January 22, 2013 - 12:21 am
Question: Can you recommend a good, small indoor tree for my living room that will grow almost up to the cathedral ceiling? Clerestory windows provide morning sun up near this peak. I have a 10-gallon pot, but the palm inside of it is just not growing any taller than 5 feet.
I really hate to recommend plants because that is such a personal choice, and we can go back and forth until I either give up or you do or we run out of options. Also, large trees for interiors have a way of dying very quickly when moved from one environment to another.
The usual death spiral for these plants is: moving them inside the house; leaf drop within a week or so after moving it because of shock; hand watering it in a panic because you think leaf drop was due to a lack of water and you don’t know any other solution; overwatering it because it was not overwatered and now it uses less water because it does not have as many leaves; roots rotting because of overwatering; branch dieback and death.
Select and grow a plant that you like, from a small size, letting it get accustomed to your interior microclimate. If you kill it, you haven’t lost much money. You will learn to care for it without spending hundreds on a plant that will probably die.
Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at xtreme horticulture.blogspot.com. For more of his advice, see the Home section of Thursday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.