Here’s a good article on indoor plants by Nancy Mitchell for Apartment Therapy.
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When it comes to making a bold statement, not much can beat an indoor tree. While we’ll always love our small houseplants, mini herb gardens, and adorably tiny succulents, there’s something so unique and out of the ordinary about having a tree under your roof. Plants are figuratively and literally the breath of fresh air we need in our homes after a long day, and they happen to look really chic while doing it.
Whether it’s in the form of painted terracotta planters or a trendy vertical garden, adding houseplants to your apartment or home has its benefits, too. Not only do they look amazing, but some can purify the air, others provide sustenance, and all infuse a space with nature—which is especially nice for city dwellers. Indoor trees can do the same, but on a much larger scale. The varieties of trees that can thrive inside are plentiful, and the billowy branches, bright fruits, and tall trunks basically act as statement pieces that fit into any type of space and work with any style preference.
So, if you’ve already got your indoor vines and flowering plants on lock, take a peek at the indoor trees we’ve rounded up below to add some larger-than-life pizzazz to your place.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle leaf figs are needy and aren’t for the easily frustrated, but with a little extra TLC these beauties will thrive in your home.
- Features: Tall and broad-leafed
- Best for: Homes with different types of lighting and patient residents
- Soil: Nutrient-rich soil with good drainage
- Light: Both indirect and direct sunlight is ideal
- Water: Water every 7 to 10 days. Purchasing a water gauge is best, because fiddle leaf figs don’t like soil that’s too wet or too dry. A fiddle leaf fig’s leaves need to be misted every couple of days and dusted every week or so. (When we say needy, we mean needy!)
- Environment and care: Needs plenty of care and attention and does best in humid climates. Homes typically aren’t muggy enough, so a humidifier can often help these high maintenance plants thrive.
New Zealand Laurel
Although not super common in the U.S., New Zealand laurels, or Karaka trees, can be grown indoors as well outside and serve as geometric accent pieces to any room they’re in.
- Features: Tall with oblong leaves
- Best for: Homes in warmer places with plenty of indirect light
- Soil: Well-draining soil
- Light: Indirect light
- Water: Karaka trees appreciate moist soil and often do well if you give them fertilizer during spring. But, like most other plants, be careful not to overwater.
- Environment and care: Because it’s a native of more tropical areas, warm humid environments allow them to thrive. While it can live without muggy heat, just ensure it’s not exposed to temperatures below 65 degrees. Even though New Zealand laurels like warmth, direct sunlight can burn the leaves of these trees, so keep it in a room that gets lots of diffused sunlight instead.
A little less high maintenance than their fiddle leaf cousins, different variations of figs can serve as great indoor trees. And yes, you can get it to give you fruit, too!
- Features: Round purple fruits and broad leaves
- Best for: Well-lit homes
- Soil: Well-draining soil and liquid fertilizer
- Light: Bright light is best
- Water: Water about once every week, but monitor your plant. Once the soil is dry, give it a day or so, then water again.
- Environment and care: Similar to the fiddle leaf fig, the common fig prefers humid environments but isn’t quite as picky as the latter. Be aware of insects and fungal infections that can harm your tree and ruin its chances of living and producing fruit. Gently wiping down the leaves and trunk can help with this.
For a hint of the tropics, there’s no better plant than a palm tree. But if you’re looking for something with a more unique profile, the fishtail palm will certainly suit your fancy.
- Features: Tropical and fishtail-like leaves (hence the name)
- Best for: Spaces with bright light and humidity
- Soil: Well-draining, peat-based, and frequently moist soil
- Light: Indirect light is ideal, but plenty of it.
- Water: Wet is best, but still be wary of overwatering.
- Environment and care: Hotter more humid environments are what fishtail palms prefer. Keep your fishtail palm out of cooler, drier rooms and invest in a humidifier to keep it happy. Plus, getting a humidifier gives you an excuse to have both a fishtail palm and fiddle leaf fig.
The money tree doesn’t just have a unique and lovely shape—it’s also said to be good luck for finances. Adding one to your home might not give you money, but it certainly will bring you beauty.
- Features: Twisted trunk and sprawling leaves
- Best for: Any kind of home!
- Soil: Sand, peat-based soil that drains well
- Light: Okay with lowlight, but indirect sunlight is best
- Water: It’s a hardy plant that can handle a few forgetful mishaps. It prefers to be watered every week or so, but if topsoil is super dry you’ll know it’s a good time to water.
- Environment and care: Humidity is key, but it’s not a fussy plant. The money tree can survive in most conditions, just make sure it’s not exposed to a consistent flow of dry air, cold, or constant darkness.
