In compact apartments today, many plant owners need help finding the right place for their plants. But if you have a north-facing window and looking for plants that will remain happy there, you are at the right place.
Pick plants that thrive in shade, indirect light, and low light for a north-facing window. Large plants like Monstera, Schefflera, Dracaena Lisa, Ficus, and Sansevieria will thrive in a north-facing window. In winter, use artificial light to supplement the light and give the plants some heat.
This article will discuss why our north-facing windows get less sunlight and what tips you can follow to utilize the available light fully. I will also talk about some plants growing well in north-facing windows.
Table Of Contents
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Light and houseplants
Sunlight is the primary fuel that feeds our plants.
Light, water, and air are the most vital ingredients that plants carry in their growing process through photosynthesis and respiration.
Plants absorb light and oxygen through the tiny cells on the leaves, known as chlorophyll, and turn it into their food, from which they get their energy to grow and produce leaves, flowers, and seeds.
Indoor plants get much lesser exposure to sunlight than outdoor plants, which is one problem plant growers face.
Nowadays, as our homes get compact, with so many obstructions around them, it is challenging to find homes with plenty of natural sunlight.
The amount of light needed by plants depends on their species and environment.
Plants that adapt to low light conditions tend to have more chlorophyll in their leaves than plants that grow in full sunlight.
This helps them to produce more energy if in low light situations.
Does the direction of sunlight matter for house plants?
Many might wonder why sunlight’s direction matters, as all plants need light.
So the answer is yes, all plants need light, but the requirement of the intensity and duration of light varies.
So as we know, there are four directions. Let me tell you briefly about them:
An east-facing window receives the early morning sunlight as the sun rises in the east.
The sunlight is not too scorching and is at its mildest form.
Plants that do not require a lot of sunlight but enjoy partial sun thrive in east-facing spots.
East-facing windows are ideal for plants that can adapt to low light but thrives better with some light and those with variegation because variegated leaves require more sunlight or the marks tend to fade.
West-facing windows get the late afternoon sunlight much stronger than the early morning light.
Most foliage plants that need sunlight, like rubber plants, enjoy this direction.
South-facing windows have the maximum duration of sunlight coming in for the largest part of the day.
Plants that need plenty of sunlight, like cacti, flowering plants, etc., are the happiest in south-facing windows.
Sometimes in summer, the south-facing windows can be too hot for many plants.
In that case, you can put up a sheer curtain or move your plant a few feet away from the window.
The north-facing windows are a vital concern for many plant growers with north-facing spots.
It is because the north-facing windows get the least amount of sunlight.
These spots are best for low-light preferring plants which we will discuss in the following sections.
North-facing windows also tend to be cooler than other windows, so plants that thrive here also enjoy such temperatures.
This article will focus on the north-facing windows and plants that can thrive there.
- Can Indoor Plants Grow Without Sunlight?
- What Does Bright Indirect Light Mean For A Plant?
- Do Regular Light Bulbs Help Plants Grow? (+Type Of Bulbs)
Factors to consider for growing plants in north-facing windows
You should consider certain environmental factors before you bring your plants to the north-facing windows.
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Plants that grow in north-facing windows are adaptable in lower-light situations.
Lower light means the duration of light is shorter, and the intensity of sunlight that falls on them is much lesser than in other directions.
The north window also does not get direct sunlight reaching the plants, so these plants are adaptable to indirect light.
Since north-facing windows have a lower intensity of sunlight, they are usually chillier than the other spots of the house.
They are also quite windy, so your chosen plants must adapt to those conditions.
Every plant has different care needs, but low-light plants need extra care.
This is because their growth tends to be slower, as they get lesser nutrients.
Also, these plants are prone to overwatering, root rot, fungus growth, etc., due to wet soil, which is a reason for slower evaporation rates.
6 large indoor plants for North-facing windows
Choosing pants for the north-facing windows is tricky as you must get plants suitable to grow in such low light and cool conditions.
If you keep a sun-loving plant at this spot, it will not be able to cope.
Thankfully, certain plants can thrive in your north-facing window.
