21 best indoor trees to grow at home

Trees don’t just belong to the great outdoors anymore. You can now spruce up your home with these statement-makers. Here are 23 indoor trees to grow at home.

indoor trees

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Indoor plants have been making a wave in the interior design scene for the past couple of years and it seems like this fad is not going away anytime soon. Some homeowners are going all-in by growing trees at home. You heard that right, trees!

Gone are the days of planting trees on your porch. If you’re looking to turn your humble abode into a tropical paradise, don’t just settle for small houseplants, make a bold statement by having a tree under your roof, literally. Not only do they figuratively and literally add a breath of fresh air in your home, but they also help set the mood.

Are you ready to up your gardening game? If so, let’s take a look at some of the best indoor trees to grow at home.

1. Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)

fiddle leaf fig

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These days, you can’t go anywhere without seeing this fig tree around. From up-and-coming cafes to your Instagram feed, people are loving this plant, thanks to its broad, textured leaves. The fiddle leaf fig comes from the same genus as the ever-popular rubber tree but unlike its cousin, it’s fussy with its environment. Fig trees don’t like overly moist or dry soil, they thrive in filtered sun and humid climates, and need to be watered every week.

2. Jade tree (Crassula ovata)

jade tree plant

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This succulent plant may look small, but it can grow up to three-foot-tall if you take proper care of it. Another popular houseplant amongst millennials, this succulent tree is both aesthetically pleasing and known for its ability to purify indoor air and expel carbon dioxide. Not just that, the jade tree is also probably the easiest indoor tree to care for on this list. Just water it every few weeks and keep it near a sunny window and it’ll grow just fine.

3. Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

parlor palm

Evgeniya Kramar | 123rf

The parlor palm is also another popular indoor tree amongst plant parents. This stunning palm-like tree thrives in low light conditions. Meaning, you can chuck it in the darkest corner of your home and it can still survive to see another day (though it’s highly inadvisable to do so). However, if you need to breathe a little life into a dim room, namely your bathroom, this is the perfect plant for you. Also, they’re pet-friendly.

4. Rubber plant (Ficus elastic)

rubber plant

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Ah, the ever-trendy rubber plant that we all love to have at home. The glossy-leafed beauty may come in different varieties, but each guarantee to make a splash in any room. It can grow into a three to six-feet tall tree if the right conditions are met – bright indirect light, well-drained soil, humid environment and good air circulation. Water once a week to keep it happy and thriving.

Read more: 12 most effective mosquito repellent plants for your home

5. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)

Indoor house dumb cane or Dieffenbachia green plant in pot on window sill, front view

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For those of you who are looking for something a little bit more colourful than your typical indoor trees, you can consider planting dumb canes, or dieffenbachia, at home. The two-toned leaves can reach five-feet-tall or more when content. Dumb cane flourishes in bright indirect light and it needs to be watered once a week to keep the soil moist. Be careful though as dumb cane is toxic to both humans and pets. The Dieffenbachia sap contains raphides and when in contact with skin or tissue, it can cause severe reactions like burning sensations and blistering.

6. Yucca 

yucca plant

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This desert tree is another crowd favourite. Its solid trunk and spiky leaves offer a striking accent to any room. Give it as much sunlight as possible but slow down on the water. This drought-tolerant plant can go for weeks without water. Just water it once a week during growth and cut back to once every two to three weeks when it’s matured.

7. Dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)

Schefflera arboricola

Konstantin Aksenov | 123rf

The thing about umbrella trees is that with sufficient light, they can grow up to eight feet tall indoors and as high as 50 feet when planted outside. Too little and it won’t flourish into a full-grown tree with vibrant green leaves. Umbrella trees require little care, but if you want them to bloom, place it somewhere with direct sunlight and water it weekly during the growing season. The downside of growing this? It attracts pests like mites and scale, so watch out for them.

Read more: The snake plant: A care and troubleshooting guide

8. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)

weeping fig

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Don’t let its name dampen your spirits, this classic ficus tree with arching branches is one of the most popular indoor trees in recent years. Unlike its fussy cousin, this ficus tree is much, much easier to grow — just put it in bright indirect sunlight, fast-draining soil and a dose of humidity. Take note of its leave counts. If leaves are dropping, you might want to take a look at where you’re placing the plant and its surrounding temperature.

9. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

areca palm

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Don’t mistake this as the parlor palm though they both share some similarities. This feathery palm grows in groups from the base and its oversized leaves fan out like an umbrella. This plant can grow up to six to seven feet tall indoors and it prefers to be in a well-lit space. Water it regularly to keep the soil lightly moist, but allow it to dry between waterings.

