Nothing puts a smile on your face quite like beautiful, thriving houseplants on a windowsill! As well as lifting your mood and being good feng shui, houseplants can rid the air inside your home of pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
From sunny windows to nooks that are softer lit, there really are so many benefits to having plants in your windows!
Although it’s good to know which houseplants do best in low light, you also need to know where to put plants that love light, so they can be happy and healthy.
In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing windows are the brightest and are great for plants that require full sun or bright light.
Meanwhile, east-facing windows don’t get as much morning light, so this can be the best place to put plants that thrive in indirect light, and could easily burn in a south-facing window.
On the other hand, north-facing windows receive the weakest light of all, making them ideal for plants that need dappled shade and minimal indirect light.
In our article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best window plants to brighten up your home and bring a little greenery into your living room.
Epipremnum Aureum (Golden Pothos)
Often mistaken for philodendrons, Pothos plants are just as easy to care for. However, the biggest difference is that the Pothos has big, dark green leaves with a white or yellow pattern.
Golden Pothos is also referred to as ‘devil’s ivy,’ because of how difficult it is to kill the plant. This hardiness makes it a great, easy to care for houseplant that is durable in a wide variety of conditions.
- Simple to care for.
- Great for shady areas.
- Does well in indirect light.
- Needs printing to prevent vines from outgrowing the container.
Keep the plant warm. While it can handle most conditions, high humidity really makes it thrive. In between watering, make sure to let the soil dry.
Sansevieria Trifasciata (Snake Plant)
Snake plants are a popular houseplant for low-light. They’re durable jungle plants that are well-loved for their amazing resilience and spiky leaves. Snake plants thrive when they have access to bright, indirect light.
While lower light conditions may not harm your Sansevieria, it may decrease the speed of growth overall. Snake plants do not do well with too much fussing, so make sure not to overwater.
- Simple to maintain.
- Does well with a hands-off approach.
- Comes in a wide variety of leaf patterns and sizes.
- Doesn’t do well in cold temperatures.
- Dangerous to pets.
Thrives in a wide range of humidity. You should water the soil only when the soil is totally dry, and fertilize monthly in the growing season. In the winter, move your snake plant away from the window.
Spathiphyllum Wallisii (Peace Lily)
If you want a flowering plant that doesn’t need a lot of sunlight, then you need a peace lily! These stunning plants are prized for their stunning white flowers and beautiful foliage. Peace lilies are slow-growing plants.
Young plants tend to just produce a single bloom at a time. However, they continue to flower throughout the year. They are also pretty easy to care for, and you’ll know when they need water as they will noticeably droop.
- Does well in indirect sunlight.
- Produces blooms throughout the year.
- You will be able to easily tell when they need water.
- Will produce little to blooms in lower light.
- Dangerous to pets.
Does well in average temperatures and mild humidity. You should keep the soil moist, and divide and prune regularly to encourage blooms.
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
Phalaenopsis orchids are stunning plants with blooms in a wide range of colors. They thrive with access to indirect yet bright sunlight, making them amazing window plants – especially for north-facing windows.
They are one of the most beautiful indoor plants with their durable yet delicate blooms. They do well in lower light conditions, unlike some indoor flowering plants that struggle in such conditions.
- Pretty simple to care for.
- Produces gorgeous blooms that last for months.
- With the right care, they will bloom every year.
- Root rot is a common issue, but this can be avoided if you use the right potting medium and check your plant before you water it.
Water infrequently, and let the soil dry out. This plant likes average to warm temperatures, you should fertilize with a very diluted water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing months.
Aglaonema Modestum (Chinese Evergreen)
Chinese evergreens have flat, wide leaves with dappled patterns. However, there are lots of pattern variations out there, like large blotches and tiny speckles. Aglaonema plants thrive in low light, although they do need some indirect sunlight to thrive.
The darker the leaves, the more it will thrive in the shade. An older Aglaonema might produce small flowers between the leaves.
- Has large, decorative leaves.
