A plant can be the perfect decoration for an empty south-facing window. However, not every plant will be happy standing in front of a south-facing window.
The plants on a south-facing window will receive lots of direct sunlight, and the 20 plants below enjoy as much light as you can provide.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, a south-facing window receives the maximum sunshine, whereas the north-facing window gets the most light in the southern hemisphere.
When you want to place a plant in front of this window or near it, you must make sure it likes full direct sun. Plants have adapted to their native light conditions, and placing shade-loving plants in a south-facing window is harmful. Think of getting sunburned by excessive sunlight, and you can understand why some plant leaves may become scorched if they have too much direct sunlight. Check your plant instructions carefully.
Plants that like bright light can be positioned slightly away from the window on a table or plant stand, giving them some shade during the hottest part of the day. Drawing a curtain slightly will also protect these plants. Read on for the sun worshippers!
Best Plants for South-Facing Windows
This unusual indoor plant provides you with orange flowers from June to August, which turn into tangy, edible fruit later in the year. This attractive plant thrives in bright sunshine, so place it on a sunny windowsill as a centrepiece. It needs one inch of water a week and a little more in hot weather. (Pomgranate image by AsceiaSpradley)
Pineapple and Earth Star Bromeliads will flower in full sun, but you need warm temperatures (75°F/30°C). Water directly into the central rosette, not the soil, because overwatering will kill them. Use rainwater in hard water areas.
A succulent with spiky, water-filled leaves, this plant not only enjoys the sunshine but also offers a pharmacy on your windowsill. Cut a leaf and use the gel for first aid! A little-known fact is that you can also use this gel as a natural rooting powder. Water infrequently, but soak thoroughly when the topsoil feels dry.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
For colourful leaf foliage and blooms, nothing can beat a Croton on your windowsill. You will need to mist its leaves regularly to keep them looking good, and compost must be kept moist. A warm atmosphere with direct sunlight will make this bush plant brighten your windowsill with variegated patterns on its leaves.
Bunny Ears desert cactus (O. Microdasys)
Bunny Ears grows wild in semi-desert regions of America, so your south-facing window is ideal. Its oval, padded leaves are adorned with soft pads. While dormant from October to April, just water occasionally, but water thoroughly when the compost is dry from April to August. Bunny Ears enjoys a breeze or being placed outdoors on hot summer days.
Abutilon (Flowering Maple)
This plant needs a minimum temperature of 65°F or higher, and it’s tricky to get the watering right because although it likes moist soil, it does not want to be waterlogged. Get the watering right, and it produces glowing orange flowers. To keep it in shape, trim straggly branches in spring or fall.
Dwarf Lemon (Citrus sinensis)
Citrus trees adore bright sunshine, and the Dwarf Lemon’s gorgeous flowers will fill your room with delightful scents. A south-facing window gives them enough sunlight to produce lemons too. Feed them every two months when fruiting and water them weekly to bring a touch of the Mediterranean into your home.
A native of South Africa, this plant offers soft leaves, adorable flowers in winter, and fruit to eat. This plant will grow quite bushy in a sunny position, so give it a medium-sized pot, hours of direct sunshine, and it will reward you with abundance in the cold, northern winter.
In Asia, this succulent plant is also known as the Money plant or the Lucky plant, so setting it up on your south-facing window is reputed to bring good fortune. Water it less when it is dormant in winter, but in the summer, use tepid water and soak the pot. Turn the pot regularly for even growth.
This succulent plant flowers in winter and offer the Northern hemisphere a taste of the sunshine in its native Madagascar. It needs good drainage so that its roots are not moist, so only water when the soil feels dry. Its attractive flowers come in shades of pink and orange, and its waxy leaves adore the direct sun.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
The elegant spiky leaves of Sansevieria are edged with yellow and are sometimes advised for shade. However, this plant thrives in most locations. It grows taller and elegant when placed in direct light, providing a sculptural element to your windowsill. Water it only when the soil is dry to the touch.
This Mediterranean herb has many culinary uses, but it dislikes cold weather, so if you want a ready supply in winter, then your south-facing windowsill is perfect. Pick leaves as you need them for salads and pesto, and make sure you use rich soil for the Basil. Water the plant frequently and remove the flowers (which you can eat), or it will turn into seeds.
Umbrella Plant (Cyperus alternifolius)
Grown in a vase of water, you have a wonderful sight on your windowsill. Famous for leaves that spread horizontally, this plant is often mistaken for its cousin, the Egyptian papyrus. Umbrella plants don’t grow as tall, and enjoy your sunny window from fall to late spring. Move it slightly backward in summer to keep its shape.
If you crave fresh greens in winter, then a pot of chives will add flavour to many dishes. They adore the sun. Placed in direct light, make sure you water them every two days, and then you can pick to your heart’s delight! Top up the soil with compost to encourage growth. In summer, put them back outside.
Bamboo creates a calm influence wherever it grows, and next to a south-facing window, you can watch its leaves fluttering. Give it a heavy pot to avoid overbalancing as this plant grows fast. Detach any offsets to give to friends and make sure to water it weekly indoors.
Chili plants grow in hot conditions, and they need the sun to ripen their pods. Your south-facing window is the perfect location! You can enjoy watching the green peppers turn red as you watch. Give them moist, nutritious soil and water them frequently. Fertilize your plants weekly when they are in fruit.
String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
This succulent prefers indirect sunlight but loves bright light, so hide it behind a palm on a table next to your south-facing window, and it will delight you with its circular ball-shaped leaves, which trail from a window ledge or table. If you are lucky, it will flower, and the scent will permeate your room along with the white blooms.
Pony Tail Palm
If you plant this palm in sandy soil and water it weekly indoors, it will reward you with the lush foliage bunched together that gives it its name. Remember to re-pot this palm every year when the roots show to keep it looking at its best. Water whenever the soil feels dry.
Yuccas grow best in hot, sunny conditions, so your south-facing window is ideal. Make sure not to overwater it, or the leaves may turn brown, and the stem will feel slightly spongy. In optimum conditions, you may see a Yucca bloom as a tall stalk produces multiple white flowers. Move it outdoors in summer if possible.
Tropical Hibiscus (Rosa sinensis)
The extravagant flowers of this plant will enchant you, and if you care for it properly, it will last 20 years or more. Keep soil moist and remove dead flowers. They only last 1-2 days, but they will continue to flower from spring to autumn if you deadhead them. Pinch the growing tips monthly to keep their shape.