12 Houseplants That Can Tolerate Direct Sunlight

Best sun loving indoor plants

Bright rooms and sunny windows seem perfect for indoor plants but not all houseplants can tolerate direct sun.

Many houseplants will experience leaf scorch or wilt and die when they’re exposed to full sun, especially during the summer months.

Here are 12 indoor plants that thrive in direct sunlight.

If you have a large sunny window in your home or apartment then you can be assured that these plants will thrive there.

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indoor plant in direct sun


1. Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plants, also called money plants, are succulents with thick rounded leaves.

They’re a low maintenance indoor plant that will live happily for many years in the same pot.

As a landscape gardener, I’ve found that jade plants grow best in sunny spots and they like to dry out a bit between waterings.

Jade plant

2. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a hardy succulent that has upright fleshy green leaves.

The leaves store moisture so you don’t need to water them too often.

Aloe Vera is a great low maintenance plant that will thrive in a sunny window.

According to North Carolina Extension, aloe vera needs bright light to bloom.

aloe vera plant in direct sun

3. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, also known as Snake plant, is a type of succulent with long, upright leaves.

They’re easy to care for and will tolerate a variety of conditions including direct sun or low light.

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue needs a well drained potting mix and doesn’t like to be overwatered.

You can easily propagate more plants from leaf cuttings or by dividing the clumps.

snake plant on sunny windowsill

4. Croton

Croton plants have brightly colored foliage in a range of colors including red, pink, orange, yellow, green and white.

Not all Crotons will tolerate direct sun, but the brightly colored varieties will need the most sun.

Crotons like warmth, humidity and regular misting if they’re in a heated room.

Croton plants don’t like being moved around and they can lose their leaves if they’re relocated.

croton plant

5. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

String of Pearls, also known as Chain of Pearls, is an unusual trailing succulent that looks great in a hanging basket or cascading from a sunny windowsill.

It has little green balls, about the size of a pea growing along its stems.

Each stem can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) long and you can cut them back regularly to encourage more growth.

The cuttings can be used to propagate more plants.

Important Note: String of Pearls plants are mildly toxic and should be kept away from small children and pets.

String of Pearls plant

6. Kalanchoe

Another type of succulent that loves direct sunlight is Kalanchoe.

They have beautiful, long lasting, brightly colored flowers that can be pink, orange, red, yellow or white.

Kalanchoes need plenty of sunlight to flower well and grow best in well draining potting mix.

Similar to other succulents, allow the soil to dry out before watering.

kalanchoe plant

7. Cacti

Cacti are the ultimate low maintenance houseplants and they love bright sun.

Plant them in a gritty soil that is well draining and water sparingly, especially during winter. 


8. Yucca

Yucca plants have thick woody stems and long green leaves.

They don’t require much water and will grow in poor quality soil as long as it’s free draining.

Yuccas are perfect for sunrooms or conservatories and you can take them outside when the weather is warm.

yucca plant

9. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird of Paradise is a stunning tropical plant with colorful flowers that look like flying birds.

The flowers can be orange, yellow, purple or blue in color.

They grow best in warm, humid areas but they can also be planted in pots and taken inside during the winter.

Unusual plant

10. Sago Palm

Sago palms are low maintenance indoor plants that will tolerate direct sun.

They’re a drought tolerant plant, so be sure to let the soil dry out before watering.

Important Note: Sago palms are toxic so they’re not a good choice if you have kids or pets. [1]

sago palm plant

11. Pleomele (Dracaena reflexa)

Dracena, also known as Dragon plants or Corn plants, have long green leaves with yellow stripes.

They’re tropical plants, but they can be grown outside the tropics if you give them plenty of light and regular misting.

RELATED: How To Get Corn Plants To Bloom

striped indoor plants

12. Hibiscus

Hibiscus are stunning plants that can be grown indoors in bright sunny rooms.

They produce spectacular large colorful flowers and need lots of direct sun to flower well.

If you live in a cool climate you can bring your Hibiscus plant indoors over the winter months and take it outside once the temperature begins to warm up.