- Comes in a variety of patterns.
- They do well in low light.
- You need to keep the plant in warm conditions, as temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit can cause the leaves to turn brown.
- Dangerous to pets.
The plant does well in humid environments with moist soil. In the winter, you should take them away from the windows.
Calathea Ornata (Pinstripe Calathea)
Calathea Ornata plants love shady, humid conditions that resemble their natural rainforest environment. They’re called pinstripe Calathea because of their beautiful leaves. While they are a bit more demanding to care for, they’re definitely worth it!
Calathea is quite a sensitive plant. They need humid conditions, regular watering, and the right amount of indirect light.
However, Calatheas are also expressive plants so they’ll let you know when they need some TLC. The leaves will curl if something is wrong, and they will uncurl when they are healthy.
- Beautiful foliage.
- Their leaves turn during the day to get the most sunlight.
- They are expressive plants.
- Sensitive to humidity and watering levels. Therefore, you need to develop a regular watering routine and keep an eye on the humidity.
You need to provide a humid, warm environment and keep the soil moist but not soggy. You should also keep it away from drafts of cold or hot air.
Aspidistra Elatior (Cast Iron Plant)
Cast-iron plants are one of the most durable houseplants you can buy. They are also referred to as ballroom plants, and have thick, dark green foliage that elegantly arches outwards. Aspidistras do well in significantly shady places.
The indirect light from a shady, north-facing window will do! Cast-iron plants do well in practically any humidity or temperature, and they’ll manage if you forget a watering.
- Very durable and easy to care for.
- Will tolerate a hands-off approach.
- It is a big fan of shade.
- It’s pretty slow-growing.
Provide this plant with well-draining soil and indirect sunlight. You should fertilize monthly in the growing season with half-strength, water-soluble fertilizer. You should let the top two-thirds of the potting mix dry before watering.
Chamaedorea Elegans (Parlor Palm)
Parlor palms have thin stems and soft leaves. They often grow in clusters, which gives the impression of just one, shrub-like plant. These indoor palms love indirect sunlight and are a beautiful option that does just as well on a windowsill as it does on the floor.
When the plants are treated well, they can reach heights of six feet. You should take care when repotting these plants, as they have very fragile roots. In some cases, your parlor palm may have small yellow blooms.
- Beautiful foliage.
- Not dangerous to pets.
- Can be put on a windowsill or on the floor.
- The plant is simple to overwater. You should wait until the soil is dried out before watering again.
This plant does well in average humidity and temperatures, and you should avoid placing it in cold, drafty areas. You should water carefully and fertilize rarely.
Philodendron Scandens (Heart-Leaf Philodendron)
Philodendrons are famous for being great houseplants for beginners, as they don’t need a lot of maintenance, and they do well in changes to their environment. Many species of the Philodendron genus do well in low light or partial shade.
Heart-leaf philodendrons are so named because of their striking and smooth leaves. They prefer indirect sunlight and will scorch in direct sunlight.
- Care is simple.
- You can train it to climb along a trellis.
- Older plants can produce white blooms.
- Sensitive to overwatering and direct sunlight.
They thrive in mild humidity and average temperatures, and you should overwatering them.
Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
Despite what its name suggests, Monstera plants are surprisingly easy to care for! They are tropical plants, but do well in most home environments. They particularly do well in bright rooms with indirect sunlight.
If grown on a support trellis, they can grow surprisingly tall. Monstera plants are also referred to as ‘Swiss cheese plants.’ This is because they have small holes that naturally develop on the leaves.
These holes won’t appear until the plant is mature, and younger plants have small, heart-shaped leaves.
- Simple to care for.
- A great choice for a large indoor plant in low light conditions.
- Can grow on a trellis.
- You need support structures for this plant.
- To keep the desired size, you need to prune it.
These plants need nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and indirect light. You should water once the top two inches of the soil has dried. Fertilize every month when actively growing and provide the plant with average to high humidity.
