If you love to rise with Sun, you’re not alone! Many houseplants also love to watch the sunrise from east-facing windows while they soak up the bright, cheerful light of the morning. To learn more about sunlight in east-facing windows and the plants that thrive growing in front of them, read on!
- Best Plants for East-Facing Windows – The Essentials
- The Role of Light in Plant Health and Development
- Environmental Considerations for Growing Plants Near East-Facing Windows
- The 20 Best Houseplants That Thrive Near East-Facing Windows
- 1) Goldfish Plant (Columnea nematanthus)
- 2) Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)
- 3) Monstera Plants (Monstera)
- 4) Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
- 5) Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
- 6) Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
- 7) Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
- 8) Croton (Croton)
- 9) Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- 10) Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
- 11) Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
- 12) Schefflera (Schefflera)
- 13) Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
- 14) Calathea (Calathea)
- 15) Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
- 16) Orchids (Orchidaceae)
- 17) Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
- 18) Anthurium (Anthurium)
- 19) False Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)
- 20) Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
- The Early Plant Gets the Sun!
Best Plants for East-Facing Windows – The Essentials
East-facing windows have medium sunlight, ranging from about 250 to 1,000 foot-candles with direct light in the morning. Although direct and bright, morning light is less intense than in the afternoon. The hours of light received in east-facing windows vary, depending on the seasonal length of days.
The Role of Light in Plant Health and Development
Although light is just one factor that affects plant development and health, its intensity, quality, and duration have a major effect on the health and growth of houseplants.
Every plant’s survival depends on the metabolic process called photosynthesis. The plant’s chlorophyll cells capture sunlight during photosynthesis and use this energy to convert carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Since the plant’s ability to produce energy depends on sunlight, the type of light it receives is directly related to the plant’s growth cycle and dormancy periods, development, flowering, reproduction, and general health.
Depending on its natural environment and subsequent adaptations, every plant requires a different amount of optimal sunlight. For example, a plant adapted to live beneath the rainforest’s canopy requires much less sunlight than a cactus that has adapted to live in the direct, unsheltered light of the desert.
Environmental Considerations for Growing Plants Near East-Facing Windows
East-facing windows provide medium direct sunlight and indirect sunlight, where direct sunlight hits a plant directly, and indirect sunlight is filtered through a sheer window covering or dissipated with distance.
Plants placed directly in front of and within three feet of an east-facing window will receive medium to bright direct sunlight throughout the morning. When placed about five feet away from an east-facing window, plants receive indirect or filtered sunlight throughout the morning.
Although east-facing windows do receive direct sunlight in the morning, the light is not as strong or hot as direct sunlight in the afternoon. This makes east-facing windows appropriate for a variety of plants that like direct sunlight but might be sensitive to higher temperatures that can sometimes scorch leaves.
The 20 Best Houseplants That Thrive Near East-Facing Windows
Now, let’s dive into our pick of the 20 best houseplants to place near east-facing windows. These plants will all do well with those warm morning rays.
1) Goldfish Plant (Columnea nematanthus)
Native to Costa Rica, Brazil, and southern Mexico, there are more than 25 varieties of goldfish plants. They have deep, glossy, green leaves and fish-shaped flowers that bloom in orange, red, or yellow. To bloom with their brightly colored, fish-like flowers, goldfish plants need lots of bright, indirect sunlight each day and carefully managed watering cycles. While strong afternoon light can scorch them, they’ll fare well in the light provided by the morning Sun.
2) Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)
These beautiful little houseplants feature heart-shaped, begonia-like foliage with alternating light and dark-green stripes like those found on the outer rind of a watermelon. Native to the more northern parts of South America, Watermelon Peperomia grows in the undergrowth of thick forests. In your home, they’ll thrive with lots of medium to bright, indirect sunlight.
Place yours slightly back from your east-facing windows or directly in front of an east-facing window with a sheer shade. Too much sunlight can scorch the plant’s leaves, leaving their striped colors less vibrant.
3) Monstera Plants (Monstera)
Monstera plants, well-known for their interesting leaves that develop holes or become fenestrated as the plant matures, have become a highly popular houseplant. The two most popular varieties are the Monstera deliciosa and the Monstera adansonii.
