While many common houseplants originate in the filtered shade of tropical regions, there are others that crave the sun. If the summer sun is lighting up your rooms through south- and southwest-facing windows, you are among the lucky houseplant-lovers who can enjoy houseplants for bright light!
Here are five houseplants to grow near those bright windows:
Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
This succulent, with its tree-shape stems and fleshy leaves, is easy to grow and love. Place it in a spot that gets about four hours of bright, filtered light all year. (Jade plants can live with less, but they grow tall and leggy over time.) They grow well in regular potting soil, and you can allow the soil to dry out between waterings; if the leaves begin to fall off, though, the plant is too dry. Jade plant is long-lived; with care, it can last ten years or more; and it’s easy to propagate from tip cuttings and last indefinitely.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum pictum)
Joseph’s Coat is a common name for this plant because of its bright, colorful foliage – large yellow, yellow-orange, green, yellow-green leaves all growing from the same stem! Find a spot in your home with bright light for the most intense colors. Croton grows easily in good potting soil with regular watering. It also benefits from spending summer outdoors in dappled shade. One thing to watch for: small, cottony clumps on the leaf veins or stems – an infestation of mealybugs. Brush them away with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus)
You may think of papyrus as a marsh or pond plant, but indoors, in front of a sunny window, it makes a unique houseplant that’s easy to love. The tall stems end in sprays of grassy, thread-like leaves. Best, though, is that the roots can stand in water (as long as the water is changed regularly). Houseplant experts suggest giving half-diluted plant food every couple of weeks, and papyrus benefits from misting in winter, when the air in your home is drier.
Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
To feel like you’re on a tropical island inside your home, place a tropical hibiscus in front of that bright-light window and wait for the blooms! The large flowers are unusual for an indoor plant, which can grow to the size of a small tree. Give enough water to keep the soil slightly moist. You can keep the size manageable by pruning in the fall. In summer, the plant benefits from being outdoors in partial sun, but be sure to bring it in before nights get too cool. Houseplant guides say the plants bloom from late spring to late fall, but I’ve had a hibiscus tree opening its red blooms indoors on Christmas day.
Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
Areca can be a large, statement-making palm in front of your bright window, with its feathery fronds that grow from the roots to possibly 6 – 7 feet tall. The palms also prefer warmth, so keep it in a room that doesn’t get below 65 degrees F. Keep the soil evenly moist, and watch for spider mites that can become a problem if the air is too dry.
Snake plant (Sanseveria trifasciata)
And here’s a bonus! Snake plant is known for being a houseplant that tolerates low-light conditions and benign neglect, but it does well in bright light, too, growing tall and robust. Grow snake plant in regular potting soil, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings, especially in winter. When repotting (in spring is best) and as plants grow, pebbles added to the bottom of the pot can keep it from toppling over.
Visit the Gardens of Babylon Garden Center to check out the selections of houseplants that grow in bright light, or in whatever light conditions you have in your home.