Here comes the sun! While the warm spring air is still weeks away, we’re already starting to enjoy longer days—along with more sunlight streaming through our windows. Even in the wintertime, intense sunlight from a south-facing window might be too much for some of your houseplants. These six houseplants are great for those bright windows, bringing a sneak-peek of summer into your favorite sunny room!
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
There aren’t many houseplants that can deliver this much color without a single bloom in sight! This exceptional plant features coarse foliage in head-turning shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, bronze, and green. Croton are some of the best houseplants for sunny windows; the more light you give them, the more intense the foliage color will be. Croton does bloom from late winter to early spring, but the dainty white star-shaped flowers are mere accents compared to their bold foliage. It prefers average to evenly-moist soil; your best bet is to check the soil daily and water when the top inch of soil has dried. Excellent drainage is key, as this stunning houseplant has no tolerance for standing water. Under the right conditions, Croton will grow to a height of four feet with a three-foot spread.
Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
A beautiful and unique-looking indoor tree, this houseplant is a mature tree-form version of the Umbrella Plant. Its most eye-catching feature is the leafing pattern of the branches, which forms round, umbrella-like clusters of glossy, oval-shaped leaves. The Dwarf Umbrella Tree looks spectacular in rooms with sunny floor-length or bay windows, and does well in both full sun or bright indirect light. However, more intense light exposure will mean a more frequent watering schedule. Evenly moist soil is best for keeping your Umbrella Tree happy, so check the soil daily and water once the soil surface feels partially dry. Make sure your pot allows water to drain away from the plant roots, so the tree doesn’t sit in standing water. With proper care, your Dwarf Umbrella Tree can grow to a not-so-dwarf height—up to 10 feet tall with a five-foot spread!
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
Not only does Aloe Vera love the sun, but it also loves to heal you from it! This attractive houseplant’s leaves are filled with a gel-like substance that can be used as an all-natural after-sun lotion—and it really works. Their spiky, sword-like foliage adds a cool desert-inspired vibe to your home decor, which works especially well with south-of-the-border motifs. If exposed to enough light, your Aloe plant might even flower in the summer! Aloe Vera is naturally adapted to sunny desert conditions, so it does best if allowed to dry out completely. Water sparingly, Aloe can go long periods of time without a drink. Indoor Aloe tends to stay compact, and won’t likely exceed a height or spread of 24 inches.
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
With their gorgeous pink-tinged succulent foliage, Jade Plants make fabulous houseplants at any size—from 4-inch babies to impressive 4-foot trees! These exotic-looking plants make excellent indoor plants for sunny windows. In late winter, they bear very pretty clusters of blushing star-shaped flowers, whose pointy petals contrast nicely with the round, almost coin-shaped foliage. Drainage is essential for Jade Plants; they do best with sandy soil and some time to dry out in between waterings. Jade Plants will occasionally need to be repotted as they reach their full height, and regular pruning will help train the plant into an attractive shape. If left unpruned, the branching might get a little unruly over time.
String of Pearls
Behold, the perfect hanging planter specimen for your south-facing window! String of Pearls make excellent sunny window plants and feature an absolutely adorable mass of trailing vines lined with pearl-shaped, succulent foliage. Virtually everyone who lays eyes on String of Pearls can’t help but take a closer look—their unique foliage is a perfect combination of modern, chic, and eclectic. Better yet, they’re an exceptionally low-maintenance choice as sun-loving houseplants go, preferring to dry out between waterings. Just keep your String of Pearls out of standing water, and it will reward you with long, tumbling strands of “pearls” for years to come!
Blooming Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
Need an accent plant to set off a room filled with lush greenery? This gorgeous succulent is one of our favorite flowering houseplants that thrive in direct sunlight. From late winter to early spring, you’ll fall in love with Kalanchoe’s clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink,or white. When not in flower, the foliage is ornamental in its own right, with a medium texture that can be used to create a nice balance between coarser foliage plants, like croton or umbrella tree, and finer foliage plants, such as String of Pearls.
Give these houseplants a place on your sunniest windowsill today! You can find each of these heat-loving plants at either one of our Chicagoland plant nursery locations in Bloomingdale or Carpentersville.
Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.