Grand indoor atriums offer the opportunity to cultivate small trees and bold architectural plants that make a dramatic living statement. The soaring available vertical space in atrium environments allows for growing towering, majestic indoor plants.
Choosing the right statement-making trees and plants to display within an indoor atrium setting requires factoring in the light levels, humidity, and atrium height. When correctly matched to conditions, large-scale indoor plants make breathtaking centerpiece specimens to anchor and accentuate spacious atrium designs.
- Choose small trees and statement plants adapted to indoor cultivation that suit the atrium’s vertical space when fully grown.
- Select both fast growing specimens like weeping fig and slow growing palms to create mixed arrangements.
- Ensure all plants match the appropriate light levels present, whether bright through skylights or shaded corners.
- Surround bold focal point plants with smaller accent plants like ferns and orchids to add diversity.
- Arrange plants in creative ways through distinct groupings, raised planters, living walls, and hanging displays.
- Tailor care to provide ample water, humidity, light, and nutrients based on each plant variety’s needs.
- Monitor for pest and diseases and promptly treat. Remove declining plants not adapting well.
- Take advantage of indoor atrium environments to showcase specimen trees and plants that make a dramatic living statement.
Benefits of Atrium Spaces
Indoor atriums create stunning interior landscaping possibilities through:
1. Soaring vertical space to showcase tall plants
The high vertical space and often multiple stories of indoor atriums allow for exceptionally tall plants to be displayed without the confines of standard ceiling heights. Palms, banana trees, and large tropical specimens can reach up to the light-filled heights and make a dramatic living statement within the vertical airspace that atriums provide.
2. Abundant natural light entering through overhead skylights
Skylights are a signature feature of atriums and greenhouses, allowing sunlight to flood the interior with ample illumination for all types of plants to thrive under. The overhead glass panels maximize natural light levels, creating bright, welcoming indoor gardens open to the sky above yet protected from elements.
3. Controllable temperature, humidity, and growing conditions
The enclosed environments of atriums and greenhouses allow for customized control over temperature, humidity, airflow, supplemental lighting, and other environmental factors. Sophisticated systems create ideal growing conditions for rare exotic plants that require specific settings to flourish.
4. Flexible floorspace for creatively arranging specimens
The wide open floorplans found in indoor atriums and greenhouses provide almost endless options for arranging displays and compositions. Plants can be grouped in beds, set as focal points, and allow visitors to wander freely through the creatively designed greenery.
5. Intimacy from being bounded while connecting to outdoors
There is an intimate ambience from being enclosed within an indoor sanctuary of plants and nature while still feeling connected to the outdoors through overhead light and views of the surroundings. Atriums offer an intimate refuge amidst towering plants.
Thoughtfully designed atriums filled with impressive indoor plants foster relaxation while connecting people to nature within built environments.
Choosing Statement Plants for Atriums
When selecting indoor trees and statement plants for atriums, factor in:
1. Mature plant height
When selecting plants for indoor atriums and greenhouses, carefully consider the ultimate mature height a specimen can reach when fully grown, and choose plants appropriately sized for the vertical dimensions of the space. Taller varieties often thrive in atriums, but leave sufficient overhead room for their growth. Avoid cramping and crowding plants.
2. Growth rate
Note whether potential atrium plants have an exceptionally fast growth rate, which may mean they overgrow their space sooner than desired before slow-growing companions. Choosing a mix of fast and moderate growing varieties creates a diverse composition. Very fast growers like Ficus may need frequent pruning to control size under optimal atrium conditions.
Ensure the light conditions in the atrium or greenhouse, whether bright, moderate or low, suit the requirements of plants you wish to incorporate. Factor in exposures, seasons, and skylight placements overhead. Select specimens that match the ambient illumination or provide targeted supplemental lighting where needed.
4. Soil needs
Some tropical plants demand moisture-retentive yet well-draining soil mixes customized to their requirements, while others like cacti and succulents require very quick-draining mineral soils. Provide properly amended soil types tailored each specimen’s needs. Mimic native growing conditions.
When siting larger spreading plants, check the expected mature width and allow ample elbow room between specimens. Under-spaced plants will crowd each other as they increase in size. Check spacing for expands like bananas, cabbage tree palms, and other broad plants. Give them space to achieve their full spread dimension.
