10 Trees That Make Great Indoor Plants
Yes, you can grow trees successfully indoors! Certain trees make great indoor plants and are wonderful options for apartments, balconies, or homes with limited outdoor space. Most can be brought outside in warmer months, but a few are just fine staying inside all through the year. Here are some trees that make great indoor plants.
1. Banana Tree
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Growing a banana tree indoors will likely not produce fruit, but that’s not really the point of these indoor beauties, anyway. Being a tropical plant, they’ll want as much natural light as they can get, extra humidity in the winter, regular feeding in the growing months, and rich, well-draining soil. Look for dwarf varieties, but remember they will still get pretty big! Their wide canopies add lovely character to a room, making their size and care worth it.
2. Avocado Tree
The avocado needs similar growing conditions to the banana tree or other tropical trees, and likely will not produce fruit if kept indoors. Their foliage is very unique, with long, oval canopy-like leaves, similar to the banana, but slightly smaller, so they are better suited for smaller spaces, or summer balconies. Most people like to try out the “pit” method, which is a fairly simple way to grow them, however, a grafted dwarf tree will have more success, and a better chance at fruiting. Avocado trees grown from the pit usually don’t survive after a year or so.
Technically more of a shrub, this prolific grower will gift you with gorgeous blooms if given enough light and heat. It doesn't tolerate frost, but can live happily in a container or large pot and be brought inside during the colder months. Then, take the “boug” outdoors in the warmer months and watch it explode with tiny, fluffy, pink blossoms. They may continue to bloom if left in a sunny spot when brought back indoors, but don’t worry if they drop all of their leaves; they’re just being dramatic, and are preparing to go dormant. Do some pruning, keep it on the dry side, and it will perk back up in time for spring.
4. Japanese Maple
Japanese maples can live happily in containers, so they are great choices for balconies or homes and apartments without a large garden space. There are many varieties, so choose a dwarf cultivar that won’t grow over ten feet at maturity. Prized for their beautiful, crimson leaves and used in Feng Shui garden-scapes, some also have yellow or green leaves so feel free to have a few in your container garden!
Japanese maples are rated for zone 5, however, when in containers you lose one zone of hardiness, since roots aren’t able to go as deep. In this case they will have to be covered, sheltered in a garage or shed, or brought back inside once temps drop below zero.
5. Jade Tree
The majestic Jade tree is a succulent, so not exactly a tree, but when given the right conditions can grow thick, woody stems with luscious green leaves, and grow up to three feet tall (although, I have seen one that was closer to five feet, both tall and wide)! I add this one because it offers another variety of tree, unlike the tropical or fruit-bearers listed.
Succulents prefer to be neglected when it comes to watering, so let the soil get nice and dry, and make sure it drains well—wet feet are a quick death for them. Give it plenty of light—the larger they get, the more direct light they can handle. Bring them outside for some real sunshine in the summer, but let them get accustomed in the shade for a week or so before putting them in direct sun.
6. Palm Trees
There are a number of palm trees to choose from, but ones that do especially well indoors are the Majesty, Areca, Pygmy Date, and Lady Palm. (Note: the Ponytail Palm is another great indoor plant, but not actually a palm). They all prefer lots of indirect light, but can handle lower light areas in a room, as well. The majesty really spreads out its fan of palms sideways, whereas the Areca, Pygmy Date, and Lady Palms grow upward. They will benefit from being moved outdoors into part-shade areas of a patio or deck in the summer.
7. Fiddle Leaf Fig
I post this one because it’s trendy and popular on social media photo sites, but buyer beware, these trees are finicky! Their elegance is worth the effort, though, so first things first, make sure it gets a humidifier and a spot where it can grow—these beauties can get up to ten feet when they’re happy. Give it lots of indirect light, consistent watering, extra humidity, and no matter what, keep it away from drafts. Also, don't expect any figs.
8. Rubber Tree
This is another trendy houseplant tree that isn’t as fussy as the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Lots of indirect light and regular watering is all it needs, and make sure to take a damp cloth to the leaves every now and then to remove any dust.
Beloved for their large, oval, deep green, glossy leaves, they contrast well with muted color schemes, and are very "Instagrammable". They are easy to propagate, as well, making them a winner for the plant collector who likes to share.
9. Citrus Trees
Like banana and avocado trees, you can easily grow citrus trees indoors for their foliage and enjoy them as a lovely houseplant. Getting them to fruit is going to be trickier in colder growing zones. They need a ton of heat and light to produce fruit, so while it isn’t impossible, it would take some grow lights and a warm, sunny window spot.
Take them outside in the summer to promote growth, and possibly even some fruit. Citrus trees don’t need cross-pollination like some other fruit trees, so they technically can be successful in containers.
10. Money Tree
The Jade tree is sometimes referred to as a money tree, but, the “Pachira aquatic,” the real money tree, is the one with the braided stem. These are great indoor trees, since they act and need the same conditions as a regular indoor plant. Indirect light, regular watering with well-draining soil, and fertilizer once in the spring and summer is all you need to keep this “lucky” tree happy and thriving. In their native habits, they can grow up to 60-feet, but don’t worry, when potted the max is six-feet, and even that would take years when you buy them small.
Finding a tree to grow indoors isn't difficult, you just need to choose the right variety! Whether you are stuck indoors or have a little bit of outdoor space, there are many options for the gardener who needs to keep things mostly inside. Any of these trees will make great indoor plants, just be sure to manage your expectations, and know what they need to thrive.
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