Indoor trees are a commitment. There's no two ways about it.
Even if you aren’t an avid gardener, once you bring a plant into your life, you’ll want to see it thrive. Since a plant can’t openly communicate what it needs, you’ll need infinite patience.
Our advice – don’t jump right to a tricky plant, like a Gardenia. Stick to plants that are hard to kill. Here are the best indoor tree plants to begin your gardening journey.
Braided Money Tree
Scientific Name: Pachira aquatica
Also known as the Guiana chestnut, this is a tropical tree that is native to Central and Southern America. This is a hardy plant that requires minimal care. The tree is also believed to create positive energy. This is perhaps why it has found its way into many offices and homes.
You should water your money tree every time the topsoil is dry. You may need to water more frequently during the summer and spring months. The best part is that the braided money tree is tolerant of overwatering.
An indoor money tree needs indirect light for 6-7 hours a day. Direct sunlight or contact with a hot surface, like the window glass, may scorch the leaves. The plant can also survive under fluorescent light.
A peat and moss mixture soil is perfect for a braided money plant. This will drain well while also giving the plant sufficient nutrition.
Scientific Name: Dracaena marginata
The dragon tree is an evergreen with lush, spired leaves. The tree can grow up to 20 feet outdoors but stays 6 feet or shorter indoors. The tree is toxic to your furry friends if ingested. So keep it out of their reach. The Dracaena marginata is actually a tri-colored plant. The green leaves are bordered with red and have an ivory stripe running down the center.
Unlike the braided money tree, this indoor tree can be overwatered. The dragon tree is a drought-resistant plant. So water it only when the topsoil is dry. If your water has fluoride or if you overwater the tree, the leaves will turn brown. Look for this indication if you’re a newbie.
This is one of the best low light indoor trees. The tree does best in partial shade. Even a little direct light will burn the foliage. So this tree is best for people living in murky apartments who want to bring some chlorophyll in.
The dragon tree has a pretty extensive root system. So make sure you start with a large pot. The soil should be loose and well-draining. You do not want your dragon tree to sit in water.
Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Scientific Name: Schefflera arboricola
The dwarf umbrella is native to tropical regions in central Asia. The tree has small, glossy leaves that grow palmately. The umbrella tree is an evergreen epiphyte. This means it grows on another plant. But don’t worry, you won’t have to commit to two plants if you want to grow the Dwarf Umbrella indoor live tree. It grows just fine on its own indoors.
Being a tropical plant, this tree requires high humidity. You can mimic that indoors by regularly spraying the plant. During the growing season (April - September) water it weekly. During the winter, let the pot fully dry before watering.
Schefflera needs bright and indirect sunlight. The plant tends to grow towards the light. So rotate the plant 180° once a month.
The soil you use must be well-draining. The dwarf umbrella isn’t tolerant to overwatering. You can even use sandy loam soil to ensure the water drains fully.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Scientific Name: Ficus lyrata
This popular indoor plant needs no introduction. This is a big indoor tree plant that best serves the purpose of a focal point. The tree has large showy leaves that are toxic to cats and dogs. The tree is a fast grower and can reach up to 10 feet tall indoors. So the best place to keep your tree is in an atrium or a hall with a tall ceiling. But once you’ve decided its spot, don’t move it. The plant doesn’t take kindly to that.
This tree has finicky water needs. Too much and the leaves will fall off and the roots will rot. Too little and they’ll wilt. The tree is sensitive to high salt levels in the soil. So ensure you water the plant till it drains from the bottom. But only once a month. Besides this, water your plant when the topsoil feels dry.
The plant needs bright and filtered sunlight to thrive. But direct afternoon sun can burn the leaves.
The plant doesn’t need nutrient-rich soil. The only necessity is that the soil drains well.
Scientific Name: Olea europaea
The black olive is an evergreen Mediterranean plant. The most striking aspect of this tree is its gnarled trunk. The tree has silvery-green leaves that are oblong. The olive is an outdoor tree that needs to be pollinated. But it is a hardy tree. This makes it possible to grow the live tree indoors as well.
During the first year of its life, water your tree weekly. If you live in a hot climate, water it whenever the soil feels dry. Once the has plant grown substantially, you can reduce the watering sessions to once a month. Water it till it starts draining from the bottom.
Unlike most other indoor plants, your black olive tree needs fresh air. So pick a spot for the tree where it can get bright sunlight and with openable windows. If possible, take your tree outdoors during the growing season or when you’re watering it. This will help prevent pests as well.
The soil for your olive tree needs to be well-draining. You can pot it in cactus potting soil.
Head to PlantScapeLive to get your live indoor tree.