A collection of plants on a windowsill overlooking a city

Windowsill plants: 7 unique plants that thrive in bright, direct light

Posted by for Plants

Looking for an easy way to decorate your windowsill? These plants will thrive in the bright, direct sunlight this space offers – and they happen to look pretty great, too.

If you’re a plant lover, you’ll know there are few things more exciting than buying new plants for your home. But when you’re limited on space, finding new places to display your plants can sometimes be difficult.

With this in mind, you’ll want to make the most of all the space you do have – and that’s what makes windowsill plants so great.  

Buying plants to suit the windowsill environment can be a challenge. Take a look through any plant shops catalogue and you’ll see what we mean – many of the most popular plants available these days require ‘indirect’ or ‘filtered’ light

And while some windowsills do afford indirect light depending on the time of day, some will expose your plants to direct sunlight, which can be detrimental to plants that originate from tropical, forest-like areas, where they’re used to growing in dappled or shaded areas.

However, while the windowsill may not suit all plants, there are some plants that love this spot. Although you’ll have to make sure they don’t get too hot during the summer months, many plants will thrive under the bright, direct sunlight they’ll find near the window. And since windowsills tend to end up as wasted space, using plants to brighten them up is a great way to decorate your home without encroaching on your living space.

So, whether you’re looking to invest in some new plants or want to find out which plants in your collection can live on your windowsill, keep scrolling to read our edit of the best plants that thrive in bright light.  

  • Aloe Vera

    Aloe Vera plant in a grey pot from The Stem
    Windowsill Plants: The Stem Aloe Vera.

    The aloe vera plant enjoys basking in bright, direct light, so it’ll absolutely love living on your windowsill. It’s notoriously easy to look after, too – on top of making sure it gets lots of sunlight, you’ll only need to water it when the topsoil dries out.

    This plant also grows quickly, so you won’t have to wait long to reap the benefits of your efforts. You can even use the gel-like substance that comes from its leaves to soothe minor cuts and burns. 

    Shop Aloe Vera at The Stem, £14

  • Spiral Cactus

    Spiral Cactus
    Windowsill Plants: Bloombox Club Spiral Cactus.

    This weird and wonderful cactus is sure to make an eye-catching addition to any windowsill display.

    It’ll only need watering when the soil is 100% dried out (with reduced waterings during autumn and winter), so you won’t need to worry about it too much, either. 

    Shop Spiral Cactus at Bloombox Club, £48

  • Agave Shaka Zulu

    Agave Shaka Zulu
    Windowsill Plants: Hortology Agave Shaka Zulu.

    Recognisable for its fleshy, dark green leaves, the agave Shaka Zulu is a hardy succulent that loves lots of sun.

    They’re pretty hard to kill because they’re drought resistant and only need watering every one to two weeks, so they make a perfect option for beginners.

    Shop Agave Shaka Zulu at Hortology, £24.99

  • African Milk Tree

    African Milk Tree
    Windowsill Plants: House Of Kojo African Milk Tree.

    This eye-catching succulent was recently named one of the most popular houseplants for 2021, so it’s sure to make a great addition to your windowsill collection.

    Water this plant when the soil has completely dried out to keep its deep red foliage looking its best.

    Shop African Milk Tree at House Of Kojo, £12.99

  • White Bird Of Paradise

    Two white bird of paradise plants in white pots, one of which is smaller than the other, from Happy Houseplants
    Windowsill Plants: Happy Houseplants White Bird Of Paradise.

    You’ll typically see large versions of the white bird of paradise used as a statement plant in modern interior design, but a younger version of this plant would look great on a windowsill.

    It’s native to South Africa where the weather is warm and arid, so it’ll love a dry, sunny spot like the windowsill. To keep the white bird of paradise happy, water when the top of the soil is dry and wipe its leaves every few weeks to remove dust (that’ll help it soak up more of the sun!).  

    Shop White Bird Of Paradise at Happy Houseplants, £19.99

  • Golden Barrel

    Golden barrel cactus in a white pot from House Of Kato
    Windowsill Plants: House Of Kato Golden Barrel.

    This beautiful sphere-shaped cactus loves the sun, so it’ll thrive in the bright light and warmth of a windowsill.

    It’s also another low-maintenance option for beginners or those who struggle to keep their plants alive – you can let the soil dry out completely between waterings.

    Shop Golden Barrel at House Of Kato, £13.95 

  • Pickle Plant

    Pickle plant with pencil-like stems from Hutch Houseplants
    Windowsill Plants: Hutch Houseplants Pickle Plant.

    If you’re looking for a plant that’ll really steal the show, look no further than the eye-catching pickle plant.

    It’s long, pencil-like stems will love soaking up the sun on your windowsill and it only needs watering once the soil has completely dried out. It’s also drought tolerant, so if you forget to water it every once in a while, it won’t mind.

    Buy Pickle Plant at Hutch Houseplants, £12.50 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

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