In this guide, we’re going to run the best types of plants that thrive near west-facing windows. Whenever you purchase a new houseplant, it comes with a tag of recommended care and environmental requirements. One of these guidelines explains how much and what kind of sunlight your new plant needs in order to thrive in its new home (your home!). Your plant’s environmental needs will help you determine the best location in your home to place and display your new houseplant.
- Best Houseplants for West-Facing Windows – The Essentials
- The Role of Light in Plant Health and Development
- Environmental Considerations for Growing Plants Near West-Facing Windows
- 21 Best Houseplants That Thrive Near West-Facing Windows
- 1) String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)
- 2) Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
- 3) Mint Plants (Mentha)
- 4) Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
- 5) Jasmine (Jasmine)
- 6) Air Plants (Tillandsia)
- 7) Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
- 8) Cactus (Cactaceae)
- 9) Aloe Vera Plants (Aloe vera)
- 10) Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
- 11) Citrus Trees (Citrus)
- 12) Croton Plants (Croton)
- 13) Yucca (Yucca)
- 14) Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
- 15) Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
- 16) Inchplant (Tradescantia zebrina)
- 17) Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
- 18) Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe)
- 19) Agave (Agave)
- 20) Hoya (Hoya)
- 21) Echeveria (Echeveria)
- Growing Houseplants That Bask in the Afternoon Sun
Best Plants for West-Facing Windows – The Essentials
West-facing windows provide plants with medium to high direct sunlight, ranging from 250 to over 1,000 foot-candles. The most intense portion of sunlight occurs during the warm afternoon hours. Light hours grow longer and shorter, depending on the season, with the fewest hours of light in winter.
The Role of Light in Plant Health and Development
Light is just one factor that affects plant health and development. Light, however, and its quality, duration, and intensity are essential environmental considerations for the health of houseplants.
Light is essential to every plant’s basic metabolic process called photosynthesis. This is the process by which plants absorb sunlight into their chlorophyll and use its energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. As a result of photosynthesis, sunlight directly affects a plant’s growing cycle, development, flowering, reproduction, and health.
Plants living in different environments have adapted to thrive in various light conditions ranging from low-light forest floors to high-intensity areas like deserts.
Environmental Considerations for Growing Plants Near West-Facing Windows
West-facing windows can provide plants with both bright direct and bright indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is light that hits a plant directly, while indirect sunlight is light that is filtered or dissipated.
Placed within three feet of a west-facing window, plants receive bright direct sunlight throughout the afternoon. Placed about five feet away from a west-facing window or in front of a west-facing window that has been covered with a sheer drape, plants receive indirect sunlight throughout the afternoon.
Afternoon light tends to be hotter and more intense than the morning light received in an east-facing window. This makes west-facing windows more appropriate for plants that can withstand hotter temperatures and more intense sunlight.
21 Best Houseplants That Thrive Near West-Facing Windows
Now, let’s dive into our pick of the 21 best houseplants to place near west-facing windows. These plants will all do well with those warm afternoon rays.
1) String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)
The string of pearls plant is a succulent vine native to southwest Africa. Each of its tendrils features small, spherical, bead or pearl-like leaf segments, making each of the plant’s tendrils resemble a string of pearls – hence the plant’s common name.
These plants need between six and eight hours of sunshine each day. During the winter, when it’s cooler, they thrive in a west-facing window. In the heat of summer, a west-facing window can become too hot, and the plant could be moved back from the window or to an east-facing window with less-intense morning sun.
2) Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
Ti plants are evergreen and loved for their brilliant foliage, which can grow in shades of green, chocolate, orange, red, pink, and variegated combinations. This plant likes the heat and needs a spot with full sun, which makes it perfect for a west-facing window – even in the summer.
If a ti plant is not receiving enough sunlight, its vibrantly variegated leaves will become dull, less colorful, and more completely green.
3) Mint Plants (Mentha)
The Mentha genus contains nearly 25 species of mint plants. While these plants can thrive in partial shade, they grow fastest with full sunlight like a west-facing window can provide.
While mint plants love the sun, a little shelter from the heat of the direct afternoon sun during summer can protect the plant from scorching. Additionally, be sure to keep these plants’ soil nice and evenly moist at all times, or they can dry out.
4) Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
In addition to being lucky, jade plants are fun to grow. With the proper care, they can be impressively long-living and are largely resistant to pests and diseases. In fact, jade plants are often passed down from generation to generation in families.
These plants need well-draining soil and between four to six hours of full sun each day to thrive, and their waxy leaf segments and sturdy trunks can easily stand up to the afternoon heat of a west-facing window.
5) Jasmine (Jasmine)
This genus of flowering shrubs, belonging to the olive family, produces pretty, snowy-white blossoms that emit a pleasantly sweet fragrance. Native to the tropical regions of Eurasia and Oceania, they are commonly grown outdoors in warm climates. However, they can be enjoyed as houseplants, too.
Jasmine plants do require lots of full sunlight each day (at least six to eight hours of full sun daily, so not a good option for a north-facing window). They’re an excellent fit for south or west-facing window that soaks up lots of sunshine.
6) Air Plants (Tillandsia)
The Tillandsia genus contains about 650 species of plants, commonly called air plants. Air plants belong to the epiphytic Bromeliad plant family, and they get their name from their propensity to cling to different surfaces and grow just about anywhere. Air plants do not have traditional roots but soak up water through their leaves and moisture in the air.
Air plants like lots of sunshine. If you live in a more humid environment, they will tolerate the direct heat of a west-facing window. If your home is drier, they will fare best in a west-facing window that offers shelter from the sunlight with a sheer curtain.
7) Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
Snake plants, known for their air-purifying prowess, are easy to grow and really difficult to kill. While they can tolerate and survive situations with extremely little sunlight, these plants much prefer the warmth of the direct sun (for at least a few hours each day) and soil that dries out completely between waterings. As a result, they can thrive in a west-facing window that offers warmer, sunnier conditions.
8) Cactus (Cactaceae)
Cactus or cacti refers to nearly 1800 species of plants that belong to the Cactaceae plant family. These desert plants are characterized by their sharp, pointy spines and their thick waxy stems – both of which protect the plant from water loss through evaporation.
While specific needs vary a bit between different species, most cacti require about 12 hours of natural light per day. They do not tolerate shade and fare best in a fairly warm, dry location like a south or a west-facing window. Generally, cacti should never have fewer than four hours of light each day and no more than 14.
9) Aloe Vera Plants (Aloe vera)
This succulent plant grows in rosettes of long, spiny, pointed arms with a fleshy interior. Aloe vera is widely cultivated for its moisturizing and healing properties, and it is a common ingredient in a variety of skincare products.
Aloe vera plants need well-draining soil, lots of bright, filtered sunlight, and a warm environment that is not so hot the plant scorches. This makes them a perfect choice for a west-facing window that offers a bit of shelter from direct sun in the form of a sheer curtain. (Be sure your plant’s leaf segments do not touch the hot window.)
10) Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia)
Native to South Africa, the Strelitzia plant genus contains just five species of perennial flowering plants that produce blossoms that closely resemble ornate birds of paradise.
Bird of paradise plants can adapt to medium light situations, but in lower light conditions, their growth will slow, their foliage will droop, and they probably will not bloom. To thrive, these plants need a slightly acidic soil base and at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day with a combination of bright direct and indirect rays.
11) Citrus Trees (Citrus)
Citrus trees that produce fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes can often be challenging to grow indoors because they require so much full sunlight – at least six to eight hours each day! They also like to be kept warm in a location with good airflow.
Placing yours in a south or west-facing window should provide as much natural sunlight as possible. Depending on how far north you live, however, you might still need to supplement your plant’s growth with an artificial grow light, especially during the winter, in addition to careful pruning and fertilizing.
12) Croton Plants (Croton)
Croton plants are popularly grown as houseplants because they feature bright, ornate, variegated leaves with colors like orange, yellow, purple, and red mixed in with splotches of green.
Different varieties of these have slightly different light requirements. Generally speaking, though, they prefer slightly acidic soil and high light conditions that allow them to receive bright, direct sunlight at least part of the day, and warm, moderately humid locations.
