Horticulture Magazine

25 Indoor Trees To Brighten Your Living Spaces

a young lemon tree indoors

Plants and greenery breathe vigour and energy into indoor spaces.

They’re a great way to bring a room to life, and to bring that little sprinkling of nature to cut through the man-made factors that can begin to feel a little bit oppressive.

If you live somewhere with no private outdoor space, incorporating plants and indoor trees can be the only way to invite nature in, so it’s deeply important to make the right choices.

In this guide, we’ll introduce twenty-five indoor trees to make a fantastic addition to any indoor space.

Whether you’re struggling to find room amongst your hundreds of other houseplants, or you’re a budding interior designer looking for their very first piece of indoor nature, there’ll be something in this list to align with your needs.

1) Dragon Tree

Dracaena marginata tricolor in a clay pot on a timber shelf
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Dracaena Marginata
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: BATHROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

Let’s start with the indoor tree from the picture above, distinctive with its pinnacle of spiky leaves sporting the distinctive Dracaena tricolor pattern.

Each leaf has a band of colour framed by green, with different varieties offering white or red.

While this tree can flower, it’s unlikely to do so indoors.

It’ll also reach a far more diminutive height: probably around a maximum of 6 feet indoors as opposed to 20 feet and above if left to its natural devices.

Dragon trees like bright but indirect light, and need to be in well-draining soil.

Try to find a spot with indirect sunlight, as they are prone to scorching.

Water regularly, although make sure the top half of the soil is dry before doing so.

This can take a couple of weeks, so bear in mind that the definition of “regularly” varies between plants.

While dragon trees will probably be alright with the humidity levels in your house, you can give the leaves a spritz every once in a while to add a little moisture.

2) Yucca

yucca tree in an indoor wicker basket
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Yucca Elephantipes
  • HARDINESS RATING: H2
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / DINING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM OR SAND; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK; LESS IN WINTER

This tree has a lovely exotic profile, adding a nice tropical feel to any room.

The thick, deep green leaves lilt lazily to give a relaxed energy, and the thick trunk raising them away from the ground gives a distinctly tree-like appearance that not all indoor trees actually manage to achieve.

The care requirements for this tree make it great for gardeners with less experience.

It requires less watering than the dragon tree, and it will make do with lower quality soil as well.

In fact, one of the easiest ways to damage a yucca is by overwatering it, so be careful!

During the hotter months you may need to move your yucca outside to a spot with partial shade.

When doing so, make sure to weigh down the container or put into a heavier pot.

This will prevent gusts of wind from potentially knocking the plant over.

The yucca’s maximum size is bigger than what will fit comfortably into most of our houses, although it takes such a long time to grow to this size that it won’t be a problem for a while.

You’ll need to repot every few years as the plant grows.

3) Norfolk Island Pine

needle covered branches of norfolk pine
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Araucaria heterophylla
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / BEDROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: DIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE OR TWICE PER WEEK; BENEFITS FROM MISTING

The Norfolk Island Pine is native to – you guessed it – Norfolk Island.

This territory flies under the radar of most people, unless they’re Australians looking for a local holiday or, more likely, gardeners looking for a nice houseplant.

Norfolk Island golf course lined with norfolk island pines

The plant itself boasts the evergreen needle appearance you’d expect of a pine, the needles in dense and appealing clusters.

Where most indoor trees bring an air of the tropical or the exotic, Araucaria heterophylla brings something a little more rugged and rustic, perhaps bringing to mind something Scandinavian.

Your Norfolk Island Pine will do best in full sun or partial shade, with a few hours of direct sun being tolerated.

Water every week or so, and let the top section of soil dry before adding any more.

In terms of humidity, slightly higher than average household humidity is preferred.

Give your plant the occasional spritz to make up for lower-than-ideal humidity.

4) Rubber Plant

rubber plant in the corner of a room
  • BOTANICAL NAME: FICUS ELASTICA
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / DINING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

The rubber plant is a popular choice for people looking to spruce up their interior design. The thick green leaves provide a nice shot of colour, and their care regime is undemanding.

As with some other indoor trees the ficus elastica grows to fairly lofty heights out in the wild, but it will stay within manageable limits when grown indoors.

Over time as the size increases, you may find yourself needing to stake or otherwise support the branches to keep them steady.

The best spot for your ficus elastica will have a good amount of indirect sunlight.

You only need to water when the top half of the soil is dry, and overwatering is a common source of damage – so take care!

Repotting should be done every year for a young plant, and roughly every three years thereafter.

You can tell when a young plant needs repotting because the roots will be bound.

Big leaves mean this plant is prone to collect dust, so give them a wipe down with a damp sponge if they get too dusty.

5) European Olive

olive tree in a terracotta pot next to living room window with white sofa in background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Olea Europea
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • BEST ROOMS: CONSERVATORY (PATIO IN SUMMER)
  • SUNLIGHT: FULL SUN; AS MUCH LIGHT AS POSSIBLE
  • SOIL: ANY; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

If you often find yourself in conflicts and arguments, why not ensure a constant supply of olive branches to extend to people?