Plants of the monstera genus need four to six hours of bright, direct sunlight every day. Placing yours in front of an east-facing window can provide all the direct sunlight this type of plant needs to survive.
4) Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
The Chinese money plant is native to southern China and a popular plant in Feng Shui, as it is thought to attract good fortune, money, abundance, and wealth with its round, coin-shaped leaves.
This plant prefers moderate sunlight or bright and indirect light to thrive. Direct sunlight can actually scorch its leaves, and a little bit of shade will prompt the plant to develop larger, more attractive foliage. Place a Chinese money plant a foot or two away from an east-facing window to create ideal light conditions.
5) Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlor palm is the perfect plant for an east-facing window because it loves medium, bright, indirect sunlight – and lots of it. Plus, it can tolerate a bit of less-intense direct sunlight in short doses. This is exactly the kind of light environment that an east-facing window can provide.
During summer, when light is slightly more intense, you might consider moving your parlor palm a foot or two back from the window to protect it from direct light that could be overly intense. Remember to water your parlor palm every 7 to 10 days and locate in a warm and humid spot in your home if possible.
6) Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
Dumb cane plants can tolerate full shade. However, they thrive in medium, bright, indirect sunlight. Placing a dumb cane about three to five feet back from an east-facing window can provide the ideal light environment for this favorite houseplant to really thrive.
If you have small children or pets, however, it’s good to be aware that this plant is notorious for the stinging calcium oxalate crystals that it contains. It’s considered toxic to both people and pets.
7) Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
The areca palm loves lots of bright, indirect sunlight and is well-loved for its soft fronds of skinny palm leaves. It’s a perfect fit for an east-facing window because, although areca palm can tolerate some direct sunlight, direct sunlight that’s overly strong can scorch its delicate leaves. The direct morning sunlight is weak and cool enough that your areca palm will thrive.
8) Croton (Croton)
Croton plants are a popularly grown houseplant thanks to their attractive foliage that features a rainbow of colors, including shades of green, red, orange, yellow, and purple.
Different varieties of crotons have different light requirements. While some love bright, direct sunlight, others thrive in conditions with low light. Generally, the more colorfully variegated a croton’s leaves are, the more sunlight it requires. Croton plants also need warm and humid growing conditions where possible. As a result, the most colorful crotons thrive in the bright light of east-facing windows.
Fertilizing croton plants in spring and summer can also help to sustain robust growth and vibrant foliage (which is also the best time to propagate croton plants if you’re looking to expand your collection). You’ll also want to repot your croton plant periodically to provide a fresh, nutrient-rich soil base and room for future growth.
Also, it’s worth noting croton plants can be toxic to pets and humans if ingested.
9) Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Peace Lilies offer a host of uses and benefits and are prized for their ornamental value and positive symbolism.
Peace lily plants can survive in various light conditions, as long as they are not exposed to prolonged direct sunlight which can dry out and scorch their leaves. To protect your peace lily from scorching while still exposing it to enough light to thrive, place the plant three to five feet back from an uncovered east-facing window or directly in front of an east-facing window with a sheer window treatment.
10) Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
The heartleaf philodendron, also called the sweetheart plant, is known for its glossy, heart-shaped leaves. This plant has a vining and trailing habit that makes it perfect for an elevated display or hanging basket.
These plants love warm temperature ranges and prefer bright indirect or diffused sunlight, and too much direct light can burn their leaves. This makes them a great choice for hanging in front of an east-facing window.
11) Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
A member of the mulberry and fig plant family, the fiddle leaf fig plant gets its name for the fiddle or lyre-like shape of its ovate leaves but grows slightly skinny through the middle.
Fiddle leaf fig plants grow in full sunlight in the wild, but they also receive some protection and shade from the forest canopy. Growing indoors, a fiddle leaf fig will thrive in an east, west, or even south-facing window that receives at least four to six hours of bright sunlight each day.
