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10+ Best Plants for Direct Light Indoors & Outdoors

Are you worried about whether you may end up buying a houseplant that will die in direct sunlight, leaving you with a dead plant? Here is a solution.

Choose sun-loving plants like cacti, succulents (Aloe Vera and Yucca), herbs, and flowers (Hibiscus, roses, sunflowers, etc.) that are best plants for direct light, no matter whether they are grown indoors or outdoors.

Remember, direct sunlight indicates sunbeams falling on the plant without any obstruction that can burn the sensitive foliage. So, keep reading this post to decorate your house with sun-loving plants. 

13 Best House Plants for Direct Light

In general, sun-loving plants benefit most from direct sunlight because they can quickly turn the light energy into food by avoiding the risk of burn.

Here is an exclusive list of plants that like direct sunlight indoors or outdoors.

1. Ponytail Palm

Ponytail is a tree-like plant popularly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, patios, and terraces for decoration.

Pony Plant grown in pot
It is a completely sun-loving plant that will survive for decades.
That being said, Ponytail is not a true palm but a species more closely related to Agave and Yucca.
  • Origin: Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) belongs to the Asparagaceae family and is native to dry regions of Mexico.
  • Height: Outdoor-grown ponytail palms reach up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall, but as a houseplant, it usually reaches a maximum height of 6 feet (1.8 meters).
  • Foliage: It boasts ponytail-like foliage consisting of long, thin, green leaves that grow from the top of the trunk. They reach up to 3 feet (1 meter) long and are often curved or twisted.
  • Flower: Mature ponytail palm produces small, white, or cream-colored flowers that grow in clusters on long stalks emerging from the top of the plant.
  • Lifespan: Common household ponytail palm lives for around 20-30 years, depending on the growing condition.
It also tolerates low light conditions, but the growth will be rather slow.

2. Jade Plant

Jade plants are one of the favorite indoor plants that thrive in bright and direct light.

However, young Jade plants should be kept in indirect sunlight to avoid the risk of burn.

The older ones will enjoy at least 6 hours of bright direct sunlight daily.

  • Origin: Jade plant (Crassula ovata) is a succulent native to South Africa and Mozambique. It is also known as the money plant or dollar plant.
  • Height: It grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall when provided with regular sunlight and grows bush-like when not pruned.
  • Foliage: The succulent leaves are thick and fleshy, with smooth, oval shapes that grow in pairs along the stems. The leaves are typically dark or glossy green.
  • Flower: The mature plant produces small, star-shaped pink or white flowers in the winter or early spring, but it may take years to mature.
  • Lifespan: It survives for 100 years with proper care and grows quite slowly.
Did you know many cultures associate Jade as lucky plants that bring good luck and prosperity?

3. Aloe Vera

It is quite a popular houseplant as growers often plant them for medicinal or ornamental purposes.

Did you know that Aloe’s gel has the ability to heal skin conditions?

Aloe Vera originated in the warm Arabian Peninsula and was later cultivated in Europe, Asia, and America.

  • Height: It grows around 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) tall. Outdoor-grown Aloe can reach up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) in height.
  • Foliage: The leaves are thick with a waxy coating that helps retain moisture and the signature gel. The thrones protect their leaves from predators.
  • Flower: Do not expect to witness flowers on your Aloe Vera plants until it gets four years old. They produce tall spikes of tubular, yellow, or orange flowers in late winter or spring.
  • Lifespan: This species lives for around 12 years, even with minimal care.

4. Yucca Plant

Yucca plants thrive as indoor and outdoor plants in various growing conditions.

Moreover, they require direct light to thrive and maintain a sturdy structure; you must keep the plants away from kids and pets to avoid poisoning.

  • Origin: Many Yucca species are native to arid regions of North and Central America with a dry climate and sandy clay soil.
  • Height: The potted Yucca grows only about 3-5 feet, while garden plants can reach up to 9 meters (30 feet).
  • Foliage: They boast long, narrow, and pointed leaves with a tough, fibrous texture. They form in a rosette at the base of the plant and produce green, blue-green, or gray-shaded leaves.
  • Flower: Yucca plants produce tall spikes of white or cream-colored fragrant flowers once they reach three years or more.
  • Lifespan: These plants live for several decades outdoors, even 50 years. 
Did you know many Native American tribes used fibrous Yucca leaves for weaving baskets, clothing, and other items?

