Houseplants For Direct Light: Keeping Houseplants In A South-Facing Window

By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog

If you are fortunate enough to have sunny south facingwindows, you can grow a nice variety of houseplants, including many floweringhouseplants that you would not be able to grow elsewhere.

Plants for South-Facing Windows

Many people would be shocked to find out that Sansevieriaare actually good houseplants for direct light. These plants are commonlylabeled as “low light” plants, but this simply means that they tolerate lowlight. This doesn’t mean that they REQUIRE low light! These plants will havesturdier growth in direct light and may also occasionally reward you with aspray of fragrantwhite flowers.

Many succulents will thrive as south-facing windowhouseplants. Among commonly available succulents that you can grow here include:

  • Aloe
  • Echeveria
  • Kalanchoe
  • Jade Plant
  • String of Pearls
  • Lithops

Many Euphorbiasare available and do well in bright light conditions, such as African milk tree(Euphorbia trigona) and crownof thorns (Euphorbia milii). Of course, there are many morevarieties of succulents and all of them will grow well in south-facing windows.One thing to remember about succulents is that if you don’t give them enoughdirect sun, they will experience etiolation.This simply means that they are producing weaker, stretched out growth frominsufficient light.

Many types of herbs will grow well in a sunny window. Chooserosemary,parsley,chives,mintand basilas good candidates to grow in a sunny window for your cooking use.

Flowering Houseplants for Direct Light

Hibiscusare wonderful houseplants in a south-facing window. You can’t beat the floralshow of a hibiscus indoors and the flowers come in a variety of colors.Pinching the plants back periodically will keep them bushier. Be sure toregularly fertilize your hibiscus for the best show of flowers and choose agood bloom booster fertilizer.

Among other flowering houseplants that you can grow in asouth window include the bold birdof paradise, with its large foliage and exotic flowers, and the climbing bougainvilleathat you can train to grow around your window. Bougainvillea produce flowerbracts in a variety of colors including white, yellow, pink and purple.

Gardeniasare also suited to growing in a southern window, but they are trickier to growindoors than most houseplants. They require plenty of direct sunshine and highhumidity in order to do their best. Their delightfully fragrant white flowersmay be worth the extra effort.

Other plants that will thrive in a south exposure windowinclude:

  • Geraniums
  • Orchids
  • Hawaiian Ti plant
  • Citrus plants
  • Cactus (most types)

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Best Indoor Plants For A South Facing Window

A south-facing window is an excellent place to keep indoor plants, as long as you keep the right types of indoor house plants and take steps to protect them from extreme direct sunlight.

The bright natural light of southern exposure provides plenty of energy for plants that like south facing windows. But, you must remember that the glass of the window may magnify the heat to dangerous levels.

Pin Kentia palm set back from the South Facing Window – glass image Alesia Kazantceva

In this article, we share the merits of a south-facing windows for indoor gardening.

Related Reading: Growing Plants With Artificial Light

We also provide tips for reducing the potentially damaging rays of direct sun on plants and for choosing the best houseplants for south facing window locations. Read on to learn more.

Cacti and Succulents

Cacti and succulents are the ideal plants for a southern window because most of these plants need full sun and high temperatures to thrive. For example, kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9) requires the bright sunlight and warmth a southern exposure provides. The dark green foliage of kalanchoe plants helps to highlight its bright red, pink or yellow flower clusters. Aloe (Aloe vera, hardy in USDA zones 10 through 12) is another sun-loving, low-maintenance succulent that is ideal for growing in a southern window, as is living stones "Lesliei" (Lithops lesliei, hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11), part of a genus of plants with leaves that are arranged to resemble beautifully marked stones. Each “stone” has a fissure running down the center, through which white or yellow flowers emerge in the spring, summer and fall.

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