If you’re looking for an indoor plant that’s both decorative and edible, look to the world of fruit trees! While many grow to be enormous in the wild and are native to perpetually sunny conditions, there are a number of dwarf plants that will do just fine—and even fruit!—in a big pot in your living room. Proper care and conditions (and a reliable nursery for sourcing them!) are extra important if you want an indoor fruit tree to prosper, but with freshly grown produce is the goal (and no garden required), we have confidence in your drive. Here’s a primer on fruit trees that you can grow indoors.
If you want a fig tree that fruits, steer clear of the ever-popular decorative fiddleleaf—which won’t even consider it. Instead choose a small cultivar like Brown Turkey(also known as Negro Largo or Aubique Noire), which tolerates heavy pruning, is self-pollinating, and can thrive indoors. They’ll sprout pretty oblong leaves.
Planting & Care
The size of the pot you choose will factor into how large and productive your tree becomes (opt for a larger planter for more fruit, smaller if you need the fig tree to stay small). Water it about once a week, until it comes out of the drainage holes, and prune when it reaches the size you want.
While inedible fig trees do fine in indirect sunlight, edible cultivars will need to be positioned in bright light—right in line with a northern exposure would be ideal. They don’t like the cold at all, so keep away from drafty doors and windows.
2. Lemons & 3. Limes
If you want to grow lemons and limes inside, opt for a dwarf cultivar that self-pollinates—like Meyer Lemon (which doesn’t require as much heat to ripen the fruit) or Kaffir Lime; they’ll yield the quickest crop and the plant will stay a manageable size.
Planting & Care
The best soil for growing healthy citrus trees is slightly acidic and loam-based (meaning 2:2:1 sand to silt to clay). They also like lots of moisture in the air—up to 50% humidity, ideally!—but you can simulate that environment by spritzing them regularly with water from a spray bottle. Let the soil fully dry out before watering.
No surprise here: Citrus plants need a whole lot of sunlight—8 to 12 hours of it every day. Place your tree in the sunniest spot you have—better yet if it’s a room with double exposure (southern and eastern, say). And if you have any outdoor space, they’d appreciate a few months in the fresh air if you have a balmy summer.