The 12 Best Indoor Trees to Bring Greenery (and Joy) Into Your Home
Indoor gardening is a way to connect with the natural world when you can’t be outdoors—and live plants are so much prettier than silk anyhow. In fact, one recent study from Japan found just looking at nature makes you feel better. If you’re in the market for some greenery, indoor trees add a splash of color and drama to make any room feel warm and welcoming. And who doesn’t need more coziness as we get ready to nest during the long days of winter? Here are our favorite indoor trees for every room in the house.
1. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
This Instagram darling is popular for a reason: Its shiny, fiddle-shaped leaves are striking in any space. Consider, though, that it’s notoriously fussy, so it’s not the best choice for newbie plant parents. If you’re willing to give it a try, it needs lots of bright, moderate light. Water it regularly but don’t keep it sopping wet, or it will drop leaves, and dust the leaves occasionally to keep them shiny.
2. Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
This lovely, soft-needled pine lives a long time with proper care. It needs bright light and slightly moist soil. Misting daily also can help it cope with the dry indoor air that’s common in most homes in the winter. It’s finicky if you forget to water it, move it to a different location or over- or under-water it, so once you find a spot where it’s happy, leave it be. Take note: Any type of stress will cause branches to dry up and drop, and they won’t regrow.
3. Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
These easy-to-grow plants have glossy green, bronze or variegated leaves. It’s a great starter plant for anyone looking for an unfussy plant companion, and thrives in moderate to bright light, but not direct sun. Over time it may get leggy, so you can prune to shape (just be sure to wear gardening gloves, as the white milky sap is sticky and can irritate skin).
4. Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
A hardy plant (a plant that can survive in low temperatures) with huge, glossy leaves, it can sprawl as far as six feet as it matures, so it needs plenty of room. It’s quite dramatic in the right space, and prefers moderate light and needs to be watered only when the soil feels dry to the touch.
5. Dracaena (Dracaeana, various types)
This plant has pretty, striped leaves and a strong upright form. It tolerates low to moderate light and likes slightly moist soil (but don’t overwater, or it will sulk). Some newer hybrids are bushier and more compact, whereas the older types have tall, strong canes with leaves emerging near the top—like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Regardless of its shape, this plant is extremely easy to grow, no matter what variety you bring home.
6. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
These pretty palms have been popular since Victorian times. It’s a beautiful, sophisticated plant in the right setting and is the perfect focal point in a bright, spacious room. Just make sure to give it bright indoor light and constant (but light) moisture, or it will get scraggly.
7. Ficus Tree (Ficus elastica)
Also called a weeping fig, this plant has been popular for ages. It’s sold as a small tree or bush, with height reaching up to about six feet tall. Ficus trees are slow growers, so be aware that what you see is what you get for some time. These greens needs bright, indirect light and moist soil during the growing season (from spring to fall), then a little dry off-season.
8. Money Tree (Aquatica pachira)
This plant has an upright form and shiny green leaves. Give it moderate or bright light, and let it get a little dry between waterings. It’s often sold with a braided trunk, and it’s purported to bring good luck (who doesn’t need more of that?).
9. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
This eye-catching palm with feathery fronds can grow to six or seven feet tall, so make sure you have high ceilings or a large room to do it justice. It also needs bright light and constant, but light, moisture—don’t let it get too soggy.
10. Umbrella Tree (Schefflera, various species)
This tropical shrub has glossy leaflets that spiral out like the spokes on a wheel. It prefers bright, filtered light, and should only be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. It’s fairly easy to grow, so it’s a good choice if you’re new to houseplants.
11. Lady Palm (Rhapsis excelsa)
This variety is less finicky than many other types of palms. The strappy fans of leaves have an elegant form that looks great in every room of the house. Give it bright, indirect light, and water when the soil surface feels dry to the touch.
12. Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera, various types)
Several different species go by the same name, but they all have long-lobed leaves and elongated holes. Some develop these holes as they mature, while others develop what look more like long slashes. Regardless of which variety you buy, they are super-easy plants that like bright, indirect light and water when the top few inches feel dry.