Best Window Plants Buyer’s Guide
Should You Buy Plants Online Or In-Person?
Both are good options, but it is a lot of fun to browse local nurseries so you can touch the plants. However, there are a lot of reputable online retailers that do a great job of packaging plants, and online shops tend to have rarer varieties available.
If you shop for a plant in person, look for plants that have a healthy appearance. A healthy plant won’t be droopy, will have green leaves rather than brown or yellow ones, and will have no cottony or sticky masses, as this indicates pests.
How To Take Care Of Plants If You Have Pets?
Unfortunately, a lot of houseplants can make your pet sick. Some plants, like English Ivy, cause stomach aches and vomiting, while plants like lilies can be fatal to pets, particularly cats.
You should check the ASPCA toxic plants list to learn which plants your pets need to avoid. However, it’s important that ingesting any plant in large quantities can upset your pet’s stomach.
If you have a new pet, don’t leave them alone with your houseplants until you’ve established how much they love to munch on things!
You should always call a vet as soon as possible if you think your pet has ingested something potentially dangerous to them.
How To Keep Your Houseplant Alive?
As well as giving your plant the right type of light, correctly watering it is also crucial. Overwatering is one of the most common reasons houseplants perish – especially succulents – that keep water in their stems and leaves.
Rather than adhering to a strict watering schedule, touch the soil or poke it with a chopstick. If it feels damp, or if bits of soil stick, then hold off on watering. Check every couple of days.
However, if the soil has cracked, is pulling away from the sides of the pot, or the plant has wilted, then you need to water the plant.
What Kind Of Light Do Houseplants Need?
Inadequate lighting is another big reason houseplants die. Insufficient light will cause plants to shed their leaves, stretch towards the light with spindly growth, or just perish.
You may want to put a certain plant in your living room, but if it’s too dark, then you need to opt for a less demanding plant that does well in low light.
Before you bring a plant home, walk around and study your space, being realistic about how much light a certain area gets, and this depends on which way your windows face.
If you’re unsure which direction your window is facing, use your phone’s compass to check.
Generally, south-facing windows are great for plants that need bright light, east-facing windows are great for plants that need bright to medium light, west-facing windows do well in bright light as they get the setting sun, and north-facing windows are best for plants that need low light.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the amount of light a room is exposed to will change with the seasons. In the winter – when the sun is low in the sky – you may get more (or less) light than you will in the summer.
If you have no windows, or other obstructive buildings, then a cheap LED plant grow light is a good alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Fertilize A Houseplant?
Most houseplants benefit from a balanced fertilizer, but this isn’t always necessary. After all, plants create their own food via photosynthesis. However, if you want to give them a boost, just feed your plant during the active growing season.
This tends to be spring to fall for most plants. If this slips your mind, a granular fertilizer – that slowly releases over weeks or months – is a good alternative. If you would like to take a more hands-on approach, then opt for a liquid.
However, if you do this, decrease the amount to ½ the recommended amount on the package, as the instructions always list the maximum dose. Plus, when you use an organic fertilizer, keep in mind that it has a strong smell and may attract your pets.
When Should You Repot A Plant?
Most plants don’t need to be repotted straight away, but you do need to make sure that your pot has drainage holes. Drop the whole plant into a decorative pot.
You will know that you need to repot if your plant dries out quicker than usual, if the roots start poking out the bottom or top of the planter, or if the soil isn’t soaking up the water. When repotting your plant, only move up one pit size at a time.
For example, if your plant is in an 8-inch pot, then repot to a 10-inch pot. Putting a plant into a pot that’s too large causes the soil to dry out slowly, and can cause the roots to rot.
To move your plant into its new home, carefully tip the plant on its side and ease it out of the current pot. Run your hands over the sides of the root ball to loosen any winding roots. If they’re super long, it’s okay to trim a few.
Put potting soil in the bottom of the new pot, put your plant on top, refill empty spaces with soil, and carefully press down so there are no air pockets. Make sure the plant is planted at the same depth as it was in the old pot.