You’d love to have some indoor trees in your home, but you’re only interested in those that don’t require complicated care. After all, you don’t have a lot of gardening experience yet, so you’d like a smooth transition into the world of growing your own trees. What trees should you focus on planting in your indoor garden? We researched to provide you the answer.
Which indoor trees are easy to care for? The following indoor trees are easy to care for:
- Broadleaf lady palm
- Lacy leaf philodendron
- Weeping fig
- Madagascar dragon tree
- Dumb cane
- Money tree
- Parlor palm
- Dwarf umbrella tree
- Calamondin orange tree
- Corn plant
- Rubber plant
- Ponytail palm
- Fiddle leaf fig
In this article, we’ll thoroughly discuss each of these indoor trees, elaborating on what makes them so easy to grow. You’ll soon have all the info you need to begin your indoor garden, so let’s get right into it.
Indoor Trees with Easy Care
Broadleaf Lady Palm
The broadleaf lady palm also goes by the nickname bamboo palm. Like the lucky bamboo, it’s not actual bamboo, but it’s also not masquerading as such. Instead, the Rhapis excelsa belongs to the Rhapis genus in the fan palm species. You can often find this tree in parts of the world like Taiwan and southern China, but it won’t grow on its own in the wild elsewhere. Instead, it’s purposely cultivated, often in China, and then made available to buy.
Why do we recommend the broadleaf lady palm? Maintaining it is very simple. You don’t have to water it often. To tell whether it’s time to do so, try the soil test with your finger. If the soil feels try, then water. Also, indirect light works fine for the broadleaf lady palm. You’ll love its long, fan-like fronds as it begins growing. They’re very pleasing and dress up any home or apartment.
We also want to point you in the direction of the yucca. This perennial shrub is part of the Agavoideae subfamily and the Asparagaceae family. It has more than 40 species, maybe about 50. All have white flowers in sizable panicles and leaves with pointed edges. In fact, many gardeners liken yucca leaves to swords. As most succulents do, yuccas grow natively in the Caribbean and the United States’ most arid and hot environments.
Yes, that means when caring for Yucca elephantipes, you will have to take special care to maintain the temperature just so. Never let the humidity in your home or office exceed 30 percent. That’s the biggest care requirement for these indoor trees, though. As succulents, if you happen to forget to water them a few times in a row, it’s no big deal. The yucca is used to less regular watering and won’t begin withering or dying on you.
Lacy Leaf Philodendron
No, this isn’t the standard philodendron we always talk about on this blog. Instead, the Philodendron bipinnatifidum or lacy leaf philodendron has leaves that almost look like arugula. It’s in the Philodendron genus and the Araceae family. If you already have traditional philodendron in your indoor garden, then try growing some of the lacy leaf variety with it. It’ll surely brighten up almost any space.
Okay, so what about caring for this indoor tree? It’s not hard at all, hence why it made it on this list. You don’t have to get into a regular watering schedule. Instead, feel the soil and if it’s dry, then the lacy leaf philodendron needs some water. It doesn’t like direct light nor dim light, which gives you lots of options for placing it around your home or apartment. The most important part of caring for the lacy leaf philodendron? It needs room, as it can grow to a width of up to six feet!
The ficus tree, Benjamin fig, or weeping fig is a very common indoor tree. It gets marketed as ficuses at most gardening and home supply stores even though it’s a fig. Its scientific name is the Ficus benjamina, so that might explain some of the confusion. Those in Bangkok love it so much they’ve declared it their official tree. It also grows in Australia and Asia. The weeping fig belongs to the Moraceae or mulberry family.
With its skinny branches and teardrop-shaped leaves, the weeping fig has a certain timeless appeal. It doesn’t need to be watered every single day and it can handle dim light conditions without too many side effects. That said, the leaves can fall off all at once, and that’s normally a sign that you altered its lighting or temperature too much. Don’t get careless, then.
The weeping fig will shed annually anyway, typically as summer comes to an end and autumn begins. This isn’t due to anything you did in this case; it’s just a trademark of this indoor tree. You had to figure they didn’t call it the weeping fig for nothing, right? During this period, the fig loses its leaves (only about 20 percent of them, so it shouldn’t be totally naked) to pave the way for fresh leaf growth.
