The Best Indoor Trees for Every Room

One way to bring more nature and Zen into the interior design of your home is with the careful addition of indoor trees. Taking inspiration straight from nature, at Wilson & Dorset we love combining natural materials to create beautiful spaces, so adding indoor trees as a living accent alongside our sheepskin products makes sense. Nature is a founding feature of our design aesthetic. Adding indoor trees not only brings the perfect balance to a stylish, light and airy environment, it will also help in uplifting wellbeing. By adorning your living space with lush foliage, you can foster a sense of calm and tranquillity in your home.

If you're wondering, can I grow a tree indoors? How do you take care of an indoor tree? Which indoor trees tolerate low light conditions or don't mind if they dry out between waterings? Our answer is yes, you can be a plant parent; just follow some of these tips. Here is our guide to the best indoor trees for every room in your home.

Which trees are best for indoors and how do you take care of them?

Caring for your new indoor trees will depend on which types you have chosen. After several seasons searching for the best indoor trees for our home and office, here are our suggestions for some statement trees and how to look after them.

  1. Rubber trees

These easy-to-grow indoor trees have large, glossy dark green leaves that are an attractive highlight, enhancing any interior. Great in lower light areas, this air-purifying plant is ideal for potting. Native to South Asia, Ficus elastica is a member of the fig genus, and its milky sap was originally used to make latex, hence the name, 'rubber tree'.

Light: Bright, indirect light

Water: During the summer months when the air is dry, water enough to keep the soil moist. During the winter months, you should only need to water about once or twice a month.

Suited space: Spacious areas such as next to a living room armchair or sofa, countertops and high corners with plenty of indirect light. Note: The rubber tree can be a fussy plant, and may suffer leaf drop if stressed. Avoid moving your plant once positioned.

Matuki Quarto Sheepskin Rug

    Matuki Quarto Sheepskin Rug

    1. Fruit trees

    Other indoor trees such as citrus trees or an olive tree series offer another appealing option. An live tree in a pot may be extremely happy indoors for short periods of time if you're willing to bring them outside eventually (or on a frequent basis throughout the summer months). Consider indoor trees such as a dwarf lemon or orange tree to take advantage of bright sunlight and make a stylish statement in a kitchen, conservatory or dining space. For inner-city dwellers, a mini olive tree grove or micro orchard of citrus trees is also a sure-fire way to bring a beautiful hint of the Mediterranean to your rooftop terrace or balcony. Since you are taking self-fertile plants to grow as indoor trees, it’s a good idea to hand pollinate your plants. To do this, just take a Q-tip or small paint brush and move from flower to flower, brushing the centre of each one.

    Light: Bright, direct light / full sun

    Water: During the summer months when the air is dry, water enough to keep the soil moist. During the winter months, you should only need to water about once or twice a month.

    Suited space: Consider indoor trees such as a dwarf lemon or orange tree to take advantage of bright natural light and make a stylish statement in a kitchen, conservatory or dining space. For inner-city dwellers, a mini olive tree grove or micro orchard of citrus trees is also a sure-fire way to bring a beautiful hint of the Mediterranean to your rooftop terrace or balcony.

    1. Palms

    Lady palm, Parlor palm, Umbrella palm, Bamboo palm, Majesty palm! If you haven't got a palm tree in your home yet, these make a wonderful large indoor tree to accompany a contemporary aesthetic. Most of these palm species require little care to reward you with their stylish bright or dark green fronds.

    Light: Bright indirect light

    Water: Palms generally enjoy moist but not wet, well draining soil.

    Suited space: Larger bathrooms, bedrooms and living spaces, and a parlor palm could go in the parlor, of course!

    1. Umbrella tree

    The umbrella tree is a low-maintenance tropical-style indoor plant that's ideal for time-poor gardeners. Growing to roughly 6.5 feet indoors, the retro-chic umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla, also known as the 'octopus tree' or 'octopus plant') is great for making a leafy impression. A delightful evergreen with glossy, umbrella-like foliage, the umbrella tree doesn't mind a little neglect. When an umbrella tree matures it's likely to need to be supported with a stake or a moss stick unless it's pruned down and pinched. When caring for umbrella trees, keep an eye out for spider mites or root rot.

    Light: Bright, indirect light

    Water: Water thoroughly when the top of the potting soil is dry, then wait until the moist soil is dry to the touch before watering again.

    Suited space: An umbrella tree is perfect for low light areas in the home or office. Whether it's used to create bonsai or simply to perk up a dark corner, your umbrella tree won't mind partial shade or medium light and will easily thrive.

    1. Fiddle-leaf fig

    Fiddle Leaf

    The royalty of indoor plants, a gorgeous fiddle-leaf fig gracing a quiet corner in a statement planter is a go-to for many interior designers. Endemic to tropical Cameroon in Africa, Ficus lyrata is a fig (Ficus) that belongs to the Moraceae mulberry family. Notoriously finicky when it comes to light and water, fiddle leaf figs demand a bit more attention than other potted plants. Their natural climate is hot and humid, where it rains frequently but gently, while the sun swiftly evaporates moisture. They have massive green leaves with many cells that require a lot more light to produce enough nutrients, and they do not respond well to over-watering!