Nothing can add an instant boost of Mediterranean-inspired style like an olive tree. These elegant and minimalist plants are impeccably chic and easy to maintain.
- Features: Simple shape with elliptic leaves
- Best for: Homes with lots of light
- Soil: Well-draining soil, like a cactus mix
- Light: Plenty of bright sunlight
- Water: When the soil gets dry, you can water again.
- Environment and care: These trees come from places with arid, dry climates, so if you’re not down to by a humidifier just for a plant, this is a great option. No misting is required, but be mindful of its watering schedule. If you want olives to appear on your tree, cross-pollination is essential and you’ll want to make sure you purchase a fruit-bearing tree in the first place.
The eye-catching rubber plant isn’t too high maintenance and can both soften modern rooms and bring an air of sophistication to more casual spaces.
- Features: Deep green and shiny leaves
- Best for: Most loving homes
- Soil: Well-draining and aerated soil is ideal
- Light: Rubber trees prefer bright indirect light
- Water: Keep your rubber plant fairly moist in warmer months, but make sure it’s not oversaturated. During the winter it requires less moisture.
- Environment and care: Rubber plants aren’t huge fans of dry air, so frequent light mistings can help with this.
Bird of Paradise
Those vibrant neon-colored flowers with the same name found on tropical islands actually come from this tree. Most birds of paradise don’t flower indoors, but if you’re lucky and take the right steps it just might.
- Features: Tropical with broad leaves similar to a banana tree
- Best for: Most homes, but light is fairly important
- Soil: Well-draining soil and fertilizer during spring, summer, and fall is best
- Light: Bright is best, but it can handle indirect light, too
- Water: Bird of paradise trees like moist soil, but shouldn’t be soaked and sitting in water. Water frequently and make sure the soil doesn’t completely dry out.
- Environment and care: It thrives in humidity, so frequent misting and warmer temperatures will tickle its fancy.
These pretty trees almost look flower-like with their clusters of bright green leaves. They’re not picky plants and might even help filter the air.
- Features: Mid-sized and leafy clusters
- Best for: Any home and beginner plant parents
- Soil: Well-draining, rich soil is best
- Light: Bright indirect light is ideal, but it can handle direct sunlight as well as lower light conditions
- Water: Frequent watering is best, but be careful not to overwater. Because they like humidity, schefflera will benefit from misting.
- Environment and care: Humid environments are best, but if it’s not possible it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure your plant isn’t cold and stays away from vents and other sources of dry air.
Clementines and Other Citrus Trees
This fantastic plant provides a burst of color and sweet fruits—what more could you ask from an indoor tree?
- Features: Citrus fruits and round leaves
- Best for: Homes with bright light, but a warm location isn’t required!
- Soil: Acidic, peat-based soil is ideal
- Light: Bright sunlight is best, but LED grow lights can help when you live in colder places or areas with less sun, especially in the winter.
- Water: Moist soil is preferable, but sitting in water can lead to an early death for these plants.
- Environment and care: Sunlight and a little fresh air can all contribute to the health of your plant. When the weather gets warm, you can give these plants a little outdoor time in the sun. Also, be aware when planting that once these trees make fruit, they can easily become top heavy—a large, heavier pot can help counteract this!
Like the fishtail palm, parlor palms are reminiscent of the tropics and provide a space with a burst of greenery that’s fairly easy to care for.
- Features: Tropical with thin leaves
- Best for: Any kind of home
- Soil: Potting mix that drains well
- Light: Despite this being a palm tree, direct, bright sunlight isn’t required to keep these frond-laden friends healthy. Parlor palms won’t suffer even if your home has lower light conditions.
- Water: Keep it slightly moist but if it dries more than you like it won’t suffer. During the winter, allow to dry out a bit more in the. Avoid overwatering.
- Environment and care: Humidity isn’t a necessity for parlor palms. Room temperature and warmer is perfectly fine, but these plants won’t do well in cold drafty spaces.
While you won’t find ears of corn sprouting from this indoor tree, you’ll love its pretty display of bright leaves (that look similar to corn stalks) and its geometric-shaped trunk.
- Features: Striped leaves and stocky trunks
- Best for: Homes with indirect light and beginner to intermediate plant parents
- Soil: Potting soil that drains well is the best option for these plants
- Light: Corn plants like diffused, indirect sunlight
- Water: Water fairly frequently to ensure the soil stays moist, but do not overwater. Keep in mind that dried out soil can be detrimental to this funky plant.
- Environment and care: Corn trees like humidity and a frequent misting or humidifier can help maintain this type of climate.