12 Best Houseplants for Sunny Windows

12 Best Houseplants for Sunny Windows

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Many houseplants come from jungle regions where the tree canopy constantly filters sunlight. However, some plants, especially those native to South Africa and Australia, need ample sunshine to thrive. You can transform a bright room with a pretty planter and one of these houseplants that crave the sun’s rays. 


The sago palm is poisonous and should not be kept in homes with children or pets.

Get the Light Right: Natural Light for Houseplants

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Add to your first aid arsenal with a low-maintenance aloe vera plant. The sap provides ready relief for minor cuts and burns, and plants are easy to propagate by repotting the pups. Plant your aloe vera in a heavy terra cotta pot that will both support the top-heavy growth, and encourage air circulation. You can also mound soil around the stem to provide support for flopping plants. 

Light: Full sun; tolerates filtered sunWater: Keep evenly moist; do not overwater; provide good drainage; tolerates drought

Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)

With its sturdy stems and interesting, fleshy leaves, jade plants have endured as popular houseplants for those with sunny windowsills or bright conservatories. Jade plants need at least four hours of sunlight each day, so a south-facing window is ideal. Although the Crassula argentea is a succulent, and therefore drought-tolerant, it is not a cactus. Keep your jade plant moist by watering it when the soil surface is dry to prevent shedding leaves. Jade plants can live for decades and continue to grow slowly over time, so keep your plant in a suitably heavy pot to prevent it from toppling over. 

Light:  Full sun Water: Water regularly; provide good drainage

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

The sago palm is a slow-growing cycad that fits well into modern decorating schemes. It produces no flowers and rarely sheds its leaves, making it a tidy choice for the bright bedroom or living room. Got curious cats or nibbling toddlers? This plant is very poisonous and should not be around pets of kids that might give it even a cursory taste.

Light:  Filtered sunWater: Allow the plant to dry out between waterings.

African Milk Bush (Euphorbia trigona)

Euphorbia trigona is an unusual-looking plant that often elicits strong feelings of affection or dislike. Although not a cactus, this succulent does grow sharp spines that can make repotting a challenge. The African milk bush is strictly a tropical plant, and if you give it a summer vacation outdoors be sure to bring it back in before temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Light:  Bright indirect lightWater: Allow the plant to dry out between waterings; does not tolerate long periods of drought

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

This popular “impossible-to-kill” houseplant is carried in most garden centers as an ideal specimen for those new to houseplants, or those too busy to provide much care to their plants. Sansevieria trifasciata does great in bright light, but it will grow in shady conditions as well. If you are lucky, your snake plant might even reward you with a flush of fragrant white flowers. 

Light: Full sun to low lightWater: Let the soil dry between waterings.

Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)

The same plant the Egyptians used to build boats and make paper also happens to be an interesting houseplant specimen for sunny spots. The key to growing a happy papyrus plant is to give it constant moisture. Papyrus grows as a pond margin plant, so it is accustomed to having wet feet. Place your container in a dish of water and change it weekly to prevent it from becoming stagnant.

Light:  Full sunWater: Provide constant water; wet roots are best.

Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

The croton is proof that foliage can be every bit as lovely and vibrant as flowers are. Do not overwater your croton plants; only water when the soil surface feels dry. Croton plants need warm temperatures to thrive and may experience dieback if temperatures fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light:  Full sunWater: Keep moist; likes high humidity.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

The swollen trunk and frizzy foliage of the ponytail palm make it a fun accent plant for the sunny kitchen or family room. Care for your ponytail palm as you would a succulent plant. Give it coarse soil amended with sand and water weekly. The ponytail palm grows slowly and will only need repotting once every year or two. 

Light:  Full to partial sunWater: Allow soil to dry out between waterings; the bulb-like base stores water.

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

No houseplant brings larger flowers indoors than the tropical hibiscus. A site with strong light is essential to achieving blooms when growing the hibiscus indoors. Pinch your plants monthly to keep them compact and branching and feed them regularly with a potassium-rich houseplant fertilizer. To keep your hibiscus healthy, provide regular, even moisture and avoid soggy soil.

Light: Full sunWater: Water regularly but provide good drainage.Color varieties: Red, pink, orange, yellow, and white

Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

The areca palm is a grand specimen for entryways or living areas with vaulted ceilings. The plants can grow about 6 to 8 feet tall indoors and have a spread of several feet. Areca palms need little other than a brightly lit space and even moisture. Make sure no water is left standing in the dish under the pot.

Light: Bright, filtered lightWater: Consistent moisture with high humidity

Jasmine (Jasmine)

Gardeners covet jasmine vines for their highly fragrant flowers that appear in late winter. White jasmine blooms are simple but plentiful, and a few cut stems make any flower arrangement special. Some varieties also bloom in pink. Jasmine plants like bright but not direct sunlight. They need humid conditions, and a summer vacation outdoors will increase their longevity and performance. 

Light: Bright indirect sunWater: Water regularly; keep moist; mist regularlyColor varieties: White and pink

String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

Senecio rowleyanus plants are a fun conversation piece tumbling over the edge of a container or hanging basket. The succulents like bright indirect light, sandy soil, and infrequent watering. Cuttings are easy to root, so you can share some of this whimsical plant with your friends. 

Light: Bright indirect sunWater: Water occasionally

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