Indoor trees, with their commanding scale and presence, bring a completely new dimension to any room large enough to show off their strong, decorative personalities.
While houseplants have many different décorative qualities and uses, an indoor tree actually affects the whole design concept of a room. Used with imagination, these larger-than-life plants can create an impressive sense of scale in a room which can cope with their grand personalities.
PICK AND PLANT
Many indoor trees have a strong decorative value; try the following: J African Hemp (Sparmannia africana) forms a wide, luxuriant mass of pale green, almost translucent, heart-shaped leaves and is surprisingly tough.
Umbrella Tree (Brassaia actinophylla) – a handsome evergreen with glossy leaves arranged on ribs; it benefits from pinching-out.
Citrus trees, including orange, lemon, grapefruit and kumquat, have tremendous appeal in fruit, as well as aromatic foliage and highly-scented. However, they do need bright light and high temperatures.
Other trees with individual personalities include Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria), Crassula arborescens, Yuccas, Banana Tree (Musa x paradisiaca), Pittosporum tenuifolum, Dieffenbachia seguine and Juoe arborescens.
Kept in scale
Most indoor trees are not very demanding to grow, which is why they are so popular in offices and showrooms. However, any home can benefit from the addition of an indoor tree, as long as it remains in scale with the size of the room in which it is displayed.
Trees can range from the reasonably priced to the very expensive, so it is worth considering carefully before buying. Some will cope well with the dry, shady conditions prevailing in most rooms, but others may need a lot of light, warmth or humidity, so it is important to choose well and to shop around first. There are growers and importers who specialize in larger plants and trees, so it worth asking their advice when planning to buy a large, expensive specimen.