hinch have popularised the trend in the UK, with the former even making one for the nursery of her newborn daughter Rose.
A Tesco spokesperson told the publication that more and more people are trying to get their hands on fake blooms to decorate their interiors.
Model Ella Richards, pictured, at a dinner hosted by British Vogue and Estee Lauder in London on October 14, at the Ivy. This month, some Ivy restaurants feature displays of plastic mushrooms and autumn leaves
Fake and colourful floral walls have been branded tacky by etiquette expert William Hanson. Pictured: an influencer in front of green and blue floral wall
Instagram users love to pose in front of colourful flower displays, and they’ve become a staple of the app, pictured
‘We’ve seen a nearly threefold year-on-year increase in sales of artificial flowers,’ they said.
Amazon has also created a sub-section within their ‘Home & Kitchen’ section where fans can get their own fake florals.
Across London, elite restaurants and clubs like Annabel’s and The Ivy have been the trailblazers of the trend, and their beautiful, seasonal plastic flower displays attract a flock of fans and tourists.
However, the fake blooms have failed to convince author and etiquette expert William Hanson, who told FEMAIL earlier this week: ‘I detest the fake electric blue and neon pink flower walls. Just like the garden of an aristocrat, flowers should be real, and muted.’
William explained: ‘Bright colours are garish. Aristocrat’s gardens are muted, only suburban lawns are riot of colours like busy Lizzies.’
Experts noted that shops and restaurants changed their displays seasonally. Pictured: a woman posing in front of an autumnal flower wall
Experts have called out fake flower walls like this one, pictured in the UK, saying they were not environmentally sound
The walls have been particularly popular on Instagram and have been used to promote events, pictured in the UK, or businesses
A fake flower display with sunflowers and strawberries covering the front of the Ivy restaurant in Wimbledon, pictured
The move was also criticised by plastics and recycling expert at innovation charity Nesta Challenges, Constance Agyeman, who told The Observer: ‘In Europe, we produce nearly 30 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, and less than a third is recycled.
‘It can take 450 years for the simplest plastic to decompose. And as it breaks down, it produces micro-plastic remnants which enter rivers and, eventually, the food chain.
‘To learn that we’re now seeing a surge in popularity for plastic flowers is utterly depressing. We need less plastic in our lives, not more,’ she concluded.
Fresh flower walls are costly to make and costlier to maintain, which is why some brands have turned to plastic blooms in recent years.
Social Media fixture: Kim, 37, received a cream flower wall as a Mother’s Day gift from Kanye West in 2014 and promptly posed for photos in front of it
When she tied the knot with her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, pictured, had a floral arch on display
As early as 2019, the Telegraph reported that several shops, including Selfridges, had tried to cut costs by using fake flowers, which are less expensive.
Jonathan Moseley, one of the UK’s top florists, told the publication at the time: ‘I agree that there has been a definite increase in the use of faux flowers to dress both interiors and exteriors of retail premises, most notably hotels and restaurants.
‘I feel that this reflects a distinct dumbing down of the transient beauty of natural living plant materials.
‘As a British flower ambassador and a champion of seasonality, I feel that the escalating use of faux flowers degrades the importance of seasonal flowers and foliages and places these living natural jewels of nature in direct competition to manufactured, resilient and artificially colour enhanced fake flowers,’ he added.
And Dr Trevor Dines, the Botanical Specialist at plant charity Plantlife, noted that bees, bugs and butterflies depend on living, breathing plants for their survival.
Meanwhile, one florist added that ‘these displays are not environmentally friendly and lack imagination.’