Not much can cause your shoebox of an apartment to feel like a lush, tropical paradise than a plant—specifically, a big plant. More specifically: a tree! A tree that lives and thrives right inside your living room. A few things are non-negotiable to keep so grand a specimen alive and well—namely, tall enough ceilings to house it comfortably and enough natural light to make it feel like home (home being its native habitat, of course). So no, the dark interior corner of a room isn’t probably the best place for it. And yes, you’re probably better off buying a young tree and letting it grow and adapt to your home’s conditions (which will be cheaper than buying a huge tree, anyway). It is doable! Many trees and large, tree-like plants can thrive indoors if cared for properly, so we rounded up 15 favorites to get you started.
Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia)
“For Jungle vibes,” says The Sill’s Eliza Blank. “Indoors, these usually max out around 6 feet tall and the leaves naturally split as they mature.” Needs: Bright sunlight and high humidity.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
“For that mid-century modern feel,” Eliza recommends these tall, spindly plants. “Indoors, they can grow to well over 10 feet, but it won’t be straight vertical growth.” Needs” Medium to bright, indirect sun (“it will drop leaves if it doesn’t get enough sunlight,” she cautions).
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Although somewhat similar to Christmas trees (and sometimes used in their place), this tropical plant has much softer, delicate needles.
Fishtail Palm (Caryota)
Featuring lush, jagged-edge leaves, this bushy palm varietal will transport any room to the tropics. Needs: Abundant bright light and lots of water.
European Olive (Olea europea)
Olive trees in containers can be very content indoors for short periods of time as long as you are wiling to push them out eventually (or periodically during the summer months).
Triangle Ficus (Ficus triangularis)
“From the same genus as the classic ‘Rubber Tree’ and the ever-trendy but hard-to-keep-alive ‘Fiddle leaf Fig,’ but with a highly unique triangular leaf and open, airy growth habit,” is how Jesse Waldman from Pistils Nursery describes this lesser-known (and far less fussy) pick. Needs: Bright light and some humidity.