The Q&A Archives: Indoor Flowering Trees

Question: My wife & I are interested in growing a flowering/fruiting tree in our bedroom, supplementing with a grow light. Do you have any suggestions as to what would grow in the 4-6 foot range in those type of conditions?

Answer: You have a great idea! I'm not sure if it'll work, but let's give it a try.

First we need to know more about the conditions in your room What is the light level in the bedroom? If there is a bright sunny window your chances of successfully growing a large flowering plant are better. In a dark situation you can add gro-lights, but most often they must be on 14-16 hours each day. Will this work in your situation? Some plants are very demanding with regard to night time temps, some preferring cool nights 55 to 65 F degrees, and others wanting to stay warm at 70 F degrees. Which will fit with your preferences?

There are not many trees that actually flower indoors. Those that fit into your specific home conditions are probably even fewer. You can look at the needs of these possibilities: Citrus trees can flower with a wonderful fragrance and then offer fruit as a bonus. Many varieties of lemon and orange offer lots of possibilities, but they are VERY demanding. Some abutilons or flowering maples can easily grow to 6' and flower. Even if they don't flower, abutilons have interesting foliage. However, they do prefer to spend the summer outdoors. Camellias are another possibility, but again have specific cool temperature requirements for several months before flowering. Hibiscus can be grown as a tree standard, and can certainly be brought to bloom indoors, but need full sun to do well.

On the other hand, there are several large houseplants/trees which don't flower, but are more agreeable to general home conditions. The Ficus or fig tree is popular because of its adaptability. It doesn't however enjoy being moved. Parlor palms are easy to grow but need bright light. The silk-oak (Grevillea robusta) is a fast growing tree from Australia that should adjust well to indoor conditions. It must be well watered especially in the summer. The shefflera, ponytail plant (Beaucarnea) and fatsia are houseplants that have the capabilities of growing quite large. These non-blooming plants could be used in conjunction with smaller houseplants that flower such as begonias, azaleas, hibiscus, African violets, or orchids.

You should assess your home conditions, as well as how much attention you are willing to give to a possibly demanding plant. Then check out the local library, a bookstore, the internet, or a nursery to see what is available and what will work for you.

Have fun! Remember if nothing seems to work, you can buy a lovely silk plant for the bedroom and care for your flowering plants in another area of your home.

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