Or, far more likely, why not choose this indoor tree as an attractive and distinctive way to liven up your drab indoor space?

Olive trees love plenty of sunlight, and will do best with at least a few hours per day.

Think about it: these are trees that grow naturally in stunning Italian and Greek sunshine, so you’ll need to make certain concessions based on the warm and glamorous lifestyle they’re used to.

The tree will reward you, though.

Their captivating clusters of miniature leaves come in a striking grey-green colour, bringing something a little different to the rich and exotic greens we’ve seen previously.

It’s quite unlikely that your olive tree will actually bear fruit – something to keep in mind.

Some ornamental varieties are unable to do so, while others require time outside in the right conditions to bud.

So if you’re looking for home-grown olives, you’ll need to do a little extra research.

Keep in frequent but indirect sunlight and water when the top of the soil is wet.

Repot when the root ball is getting a little restricted to give your plant the best chances for a long life.

6) Calamondin Orange Tree

a Miniature citrus tree in a white planter on a dark blue background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Citrus Mitis
  • HARDINESS RATING: H3
  • BEST ROOMS: CONSERVATORY (PATIO IN SUMMER)
  • SUNLIGHT: DIRECT SUNLIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: AS NEEDED; ONCE OR TWICE PER WEEK

We really love this one.

What’s more adorable than a plant that puts forth tiny oranges each year, and brings with it a charming and refreshing citrus scent?

Also let us clarify: these aren’t tiny oranges, technically; they’re mandarins combined with kumquats.

While this isn’t the type of plant you’d expect to see thriving in UK growing conditions, the saplings can be encouraged to have a long and healthy life if kept indoors and looked after well.

Perhaps the main draw of this plant is its scent: refreshing and orangey, and a lovely extra sensory contribution to your home.

When it’s in bloom, the calamondin will catch the eye (and nose) of any guests, and is guaranteed to be a talking point.

Indoors these trees require temperatures above 13°C and will appreciate being fertilised each spring.

Keep the soil moist but only water when the top couple of centimetres are dry, and don’t overwater.

Give the plant direct sunlight each day for a few hours if possible, and if you have the space, move outside for a few hours a day in spring.

Calamondin can actually tolerate spending summer outdoors entirely if you live in the right climate – we recommend double-checking this before doing so, however, as misjudging can harm growth.

7) Corn Plant

Dracaena Fragrans in a black plastic pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Dracaena Fragrans
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: FILTERED, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY TEN DAYS

The corn plant is an interesting-looking indoor tree.

It’s got a thick green stem with beige markings – looking almost like slash marks – which then give rise to smaller offshoots from which leaves fan gently out.

It definitely shares an exotic aesthetic with plants featured earlier in this list, and would look great alongside a yucca, for example.

The exotic visual appeal has ensure the persistent presence of corn plants in the interior decorator’s arsenal for many decades, and it’s easy to see why.

While the plant has nothing to do with the corn you find in barbecues and salads, the name derives from the tuft of leaves at the top of the plant which, as somebody noted when choosing the name, look a little like the tuft atop field corn.

This indoor tree can grow up to 15m tall in natural conditions, but in a container will most likely peak around 1.5-1.8 metres, making them ideal home companions.

8) Money Tree

close up view of the trunk and branches of money tree
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Crassula ovata
  • HARDINESS RATING: H2
  • BEST ROOMS: KITCHEN / LIVING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY TEN DAYS

Native to South American climates, Crassula ovata is said to bring good fortune and prosperity.

Thankfully it also has incredibly attractive foliage and is well suited to growing as an indoor tree.

To care for your plant, keep it in indirect but bright light and water infrequently.

9) Fiddle Leaf Fig

large indoor fiddle leaf fig tree
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Ficus lyrata
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / BRIGHT BATHROOMS
  • SUNLIGHT: MOSTLY BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

Fiddle Leaf Fig is an African native that is actually considered invasive in some areas. [source]

However, you needn’t worry about that if you’re looking to grow this in the UK, as the plant can’t survive outside of the home in our relatively colder climate.

This plant can grow to a significant size so it looks really impressive in a living space or bathroom that receives plenty of bright light.

10) Umbrella Tree

an umbrella tree on a windowsill with green foliage
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Schefflera arboricola
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: NORTH FACING
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED COMPOST; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: INFREQUENTLY; WHEN DRIED OUT

Schefflera is commonly grown as an indoor tree here in Britain but in its native environment of New Guinea it can be found in many habitats.

The plant is an epiphyte, which means it often grows on a host tree; sometimes quite high up. [source]

For the best results when growing indoors, choose a north-facing spot in your home, water infrequently and use loam-based compost with regular fertilisation.

11) Swiss Cheese Plant

monstera plant in a white pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Monstera Deliciosa
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / DINING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

Monstera is most widely known for its interesting perforations that give it a resemblance to its namesake ‘Swiss Cheese’.

This is another indoor tree whose origins can be tied back to the rainforests of South America, where it uses its aerial roots to climb into tree canopies. [source]

For this reason, it’s always beneficial to provide your plant with a centralised moss pole, allowing it to climb and grow bigger.