Let us check some of them out.
1. Snake plant
Snake plants belong to the Asparagus plant family that has become one of the most popular houseplants worldwide.
All due to its low maintenance, no hassle life, and super hardy nature.
They come in various shapes and sizes, but the one with tall, sturdy green leaves with yellow borders is the most popular and adds a lot of elegance to indoor gardens.
They are one of the easiest plants to grow in any house and are very resilient.
Hence very well suited for beginners.
They adapt well to north-facing windows though their growth is much slower than most other plants.
Be careful of overwatering them, as they are succulents, hate wet soil, and are prone to root rot.
Also, they do not like the extreme cold, so protect them during winters.
2. Parlor palm
Parlor palms are yet another decorative plant you can keep in your northern window.
They have thin stems and slender leaves that resemble a single shrub plant.
They thrive in indirect sunlight and do well in north windows.
They can grow tall and big up to 6 ft. tall if grown in big pots with the right care.
They have fragile roots and, in rare conditions, also flower.
They like their soil to dry in between watering, so abstain from overwatering and check the soil before watering.
Schefflera, or umbrella plant, is yet another plant suitable for the northern windows.
They do not like full sunlight but enjoy bright to medium sunlight.
If your northern window has unobstructed light getting in, then place them directly at the brightest spot of the window.
They enjoy rich, acidic soil and are easy to grow.
But protect them from chilly winds or drafts.
4. Dracaena Lisa
The Dracaena, also known as the corn plant, is suitable for north-facing windows.
They are easy to grow and have tall bodies with a pompom of shiny leaves right at the top of the tall skinny stems.
They are unique and add a lot of elegance to empty northern corners.
They thrive in medium light but can tolerate lower lights quite well.
A healthy plant can reach a height of 5-8 feet.
5. Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant)
Monstera Deliciosa belongs to tropical areas and is well suited indoors.
They do not like direct sunlight scorching their glossy leaves, so they do very well in indirect light.
If provided with a support trellis, these plants can get quite big.
The name comes from the slits on the leaves that come once the plant matures.
They are easy to care for indoors.
Give them fertile soil and feed them in the growing season.
Ensure the soil has good drainage and water only when the topsoil dries.
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6. Weeping fig
Weeping figs can be a great addition to your north-facing window as these large plants look great in some corners.
These plants prefer bright light with shade, making them ideal for north-facing windows.
These plants dislike overwatering and underwatering, so remember to give them a good soak whenever the soil goes dry.
Use well-draining soil and mist the plant to provide all the necessary humidity.
Tips for plants in north-facing windows
Even if you choose plants that will thrive in north-facing windows, you must take care of the following.
- Make the most of space: If your home has north-facing windows, try to utilize the maximum space possible by getting tall floor-to-ceiling glass panels to maximize the light. Also, use the walls for hanging plants and put bigger plants on the floor. You can set up a shelf on the window sill for smaller plants.
- Reflective surfaces: Having mirrors or white objects around tend to reflect the light and is a great way to maximize light intensity in north-facing windows.
- Remove obstructions: Obstructions outside the window, like big trees, shrubs, or buildings, can impact the light massively. So if you have a northern window, try to keep the outside free of obstructions so that the light reaches directly.
- Clean window glass: If the panes of your windows are dirty, it can reduce the intensity of sunlight to a large extent. So make sure the glasses are sparkling clean to let all the sun’s goodness reach your plants.
- Distance from the window: The further you move the plant from the window, the less light intensity gets.
- Take care of the plants: Drainage is essential, especially in north-facing window plants. Because of low availability, evaporation is much lower, so always water the plants after checking the soil moisture content, or you may overwater them. Always empty the cache or trays below the pots. Keep an eye out for pests and fungi, as low-light plants have a higher chance of catching pests.
- Use artificial light: Since the northern areas are cold due to less sunlight, it is advisable to use artificial lights if you happen to live in colder regions.
Reference: Lighting for indoor plants, The Effects of LED Light Spectra and Intensities on Plant Growth, University of Missouri Plant Lighting Research.
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