By making careful selections suited to the atrium environment, truly stunning indoor plant displays result.
Best Trees for Indoor Atriums
Small tropical and subtropical trees adapted to interior conditions thrive in atriums. Prime choices include:
Fig trees like the popular weeping fig provide bold, sculptural foliage and substantial height as they mature, which suits the vertical scale of soaring atriums. The ‘Alii’ cultivar of ficus in particular adapts well, with its glossy leaves and gracefully spreading branches that can be pruned to shape the plant over time. Fig trees make striking specimens for atrium plantings, while requiring only moderate watering. Keep their fast growth in check.
2. Lady Palm
A tall, slender palm, Rhapis excelsa adapts beautifully to the bright illuminated spaces of indoor atriums and greenhouses. Its reed-like clustered trunks topped with fan-shaped fronds give this palm an elegant, oriental look and refined presence. Lady palms achieve heights over 10 feet tall at maturity, operating ideally in slightly moist, fast-draining soil. Their arching leaves stand out in groupings.
3. Kentia Palm
With its slow but steady growth to heights over 12 feet, the Kentia palm is considered the king of palms well-suited for indoor spaces like atriums. Its graceful, arching fronds extend atop thin, reed-like stems, creating an elegant, almost whimsical presence. Given bright light and evenly moist soil, Kentia palms thrive for decades and lend a refined vertical accent.
4. Fishtail Palm
The fishtail palm, Caryota mitis, displays neat bushy clumps of unusual, fishtail-shaped leaves. This clumping palm grows at a moderate pace up to 15 feet tall indoors in the right conditions. Its architectural form with divided leaves makes a sculptural impression, contrasting well with plants of other shapes and textures.
5. Norfolk Island Pine
When provided ample space, Araucaria heterophylla can grow over 40 feet tall indoors, assuming a large pyramid shape with horizontal tiers of branches. This living evergreen sculpture becomes a bold focal point wherever sited. Give its rangy form room to showcase its stature. Avoid dry heated air around Norfolk pines.
These architectural trees make living artworks within expansive interior atriums. Their tall heights draw the eye up and make bold statements.
Best Large Foliage Plants for Atriums
Massive tropical foliage plants lend drama within atrium environments. Ideal statement choices include:
1. Giant Elephant Ear
Alocasia macrorrhiza makes a major tropical statement in indoor atrium plantings, with its shiny green shield-shaped leaves that can reach up to 6 feet tall on thick rhizomatous stems. This sculptural plant looks best when allowed to spread and given the space for its bold foliage to really stand out. Site giant elephant ears where their substantial size can be fully appreciated.
2. Tree Philodendron
Philodendron bipinnatifidum grows into an imposing tree-like specimen up to 15 feet tall in indoor spaces with adequate warm temperatures and light. Its deeply lobed, enormous ruffled leaves unfurl from robust stems, creating an exotic jungle impact. Given slightly moist soil, tree philodendron thrives for decades as a substantial anchor plant.
3. Swiss Cheese Plant
Named for its unique, dramatic perforated leaves, Monstera deliciosa has an easygoing nature that suits the warm humidity of indoor atriums. Let this architectural statement plant sprawl as a groundcover or climb up supports and poles. The distinctive leaves can spread to 18 inches across at maturity and make a bold impression.
4. Fishbone Prayer Plant
The brilliant white veined, rippled patterned leaves of Ctenanthe burle-marxii reach an impressive 16 inches long and elegantly fold upright each night. Its spreading form creates vibrant ever-changing groundcover of foliage under trees and palms. The fishbone prayer plant amps up an atrium’s exotic ambience.
5. Bird of Paradise
Slowly growing up to 6 feet tall indoors when given adequate warm space, Strelitzia nicolai unfurls huge horizontal paddle-shaped leaves from chunky stems. The unique bird-like floral structure emerges between the giant foliage, adding sculptural architecture. Give bird of paradise ample elbow room.
Frame atrium spaces with these substantial specimens making exotic foliage statements. Their oversized leaf forms become living works of art.
