Trees are beautiful, and the flowering varieties even more so. We love the height and contrast a good tree can add to an outdoor garden, so why not bring those trees indoors? Bringing a tree into your home can help filter your air, improve your mood, and even make you more productive!
While it can be hard to imagine bringing a full-sized tree into your home at a time other than Christmas, there are many varieties of trees that work great as container houseplants. Whether you’re looking at a bonsai tree or a 5 foot tall kumquat, there are plenty of reasons to bring a tree into your home. Citrus trees and bay trees are useful for those who like to cook, as they produce fruits and spices. Others, like Kumquats, can provide a quick, healthy snack. Still others, like cherry trees or other flowering varieties, are simply beautiful to look at or fragrant.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to bring a tree indoors, you’re sure to find the perfect variety for your home and climate.
1. American Hornbeam
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The American Hornbeam is a shade tree that can fit into the compact space of a container and therefore, looks great indoors.
Plant your hornbeam in soil that holds moisture well, as that will help cut down on supplemental waterings. You can also prune hornbeams into bonsai trees, should you desire.
2. Kwanzan Cherry
If you’d like to grow a cherry tree indoor, choose a dwarf variety—but be careful. Some varieties will require a second tree to flower. Cherry trees need to dry out before they are watered, and will require a slow-release fertilizer beginning six weeks after planting.
3. Eastern Redbud
Eastern Redbud Trees have attractive heart-shaped leaves and beautiful pink blossoms. They need well-draining soil, full sun, and plenty of maintenance if you’re going to bring them indoors.
Water your redbud tree ever 7 to 15 days, or whenever the soil feels completely dry at 3 inches deep.
4. Japanese Maple
As one of the most sought after ornamental trees, Japanese Maples comes in a variety of sizes, including ones that are suitable for growing in a container.
The container you grow your maple in needs to have drainage holes. It will need to be fertilized weekly throughout the spring and into midsummer. Water the tree weekly, and avoid getting water on the leaves.
5. Dwarf Crepe Myrtle
The dwarf crepe myrtle tree makes an excellent bonsai with contrast between the red-silver of the peeling bark. The tree has delicate, crinkled pink or purple flowers.
Indoors, it should be kept in sunlight and warm temperatures; a crepe myrtle will not flower if kept cold and wet. Reduce watering in winter and just before flowering.
Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that can be a little tricky to grow indoors. Because there are so many varieties, you’ll need to read up on the species you pick to ensure you’re giving it the right amount of light and water to do well in your home.
7. Palm Tree
Like bamboo, palm trees come in a wide variety and you’ll need to do some research before settling on a plant to bring into your home. Some tolerate lower temperatures while others need more or less light.
Serviceberry trees are shrub-like and have flowers that seem to change colors often. The tree prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade. When sunlight is plentiful, the tree will produce fruit.
9. Smoke Tree
When in full bloom, Smoke Trees have the characteristic feathery flowers that give them their name. Pruning is essential to keeping a Smoke Tree indoors, but you should wait to do so until after the tree has finished blooming for the season.
10. Orange Tree
Your best pick for growing an orange tree, or any citrus tree, is to pick a dwarf variety. Pick a container with plenty of drainage and make sure your plant gets plenty of light. During the summer, you can move the plant outdoors.
11. Dwarf Lemon
Dwarf Lemons will need around 8-12 hours of sunlight daily and consistent watering, otherwise they will not bear fruit. If your plant will only get a few hours of sunlight, consider adding a growth lamp to the space to supplement.
12. Star Magnolia
The Star Magnolia is one Magnolia cultivar that is recommended for growing in a container. Your Magnolia will need significant amounts of water and fertilizer. Remember to move your tree to a larger pot, as the fast-growing Magnolia will quickly outgrow its container and may die if squelched in a container that is too small. See our guide on the different types of Magnolia.
13. Kumquat Tree
Kumquats bear fruit that you don’t have to peel, and are cold-hardy. They can grow up to 5 feet tall in a container and have highly fragrant blooms during the summer.
Your Kumquat tree will need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, or 12 hours under a grow light.
14. Bay Tree
Bay trees will need continuous re-potting and renewed soil to thrive, and love full sun exposure in warm zones. Your Bay tree will also need continual watering.
15. Weeping Siberian Peashrub
This graceful shrub is very drought tolerant and has cheerful yellow flowers. It’s known to survive basically anywhere, so it’s a great plant for those of us who have trouble keeping plants alive.