A flower display outside a house window.

What Plants to Choose for Direct Sunlight Places in Your Home

This is a really bright position that receives direct sunlight for most of the day —for example, a south facing windowsill. Shading may be needed in summer months.

A sunny room may seem an obvious place to dis day houseplants, but they have to be cho­sen carefully if they are going to thrive. A south-facing bay window can give a room the feeling of a desert on a hot summer’s day and will be a very hostile place for all but a few sun-lovers, but this very same window could offer an ideal home for many of the winter-flowering house- plants during the dark winter months when light is at a promium.

Desert cacti are a good choice for somewhere that is likely to get hot, and they can provide a vast selection of shapes and textures with their different sculptural forms. Other, taller, foliage plants that are suitable for a sunny window in summer include phoenix palms and yuccas, both with tough leathery leaves, but even these need constant turning and attention to keep them happy and growing well.

The summer-flowering geraniums will tolerate a lot of bright sun in the middle of summer and are especially suited to a sunny windowsill. Scented leaved geraniums, in particular, are a real boon in a sunny situation where the warmth of the sup releases their aromatic scent. Good varieties include Pelargonium crispum ‘Variegatum’ (lemon- scented), P. tornentosum (mint-scented), and P. odoratissimum (apple-scented).

In winter, jasmines and bougainvilleas are an excellent choice for a sunny windowsill. However, these wonderful plants really don’t like dry air and must have humidity to be successful. A moist, but never waterlogged, soil is necessary, and they should be watered with warm, soft water.

Only a few plants like to bask in the sun in the hottest months of summer, and even these must be watched carefully or their leaves will soon become scorched and dry. Many of the bromeliads thrive in hot, sunny conditions.

Plants that tolerate full sun

The following plants will tolerate a hot, south-facing position in summer:

Windowsill of geraniums

These scented-leaved geraniums thrive on a sunny windowsill, where the warm sun releases their aromatic perfume.


Flaming sword (Vriesea splendens), Pineapple plant (Ananas bracteatus), Rainbow star plant (Cryptanthus fosterianus), Urn plant (Aechmea fasciata)

Flowering Plants

Geranium (Pelargonium cvs.), Golden trumpet (Allamanda cathartica), Paper flower (Bougainvillea glabra), Urn plant (Aechmea fasciata)


While herbs really prefer to grow outdoors in the garden, it is always useful to keep a selection handy in the kitchen as a short-term planting. Either make a mixed display like this one, or group several plants of the same type together in one container to give a full planting.

Culinary mixed herbs

Your choice of culinary herbs will depend largely on the sort of food you prepare. When the plants start to look leggy and thin, transfer them outdoors to the garden where they will soon rejuvenate.

Here are some examples of herbs that you could keep in your kitchen: Bay (Laurus nobilis), Tarragon (A rtemisia dracunculus), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Parsley (Petroselinum crispum).