Choosing Supporting Plants and Accents
Surround atrium centerpiece trees and bold plants with supporting specimens like:
1. Garden palms
Shorter tropical palms like parlor palm, areca palm, majesty palm or butterfly palm help provide an elegant vertical accent and tropical ambience to atrium plantings without competing with tall trees. Groupings of these garden palms create shady palm groves nestled under the canopy of larger specimens. Their reedy stems and fan fronds make excellent companions.
2. Flowering bromeliads
Colorful bromeliads like vriesea, neoregelia, and guzmania will help accent the lower and mid levels of indoor atrium displays with their vibrant patterned leaves and vivid blooms. Use bromeliads in wall mounted planter pockets or integrated into atrium pools and water features to add pops of color. The diverse forms of bromeliads contrast broad leaves.
3. Flowering orchids
The graceful sprays of flowering orchids like moth orchids, dendrobium, and phalaenopsis will lend delicate, complementary textures when integrated on columns, pedestals, or ornamental plant stands among larger greenery. Their elegant blooms and arching spikes contrast broad leaves around them.
Lacy tree ferns and tall tropical ferns like Australian tree fern can help create an understory effect and shady appearance beneath trees in atrium plantings. Their arching, finely divided fronds contrast and complement the broader leaves of canopy plants while filtering light. Mixing in ferns enhances the jungle feel.
The addition of smaller scale plants prevents tall specimens from looking sparse and ties the full planting together. Textural contrasts create visual interest and depth.
Atrium Plant Display Options
The extensive floorspace of atriums allows for creative plant arrangements:
1. Central focal trees
Make bold living statements by situating towering specimen trees like imposing Ficus benjamina or stately Kentia palms centrally within the open spaces of indoor atriums. Surround these dramatic centralized trees with pools of water or spacious pathways to highlight them as the focal points. Choosing impressive tropicals as anchoring centerpieces creates lush living art.
2. Kinetic sculptures
Integrate intriguing kinetic sculpture features like gently cascading living walls of tropical vining plants or moving plant mobiles hanging at different heights among the atrium’s trees and palms. These artful displays can slowly rotate to showcase cascading philodendrons, ferns, or orchids. The gentle motion contrasts the stillness of trees.
3. Raised planters
Position geometric ornamental planters made of concrete, metal, stone or wood atop tall podiums and platforms to elevation flowering plant specimens like orchids, bromeliads, and anthuriums up closer to eye level surrounding the spaces within an atrium. Raising planters draws attention to particular plants.
4. Integrated seating
Incorporate living walls as lush green backdrops built behind built-in bench seating. Arrange chairs, lounges, and conversation areas in small functional groupings among artfully composed plantings and displays. Create human scale intimate gathering nooks and spaces for visitors to enjoy within the soaring scale of the atrium environment.
Well-designed atriums filled with interesting arrangements surprise and delight while bringing nature indoors.
Caring for Atrium Plants
Indoor trees and plants within atriums require care tailored to the species and environment:
- Water thoroughly until draining from the bottom drainage holes when the top several inches of soil become dry to the touch. Since atriums feature many tropical plants, maintain even moisture in the soil without prolonged drying. Check soil and water plants individually according to their preference. Palms and bromeliads prefer frequent watering.
- Assess the lighting needs of sun-loving plants vs shade-tolerant varieties. Adjust placement of plants to brighter or dimmer areas as needed or install full spectrum LED grow lights overhead or alongside plants to supplement natural light if inadequate. Avoid sun scorch on leaves of low light plants. Rotate plants periodically for even growth.
- Increase humidity around plants by grouping many varieties together, daily misting of foliage, using pebble trays under plants, and running humidifiers if the ambient air is excessively dry. Alternatively, incorporate fountains, pools, and water features throughout the atrium which passively increase local moisture levels around plants.
- Stake and train young trees with bamboo posts when first planted to ensure they grow tall and straight as they establish. Prune back wayward branches on trees and palms using clean tools to maximize their form over time. Remove lower fronds on palms to reveal trunks. Direct growth while plants are still flexible when young.
