Please be aware: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases when you click on product links within this article and this website.

The number of subtropical fruit trees available for growing on your windowsill has absolutely exploded in recent years. Unfortunately, it can be hard to pinpoint a couple of varieties that are suitable for container growing – you know, the kind that don’t get 40 feet tall, that don’t bleed poisonous sap if a kid breaks off a leaf, that aren’t famous for causing allergic reactions to anyone allergic to poison ivy… those kinds of little details!

It took me a lot of time and research to figure out a nice variety of tropical and subtropical trees that I could successfully grow on my windowsill, and in this post I’ve shared my absolute favorite picks for windowsill growing. Enjoy!

Growing Lemons: Incredibly Useful & Easy-Care

The lemon has always been and will always be the windowsill subtropical that I love the most. It was my first out-on-a-limb purchase to test the waters of container growing citrus, and even though I knew nothing about correct temperature or humidity for a potted lemon tree, it turned out to be a fabulously tough little tree that weathered some tough times and still managed to produce.

On top of that, lemon is, in my opinion, one of the best flavors in the entire universe. How on earth can you go wrong?

The lemon tree is easy to grow on your windowsill, and there are a lot of different lemon cultivars on the market. I’d recommend starting with an easy-grow, relatively affordable variety, like a Meyer or Meyer Improved. You can also experiment with other dwarf types that don’t require a huge plant pot, like the Variegated Pink lemon tree, the Ponderosa (sometimes advertised as the “Wonder” lemon), and a few others.

Care needs are relatively low, but there are some basic pitfalls to avoid when growing lemon trees. Because the plant is grown indoors through part of the year, I strongly recommend assisting the lemon tree by hand-pollinating blossoms.

Looking for more information about growing lemon trees in containers? Check out the FAQs on Potted Lemon Trees!

Growing Pomegranates: Easy-Care & Gorgeous

I’ve got a soft spot for pomegranates. My very first dwarf pomegranate tree was just a baby sprout picked up for $5 at my all-time favorite farmer’s market. I hadn’t planned on bringing home another windowsill tree – even a baby one! – but neither could I refuse.

That little twiggy bush still lives on my windowsill all these years later, and shockingly enough, it was the first of my non-citrus dwarf tropical fruit trees to ever produce fruit. And THAT is enough to endear this little tree to my heart forever and ever.

In terms of care, growing pomegranate trees (both dwarf and non-dwarf varieties) is awesomely easy, even on a windowsill where temperatures don’t exactly stay a balmy 70 degrees during northern-zone winter nights.

When I say minimal care, I mean MINIMAL. I water the thing when it starts getting dry, and if there’s an aphid infestation I stick it in the shower and let it experience an artificial rainstorm. Obviously the more natural the environment, the healthier the plant, so I scoot it out to the deck every summer for a much-needed sunny vacation. I help pollinate the pomegranate blossoms here and there to promote fruit set… and that’s all, folks.

If you aren’t lucky enough to shop at the same farmer’s market that I do, you can find a couple options online. You can even start seeds for some pomegranate varieties!

Growing Bananas: Unique & Easy to Propagate

Frankly, I don’t even like the flavor of bananas; I’m not into the health-food shakes and all that stuff. However, I wouldn’t go without the banana tree on my windowsill. It’s such a unique plant, and the challenge of getting it to produce fruit is such a cool challenge.

Even better, you can clone the plant many times over in the year through transplanting pups. Care needs for the tree are pretty low in general, and if there are any growing-environment problems, the banana tree will signal distress through the leaves.

Although it can be a little work to track down a dwarf banana tree, there are several dwarf banana varieties on the market once you know what names to search for. Dwarf Cavendish is probably the most popular; for windowsill-growing, it comes in a few different sizes (small and extra-small, basically). Other banana tree varieties reportedly suited for indoor growing include a dwarf red banana and a dwarf blue banana; however, be aware I haven’t personally tested either of these!

When shopping for windowsill banana trees, you should make sure you do your research. The bananas you buy at a grocery store are seedless. Homegrown bananas might not be! Obviously, if you bought banana seeds to plant, the resulting plants won’t be seedless.

Growing Pineapple: Ultimate Taste of the Tropics

I have grown and harvested pineapple from my windowsill, and let me tell you, the fruit has the flavor of the tropics, infused with an extra flair of victory. The plant itself is a bit of a literal pain; the leaves are more like stiff, blunt spikes than anything else, and having to push past it to water my other windowsill tropical trees got annoying after a while. But the fruit was worth it.

Interestingly enough, I’ve found it easier to track down and purchase dwarf pineapple trees from local nurseries (and even Walmart!) than it is to find an affordable, windowsill-friendly tree online – but once you find a good online, nursery, the choices are just overwhelming! Either option is a reasonable starting place for a windowsill fruit gardener; I know big-box stores have a crummy reputation, but I’ve bought from these places when I’m considering the plant an experiment – and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Propagating windowsill pineapple plants from old fruit tops is an interesting process, and one prone to potential mold and rot problems. Don’t be afraid to fail a couple times before your efforts finally take root! 

You may also see articles online about starting pineapple plants from seed. Yes, this is technically possible… but I’d recommend trying it as a fun experiment rather than expecting to actually harvest fruit from the effort. It’s highly unlikely that those seeds will ever germinate.


It’s non-negotiable. Oranges are absolutely the BEST citrus flavor you can get. And mix a little orange with a little dark chocolate? Doesn’t get much better than that.

Fortunately for northern-zone gardeners, growing orange trees on your windowsill is pretty darn easy. Your biggest problem might be whittling down your options in terms of which kind of orange tree to buy. There are so many on the market – and you DO have to be careful to ensure that you pick a variety that gets you the flavor you’re looking for.

Looking for a sweet orange? Make sure you don’t pick the calamondin. It’s a culinary-quality sour variety. Not cool. There are plenty of dwarf sweet orange cultivars on the market, so do some research!


Avocados are hard to beat when it comes to fabulous flavor and versatility, but the tree itself is notoriously hard to grow outside of a limited geographic range. Planting avocados from seed is a popular hobby, but it’s almost impossible to get one of those seedlings to actually fruit.

Fortunately, new dwarfing varieties on the market are available for northern gardeners who are interested in growing avocado trees in pots!

I can personally attest to the sensitivity of the tree; you need to treat it right, or the delicate system won’t survive, even if you bring it indoors for the winter. Give your avocado tree the right care, and it will reward you!


I do love gardening in a northern zone, but I don’t exactly love the winters. Keeping a windowsill garden – well, orchard, actually – of subtropical and tropical fruit trees to grow indoors makes those long winter months a little more like summer. Sure, they’re dwarf trees; sure, coaxing them to fruit can be complicated; but the taste is real, and for northern zones, windowsill growing is the only way many of us will ever taste homegrown subtropicals. (Not sure where to purchase a started potted fruit tree? Check out my favorite windowsill fruit tree nurseries!)

There are literally dozens of fruit trees you can successfully grow on your windowsill, but for indoor container growing, these five trees make awesome starter species. No crazy care requirements, no insane growth habits. Try them out!

Interested in learning more about growing potted windowsill fruit trees indoors? Check out my manual The Complete Mini-Guide to Growing Windowsill Lemon Trees, available on Amazon along with its companion book The Complete Mini-Guide to Growing Windowsill Pomegranate Trees!

This post was originally published in 2023. The post has since been updated to keep information and links current.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>