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Here’s an indoor tree that will really spruce up the appearance of your indoor garden. It’s the Madagascar dragon tree, also referred to as the Dracaena marginata. The lengthy fronds, which point every which way, can grow green, but they may also develop other hues, including red and yellow. Sometimes you get all three colors in one vibrant, amazing tree. Don’t sleep on the stems, either, as they have a braided texture that’s utterly divine.
When you buy your own Madagascar dragon tree, you don’t want to water it too much. Like many of the other indoor trees on this list, do the soil test with a fingertip. Dry soil necessitates watering, and that’s about it. Don’t water it other times or you could face trouble. You do want to maintain a bright lighting environment if possible. It’s not that the Madagascar dragon plant can’t withstand dimmer lighting, because it can. However, it begins to go through color fading, and that’s just a crime.
If you’ve read this blog, then surely you’re familiar with the dumb cane. For those who need an introduction, the Dieffenbachia or dumb cane is part of a tropical flowering plant genus and the Araceae family. It comes from warm environments like Argentina and the New World Tropics. The dumb cane does well as a houseplant and can decorate your home nicely. It has leaves with dark green borders and bright pale green centers.
Dumb cane suits gardeners of all experience levels for a variety of reasons. For one, they grow pretty quickly and can get as tall as five feet with the right love and care. They also don’t need a lot of attention. Make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry nor soggy with this indoor tree, though. If the leaves have begun to turn yellow, then you’re not watering your dumb cane often enough.
The Guiana chestnut, more appealingly referred to as the money tree, is a type of tropical wetland tree. In its native environment, it will thrive in swampy conditions, such as those found in South and Central America. As a Malvaceae family member, the Pachira aquatica is said to deliver wealth and luck when you plant it in your office or home. If that doesn’t incentivize you to get gardening, we’re not sure what will.
Its scientific name might imply that this indoor tree needs a lot of water, but that’s not quite the case. You should only water it a few times each month, twice or thrice tops. More than that is often too much. If you’re not sure whether it’s time to water again, then feel the soil. If an inch is dry, grab your watering can. Bright light suits the money tree, but it does just as well in moderating lighting.
Next, we’ve got the parlor palm or Chamaedorea elegans. Some people also call this the neanthe bella palm, although that’s a bit of a mouthful. No matter which name you prefer, you can’t deny the popularity of the parlor palm, as it outsells many other palms. That’s not just in the US, but globally. Part of it is that its leaves get used for xate, or a type of frond floral arrangement.
Should your cat or dog happen to munch on your parlor palm, they should suffer no ill effects. You can put these trees just about anywhere, even in front of windows, and they’re okay. If they don’t get a lot of light, they’ll also survive. Parlor palms also don’t need a daily watering schedule, making them a perfect choice for an indoor tree you can care for almost effortlessly.
Dwarf Umbrella Tree
The dwarf umbrella plant or dwarf umbrella tree is not the same as the Schefflera actinophylla. That’s the full-sized umbrella tree, which you’re free to grow if you have the room outdoors. As the name suggests, the dwarf umbrella tree or Schefflera arboricola is the smaller version. It’s a flowering Araliaceae family member that hails from Hainan and Taiwan. The flowers grow on what appear to be white spikes but are actually inflorescences. These flowers may be green or yellow. A dwarf umbrella tree’s small, teardrop-shaped leaves have a glossy texture as well.
In between watering, the dwarf umbrella tree’s soil should be dry at least one inch down. Plunking a fingertip into the soil can confirm how much moisture remains. Otherwise, refrain from watering it. This indoor tree also prefers filtered light that’s rather bright. That doesn’t mean give it full sun, especially if you want to see the dwarf umbrella tree’s flowers grow.
Calamondin Orange Tree
No list on awesome indoor trees to grow would be complete without a nod to the calamondin orange tree. Also referred to as the Citrofortunella microcarpa, another moniker for this tree is the Philippine lime. That’s because it’s most often grown in the Philippines, but it also appears natively in Sulawesi, Borneo, Taiwan, and China. This tree harvests calamansi, a type of citrofortunella. This fruit looks like a lime with its vivid outer green skin…until you cut it open. Then it resembles an orange. It has a sour flavor.
