When I moved to this home, I was extremely happy that it faced east. Not only do I love azaleas, boxwood, Japanese maples, and rhododendrons which prefer the east exposure, my favorite indoor plants prefer an eastern exposure as well. Would it have been a deal breaker if it had faced west? No, but it was another good reason to purchase this home.
I know that many people prefer a light meter to find out exactly what light their area has, but for those that don’t (me), we are going to go throught the exposures in the next four weeks and talk about the plants that each one can support. These are ones I’ve found do well in those exposures. Your experience may be different. That being said, let’s get started. So what plants prefer an eastern exposure?
First, let’s find out if you even have an eastern window in your home. Some people have a hard time figuring out which exposure their window faces. This is my sarcastic response, “IF the sun comes UP in your window in the morning, it faces EAST.” Remember to add a note of sarcasm to get it right. This light is a soft, cool light that shines in the window in the mornings and many plants love it. The west exposure is almost the same except that in the summer especially, it will be a hot light. Does that make sense? It is a more intense light and some plants don’t appreciate that. So what plants are best for an east window. I’m only going to talk about 15 here but there are many more. If I mention a plant family, usually the other plants in that genus will like the same conditions, but not always. Let’s get started with my favorites……
The fern above is the reason I needed an east window. This is my heirloom 1985 Boston fern which is a start from my mom’s 1957 fern. Pictured below is mom’s fern in her home with my daughter and nephew in the late 80s. Read more about that special fern here. You can see in the picture between the kids, she had started a new plant which she probably gifted to someone. She did that alot. Also in the picture above you can see my rabbit’s foot fern (top left) which has completely covered the pot now, and a crocodile fern in the lower left. My bear’s paw fern is also hiding in there and on the far right, you will see my Aglamorpha coronans ‘India’. Lots of ferns in that east window. Not shown is also the cotton candy fern, an austral gem fern, and an unamed fern. All the ferns!
Those ferns are the stars of my downstairs east window and mom’s fern which I now care for, is in the east window upstairs. Keep your ferns evenly moist, never allowing them to dry out completely. That is the key to keeping them happy. (Along with the right light, of course.)
I decided to show you a different member of the spider plant family as most of you know what a common spider plant looks like. This one does not make babies the same way as the Chloropytum comosum, but it has flowered, dropped seeds into the pot, and they have sprouted for me. Keep this plant evenly moist and make sure you have a spot near it to have your morning beverage so you can appreciate the sun shining throught those gorgeous orange stems.
There are so many different varieties of pothos, but the Epripremnum aureum or golden pothos pictured is still one of my favorites. The bright green ‘Neon’ one is of course also a favorite and I do have one of those in my east window, as well. You will know if the golden pothos doesn’t have enough light as it will lose its variegation and if that happens, move it closer to the window. Remember, variegated plants need more light than all green plants, so if you have a variegated plant that reverts to all green, it needs more light.
With this gorgeous variegated foliage, you may think the aglaonema needs a high light situation to keep its color, like a croton, but it is happy to bask in the morning light. It likes a well-drained soil and has quite succulent stems so don’t keep it too moist but don’t let it dry out, either.
Many may think that orchids are hard to grow and will never bloom for them in their homes without some elaborate set-up (and hocus pocus). I can assure you that isn’t the case for the three orchids I’m going to show you.
The phalaenopsis or moth orchid is easy to get to rebloom. Cut the stem back when it is done flowering and with good care and the right light, it will bloom again next year. If it is in a cachepot (a pot without a drainage hole hiding the pot with the orchid in it) take it out to water it, take it to the sink, run water through the potting medium, let it drain, making sure no water is sitting in the “valley” where the leaves come together, and return it to its cachepot. It needs a bright light such as an east window to have enough light to give it the energy to bloom again next year.
My paphiopedilum is getting ready to bloom right now and is in my east window all year. It needs to be kept evenly moist and it will flower regularly for you.
