Bigger isn’t always better, but when it comes to indoor trees, the lush foliage and thick leaves can’t be beat. Adding one of these statement makers changes the whole look and feel of a room instantly. Really — recent research has linked caring for houseplants with reduced psychological and physiological stress, and one famous NASA study found that many popular species can help purify air.
When you’re picking your tree, consider where you want your new addition to live (a sunny, humid bathroom or a north-facing entryway?) and what fits your own gardening style. (Neglectful waterers, meet yucca. Overeager gardeners, try a money tree.) Out of these 10 popular species beloved by botanists and decorators alike, at least one will fit the bill.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
This uber-trendy plant keeps popping up in design magazines and chicly styled Instagram shots, thanks to its wide, textured leaves. Young plants feature dense foliage, but that spreads out as they age and grow more “tree-like.” Give it bright, indirect light — an east-facing window is perfect. Water once the top inch of soil is dry, drench until water comes out the bottom of the pot, and then let it dry out again.
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Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
Calamondin Orange Tree (Citrus mitis)
Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
It starts small, but over time, this succulent develops thick, woody stems and grows into a 3-foot tall (or more) miniature tree. Plant in a well-draining mix, and aim for warm, dry conditions. Moist but not wet soil is the goal — shriveled or brown leaves signal you’re under-doing it on the H2O, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
If you need to breathe a little life into a dark dining room, here’s your solution. Tried-and-true parlor palms can withstand sporadic watering and low-light conditions, including north-facing windows. Bonus: They’re pet-friendly, the ASPCA confirms.
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
The classic ficus has stuck around for a reason — it’s more tolerant of low-light than other indoor trees, and it makes do with moderate watering. If you notice significant leaf drop, it’s likely due to a sudden change in temperature or light, the Missouri Botanical Garden says.
Yucca (Yucca elephantipes)
With spiky, structural foliage, this desert native thrives on as much sunlight as possible. Forgetful waterers will rejoice too: It’s extremely drought-tolerant and needs only infrequent dousing.
Guiana Chestnut (Pachira aquatica)
On the flip side, Pachira thrives in more swamp-like situations similar to its original home in the South American wetlands. It can tolerate overwatering if there’s good drainage, and appreciates bright, indirect light. You’ll typically find it sold with a braided trunk under the name “money tree” due to its fortuitous associations in East Asia.
Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
This guy can grow up to 8 feet tall inside if you give it sufficient light — too little and the stems can look leggy and sparse. Err on the side of under-watering versus overwatering, which can cause leaf loss and root rot.
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