You may think a southern facing window is a must to do well with houseplants.
In reality, there are many interesting and exciting houseplants that do well in either east or west facing windows.
The thing to remember about these locations is that both east and west facing windows get sunshine for only a short period of time each day.
When you understand the different type of sunlight available in these two locations, it’s easy to choose just the right plants to suit the setting.
In this article, we discuss the light exposure available in east and west windows and share some suggestions for the types of plants best suited for these locations. Read on to learn more.
What To Do With An East-Facing Window
Think of an east facing windows being similar to a north facing window. The difference being that on the east side you get much better sunlight in the morning than you do on the north side.
This means plants placed in an east facing window will likely grow to be healthy and strong.
One challenge many face with east facing windows is they are often quite small.
Architects tend to put smaller windows on the east facing sides of homes and buildings. This may mean you’ll need to be a bit creative in choosing smaller plants to fit in some kind of tight settings.
If your east facing window is large, naturally you can choose larger plant specimens.
A good-sized east facing window provides the opportunity to amass a collection of plants that blends in nicely with the backdrop of landscape plants outdoors.
Hanging plants are always a good idea in windows, but remember, if you’re dealing with smaller windows a large hanging plant may completely obscure your view.
The ideal is to see both the plant and the world outdoors.
What Are Some Choices For East Facing Windows Plants?
Keep in mind the temperature with an east facing window.
The temperature in the east is usually a bit lower than in the west side of a home. You’ll want to choose your plants accordingly.
Here are some of the top choices in shelf, tabletop or windowsill plants for this challenging location:
- Syngonium (Arrowhead Plant)
- Campanula (Bellflower)
- Devils Ivy
- Cyclamen plants
- Aspidistra (cast-iron plant)
- Schefflera (dwarf umbrella)
- Cissus (grape ivy)
Some good hanging plants include:
- Platycerium (staghorn fern)
- Neoregelia (Bromeliad)
- Peperomia (potted and hanging varieties)
Some good floor plants include:
- Araucaria (Norfolk Island Pine)
- Yucca Plants
- Kentia Palms (Howea)
- Dracaena (marginata, fragrans, etc)
- Ficus lyrata, Elastica, Benjamina trees
West Facing Windows – What to Do
West facing windows are very similar to south-facing windows. West windows can get very intense direct sunlight and high temperatures.
This lighting and heat situation can damage quite a few different sorts of plants.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to shade the plants in your west window against direct sunlight. This is especially true during the afternoon hours.
Without protection, leaves of more delicate plants are sure to scorch. In fact, even some succulents and cactus sitting in a window will suffer under the intensity of direct sunlight through class.
Luckily, it’s not very difficult to do this. Simply put up a sheer curtain you can pull across the window to protect your plants when the sun is at its hottest.
This may be all you’ll need to do to reduce the punishing rays of the sun and the high temperatures associated with them.
If you have a very large window, consider installing external blinds for more effective shading. Planting deciduous trees outside west-facing windows is also a good idea.
Small west windows are uncommon because architects usually try to design buildings in a way to take the most advantage of natural light.
If you have a large west window, it’s great for your passive solar needs and may provide an excellent view, but it can be pretty harsh on your indoor plants.
Choosing West Facing Window Plants
It may seem sort of difficult to create exterior shade for a west facing window, instead choose to stick with plants that thrive in a very hot, very sunny environment.
Naturally, cactus come to mind. A collection of desert cactus on a windowsill can make a very exotic and interesting display, especially in very cold climates.
For this setting, choose plants that look beautiful in bright light and on bold display.
Choosing plants with good architectural structure provides exciting contrast and interest to your window.
Of course, many hanging plants will do well in a large west window, and this can make a beautiful view both indoors and out.
Here are some of the best west facing window plants.
- Sempervivum plants (Hens and Chicks)
- Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)
- Rhipsalis plants (mistletoe cactus)
- Cactus plants
- Agave plants
In a west window use lots of smaller plants and arrange them artistically and attractively.
Alternately, choose one large hanging plant to be the focal point of your west facing window.
In this video, we see many examples of great plants to keep in and around a west window, accompanied by advice on plant placement.
Because the presenter does speak in a precise and measured way, you may find it useful to speed up the video. This takes nothing away from understanding the valuable content.
When decorating west facing windows, pay special attention to the attractiveness of your plants and your containers.
West facing windows bring in a great deal of sunlight and attract a lot of attention, so you’ll want everything to look its best.
Think not only of the plant but its effect on the entire room. For example, an attractive plant may also cast an interesting and attractive shadow into your room.
Create a Kitchen Window Garden!
If you kitchen has a large west window, you can grow quite a variety of herbs and even a few vegetables. The key is to pick plants that do well with lots of warmth and lots of light.
All sorts of herbs will do well, but rosemary, oregano, and thyme are some of the very best choices.
A kitchen window garden gives you the opportunity to supplement your table, and this is especially helpful in the winter months.
Other Considerations For East and West Facing Window Plant Selection and Care
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing plants for your east or west-facing windows.
Think About What Is Outside
Take into account the appearance of trees, buildings, bodies of water and so forth that you can see through your window. Be sure to choose plants that will enhance and not obscure your view.
Think About What You Have Inside The Window
If you have privacy concerns, you may already have heavy drapes or some other window treatment that might interfere with keeping plants.
Consider how much you are willing or unwilling to change regarding the current window treatments to accommodate your plants’ need for light.
How Clean Are Your Windows?
If your windows tend to not stay clean, you might not have good luck with houseplants.
When dirt builds up on windows, just as leaves get dirty, it naturally reduces the amount of light available for plants.
Are you willing to keep your windows clean for your plants?
If not, perhaps you should choose lower light plants even bathroon plants if you have a west facing window.
Pay Attention To Your Plants’ Surroundings
Look at the colors of the walls, the surfaces of tables and other objects in the room.
Very bright white walls or reflective surfaces can substantially increase the amount of light around your plants. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Take inventory of the furnishings and decorations of the room and make adjustments as needed to provide a healthy environment for your plants.
Know The Warning Signs Of Improper Lighting
Too much light can cause leaves to curl, wilt, fade or even scorch and turn brown.
When leaves get too much light, new leaves may be very small. On the other hand, if plants are getting too little light, the leaves may be big and floppy, and leaf coloration may change.
The leaves may become oddly variegated, yellow or pale. When plants are hungry for light they may stretch or bend toward the window, become stunted, lose leaves and fail to flower.
These problems can take a while to develop, so be sure to pay close attention to your plants and take note of any changes or unusual circumstances.