Most indoor plant growers live in apartments, and the presence of sufficient light becomes worrisome. But if you have a west-facing window in your house and want to know which plants can thrive there, you are at the right place.
Large plants like Croton, fiddle leaf fig, Yucca, and Monstera will thrive in a west-facing window. The sunlight from the west-facing window is suitable for plants that prefer medium sunlight. Many plants that need some hours of direct sunlight will also thrive here.
This article will discuss the ideal plants to grow in your west-facing window and share tips to help your plants absorb maximum light for the best growth.
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Importance of sunlight for the growth of plants
Sunlight is among the basic needs of plants, without which plants cannot grow.
During the photosynthesis process, plants absorb sunlight through tiny cells known as chlorophyll and then use that light along with water and air to make their food.
In the absence of adequate light, plants show signs of stress like leggy growth, fungus and pest attacks, leaf dropping, stunted growth, and so on.
So the intensity and duration of sunlight your plants get largely determines their health and growth.
Variegated plants do especially well in west-facing windows as they need more light to maintain their variegation.
Some plants require full sunlight all day, while others are happy in indirect and partial shade.
The intensity and duration of sunlight change with seasons and the time of the day.
In summer, the sunlight is more intense than the milder light of winter.
Similarly, the sunlight from the eastern side is much milder in the morning, but in the afternoon, the sunlight from the west is more intense.
Considerations for growing plants near a west facing windows
West-facing windows provide indirect medium light in the morning and more intense direct sunlight during the afternoon ranging from 250 to over 1000-foot candles.
And hence, it is well suited for most houseplants that do not like full sunlight all day long, nor do they like full shade.
These windows have more intense sunlight than east-facing windows but less than what south-facing windows get.
The duration of light in west-facing spots is longest in summers and shortest in winters.
Within 3 feet of the window, the plants receive the brightest light in the afternoon.
Those placed about five feet from the windows or with a sheer curtain receive indirect light throughout the afternoon.
The afternoon sunlight is the hottest and more intense than the morning sunlight in the east windows.
This is why plants suited for the western windows thrive and tolerate warm and hot temperatures better.
Best plants that thrive in west-facing windows
The plants with moderate light needs are most well suited in west-facing windows, which get direct sunlight for the latter half of the day and indirect light throughout the morning.
Let us check some plants that grow well in west-facing windows.
1. Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)
These plants come in various colors ranging from red, orange, or green to pink, purple, and even black.
Though these plants can survive in lower lighting conditions, if they do not get sufficient light, they lose their vibrant hues, fade gradually, become dull and lose luster, and sometimes also become green.
The greener plants can tolerate lesser light, but the more colorful ones require more light, so west-facing spots are ideal for them.
A west-facing spot can be great for the plant, as it will give it very bright sunlight in the afternoon and protect it from excess sunlight all day.
Place these plants closer to the western windows for the best vibrancy and growth.
Outdoors these plants grow up to 10 feet tall, while inside the house, they stay around 3-4 feet.
They prefer moist soil with lots of humidity.
2. Snake Plant
Snake plants are tall upright succulents with thick leaves that grow directly from the soil.
They are known for their air purifying qualities and are extremely hardy and tolerate difficult conditions.
These plants are widely grown in low lights but grow fast when they get more light.
Though they can adapt to low light, their growth is much slower, and they flourish when they get bright direct light for 3-4 hours from the west windows.
Being succulents, they need much less watering, so more sunlight helps them dry out the soil quickly.
3. Citrus Trees
Many plant growers grow citrus trees indoors as ornamental plants though outdoors, they bear fruits like orange, lemon, and lime which can be challenging to grow inside our homes.
They are very easy to grow and are very hardy.
They enjoy a lot of light, so keep the citrus tree on your west-facing window for maximum sunlight or your southern window for best results.
They love warm temperatures, so if you live in colder regions using grow lights also helps these plants if your home does not get a lot of direct sunlight.
Keep the soil moist and well-draining, and maintain 50% humidity around your plant.
Crotons are tropical plants belonging to Indian and Malaysian forests.
They are adored worldwide for their vibrantly variegated foliage.
Though they are grown indoors and mistaken as a plant that grows fine in indirect light, the reality is they enjoy and require direct sunlight.
Outdoor crotons getting full sun get more prominent colors on their leaves.
The more colorful your croton is, the more sunlight it will need.
West-facing windows are well suited for these plants, as the high intensity of the sun in the south can burn the leaves.
The late afternoon sunlight helps the plant to maximize its colors while at the same time does not make it too hot.
Crotons need a lot of moisture, so keep the soil moist at all times without letting it get dry.
They also enjoy being misted, so use humidifiers or mist them to maintain the high humidity levels.
Crotons do very well in rich, acidic fertile soil, so add a lot of organic fertilizers to your croton soil for the best growth.
The Yucca shrubs and trees have tough, sword-like leaves that sprout from the plant’s skinny trunks.
They are natives of the USA’s dry and hit regions, enjoying a similar atmosphere indoors.
The west-facing windows get plenty of hot, intense sunlight, similar to their natural habitat.
The bigger varieties of Yucca can reach up to 30 feet in height and spread over 25 feet wide, and indoors they can grow to 10 feet tall.
They can grow into massive room-devouring structures, but they take a long time to reach that height.
