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House Plants for a Southern Window

By Aileen Clarkson ; Updated September 21, 2017

South-facing windows receive the most sunlight and warmth during the day. Even in the winter, this will be the warmest spot in your house. Placing house plants in or near a southern window can be challenging, because many house plants want indirect light. But there are many house plants that grow and thrive in the full sun they receive from a south-facing window.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') is really not a fern, though it certainly looks like one. It has inconspicuous pinkish-white flowers and red berries, making it an angiosperm (flowering plant). This native of South Africa has needle-like leaves with scales that are its true leaves. It will grow 2 to 6 feet with taller stems that weep. It likes full sun to partial shade. Keep the soil moist during the growing season. Let the plant's soil dry to the touch during the winter.

Snake Plant

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. This tough plant will grow to 4 feet tall. Its stiff, swordlike leaves require full or filtered sunlight. Snake plant is extremely drought tolerant, and overwatering will lead to root and stem rot. Water during the winter only when the soil is completely dry.


Chrysanthemums are not just for the fall garden. Potted chrysanthemums in the house need full sun, except when in bloom: then they should be moved to bright light. Water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry; don't let the plant dry out completely. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for flowering plants during the growing season. To force your chrysanthemum to bloom, make sure it receives at least 14 hours of darkness at night for 10 to 12 weeks.


Crotons are colorful shrublike plants with stiff leaves that require full sunlight and frequent watering. Water your plant when the first inch of soil is dry. The plant will wilt if it is overwatered. Place your croton 3 to 5 feet away from the window so that it is receiving bright but not full, sunlight. Mist your croton once or twice a week to keep its humidity level high.


About the Author


Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.