12) Schefflera (Schefflera)
The Schefflera plant genus is estimated to contain between 600 and 900 species of flowering plants. The most popular of these is commonly called the umbrella plant, as it features circles of leaves that look a bit like little umbrellas.
This plant fares best with lots of medium-bright light. Schefflera plants can thrive set about three feet back from an east-facing window or directly in front of an east-facing window with a sheer curtain.
13) Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
Nerve plants, beloved for their strikingly white or pink-veined leaves, can survive in low to medium light. If your east-facing window has a sheer curtain over it, a nerve plant will thrive in the cooler, filtered morning sunshine. Too much heat or direct sunlight will dry out and scorch the leaves, turning them crispy and brown.
14) Calathea (Calathea)
Calathea is a genus of about 200 flowering plants commonly grown indoors for their attractive foliage, which is usually striped with either white, light green, or purple streaks of vibrant color.
Calathea plants require medium, filtered sunlight to survive. Exposure to too much direct sunlight can actually fade the bright colors of the leaves. Calathea plants like east-facing windows with a sheer curtain protecting them from the direct morning sun.
15) Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
The prayer plant gets its common name from the plant’s habit of opening its leaves flat during the day and folding them up like praying hands at night. It’s a popular houseplant thanks to its tri-color leaves that feature a deep, glossy-green background, yellow splotches down the center, and bright-red veins that arch from the center to the leaf margins.
Set your prayer plant about three to five feet back from an east-facing window to provide it with lots of indirect, dissipated sunlight to avoid scorching or fading its pretty leaves.
16) Orchids (Orchidaceae)
With tens of thousands of species of orchids, these exotic flowering plants are a joy to collect. Bright indirect light from an east-facing or a south-facing window is best for orchids, as they can scorch under the intense afternoon heat and light of a west-facing window. Place an orchid about three away from your window, or add a sheer curtain to shelter the plant from direct sunlight.
17) Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
The jade plant is another favorite in Feng Shui due to its softly rounded leaf segments that are thought to attract good luck, wealth, and abundance.
These plants need at least four to six hours of bright sunlight each day. Young plants should have bright, indirect sunlight, while older plants fare best when they receive at least some direct sunlight every day. The gentle direct sunlight of an east-facing window is perfect for the long-living jade plant. They’re also largely resistant to pests and diseases.
18) Anthurium (Anthurium)
Anthurium is a genus of about 1,000 species of flowering epiphytes. Commonly called laceleaf or flamingo flower, the anthurium plant produces bright, spade-shaped blossoms in fiery red hues and features similarly shaped leaves in glossy green. These plants offer a host of uses and benefits.
These easy-to-grow houseplants require occasional fertilizing, warm and humid environments, and medium to bright light conditions, like those in east-facing windows, in order to bloom. Although they can survive in lower light, anthurium will not produce any flowers if they are positioned in an environment that is too dark.
They’re largely untroubled by common bugs, pests, and diseases when grown in conducive conditions.
19) False Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis)
Oxalis triangularis is often sold around Saint Patrick’s Day as a festive shamrock plant. However, the false shamrock plant is actually a species of woodsorrel. Either way, they’re attractive plants that produce delicate white flowers and green or purple foliage.
False shamrock plants grow exceptionally well in the morning light, as they prefer bright to medium filtered or indirect sunlight. If your morning sunlight is strong, you can add a sheer curtain to your east-facing window or place your plant a couple of feet back from the windowpane.
20) Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
A healthy Boston fern has a lovely full and fluffy set of bright-green fern fronds. Expose them to too much direct sunlight, and the ferns will scorch. Shelter them in too much shade, and the fronds will become sparse and disappointingly un-fluffy.
An east-facing window covered with a sheer curtain is the perfect place for a Boston fern to grow, as it will provide the plant with the perfect amount of medium, indirect sunlight.
The Early Plant Gets the Sun!
In and near east-facing windows, your plants will love soaking up the bright, morning sunshine. Remember that the amount of sunlight your plants receive will vary with the seasons as the length of the days grows shorter in winter and longer in summer. As a result, you might need to move your plant closer or further away from the window and adjust your watering schedule along with your plant’s growing season.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.