Houseplants That Like Sun: Choosing Indoor Plants For Full Sun
By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog
The key to growing indoor plants is to be able to place theright plant in the right location.Otherwise, your houseplant will not do well. There are many houseplantsthat like sun, so it is important to give them the conditions that they need tothrive in your home. Let’s take a look at some indoor plants for full sun.
About Sun Loving Houseplants
There are many houseplants for sunny windows, and it isimportant to understand whereto place these within your home so that they can do their best.
You’ll want to avoid northern exposure windows since thesedo not typically get any direct sun at all. Eastern and western exposurewindows are good options, and southern-facing windows would be the best optionfor sun loving houseplants.
Remember to place your houseplants right in front of thewindow for best results. Light intensity decreases dramatically even just a fewfeet from the window.
Houseplants for Sunny Windows
What plants like bright sun in the house? You have quite afew options here, and some of them might be surprising.
- Aloe Vera. These sun loving succulents thrive in sunshine and are low maintenance plants. You can also use the gel from aloe vera plants to soothe sunburns. Like any succulent, be sure to allow the soil to dry out in between watering.
- Norfolk Island Pine. These are beautiful houseplants that can get very large. If you have a large sunny space, the Norfolk Island pine would be a great option.
- Snake Plants. These are normally touted as low light houseplants, but snake plants actually prefer to grow some direct sun. They are normally sold as low light houseplants because they can tolerate low light, but they do much better in some direct sun.
- Ponytail Palm. The ponytail palm is another great plant for sunny windows. The common name is misleading, however, and it is not a palm. It is actually a succulent and it loves direct sun.
- Jade Plant. Another great option is jade. These plants really require a few hours of direct sun to look their best. They may even flower indoors for you if you give them the conditions that they like.
- Croton. Crotons are beautiful plants with stunning colored foliage that love growing in direct sunshine. Be sure to allow these plants to dry out a bit though.
- Hibiscus. Hibiscus are gorgeous plants to grow indoors if you have enough sunshine. These plants will produce large colorful flowers, but need plenty of direct sun in order to do their best.
Some things to look out for that indicate your plant is notgetting enough light include thin and weak stems. If you see this, your plantis probably not getting enough light. Move your plant to a brighterlocation.
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Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.)
Both its toughness and handsome foliage account for Aglaonema’s longtime popularity. Its graceful, oblong leaves grow from a central stem depending on the type, leaves may be solid medium green or splotched with various shades of gray and green. True to its tropical origin, Aglaonema prefers good light and high humidity, but performs admirably well even when both are low.
Growing conditions: Aglaonema likes a standard potting soil, warm temps, bright, reflected light, and frequent waterings. Except in winter, apply a complete fertilizer regularly. Aglaonema will tolerate potbound conditions for long periods.
5 Houseplants That Thrive in Full Sun
Light needs. The amount of water and humidity sun-loving houseplants may want varies, but the amount of sunlight they crave doesn’t. For most of them, five hours is the minimum amount of light they want, and up to 12 hours is ideal.
If your plant is not growing and thriving, it may not be getting enough light, especially if the light coming in is filtered by buildings and trees. If so, move the plant closer to the window to increase the amount of light it receives.
1. Jade Plant
Succulent star. Jade plant may start out fairly small, but give it some time and the right conditions, and it can be a statement plant in your home. Jade plants have been known to reach 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide, although for most situations 2 to 3 feet tall and a foot wide is likelier. Either way, this easy-care succulent known for its smooth leaves can thrive for years. With luck, you’ll even get blooms.
Jade plants do best in well-draining soil indoor temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius), or higher, during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 13 degrees Celsius) at night and lower humidity levels.
Let the soil dry out about 1 inch below the surface between waterings and allow it to drain thoroughly so it is most but not soggy. Fertilize twice a year with a water-soluble solution, adding it to moist soil. Jade plants prefer slightly drier conditions in winter.
If the leaves turn brown, your plant may be getting too much sun this is a more common problem for variegated varieties. Powdery mildew may be a problem if air circulation is poor pinch off any damaged or discolored leaves. You can also pinch off stems to encourage bushiness. Wipe down leaves periodically with a damp cloth or spray lightly with water to remove dust.
2. Sweet Basil
Culinary basic. Having herbs year-round doesn’t require a patch of land and a warm-winter climate. Most will do well in a sunny window. If that south-facing window also happens to be in the kitchen, the cook will be happy as well.
If you’re going to grow herbs indoors, basil is a good starting choice. It’s happy in a pot, with daytime temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 24 degrees Celsius), regular water and slightly higher humidity levels (misting or putting it on a pebble tray may help). Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and provide good air circulation. Feed every couple of weeks with a half-strength water-soluble fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.
The best news is that pinching off the leaves encourages bushiness, so you have a good reason to keep harvesting while you’re cooking.
Other herbs: Almost all culinary herbs can be grown in a sunny window, but some favorites are chives, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. Often these are even easier to grow indoors than basil, as they’re happier with less water and humidity.
3. Dwarf Citrus
Edible beauty. Even if you don’t live in a warm-winter climate, you can still enjoy fresh citrus. Citruses do well with enough sun and water, and it’s hard to go wrong with their fragrance, especially when they’re in bloom. Citruses can get large, so look for dwarf varieties of your favorites. You also will probably want a lightweight pot, and setting it on a support with casters will be appreciated when it’s time to move it.
Plant in neutral to slightly acidic soil, and water when the top 2 inches of soil is dry, letting the water drain thoroughly (citrus roots don’t like to sit in water). They can handle daytime temperatures from 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 to 29.4 degrees Celsius) and prefer higher humidity levels, so don’t put your citrus where drafts can dry it out.
Feed monthly throughout spring and summer with a water-soluble high-nitrogen fertilizer feed less often, if at all, during fall and winter. Yellow leaves indicate an iron deficiency. If the leaves curl up, you need to water more often.
Lemons and oranges are the most popular miniature citruses, but keep an eye out for kumquats as well.
4. Common geranium
Familiar favorite. There’s a reason people grow geraniums. These cheery, carefree plants add color to the home throughout the year. They’re also versatile: Some seemed designed for hanging planters others are perfect for pots still others are noted for their light scents.
Geraniums are happiest in regular potting soil with good drainage. Let a couple of inches of the soil dry out, then water and let drain thoroughly. Feed every two weeks from spring through fall with a half-strength water-soluble fertilizer.
Pinch stems to encourage bushiness, and deadhead to keep the plant flowering. Geraniums may be subject to common houseplant pests. Yellow leaves mean either too much or too little water. Repot once the roots start to outgrow the pot.
Other flowering plants: Many bromeliads, including Aechmea, Ananas and Billbergia, also like several hours of direct sun, as do amaryllises, florist mums and miniature roses.
5. Garden Croton
Standout foliage. This surprisingly sturdy plant is known for its leaves — which range from short to long and skinny to wide, and range in color from green to yellow, orange, pink, red and cream, with all sorts of combinations and variegations. Not every croton does well in direct sun, but the general rule is that the more leaf colors a plant has, the more sun it needs. Also, don’t be alarmed if it drops its leaves after you bring it home — crotons hate being moved.
Provide a regular potting mix, and water when the soil is dry to the touch about an inch below the surface. Let it drain thoroughly and empty any saucers. Crotons prefer high humidity, so use a pebble tray or mist often. Feed with a half-strength balanced fertilizer twice a month. They do best where temperatures don’t drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
Aralias are another good choice for a sunny window.