To grow your own calamondin orange tree, make sure it gets seven hours of sunlight every day. You can move the tree in the morning into the light when you leave for work and then, when you come home, reposition it elsewhere. As you may have guessed by this point, the calamondin orange tree needs moist soil and should only be watered when that soil begins drying out. It likes growing in a mixture of vermiculite or perlite, organic compost, and potting soil.
While the calamondin orange tree is named such because you can harvest fruit from it, the corn plant doesn’t grow corn, sorry. Preferring high altitudes of up to 7,380 feet, the Dracaena fragrans can sprout lovely flowers and even its own fruit (small berries) if you care for it the right way. That’s almost as good as corn. It also goes by the name happy plant, and you’ll feel happy too once you have one or more of these in your indoor garden.
Corn plants have strong sturdy stems and impressive heights. Some varieties have been known to stand more than six feet! The plant can develop root rot if you’re not careful, though. Its bright green, lengthy leaves will begin to turn yellow before that happens, so that’s a good sign to cut back on how often you water. Keep the soil a little moist going forward and you’ll be fine. As for lighting conditions, the corn plant prefers indirect light, but make sure it’s bright.
The rubber plant has a slew of nicknames that can make it confusing to figure out what this tree actually is. For example, it goes by the Indian rubber tree, the Indian rubber bush, the rubber tree, and the rubber fig. So what is it, a tree, a fig, or a bush? The Ficus elastica in the Moraceae family is a plant. Grown in Florida, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, and eastern South Asia, you can get your hands on this plant at most gardening stores. Then you can bring it home and fall in love with its beautiful smooth and polished leaves, which come in hues like bronze or green.
Don’t put the rubber plant in direct sun, but rather, other bright light sources. Every week, water it sufficiently but not too much. Rubber plants are susceptible to waterlogging, so watch out. You may have to prune these from time to time, but beware of the sap the plants can produce. It’ll get your hands all sticky.
If you quite like palms, then allow us to introduce you to the ponytail palm or Beaucarnea recurvata. Another Asparagaceae family member, this palm likes tropical environments like those in eastern Mexico, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas. Often planted in European households, the ponytail palm adds decoration and class to any room you put it in. Why not get one and see for yourself?
Although it might sound difficult to care for a ponytail palm, fear not. The heavy trunk of the tree is where it maintains its moisture stores. Thus, you can get away with watering it less, even if you happen to forget for up to two weeks. Now, the ponytail palm won’t grow its long, hanging fronds overnight. In fact, it’s a gradual grower. We promise the results are worth it!
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Our last pick for indoor plants you can easily care for is the fiddle leaf fig. Yet another member of the mulberry or Moraceae family, the Ficus lycata comes from the rainforests of Sierra Leone as well as other parts of western Africa such as Cameroon. It has incredibly slim stems and branches with oversized bright green leaves, giving this indoor tree quite a unique look. In fact, it’s the fiddle shape of those leaves that gives this fig its name.
You will have to get into the habit of keeping the leaves clean by dusting, but that’s your biggest duty with the fiddle leaf fig. Otherwise, this tree needs a standard watering schedule and indirect yet bright light. Test for soil dryness with your fingers regularly. Try your best to avoid overwatering or else the beautiful leaves will begin to fall off.
What are some examples of tall indoor trees?
If height is what you’re after, then you really can’t go wrong with an indoor tree. There are a handful that will sprout up taller than others, some of which we covered in this article. These trees include:
- Bird of paradise (which gets to a height of seven to eight feet)
- Ponytail palm (although it takes several years, this indoor tree can grow to 10 feet)
- Swiss cheese plant or Monstera deliciosa
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Jade plant, which can also sprout up 10 feet tall
- Desert rose or Adenium obesum
- Croton or Codiaeum, yet another 10-footer
- Polyscias fruiticosa or Ming aralia
- Kentia palm or Howea forsteriana
- Norfolk Island pine, which has been known to grow 100 feet at its biggest when outdoors
Can indoor trees develop pests?
Like some houseplants, indoor trees can also invite in an army of critters and bugs you do not want in your home or office. While it depends on the plant you’re growing, keep your eyes peeled for the following pests:
- Fungus gnats
- Red spider mites
- Common whitefly
- Common brown scales
How can you tell these bugs apart from basic flies or spiders? Trust us when we say these are not your average critters. Thrips look almost like a worm/thousand legger hybrid while red spider mites are as bright a firetruck red as their name would suggest.