10. Banana tree (Musa)

banana tree

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Think banana trees only belong to the outside? Think again. This giant leaf tree may look unassuming, but place it in your balcony and it will add an instant tropical flair to your home. When shopping for a banana tree, remember to go for dwarf cultivars for this tree can grow up to ten feet tall. Filtered light and weekly watering will help it reach its full potential.

11. Money tree (Pachira aquatica)

money tree

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According to the practice of Feng shui, the money plant (or guiana chestnut) is used to enhance the energy of wealth and prosperity, which is why a lot of homeowners are flocking to the nurseries to buy one of these wealth-bringing plants. To ensure its wellbeing, make sure to keep it in filtered bright light and avoid overwatering or it’ll cause root rot. Remember to allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Read more: 15 indoor plants you can’t kill (so easily)

12. Birds of paradise (Paradisaeidae)

bird of paradise flower

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What we love most about this plant is the fact that it has the ability to command attention. Its large foliage adds a touch of the tropics everywhere it goes. While we love putting one in every room, the Birds of Paradise tree can be a tad bit fussy when it comes to its environment. To survive, they need lots of sunlight and humidity, so the living room, balcony and anywhere with ample sunlight is good.

13. Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)

Madagascar Dragon Tree

AnikaSalsera | 123rf

If you’re looking for a minimalist low maintenance plant, get a Madagascar Dragon Tree. Its slender figure will fit right into your MUJI-inspired home. They can grow up to eight feet tall if they grow in the right conditions — keep them in room temperature and an area with bright indirect sunlight. Do not, under any circumstances, put them under direct sunlight. It will burn the leaves.

14. Lady palm (Rhapis)

Another species in the palm family, the lady palm (or bamboo plant) has broad, dark green, fan-shaped fronds that lend a touch of the tropics to your home. Outdoors they can reach six to 12 feet, but when growing in confined space, they stay much smaller. Place your lady palm near the window, but out of direct sunlight and water it when the soil is dry.

15. Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans)

Dracaena fragrans

andreadonetti | 123rf

This classic tropical plant is another sought-after houseplant amongst plant aficionados. They grow from one or more thick stems that produce long, attenuated leaves on top, making them look like another popular indoor plant, the palm tree. In fact, they’re often called the “false palms” because of the physical similarities. They can grow to six feet tall and like bright indirect light as well as moist, well-drained soil.

Read more: Best 7 plant nurseries in KL for all your indoor plant needs

16. Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis)

majesty palm

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By now you’d have realised that palms are some of the best indoor trees you can grow at home. Here’s another entry if the former doesn’t pique your interest. The Majesty palm likes a lot of sunlight, so be sure to put them near a sunny window. They can grow in low light conditions too albeit rather slowly. The key to growing them? Never let the soil dry completely, so remember to monitor this.

17. Norfolk island pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

norfolk island pine

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Often mistaken as the “Christmas tree”, the Norfolk island pine tree is actually a tropical plant that can’t take freezing temperatures. The plant also has delicate needles as compared to its counterpart. This slow-growing tree can grow up to 100 feet tall if you plant it outdoors, and it can grow two feet each year in a confined space. Full sun and moderate watering (remember to let the soil dry between waterings) will suffice.

18. Fishtail palm (Caryota)

fishtail palm

dewins | 123rf

This tropic plant gets its name from the close resemblance of their leaves to a, you guessed it, fish’s tail! Though they add a tropical flair to your home, they’re not exactly easy to grow as they need to be under bright light or they will expire. Pot it in a well-draining, frequently moist soil to keep your palm happy and healthy. It thrives in a hot and humid environment, making them the perfect plant to grow in Malaysia.

Read more: How to grow and care for aloe vera plants

19. Triangle ficus (Ficus triangularis)

This ficus plant is from the same genus as the ever-lovable rubber tree and fiddle leaf fig. What’s unique about this plant lies in the shape of its leaves — they’re triangular. It can grow up to eight feet in height and has deep-green leaves that don’t fall as easily as its fussier cousin. One key ingredient it needs is bright light. Without it, it will start shedding. Plant it in a potting soil that provides quick drainage and water it when the soil is dry to the touch.

20. Lacy leaf philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

lacy leaf philodendron

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Here’s the perfect indoor tree species for new plant parents because it’s an easy plant to care for and will give out signs when in distress. The lacy leaf philodendron can only grow up to three feet, but give it lots of space as it can spread up to six feet wide! Give moderate light and only water when the top of the soil is dry.

21. Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana)

Howea forsteriana

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The kentia palm (or thatch palm) is another easy plant to grow (you don’t need a green thumb for this) and very tolerant of its surroundings. Not only does this plant add a touch of elegance to any area in your home, but it also grows at snail’s pace, meaning you don’t have to prune or re-pot it. Place it in a bright spot and avoid overwatering — only water when the soil feels dry.

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