Independent Living

Indoor plants do so much for us. They bring moisture to dry indoor air. They scrub harmful chemicals from the air. They reduce stress, bring us comfort, and add color to a room. A windowsill is a great spot to showcase sun-loving houseplants.

Plant expert Jason Chongue reminds us to check your plant’s growing preferences. Some prefer full sun, while some do better in a bright area, but with dappled sunlight. Also consider the temperature and humidity. Some plants will thrive on a steamy bathroom windowsill, but others prefer a drier climate. Remember to turn the pots weekly to expose all sides of the plants to the sun. Also remember to protect your windowsill from water and dirt by placing the plants’ containers on a saucer.

If you have pets, remember to choose houseplants that aren’t toxic to them. So if you’re ready to bring the outdoors in, here are some of the best plants to choose for your windowsill garden.

“Polly,” or Alocasia x Amazonica

This plant, nicknamed Polly, has large, glossy leaves with light colored veins. It enjoys warm, bright conditions. Try Polly on a steamy bathroom windowsill.

Succulents

Aloes, agaves, and crassulas (like the jade plant) are low-growing and need very little water. Most thrive in full sun, so a windowsill is perfect for them. Others, like haworthia truncate (also known as horse’s teeth) likedappled shade. Plant succulents in sandy soil, in a pot that matches the size of the plant. 

Monstera Adansonii

A smaller relative of monstera deliciosa, this houseplant has distinctive, attractive holey leaves, which is why it’s sometimes called the Swiss cheese plant. It likes a bright spot out of direct sunlight.

Cacti

All varieties of small cacti should do well on a sunny windowsill. They need very little water and like sandy soil. Some cacti, like the Christmas cactus, produce attractive flowers.

Cape Primrose, or Streptocarpus

The cape primrose has beautiful purple flowers and thrive in bright light, but not direct sun. They like dappled shade, so try a north- or east-facing windowsill.

Culinary Herbs

Many common cooking herbs will thrive on a kitchen windowsill. Mints, oregano, savory, basil, and chives are good herbs to start with. Once the plants are established, you can pick off stems or leaves to give fresh flavor to dishes. The plants will regenerate. Try a few windowsill chives in your omelet or mint in your tea. Herbs like sun, so try to grow them in a south-facing window. When growing herbs indoors, in addition to watering when the soil is dry, spray the leaves with a misting bottle every few days.

Sprouts

Another edible choice for the kitchen, lentil, alfalfa, or chia sprouts can be grown on a sunny windowsill. They’re great in salads and on sandwiches.

Crotons

These houseplants bring lots of color with their large, heavy leaves. The leaves start out green and yellow, but turn pink, red, and orange as they mature. Croton plants like direct sun. Don’t overwater a croton; wait until the soil surface feels dry to give it a drink.

Snake Plant, or Sansevieria Trifasciata

The snake plant is great for beginner windowsill gardeners. It thrives in bright light or in lower light and may produce white flowers.

String of Pearls,or Senecio Rowleyanus

This unique succulent produces leaves that grow into spherical balls, like marbles or beads, which will grow down the sides of their container. These plants like bright, indirect sun and sandy soil. The string of pearls needs infrequent watering.