Which Houseplants Should Face North and South?

When you would like to add houseplants in your house, assessing the home’s light conditions is a wise place to start. Windows that face are the best locations for plants which grow well with just bright, indirect light because north-facing exposures get hardly any direct sunlight. South-facing exposures admit the best amount of direct sunlight, especially in winter, once the sun is low in the sky; so southern windows are ideal for plants that require a lot of direct light. If leafy crops’ natural light is not supplemented by artificial light from all directions, transfer the plants’ containers by one-quarter turn every two weeks so the plants will not have lopsided growth.

Foliage Varieties

Foliage houseplants with origins in shaded forest understories are suited to develop from the indirect light of north-facing windows. A good example is Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”), among the most common indoor ferns. Boston fern is hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12 and thrives with the added humidity provided when its bud’s bottom sets in addition to seams which line a tray full of water; do not enable the pot’s bottom to be moist. Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides, USDA zones 10 through 11) is an example of a leaf plant suitable for a southern window exposure because it needs sunlight for the best color development in its own leaves. Pick from its many cultivarsthat have distinct color combinations. When growing outdoors in the ground, coleus can become invasive in certain locations; develop it in a container to stop its spread.


A number of succulent plants grow well before south-facing windows, plus they include the vibrant echeverias (Echeveria spp., USDA zones 8 through 11). Many showy echeveria hybrids with red, pink, blue, purple or orange leaves can be found; they need direct sunlight exposure in winter to come up with the strongest colors. Echeverias require less sunlight in summer, and the hours of direct sunlight in a south window are fewer in summer because the sun is high in the skies. To get a north window, then try the succulent snake plant (Sansevieria spp.) , which grows well in indirect light. A number of species can be found as houseplants, all with leathery, stiff leaves. Dwarf snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata “Hahnii,” USDA zones 9b through 11) includes a rosette of banded, green and light-green leaves which are about 6 inches tall. When growing outside in a landscape, oyster snake plant can be invasive in certain situations; put in edging around the plant or develop it in a container to keep it within boundaries outside.

Options with Showy Flowers

Some plants with showy flowers need north-facing windows while others need south-facing windows. In winter, African violets (Saintpaulia spp.) Do well in southern windows, where they get direct light. In summer, move them into an eastern exposure, nevertheless. African violets generally are hardy in only USDA zone 11, but the species Saintpaulia ionantha is hardy in USDA zones 11 through 12. A large collection of cultivars with purple, white, blue and pink flowers are readily available. To get a north-facing place, consider peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp., USDA zones 11 through 12). Native to tropical forests, it also performs best with bright filtered light but shouldn’t get whole sunlight. Grown mostly for its leaf, peace lily features white flowers which turn green after they have been open for 10 days, and the flowers can last more than 1 month.

Tall Varieties

Valued for their size and visual effect, tall houseplants have varying demands for light exposure, based on their species. Erect plants that function as vertical accents, dracaenas (Dracaena spp., USDA zones 10b via 11) tolerate indirect light from north-facing windows. Regarding 150 dracaena species exist, offering a selection of leaf colors, such as dark green often striped with gold, cream or red coloring. The plants hit 72 inches or taller. A plant which can be grown indoors as a little tree, weeping fig (Ficus benjamina, USDA zones 10 through 12) does double duty, tolerating indirect light from a north-facing window but also doing well in a south window’s direct light. When grown as a landscaping plant, weeping fig can reach 50 feet tall but typically rises 2 to 10 feet tall as a houseplant.

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