- Supplement nutrition through top-dressing soils with controlled release fertilizer spikes designed for tropical trees and palms while using more concentrated liquid plant feeds weekly for flowering potted orchids, bromeliads and other specimen plants to fuel growth. Rinse fertilized plants after to avoid leaf burn. The warmth of atriums accelerates feeding needs.
- Monitor closely for pests like mealybugs, scale, and spider mites which thrive in the warm, humid conditions of indoor atriums and greenhouses. Apply horticultural oils or insecticidal soap foliar sprays to treat infestations. Promptly remove badly infested plants to prevent spreading. Maintain vigilance against sucking insects.
Proper plant selection matched with attentive care helps living indoor atrium displays thrive.
Troubleshooting Common Atrium Plant Problems
1. Leggy, sparse growth
If plants become lanky and spaced out between leaves and branches, it generally indicates insufficient light levels. Increase natural lighting by moving plants to brighter areas of the atrium or installing full spectrum grow lights positioned close to plants to supplement skylight brightness. Dense growth needs ample light fuel.
2. Wilting, leaf droop
Sudden plant wilting or leaves drooping down can signal both overwatering and underwatering issues. Stick your finger into the soil to gauge moisture levels. If bone dry, water thoroughly until excess drains out. But if still wet, allow more time to dry out to remedy oversaturation. Find the right soil moisture balance.
3. Leaf spotting or yellowing
Treat any fungal leaf spot diseases immediately and improve air circulation around affected plants. Consider using a small fan to gently move air. Also reduce humidity levels if excessively high by venting the atrium more. Leaf issues often arise from prolonged wet foliage and stagnant air.
4. Root emerging from drainage holes
When roots become visible poking out the container’s drainage holes at the bottom, it signals that the plant has overgrown its pot. Repot into a larger sized container to allow more room for additional root growth. Pick a pot 2-4 inches wider.
5. Leaning, growth off center
For top-heavy plants that begin leaning severely or growing off center, gently rotate the container and stake the main stem back into a straight upright position using padded ties. Monitor to ensure it continues growing vertically. Catch issues early.
6. Pest infestations
At the first signs of pests like mealybugs or scale, isolate affected plants to avoid spreading. Remove badly infested plants entirely. For mild cases, apply organic pest control remedies like insecticidal soap or neem oil sprays targeting the insects present. Maintain vigilance.
Adjust growing conditions and care routines until plants regain health and vigor in the atrium environment.
FAQs About Atrium Plants
What are good large indoor trees for atriums?
Great atrium trees include ficus, lady palms, kentia palms, fishtail palms, Norfolk Island pines, and sometimes oaks, olives, and citrus depending on the climate and light levels.
How tall do indoor atrium plants grow?
Typical indoor atrium plants range from small palms under 10 feet to towering tropical trees up to 40-50 feet at maturity. Select plants that suit the atrium’s ceiling height when fully grown.
Do atrium plants require extra light?
Ensure skylights and atrium windows provide adequate brightness. Supplement with adjustable grow lights. Rotate plants. Many tropicals need high light. Shade lovers work in darker corners.
What are good companion plants for atriums?
Surround focal point trees and bold plants with smaller ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and palms. Contrasting textures and forms create an inspiring indoor habitat.
How often do indoor atrium plants need watering?
Water thoroughly until it drains out when the top few inches become dry. Watering needs vary based on plant size, light levels, and humidity. Tropicals prefer even moisture while succulents need less.
What causes indoor atrium plants to decline?
Insufficient light, humidity, improper watering, and pests cause specimens to fail. Ensure all plants receive conditions they need. Remove unsuited plants. Apply organic treatments for infestations.
Can indoor trees be grown in high-rise atriums?
Yes, many tropical and subtropical trees thrive in high-rise indoor atriums given ample light, humidity, soil space, and care. Certain trees can reach dramatic mature heights in tall atriums.
Indoor atriums offer special possibilities to creatively integrate trees and bold plant statement pieces within grand architectural spaces. Achieving success cultivating substantial plants inside requires factoring in the atrium’s specific conditions and plant needs. But the result is a breathtaking living environment merging nature and design under one soaring roof. Your indoor atrium can become a forested oasis, a tropical jungle, or a desert sanctuary depending on the plants included. Tailor atrium plant choices and care to create your vision of a personal indoor habitat.