With croton plants, it’s good to remember that the more colorful and variegated the leaves, the more sunlight they need. You’ll also want to fertilize your croton plant in spring and summer each year (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.
13) Yucca (Yucca)
The Yucca genus contains both evergreen shrubs and trees that feature rosettes of tough, sword, or lance-shaped leaves that sprout from the tops of the plants’ skinny, brown trunks. These plants are native to the hot and dry regions of the Americas, and subsequently, they prefer a hot, dry, and sunny location indoors.
Yucca plants thrive in south or west-facing windows that receive bright, direct sunlight throughout a significant portion of the day.
14) Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
These fun-to-grow succulents feature stems that are heavily laden with succulent leaf segments that look almost as if they are braided or woven. Burro’s tail plants are perfect for hanging baskets or containers displayed on tall plant stands that allow their long stems to spill and hang over the pot’s edge.
These plants are native to southern Mexico and prefer a similarly sunny, warm, and dry environment for growing indoors, like a south or west-facing window.
15) Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
The fiddle leaf fig has become one of the most popular houseplants to grow thanks to their slender stems or trunks and attractive, large, glossy, green leaves. The leaves grow in shapes that are like ovals that become slightly skinny in the middle, resembling the shape of a lyre or fiddle – hence the plant’s scientific and common names.
Fiddle leaf figs need well-draining soil and plenty of bright, direct sunlight that they can receive during both the morning and afternoon. They are suitable for south, east, and west-facing windows with an obstructed, unshaded view of the sun.
16) Inchplant (Tradescantia zebrina)
The inchplant is a popular houseplant thanks to its pretty leaves that feature stripes of pink, purple, and green.
Grown in too little light, the inchplant will fail to thrive and lose some of its leaves’ distinctive coloring and markings. Native to Mexico, parts of South America, and the Caribbean, the inchplant requires a warm growing environment with lots of bright sunlight. Plus, its leaves can tolerate some direct sunlight, too, making it a good choice for a west-facing window.
17) Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
A ponytail palm features a chunky trunk from the top of which sprouts a clump of long, narrow, curling leaves that resembles a ponytail or a small palm tree. Although, ponytail palms are not truly related to other palm plants.
Ponytail palms need lots of bright, indirect sunlight. While they can tolerate some direct sun, too much can scorch the plant’s leaves. Ponytail palms can be placed in a west-facing window with a sheer curtain or about three feet back from a west-facing window.
18) Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe)
Kalanchoe is a genus of about 125 species of flowering succulents. They have broad, waxy, deep-green leaves that grow in paddle-like shapes. Their foliage is beautiful on its own, but the true allure of kalanchoe plants is their cheerful clusters of vibrantly colored flowers that blossom for a considerable portion of the year.
While kalanchoe plants need plenty of bright light, their leaves are prone to scorching in full, direct sunlight during the summer or in the hotter parts of the afternoon. Place yours a bit back from a west-facing window or in a window with a sheer curtain.
19) Agave (Agave)
Agave plants grow in a rosette of tough, fleshy, sword-shaped leaves. Native to the warm, arid regions of the Americas, agave plants require lots of full sun, a warm growing location, and very little moisture. A south or west-facing window can provide the perfect growing conditions for an agave houseplant.
20) Hoya (Hoya)
The Hoya genus contains between 200 and 300 species of tropical flowering plants. They produce clusters of pretty white and pink flowers and have trailing heart-shaped foliage.
While many people believe that hoyas are low-light plants, this is actually incorrect. To survive, grow, and thrive, hoyas need as much bright indirect sunlight as they can get.
21) Echeveria (Echeveria)
This genus of flowering succulents contains a wide array of rosette-shaped plants featuring different colors that include shades of green, gray, pink, purple, maroon, and even almost black.
Echeveria succulents like to receive a combination of bright direct and indirect sunlight, and they enjoy the warmth of the afternoon sun in a west-facing window.
Growing Houseplants That Bask in the Afternoon Sun
If you have west-facing windows in your home, apartment, or office, then any houseplant that thrives in bright direct or indirect sunlight and warmer temperatures is a must. Just keep in mind that these locations can dry out the soil and air around the plant more quickly, which might mean you need to increase humidity or the frequency of your watering schedule.
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.
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