5. Mexican Sunflower

The Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) is often confused with a sunflower, but it is a daisy.

Known for bright orange flowers, the Mexican sunflower is a hardy plant that requires direct sunlight to thrive.

Origin: Mexican sunflowers are native to Mexico and Central America and widely grow in USDA zones 9-11.

  • Height: Depending on growing conditions, they grow to 2-4 meters (6-12 feet).
  • Foliage: They boast large, heart-shaped, deeply lobed leaves, bright green.
  • Flower: They produce large, showy flowers, about 10 cm (4 inches), in bright orange or yellow shades that resemble daisies.
  • Lifespan: They have often grown annually, but some re-seed themselves to return as perennials in subsequent years.

Grow Mexican sunflowers on the window, patio, or garden to attract many different pollinators.

6. Lavender Plant

Lavender is a popular fragrant herb that thrives in direct sunlight and offers a range of health benefits.

First, Lavender was discovered in the Mediterranean region but is now grown worldwide.

  • Height: Lavender plants grow about 30-90 cm (1-3 feet), depending on the species and location (pot or garden).
  • Foliage: The leaves are narrow, oblong-shaped, and gray-green and are often used in potpourri, soaps, and other scented products.
  • Flower: They produce spikes of small, fragrant flowers in shades of purple or blue and sometimes pink or white.
  • Lifespan: These plants live for several years when provided with optimal care.
Lavender is often used to scent products and has been used for centuries for its therapeutic properties (The essential oil helps provides calm and relaxing effects).

7. Rosemary Plant

Rosemaries are popular woody herb for fragrance, decoration, medicinal, and culinary purposes.

rosemary plant in pot
Rosemary is a powerful herbal houseplant that can benefit blood circulation, boost the immune system, and improve mood.

However, these plants only thrive in direct sunlight, requiring over 6 hours of light each day.

  • Origin: Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, where it was first used for culinary purposes.
  • Height: These plants grow to a height of 1-2 meters (3-6 feet), depending on the growing conditions.
  • Foliage: Rosemary leaves are evergreen, needle-like, and highly fragrant, typically dark green on top and silver at the bottom.
  • Flower: The delicate flowers are available in shades of blue or white, depending on the species.
  • Lifespan: When properly cared for, the perennial herb lives for up to 30 years.

Fresh or dried rosemary flowers and leaves often flavor meats, vegetables, and other dishes.

Did you know Rosemary also offers health benefits, including improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and enhancing memory?

8. Geranium Plant

Geraniums are flowering plants in the family Geraniaceae and bear long black or brown seeds

Remember, this species grows best in direct sunlight, growing lush flowers throughout spring, summer, and fall.

  • Origin: Geraniums are native to temperate regions, including Europe, North America, and Asia.
  • Height: They grow up to 15-60 cm (6-24 inches), depending on the species and growing conditions.
  • Foliage: They produce deeply lobed and palmate leaves that release fragrance when crushed.
  • Flower: They boast showy, five-petal flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, or white.
  • Lifespan: It depends on whether you wish to grow them as annual, biennial, or perennials.
Did you know geraniums are used in traditional medicine for various ailments, including diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and menstrual cramps?

9. Marigolds

Marigolds are the popular sun-loving plant that will amplify your garden’s aesthetics.

Remember, it requires full sunlight to produce ball-shaped flowers in golden, orange, yellow, and white shades throughout spring and fall.

  • Origin: Marigolds are native to Mexico and Central America and are part of the beautiful sunflower family.
  • Height: They grow at 30-120 cm (12-47 inches) in ideal conditions.
  • Foliage: The leaves are bright green and deeply divided into small, toothed, slightly hairy leaflets.
  • Flower: They produce bright, showy flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red, beginning in late spring and lasting until fall.
  • Lifespan: Marigolds grown as annual will only survive for a year.

