Small trees make excellent indoor trees. They help clean the air and brighten the space around them. Even better, tending to indoor tree plants has been shown to improve mental health. Many trees grow inside. Here are twenty of the most popular indoor trees.
Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia)
Native to South Africa, the bird of paradise has a unique flower that looks like a bird’s plumage. It grows to a height and width of five feet, making it a good indoor tree. While the average home temperature is acceptable for this tree, they need more humidity than most homes provide. Use a pebble tray to create a humid microclimate around the plant. Place the tree in bright indirect sunlight.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
This hardy tree grows to a height of two to ten feet, depending on the cultivar. It tolerates low-light conditions well. Dragon Tree plant is sensitive to fluoride, so let your water sit for a day in an open container before using it to water the plant.
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Native to Norfolk Island, off the coast of Australia, this tree can reach 200 feet tall in the wild. It rarely exceeds six feet in homes, although it may reach 20 feet if taken good care of. Norfolk Island pines need bright indirect sunlight but are sensitive to heat, so don’t put them in direct sunlight. This tree makes a good living Christmas tree.
Fishtail Palm (Caryota)
Native to southeast Asia, these trees can grow to be 25 feet outdoors. They are smaller when kept indoors. It can be grown in light in bright indirect light to shade. After a stem flowers, it dies and should be removed. The leaves of the fishtail palm look like fish tails, hence the name.
Triangle Ficus (Ficus triangularis)
While some ficus plants are hard to grow, this one is not as picky. Native to Africa, most varieties have green leaves. However, the cultivar ‘Variegata’ has variegated leaves. Triangle ficus is so named because of its triangular leaves. It likes bright, indirect light and slightly more humidity than the average home has.
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
The corn plant can grow up to 14 feet, depending on the cultivar. It is from tropical Africa. This broadleaf evergreen rarely flowers indoors. It grows in dappled sunlight to partial shade.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedora elegans)
Native to Mexico south to Honduras, the parlor palm grows up to seven feet tall. Parlor palms are slow-growing and are considered low-maintenance plants. Place in dappled sunlight to partial shade.
Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
This large, graceful plant can grow to eight feet tall, although it can be pruned to stay smaller. Umbrella plants have large, bright green or variegated leaves. They like medium to bright light.
Spineless Yucca (Yucca elephantipes)
Spineless yucca can be grown indoors because it lacks a sharp terminal spine. It can grow up to 30 feet tall outdoors but is smaller indoors. This yucca grows well in full sun or partial shade.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
Fiddle leaf figs are picky about their surroundings. They want bright light and do not grow well unless they get it. A happy plant can grow to ten feet. Unfortunately, fiddle leaf figs are toxic to humans and pets.
Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
Rubber trees can grow up to ten feet tall. Happiest with bright sunlight. The rubber tree tolerates less light. These easy-to-grow plants are grown for their attractive foliage.
Broadleaf Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
This palm prefers partial shade but will grow in low light, low humidity places. They are native to China and Vietnam. These low-maintenance plants can grow to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide in the wild. But are usually smaller indoors.
Split Leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)
This philodendron has natural holes in the leaves that look like ribs. The leaves are dark green. Split-leaf philodendron is a vine that is typically grown around a pole or stake. This plant is not pet safe.
Citrus (Citrus family)
Citrus trees are the best fruit trees to grow indoors. There are lots of types to choose from. Dwarf varieties have been developed to stay small but have delicious fruit. There are even varieties that have been grafted, so they have several different types of citrus on the same tree.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
The dark, glossy foliage on the weeping fig makes it a popular house tree. There are also variegated versions. The plants can grow as tall as you allow them to. You can braid branches into a heart shape or other shapes when the branches are small.
Banana Tree (Musa spp.)
Some banana trees have bananas while others do not. Banana trees can get rather large, so if space is an issue, be sure and get a dwarf variety. Banana trees need twelve hours of sunlight. If you cannot give them that, you must use a full spectrum grow light on a timer.
Jade (Crassula ovata)
These are tough succulents that are easy to grow. They can reach five feet tall. Jade plants need bright, indirect sunlight. As they become older and get top-heavy, you will need to put them in a heavy pot, so they don’t tip over.
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
These broadleaf evergreens are originally from Guyana. In the wild, they can grow to 80 feet tall but grow six to eight feet tall indoors. Their wrinkled brownish-grey bark holds water like a succulent. They have showy yellowish-white flowers followed by an edible nut. The money tree likes indirect sun and does not like to be moved once established.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Lucky bamboo gets its name from the belief that growing it in your home is good luck. It is not bamboo at all but a part of the asparagus family. Get the straight trunk variety for maximum fung shui. Lucky bamboo is almost indestructible. It likes bright light but will grow in partial shade or under a fluorescent light. It is toxic to pets.
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Bay laurel is native to the Mediterranean but is grown around the world. The leaves of this tree are used in cooking. The Romance also used the leaves in the laurel wreaths they wore to symbolize victory or accomplishment. Bay laurel is a relatively slow-growing shrub and does well in containers.
Tips For Growing Indoor Trees
Growing trees indoors is a bit different from growing smaller houseplants. Here are some tips for growing indoor trees.
- Many tropical trees need more humidity than that in most houses or other buildings. You can increase the humidity by using a pebble tray. Take a large saucer and fill it with pebbles. Fill it with water but do not cover the tops of the pebbles. Place the tree pot and saucer on top of the pebble tray. As the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the tree. Just remember to refill the water frequently.
- Trees get top-heavy as they grow. Therefore, they need heavy pots to counterbalance the foliage on top so they will not tip over. It is a good idea to put the pots on a wheeled base so you can move them if necessary.
- You can control the height of the tree by pruning it. Many of these trees can outgrow a house unless they are trimmed back occasionally. Cutting the top off will also produce a bushier tree in many cases.
- Plants grow towards the light, and trees are no exception. So turn your tree a quarter turn weekly so the trunk doesn’t become bent one way.
- Some of these trees are toxic to pets and people. Never allow pets or children to chew or suck on any part of your plants, just in case.
In conclusion, there are many trees you can grow indoors. This article mentions twenty to pick from. Any plant brightens the room it is in. Trees filter toxins out of the air and replace them with oxygen. Grow an indoor tree for a healthy home.
Frequently Asked Questions
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) maintains a list of common toxic and non-toxic plants. Unfortunately, not all toxic plants are listed, but it is the best place to check for pet-safe trees.
Trees lose leaves for several reasons. The most common are low light, being moved, and needing water. Some trees lose their leaves every fall and grow new ones in the spring.
Yes, they are very good. Trees absorb toxins and carbon dioxide in the air and send out oxygen. This helps make the air in the room cleaner. In addition, indoor trees have been shown to improve mental health.
The lifespan of a tree varies with the species. Most trees should live at least twenty years with good care.
Most trees need to be watered weekly during the growing season and every 2-3 weeks during the winter. Water until water comes out of the drainage holes in the pot. Let the tree drain for about 15 minutes, then remove any standing water in the saucer under the pot.
Most indoor trees like bright, indirect light. A southern window often supplies this. Do not put them too close or the sunlight will burn the leaves.