As it grows (and provided the plant has access to enough bright but indirect light) you’ll notice perforations opening up on the foliage, giving this plant incredible character.

Monstera that are well-cared-for can grow quite large, so choose a spot with plenty of room.

12) Parlor Palm

foliage of parlor palm
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Chamaedorea elegans
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • BEST ROOMS: BEDROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: MEDIUM OR LOW, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY ONE OR TWO WEEKS

Chamaedorea elegans is the archetypal houseplant – extremely tolerant of neglect, loves well-drained soil and prefers a quiet corner of the home.

Keep the plant in a low light environment for the best results – direct sunlight should always be avoided.

Waterlogging will stunt your plant’s growth so be sure only to water when the plant is well dried-out – usually this means every one or two weeks.

13) Dumb Cane

dumb cane leaves
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Dieffenbachia
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT OR FULL SHADE
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY ONE OR TWO WEEKS

Another South-American native, Dieffenbachia is a low-maintenance tree that is perfectly suited to indoor growing conditions.

Bright, indirect light is preferred, but the plant is equally as happy in part or full shade, which makes it an ideal houseplant. [source]

The plant will often develop interesting, variegated leaves which can make it an ideal talking point when situated in a living area of the home.

14) Benjamin Tree

Ficus Benjamina with window in background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Ficus Benjamina
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: ANY
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

The Benjamin Tree, or ‘Weeping Fig’ as it is commonly known, is an indoor tree with small rubbery leaves and drooping branches.

It is usually best grown in a consistent area of the house, as large-scale changes to its environment can cause stress, causing the plant to drop its leaves. [source]

In its native landscape the plant actually produces red and orange fruits that turn black – but you are unlikely to see these when growing the plant indoors in the UK.

15) Burmese Fishtail Palm

foliage of Caryota mitis plant
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Caryota mitis
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY 10 DAYS

The next indoor tree on our list is the Burmese Fishtail Palm, a native of Tropical Asia that has interesting, fan-like foliage.

The tall, clustering palms look fantastic in a living space alongside home furniture decor.

Use a loam-based potting mix such as John Innes and keep the soil well-drained for optimal results.

16) Bird of Paradise

bird of paradise plant in a green container in the corner of a room
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Strelitzia reginae
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: FULL LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: DRY OUT BETWEEN WATERING; BENEFITS FROM MISTING

17) Kentia Palm

kentia palm in a wicker basket on light background
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Howea forsteriana
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • BEST ROOMS: CONSERVATORY
  • SUNLIGHT: DAPPLED LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

18) Cast Iron Plant

cast iron plant in a brown plastic pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Aspidistra
  • HARDINESS RATING: H3
  • BEST ROOMS: NORTH FACING
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY 10 DAYS

19) Elephant Ear

Alocasia zebrina plant in a grey pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Alocasia zebrina
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • BEST ROOMS: BATHROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: MEDIUM, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK; BENEFITS FROM MISTING

20) Golden Pothos

potted golden pothos sat on an indoor ledge
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Epipremnum aureum
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1B
  • BEST ROOMS: KITCHEN / LIVING ROOM / BEDROOM
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT OR MEDIUM, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

21) Elephant’s Foot

elephant's foot indoor tree sat next to window
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Beaucarnea
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: LIVING ROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY 1-2 WEEKS

22) Rose Painted Calathea

large rose painted calathea with interesting leaves in a large white pot
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Calathea rufibarba
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1A
  • BEST ROOMS: BATHROOM / KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: BRIGHT, INDIRECT LIGHT
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: REGULARLY; KEEP SOIL DAMP

23) Coconut Palm Tree

small coconut palm trees
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Cocos nucifera
  • HARDINESS RATING: H3
  • BEST ROOMS: CONSERVATORY / SOUTH-FACING KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: FULL SUN
  • SOIL: ANY; MOIST; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK; BENEFITS FROM MISTING

24) Bay Tree

bay tree in a hanging planter
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Laurus nobilis
  • HARDINESS RATING: H4
  • BEST ROOMS: KITCHEN / CONSERVATORY
  • SUNLIGHT: FULL SUN OR PART SHADE
  • SOIL: ANY; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: ONCE PER WEEK

25) Southern Washingtonia

interesting foliage of southern washingtonia
  • BOTANICAL NAME: Washingtonia robusta
  • HARDINESS RATING: H1C
  • BEST ROOMS: CONSERVATORY / SOUTH-FACING KITCHEN
  • SUNLIGHT: FULL SUN
  • SOIL: LOAM-BASED POTTING MIX; WELL-DRAINED
  • WATERING: EVERY 10 DAYS

Tree-mendous!

Indoor trees are mainstays in interior design for a reason.

They are attractive, versatile, and often relatively easy to take care of.

Whether you go for a distinctly exotic ambience by combining a handful of trees from far-flung regions of the globe, or just add one or two around your home, you’re guaranteed to find something attractive and distinctive to complement your space.

While the trees in this list give a good introduction to the outdoor trees available, the suggestions are far from exhaustive.

We hope they’ve given you some inspiration, and that you soon find the right tree (or combination of trees!) to lift your home to its full potential.

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