Marigolds are among the most grown flowers for ornamental purposes such as garlands, decorations, celebrations, etc.

Additionally, marigolds’ fragrance repels some insect pests, making them a popular choice for companion plants.

10. Black-eyed Susan

A flowering plant in the family Asteraceae blooms every mid-summer and loves basking in the sun around the year.

However, the popularity of Blue-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) has taken it to Canada, Mexico, and as well as China.

Here is what you need to know about this sun-loving plant.

  • Origin: Blue-eyed Susan is native to North America, first developed in the late 1800s by James Vick.
  • Height: It grows between 2 and 3 feet (60-90 cm) tall.
  • Foliage: It is typically dark green, measuring about 6 inches, and comes in various shapes, from lanceolate to ovate.
  • Flower: The flowers are daisy-like with bright yellow petals surrounding a dark brown or black center (hence the name “black-eyed Susan”).
  • Lifespan: It is a short-lived perennial but often self-seeds to grow new plants.

11. Zinnia Plant

Zinnias are popular flowering plants in the family Asteraceae that were first discovered in the 16th Century by Spanish explorers.

Since then, it has been cultivated worldwide, and over 20 species are circulating.

Some species of Zinnia proved to provide potential biological actions, such as antifungal, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antiviral, antibacterial, antimalarial, and cytotoxic.
  • Origin: Zinnias are native to Mexico and South America and were first introduced to Europe in the 18th century.
  • Height: They grow to 30-120 cm (12-47 inches) in a pot or garden.
  • Foliage: The leaves are typically lance-shaped with a slightly rough texture and a deep green color.
  • Flower: Zinnia produces bright, showy flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white. The size ranges from small, daisy-like flowers to large, fluffy pom-poms.
  • Lifespan: Zinnias are grown as annuals and perennials, depending on the climate.

Zinnias, applied as a traditional medicine, helps with various ailments, including fever, stomach disorders, and respiratory infections.

12. Hibiscus Plant

Hibiscus is a flowering shrub in the mallow family, Malvaceae, that thrives in direct sunlight.

They commonly grow in gardens and containers, making them sun-loving tropical plants.

  • Origin: Hibiscus is native to warm temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions, including Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
  • Height: They grow to 1-3 meters (3-10 feet).
  • Foliage: The leaves are typically large and ovate, with a slightly glossy texture and a deep green shade.
  • Flower: They produce large flowers, up to 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter, in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, or white.
  • Lifespan: Hibiscus grown as perennial will come year after year.

Did you know Hibiscus boasts many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation?

To grow Hibiscus in pots, you must collect ceramic and plastic and maintain a tropical environment. 

13. Rose Shrub

Roses are popular flowering shrubs in the Rosaceae family, which includes over 100 species of perennial woody plants.

However, not all are as favorite as the genus Rosa (red rose).

rose plant under sunlight
Roses are the perfect sun-loving plants that grow well both indoors and outdoors.

Did you know 43% of all fresh-cut flowers purchased as Valentine’s Day gifts are red roses?

  • Origin: Roses are native to Asia, cultivated and hybridized for thousands of years.
  • Height: They grow about a foot to over 30 feet, depending on the species and location.
  • Foliage: The rose leaves are oval or lance-shaped, with a slightly serrated edge and a deep green color.
  • Flower: They produce large signature flowers with multiple petals in single or double sizes and come in red, pink, white, yellow, and orange shades.
  • Lifespan: Roses live for many years as perennials, with some varieties surviving for decades.

Various products, including perfumes, cosmetics, and essential oils, use roses for fragrance.

Have you ever thought why do Roses have thorns?

From Editorial Team

Love your Plants for Direct Light!

Growing sun-loving plants can be tricky, considering it needs at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.

Choose the right location, a south-facing window if indoors, to provide ample sunlight.

Do not forget to fertilize them in spring and summer, water them regularly, and prune the blossoms to keep them looking healthy.