Container with mix of cacti and succulents

Eight houseplants to grow on a windowsill

Make use of your windowsills by filling them with houseplants. We reveal the best ones to try.

Many houseplants will thrive on a windowsill, but there are a few important points to consider before making your choice.

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Cacti and succulents are the obvious choice for south-facing windowsills, as they thrive in direct sun. These conditions can be too much for leafy plants, however, which may suffer leaf scorch from too much sun. East- and west-facing windowsills are more appropriate for these plants.

The low light levels of a north-facing windowsill are perfect for shade-loving houseplants, such as streptocarpus.

More advice on growing houseplants:

We recommend eight of the best houseplants to grow on a windowsill, below.


1

Pilea peperomiodes

Houseplants for windowsills - Pilea peperomiodes
Houseplants for windowsills – Pilea peperomiodes

Sometimes called the missionary plant, Pilea perperomiodes is a low-growing plant with attractive, fleshy leaves, that’s perfect for a windowsill. Choose a bright spot out of direct sunlight for the best results. It can also tolerate lower light levels, although its leaves may become darker.


2

Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’

Houseplants for windowsills - Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly'
Houseplants for windowsills – Alocasia x amazonica ‘Polly’

‘Polly’ is a compact aroid cultivar with glossy, veined leaves with attractive margins. It thrives in bright, warm conditions, with high levels of humidity. A windowsill in a bright, steamy bathroom is ideal.


3

Succulents

Houseplants for windowsills - Haworthia truncata
Houseplants for windowsills – Haworthia truncata

Low-growing and tolerant of a range of light levels, many succulents, such as aloes, agaves, echeverias and crassulas, are perfect for growing on windowsills. Most thrive in full sun and need very little watering. However Haworthia truncata, pictured, prefers dappled shade.


4

Cacti

Houseplants for windowsills - Cacti mix
Houseplants for windowsills – Cacti mix

Cacti are slow-growing and perfect for growing on sunny windowsills. Plant your cacti in porous terracotta containers in a gritty compost, to provide them with adequate drainage and reduce the chances of them rotting. Find out how to repot your cacti if you’ve bought them in plastic pots.


5

Monstera obliqua

Houseplants for windowsills - Pilea peperomioides with Monstera obliqua and Peperomia 'Jayde'
Houseplants for windowsills – Pilea peperomioides with Monstera obliqua and Peperomia ‘Jayde’

Monstera deliciosa will eventually grow too large for most windowsills, but its smaller relative, Monstera obliqua, has the same fenestrate (holey) leaves held on a smaller plant, which will spill over the edge of the container. Grow it in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.


6

Streptocarpus

Houseplants for windowsills - streptocarpus
Houseplants for windowsills – streptocarpus

Streptocarpus are native to South African woodland, and therefore thrive in low light levels, including dappled shade. For best results give them bright light but not too much sun – a north, east- or west-facing windowsill is ideal.


7

Venus fly trap

Houseplants for windowsills - Venus fly trap
Houseplants for windowsills – Venus fly trap

Grow Venus fly trap, Dionaea muscipula, on a sunny windowsill, ideally in a bathroom, as the humid conditions will mimic its native subtropical habitat. Grow in peat-free ericaceous compost and water with rainwater only.


8

Pelargoniums

Houseplants for windowsills - pelargoniums
Houseplants for windowsills – pelargoniums
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While pelargoniums are usually grown outside in summer, they’re not hardy and benefit from being moved indoors for winter. They make perfect houseplants, often continuing to flower through well into autumn. Choose a bright windowsill in full sun to keep them happy.