Which Houseplants Like Direct Sunlight?

You might see a sunny window spot in your home that gets lots of direct sunlight and think, “That’s the perfect place to put a houseplant!” But, believe it or not, there are many houseplants that cannot handle the intensity of direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight can dry out or scorch the leaves of many types of houseplants. However, there are some types of plants that love bright, direct sun.

The key to having houseplant success in your sunniest spot is choosing the right type of plant for your space. Here are some indoor plants that love direct sunlight:

Jade Plant

The jade plant (Crassula Ovata, also called Money Plants) is a gorgeous succulent that loves direct sun and regular watering. Jade plants do best in soil that provides good drainage. With the right care, jade houseplants can live for an extremely long time! Some believe that jade plants also bring luck and wealth to their owners.

Aloe Vera Plant

Potted Aloe Plant

Aloe vera plants are hardy, low-maintenance houseplants that are easy to propagate. They also thrive in bright, direct sunlight. One note for aloe vera plants: while they do well in direct sun indoors, outdoors they can scorch in the sun.

Snake Plant

three snake plants in pots

The snake plant (also called sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue) is known for its gorgeous foliage and long lifespan. It’s also known to be a low maintenance plant that loves lots of bright, natural light — but it can also do well in indirect light. For best results, water your snake plant every 1 to 2 weeks.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm in Pot

The sago palm is a gorgeous tropical plant with a truly unique appearance. This slow-growing palm enjoys light conditions that are bright and sunny.

A word of caution of you’re considering adding a sago pal to your plant family: this plant is highly toxic to dogs, cats, other pets, and children. Do not keep a sago palm if you have pets or kids at home.


croton plant in pot

Crotons are indoor plants with beautiful leaves that do best with lots of direct sunlight. They also like warm temperatures and relatively dry soil. Be sure not to over water your croton houseplants, and don’t let their environment get below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.


It’s hard to find a cooler-looking plant that the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus). It’s delicate leaves add beautiful detail to any space. The papyrus plant naturally grows near water, so it enjoys having wet roots and a high light level. For best results, place this plant in full sun and keep it in a container of water.

Ponytail Palm

The ponytail palm plant (Beaucarnea recurvata) is a whimsical plant with a thick, strong trunk and long, twirly leaves. This plant does well in full to partial sun, and likes soil that drains well and weekly waterings. The ponytail palm is relatively low-maintenance and is a great choice for new plant parents.


Cacti are probably considered the ultimate sun-loving plant. There are many different varieties of cactus, but for most types strong sun and infrequent watering are the keys to a healthy plant. For best results, make sure your cactus is in high-drainage, sandy soil.

Hen and Chicks

The succulent plant best known as hen and chicks (Echeveria elegans) is a favorite for beginning house plants parents because they are so hardy they’re almost impossible to kill. Your hen and chicks indoor plant will grow and multiply when planted in succulent soil and bright, direct light from the sun.


A gorgeous flowering hibiscus plant is a great way to add some tropical flair to your home. This bold and fragrant flower is perfect for the sunniest spots in your home. Hibiscus indoor plants love direct sunlight, regular watering, and fertilizer that is rich in potassium.

Bird of Paradise

The bird of paradise (Strelitzia) is a stunning tropical plant that loves direct sunlight. It can survive with indirect light, but direct light is where you will see its beautiful blooms appear. This plant likes soil that drains well, and it’s an easy plant to propagate.

While this plant is beautiful, it is also toxic to pets, so use caution if you have animals at home.

Yucca Plant

The yucca plant(Yucca gigantea) is one of those house plants that is super easy to care for and very hard to kill. Because it’s originally a desert plant, it lives its best life in bright, direct sunlight. Water this plant sparingly and place it in your south facing windows.

Sweet Basil

Growing herbs indoors is easy and rewarding, and sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum is one of the easiest. This plant likes direct sunlight, standard potting mix, and watering when its soil gets dry. It’s also the perfect addition to your pasta sauce, pizza, or culinary creation — just pull off a spring when you’re ready to use!

Dragon Tree

The dragon tree (Dracaena draco) is a bold indoor plant that will really make a statement in your home. Dragon trees love bright light from the sun and soil that drains well. With lots of light and proper care, they can grow to be over 7 feet tall.


South facing windows and other bright, sunny spots are perfect for houseplants — as long as you choose the right houseplant for the space. Select indoor plants from this list, and you’ll get to enjoy watching them flourish in the bright sunlight for many years to come.

Kate Inskeep

Kate Inskeep is a mom of three from Illinois who loves growing things. She fell in love with houseplants after a friend gifted her some succulents. Before long, her windowsills were full of plants, and she was hooked.

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