Artificial Surrogate Plant Use


I understand that a plant can’t distinguish between sunlight and correctly selected artificial light. If a plant is like my brain, doesn’t my brain have a similar reaction with the joy from artificial as opposed to live plants? Is there any research to show that I could benefit from a couple of artificial plants, as I hastily prepare for a medically necessary surgery, where I won’t see much else inside or outside except white snow blanketing 400 square feet of backyard, and don’t have much time for indoor(let alone outside landscape) gardening. I did amend the better neighbour’s tree next door with mulch and manure, so I can relish that view, but my small front lawn is going to be blanketed by snow. To return to the analogy of a plant like my brain(which could turn me into a vegetable according to the busy Neurosurgeon after his risk assessment), as I recover from surgery for the 2 months, can’t I trick my brain by having tea with a take poinsettia and orchid, similar to the plants who can’t distinguish light, and get nourished to some degree? If I recover, I can return to live gardening, in dirt, by spring possibly, abandoning my fake poinsettia and orchid?


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. I’m so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time. While artificial plants and the workings of the human brain are not my areas of expertise, I have done some reading on this subject and I’m happy to share with you what I have learned.

As you may know, volumes of research have shown that live indoor plants have many positive effects on human health and well-being. They improve mood, reduce stress levels, reduce blood pressure, increase pain tolerance and decrease post-operative pain. They can help us feel recharged. Most of these positive psychological effect have been have been tied to viewing green, leafy plants such as ficus trees and ferns.

Interestingly, these benefits of live indoor plants also occur with artificial plants. Even looking at pictures of plants can help you feel happier and calmer. The effects are stronger with live plants, however artificial plants including pictures are better than no plants. The most important thing when choosing artificial plants is that they really need to look like the real thing, including imperfections that you would find in live plants and how they feel. And as with live indoor plants, the best artificial plants for achieving these benefits are green and leafy.

If you want to consider live indoor plants as well, there are many that tolerate low light and require minimal care. There are some suggestions here.

Hopefully this information will be helpful on your current journey. All the best.

Nov 1, 2023