There’s nothing quite as cheery as a windowsill bursting with lush, thriving greenery. While it’s helpful to know which houseplants can thrive in low light, it’s just as important to put light-loving plants where they can grow best.
In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing windows get the most light and are best for plants that need lots of bright light or full sun. East-facing windows get weaker morning light, so they can be good for plants that do best with bright, indirect light but could sunburn in a south-facing window.
North-facing windows get the weakest light, making them perfect for plants that do well with less indirect light or even dappled shade. Read on for our list of plants that thrive near windows to achieve the plant parent home of your dreams.
Like most of its succulent cousins, jade plants grow best in full sun—ideally a south-facing window with lots of light to create the signature red tips on their bright green leaves. However, they can still survive in bright indirect light, near a sunny window or in a lower-light, north-facing window.
You’ll want to put these adaptable succulents in the brightest place in your space. Set them up in a south-facing or west-facing window. The trick here is to give your aloe as much light as possible without giving it sunburn, so move to a spot a little further from the window if you notice brown spots or fading leaves. Aloes can also grow (albeit more slowly) near a window with weaker light.
A high-ceiling, light-filled space is a must to successfully grow this tall, sought-after plant. In this case, you’re looking for a spot in or near a large window that gets lots of bright, filtered light. That can be indirect light from a big east-facing window or a brighter window with translucent sheers to help act as a filter. Avoid exposing your fiddle-leaf fig to direct sun, which can cause brown patches on your plant’s leaves.
This fellow member of the fig family does best in spaces with bright, indirect light—but unlike the fiddle-leaf fig, most varieties of rubber plant can adapt to spaces with lower-light conditions. That gives you options, from a spot in a bright, south-facing window to a lower-light north-facing windowsill.
Since their natural jungle habitat gets partially shaded or dappled light, prayer plants—marantas and calatheas—are great options to display in east-facing or north-facing windows. Too much sun will cause their leaves to fade, but just the right amount of indirect light will keep these charming, colorful plants happy.
Most varieties of spiderwort family plants commonly referred to with this name are highly adaptable and easy to grow, with most preferring moderate to bright indirect light. Choose a spot out of direct sun, keeping in mind that wandering Jew plants with more light will be more likely to produce flowers.
For your monstera plant to get the signature slashes and perforations in its leaves, you’ll need a spot with lots of bright, indirect light to display it in. A big, light-filled window is an ideal spot to place your monstera, as long as it’s out of direct sun. (Monstera can survive in lower-light conditions, but it will grow much more slowly and the leaves will have fewer or no holes.)
The ever-adaptable, easygoing snake plant can grow in a variety of conditions from low light to full sun, giving you lots of flexibility with where you display them. However, the ideal is somewhere in the middle, so it’s best to put this low-maintenance plant in a window with lots of bright, indirect light.
Good light is a must to successfully grow this cute, trendy houseplant, making it the perfect candidate to display in a brightly-lit window. Just make sure that your plant is out of direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn. Since its leaves will naturally gravitate towards the light, it’s a good idea to rotate your pilea peperomioides occasionally to help it grow evenly.
Bird’s Nest Fern
These houseplants do well in a high-humidity space with good indirect light—the kind of conditions that simulate their natural jungle habitat. An east-facing or north-facing windowsill in your steamy bathroom is a great place to display these elegant ferns.
Up next: Looking for more ways to make the most of your windows? Check out our guide to dressing up any kind of window.