So there are 12 indoor plants that are perfect for bright, sunny windowsills.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, place these plants near a south facing window or for those in the southern hemisphere place them near a north facing window to get the most amount of sun.

snake plant next to sunny window


Have you tried growing houseplants in direct sun? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Indoor Plants and Houseplant Care that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

indoor plants in direct sunlight

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Stephanie S

    I used to have a snake plant in my living room, and it did very well. It was near a window that got full sun for most of the day. I also love the jade plant. I’ve always thought those were so easy to maintain. I love displaying them on a windowsill in full sun.

  2. College Apps Abroad

    Thanks for the tips! We’ve got a variety of plants in our sunroom (which does get cold in winter) – but I hadn’t thought of making sure their leaves aren’t touching the windows!

  3. Lyosha

    I just got Jade plant at home (my first ever indoor plant) and I am very grateful for the tips. I knew about the sun so I put it in the sunniest spot at home but I didn’t now I should let it dry out a bit too.

  4. Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    I really need to get an aloe vera plant and try growing it myself! I burnt my fingers yesterday because I wasn’t paying attention and was so grateful that I had aloe gel in the house. Which let me tell you, touching a stainless steel frying pan handle after it has been in a 400 degree oven, well it hurts! Thanks for all the info, especially the common questions! I was asking several of them as I read this post.

  5. Nkem

    This was quite a useful article for me as I live in an apartment that gets a lot of sunlight and I’ve been wondering if it is prudent for me to get some indoor plants.

  6. Luna S

    Awesome post! I am always on the look out for plants I can keep in my home without them dying easily on me.

  7. Jasmine Gagarin

    oh wow. most of the plants on your list are in my mom’s garden too. Since it’s pretty tropical here, they also just stay outside. Well, basically, they are planted in the garden. I just wish it is nicely planted just like the plants above! 🙂

  8. Britt K

    I have been talking about wanting to grow aloe for a while now. Not only do I like the appearance of the plant, but it has SO many uses! That being said, I didn’t realize that it did so well in direct sunlight. I have a window that is screaming for a pretty plant, but I have avoided putting anything there to date simply because it’s CONSTANT sunlight during the day and I was worried it would be too much for any of the plants that we currently have here. Clearly I need to give in and get my aloe plant finally!

  9. Kat

    Really useful tips, especially the ones about Aloe Vera. My neighbour just gave me four of these plants and I will make sure to let the soil dry out a bit before watering them again.

  10. Trish Veltman

    I’m off to the garden centre tomorrow to buy a sago palm – it’s gorgeous! I love filling the house with plants and this was such a useful post to help me choose my next one!

  11. Dom

    Great article! Thanks for the tips, I need to green up my living room which gets too much sun for my peace lily but could use more plant life.

    For those planning to place plants directly in front of a window, please consider the possibility that you may also be attracting birds into your windows. According to the Audubon Society, birds colliding with windows is a leading cause of bird mortality 🙁 Our little feathered friends will benefit from our help in mitigating these dangers!

    1. Kelly Martin

      Thanks Dom, plants near sunny windows attracting birds is something I hadn’t thought of so thanks for bringing this up.

  12. Ruby Hawthorne

    Really enjoyed your very informative article…I am an avid Canadian gardener, and you have inspired me to
    use my very sunny living room in creating a space to enjoy all year round! My garden is being downsized now that I am 83 yrs. Young? that is except for a couple of containers and cherry tomatoes outside.
    Would there be any concerns re insects if I used a Hibiscus & Kalanchoe for colour in my grouping inside.
    Also would there be a way to deter birds from flying into my window?
    Enthusiastic indoor gardener now with Spring fever in snowy January!

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Ruby, that’s great that you have a sun filled living room for your plants. It’s a good idea to debug your plants by soaking them in soapy water before you bring them indoors. You can also spray them with neem oil to get rid of any insects. I have a sun room with large windows and I don’t have much trouble with birds flying into the windows but you could install a sheer curtain or blind to deter the birds. Good luck with your indoor garden!

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