    Light: Natural bright light - can tolerate early morning and late afternoon sun.

    Water: Water consistently, keeping the soil slightly moist.

    Suited space: By an east-facing window, in a foyer, hall or entranceway, or next to your favourite armchair.

    *NB: Tszuj leaves often, with a damp cloth.

    1. Monstera

    Monstera

    Native to Central American rainforests, the Monstera is dubbed the "Swiss cheese plant", due to the holes or fenestrations in its wide, glossy foliage. With its distinctive Ace of Spades shaped leaves, this tropical plant is a favourite of interior designers and the urban jungle movement, as seen by the hashtag #MonsteraMonday. If you're looking for a funky new plant, the hardy Monstera is a reliably stylish option.

    Light: Bright, indirect light.

    Water: The Monstera likes slightly moist soil. Water when the top few centimetres of soil dries out.

    Suited space: Monstera can be a feature in a bedroom, dining or living area. They do well in indirect sunlight but can struggle in bright, direct sunlight. Keep away from air vents as that might make their soil dry.

    NB: Growing tips - if your parent plant gets too large for its pot, early spring is the best time to divide or propagate your plant. Monstera can be toxic if ingested, so keep well out of reach for children and pets.

    1. Philodendrons

    Famously durable, fast-growing and low-maintenance, the Philodendron plant type contains hundreds of beautiful green-leafed varieties. Their typically large, verdant foliage brings a touch of tropical flair to your decor. Philodendrons consist of two species: vining and non-climbing plants. Growing to several feet, the vining variety usually requires something to climb on, such as a trellis or basket. Non-climbers make excellent tropical plants for containers, and their easy-care routine will suit novice plant parents.

    Light: Low to bright, indirect light.

    Water: Water when the top few centimetres of soil dries out.

    Suited space: Avoid intense sunlight as this can burn the leaves. It will do well under bright fluorescent light, so ideal for office spaces or smaller bathrooms without direct sun. They can tolerate shady spots too.

    *NB: Best planted in the spring, but can be started with success at any time of year. Toxic to pets and humans if ingested.

    1. Kauri

    For those looking for a distinctive and unusual interior tree, consider one of New Zealand's native outdoor plants, such as the kauri. Known as the ancient giant of Aotearoa's subtropical forest, kauri has a straight trunk with smooth bark and foliage made up of tiny, black leathery leaves. Keep in a pot to bring a clean green New Zealand vibe to any room.

    Light: Prefers direct sunlight but can adapt to filtered light.

    Water: Allow soil to dry out between waterings throughout the warmer months. Reduce watering during the cooler months.

    Suited space: Make a statement in a formal area, bedroom or living space with this elegant rainforest treasure.

    *NB: Juvenile plants take about 30yrs to reach a height of 10m, with this pyramidal form lasting for more than 50yrs. 

    1. Dragon tree

      Dracaena marginata, sometimes known as the Madagascar dragon tree, is a lovely shrub with red-edged, sword shaped leaves. The shrub may be grown all year and produces small white blooms in the spring (though it rarely flowers indoors). It is usually cultivated as a potted houseplant and cut to 6 feet or less. The spiky indoor tree is recognised as a wonderful gateway plant for home gardeners since it is easy to care for, drought-tolerant, and almost indestructible.

      Light: Dragon trees grow best in medium to bright indirect light.

      Water: Like many drought-tolerant plants, this indoor tree is easily overwatered. Wait until the top half of the soil surface is dry before watering to avoid drowning it.

      Suited space: It's a good idea to grow them in a bathroom or kitchen for humidity.

    How tall should an indoor tree be and how should I organise their layout?

    DESKTOP PLANTS / SMALL INDOOR TREES (LESS THAN 2 FEET TALL)

    Small plants such as succulents, orchids, neon pothos, snake plants or peace lilies look great on a windowsill, shelf, office desk or table. For added texture, you might choose the variegated leaves of an aglaonema or a baby tineke rubber tree. They're light and portable, allowing you to choose the ideal location according to direct or indirect light, shade and growing season.

    FLOOR PLANTS / LARGE INDOOR TREES (MORE THAN 2 FEET TALL)

    Large indoor trees such as are most effective near seating areas, entrances, benchtops and corners in need of a pop of greenery. They're the ideal height for next to an armchair or sofa. Large indoor trees are perfect for filling open spaces. In every work or living space, these plants stand out and make a statement.

    *Some of the best indoor trees will work as either small indoor plants or large indoor trees. For example, you can grow an umbrella tree or rubber tree tall in a sunny corner, or keep a small plant compact on a coffee table or shelf.

    What is the easiest indoor tree to take care of?

    The lowest maintenance tree is the money tree.

    What tree does not need sunlight?

    Indoor trees that thrive in low light conditions include the Madagascar dragon tree, umbrella tree, money tree, the Norfolk Island pine, lady palm tree, and the rubber plant.

    Which tree is good for a bedroom?

    Rubber trees, banana trees, weeping fig, fiddle leaf figs, ficus trees, bird of paradise and parlor plam all make a gorgeous addition to a bedroom.

    What is the fastest growing indoor tree?

    Depending on its environment and care, the fastest growing indoor tree is either the bamboo plant or money tree. For quick results, seek out one of these to greenify your space in no time.

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