Water yucca plants when the soil is completely dry, as they do not like moist soil.
6. Fiddle Leaf Fig
In recent times fiddle leaf figs have become a popular plant to grow indoors, especially for those looking for big indoor trees to fill up the space.
They have large, glossy, unique fiddle-shaped leaves in shades of dark green on slender stems, which add a lot of elegance to the indoors.
They thrive in indirect, very bright light throughout the day and some hours of direct sunlight for the best growth.
Extremely hot direct sunlight can burn the leaves, which is unsuitable for south windows.
Instead, west windows are most suited to them, although, in summer, you may need to filter the sunlight.
Prepare rich, well-draining soil for this plant and keeps the soil slightly on the drier side.
Belonging to the Asparagaceae family, the agave is one of the hardest plants to be grown.
They thrive in dry arid conditions and grow into rosettes of fleshy and tough sword-shaped leaves.
They need plenty of sun and warm temperatures with low humidity.
Depending on the conditions, they can be compact at just 10 inches or grow into a massive structure up to a height of 10-12 feet.
West-facing windows, with their dry, intense heat, are very well suited for these plants.
West-facing windows can bring the best and most vibrant colors to your coleus plants that are grown for their distinctive foliage.
The bright, vibrant hues stand out and are quite an easy-to-grow fuss-free plant.
They have bright velvety leaves in hues ranging between red, green, purple, orange, maroon, yellow, and many more.
Coleus requires evenly moist soil without being wet.
Feed your coleus every two weeks during its growing season, spring through fall, with light liquid fertilizer.
They also enjoy humidity and love misting.
Some variants of coleus can withstand full sun exposure, but mostly they do best in 3-4 hours of direct sunlight and no more than that.
Excessive exposure can cause leaf burn and dehydration in the coleus.
9. Dracaena Fragrans (corn plant)
Dracaena Fragrans is a species of flowering plant that belongs to the tropical areas of Africa in upland regions at the height of 600-2250m altitude.
They are easy to grow and add a tropical vibe to living space.
They are also known as corn plants, or false palms, and growers suggest they grow the best in west-facing windows around 2 meters from the window.
If the strong sunlight hits the plant too hard, it may blotch the foliage, so keeping them 2 meters away from the window helps soften the light.
They grow up to a height of 15-50 ft. tall outdoors, whereas indoors, they can reach 6 ft. in height in perfect condition.
10. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
Dieffenbachia plants thrive in medium-bright light.
They need a lot of bright but indirect light.
Direct sunlight can burn the leaves in summer, so you must filter the light.
In winter, they may do well in direct light without filters, and they tend to grow towards the direction of the light, so they rotate weekly.
These plants are very toxic as the sap contains poison, so better keep them away from pets or children.
These plants can grow quite tall, up to a height of 3-10feet in height ad 2-3 feet wide, with large leaves up to 18 inches long and 12 inches in width.
They do not like being overwatered, so keep the soil light and loose and water when the top 2 inches of the soil dries up.
11. Bird of paradise
Here is the most amazing option if you have a large west-facing window and are looking for a huge plant to fill up the space.
Native to South Africa, one of the most striking and attention-seeking indoor plants is no doubt the bird of paradise tree.
With its majestic broad green leaves, this tree instantly brings a tropical vibe to any living space.
They need a lot of space to grow since indoors, they can grow up to a massive 6 feet tall.
They can adapt to low light conditions, but their growth is much slower.
These plants do best in bright west-facing spots where they get direct sunlight for 4-6 hours and bright indirect light for the rest of the day.
Though in scorching summers, you may need to put up a filter or sheer curtain to protect the leaves from getting scorched.
These plants enjoy loose well-draining soil so let them dry out between watering and in winter keeping the soil in a slightly drier condition.
Feed the plant twice a month in the growing season with diluted fertilizers.
12. Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera Deliciosa plants have huge leaves in a unique pattern, making them a gorgeous choice for indoor spaces.
Though they do fine in indirect light, the variegated variants of the plant require some direct sunlight to enhance their colors.
They need at least 5 hours of bright indirect light, making them quite suitable for west-facing windows.
They enjoy rich soil with a pH of around 5-5.7 and like to have 60-70% humidity around them.
They do not like wet soil, so water them when the soil is dry and feed them during the growing seasons.
13. Rubber plants
Ficus Elastica plants, popularly known as rubber plants, are loved for their upright growth structure and glossy leaves.
They come in variegated and non-variegated patterns.
Though many people mistake them by keeping them in low light areas, for their best growth, they need some sunlight for 3-4 hours every day.
A west-facing window gives the plants bright indirect light and direct light during the afternoon, which helps the plants to absorb more light for their growth.
When grown outdoors, these plants reach a huge size of about 100 feet, and indoors they can reach 6ft-10ft tall if they get good growing conditions.
They come in dark green or deep burgundy colors and are available in variegated patterns.
The variegated leaves need direct sunlight and are ideal for western spots.
Though the green ones can tolerate lower lighting conditions, their growth is insufficient.
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Tips for best growth in west-facing windows
The west-facing windows have plenty of light, but for certain plants, the scorching light in summer can be too intense for them.
You can put up a sheer curtain or move the plant a few feet away from the window.
The western windows can be quite drying, which may be a bit dehydrating for some plants.
Remember to mist or use a humidifier to increase humidity or the frequency of watering.