Indoor Plants that Need High Light

There are a variety of plants, blooms, and shrubs grown in the home, all of which require varying light intensities. Here we’re going to delve into the plants that need high light requirements, and you won’t be surprised to hear that these plants are ideal for homes that have windows that face south or west, floor to ceiling glass, or even French doors.

Why it’s important to consider light

It’s important to consider lighting and location when choosing plants, blooms, and shrubs for your home. Too much sunlight can be brutal to tropical houseplants, especially to those which are accustomed to shady tree canopies, such as the Mona Lisa lipstick plant for example.

While this particular specie enjoys bright light, its leaves can burn in direct sunlight. Giving some consideration to where you’re going to place your plants is therefore essential if you want them to thrive.

Examples of plants that need a lot of light

A number of plants thrive best in a south or west-facing window and enjoy direct sunlight most of the day, so if you know you have ample light conditions, these are the plants for you…

Aloe vera

This species (botanical name: Aloe barbadensis) boasts lengthy succulent spikes that grow from the center of the shrub. The gel inside the leaves is often used for medicinal purposes to relieve the likes of minor skin irritations and burns.

This plant grows a little on the slow side and is undemanding when it comes to providing it with the correct temperature and amount of water. You can split it up to create new plants too, a little like Mother-in-law’s tongue.


The coleus comes in the shape of what is traditionally an outdoor plant that enjoys shady summer gardens. Coleus boasts rich, colourful foliage in shades of yellow, red, and orange. You can remove these shrubs from your garden at the end of the season and plant them in pots if you wish to bring them inside.

To survive inside, all that they require is high humidity and evenly moist soil. When winter arrives, they require less water.

Meyer lemon

Meyer lemon trees house pretty, glossy leaves and beautiful fragrant blooms. Although they’re able to grow indoors, it is unlikely that they will produce fruit. These shrubs enjoy soil that is evenly moist and temperatures that are average to cool.

This is a plant that you should avoid repotting often if you wish for it to thrive. There are also dwarf variants available if space is an issue in your home.

Polka dot plant

This plant (botanical name: Hypoestes phyllostachya) is a perky shrub with rich, dark green leaves that are speckled with pink. It is a speedy grower that enjoys average temperatures and evenly moist soil.

If your home is on the small side, it’s important to cut back the plant to ensure it stays small and bushy.

Dwarf Citrus

Renowned for its glossy green leaves, delicate white flowers, and brightly hued fruit, a dwarf citrus tree is an ideal option for homes with bright light. It’s available in several variants, including lemon, lime, or orange, and makes an uplifting houseplant.

It necessitates at least four hours of direct sunlight per day and under the right conditions, it’s able to bloom regularly. For best results, place containers on a pebble tray and mist them every now and again in order to assist with both flowering and pest control.

It’s important to keep an eye on the humidity in the room too as if this is too low, spider mites can become a problem.


While the majority of succulents don’t like being inside, this is down to their airflow needs and certain types will thrive in a sunny spot. Recommended spices such as kalanchoes, euphorbias, gasteria, and aloes are the best options for high light in the home. This may come as a surprise, as these variants (except for kalanchoes and euphorbias) can burn when placed outside.

Other options including Agave geminiflora, Crassula argentea, the jade plant, and Euphorbia obesa (often nicknamed the baseball plant). All can survive and thrive when placed in full sunlight, and will do well in rooms with south-facing windows.


Just like succulents, herbs don’t enjoy being indoors too much, yet they are able to thrive in a south-facing sunny window. The best options to choose from include basil, rosemary, and cilantro.

As well as looking at the part, they also add fragrance to the home and can be used in a variety of dishes and drinks.

Ponytail palm

Also known as Beaucarnea recurvata, the ponytail palm is not, as the name suggests, a palm at all. However, it does share some of its characteristics, including the fact it can withstand direct sunlight. This is irrespective of whether it is planted indoors or outside.

The plant itself boasts a curly ponytail, which makes this succulent a bold choice for interiors and a great choice for amateurs, as it’s nearly impossible to kill provided that you don’t overwater it. You should allow the soil or potting mix to dry out completely before watering your Ponytail palm again.


The Desert Cactus will thrive in containers indoors, as long as you place it on your sunniest windowsill. Some good choices for indoor environments with high light include Opuntia subulata, Cereus peruvianus, Cereus jamacaru, Aporocactus flagelliformis, Notocatus concinnus, and Notocactus ottonis.

For best results, try planting several small cactus in a bowl. This will create a fun display for the interior environment, while to encourage growth, you’ll need to remember to turn your plants on a regular basis, as they can become affected by one-sided sun exposure.

Olive Trees

The silver-leafed fruitless olive is a popular option to choose when considering which plants to place inside. This particular shrub requires a great deal of sunlight to survive but is not a forever indoor houseplant. Eventually, it will need to be planted in the ground outside, so it’s not the best option for those in flats or apartment blocks.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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