This orchid below, Ludisia discolor is one of my favorites, not for its flowers, which are in no way as spectacular as the orchids above (but still beautiful), but for its sparkling gorgeous foliage. It is a terrestrial orchid meaning it grows naturally in the soil, not as an epiphyte as many orchids grow. I keep the potting medium moist, but it is forgiving of drying out because of its succulent stems, but it may lose some of its oldest leaves if allowed to dry out too much. This orchid is easy to propagate with cuttings and who wouldn’t want a start of this beautiful plant?
If you follow along regularly here, you know I LOVE African violets.. My grandma grew them and that’s where I got my love for them, but these plants today are nothing like the few varieties grandma had to choose from. They have been hybridized to have gorgeous foliage and unusual flower colors. Violets love an east window and they need to be rotated regularly so they don’t lean towards the light. Keep them in short azalea pots instead of the standard size pot and usually they don’t need to be in a pot larger than 4″ depending on the plant. There are miniatures that need only a 2″ pot as their final size. Many people grow them under lights and use wick watering so they have a steady supply of moisture. Read about a couple here that grow their plants under lights and sell them at violet shows.
Though they are in the same family (Gesneriaceae) as African violets, they have quite different care. The goldfish plant has glossy leaves and likes to dry out more than the African violet, but don’t let them dry out completely, or they will drop all thier leaves. Trust me on this. They do like the same light, though.
The patterns on dieffenbachia leaves can be amazingly gorgeous. Be aware that these plants are poisonous so be cautious when handling them, or having them around children or pets. They are easy to grow and can become quite large. The leaves are their main attraction, as you can see above. Keep them moist, not allowing them to dry out. Mine has grown pretty quickly and has two new leaves emerging right now. I may have to up-pot it this spring.
Syngonium or Arrowhead plant
Did you know the arrowhead vine is really a vining plant? There are so many different varieties with pink leaves, pink and green leaves, burgundy leaves, and splotched leaves. If you haven’t checked out the syngonium family, you should. They do become a vining plant with age, so be aware they can get large and may need a trellis or support of some type. They have thin leaves so that is an indicator that they don’t want to dry out and may need a bit more humidity. Though they can get large, there are some mini versions out there, too.
The Begonia maculata is one of the hottest plants around and for good reason. Look at that foliage! Begonias are the perfect candidates for the east window and do well there. Their care depends on the type of begonia you have. The B. maculata is a cane type begonia so in my opinion is an easier begonia to grow. They like an even moisture, never sitting in water or completely drying out. Can you say yellowing, dropping leaves? The rex begonias have me baffled most of the time. They like to die down and rest and I usually don’t have time for that (maybe because they don’t come back for me like they are supposed to?). Rhizamotous begonias are also a bit easier, too. They have fleshy rhizomes, thus the name, so actually would like to be treated kind of like a succulent, letting the medium dry out a bit between waterings.
This plant will also be appearing in my north window post. It is a climbing vine that has tendrils that reach out and wrap around whatever they can. My grandma had one growing in her east living room window in a hanging basket. This plant brings back good memories, but it is a really pretty vine, too. The one shown is Cissus rhombifolia ‘Ellen Danica’ and has more ornate leaves than the original one. Keep it evely moist and in good bright light and it could take over your house. This is an easy vine to grow.
There are countless philodendrons to choose from and they may also appear in my north exposure post. Philodendrons can survive in low light, but would prefer to be in a bright light, such as an east window. The Philodendron micans above is similar to the heart leaf philodendron, but has a more velvety, irridescent appearance and its leaves are also slightly quilted. Don’t let it dry out completely or yellow leaves will be the consequence. Keep it evenly moist but not too wet.
Since the day I bought this Fittonia ‘Pink Wave’, it has been in the east window and it loves it. It just keeps growing bigger and it might need a new container this spring. It “faints” if it dries out because fittonias do not like to be dry and they are quite dramatic. I’ve let it happen a couple of times, but usually it isn’t more than a few hours and it comes right back. I’ve actually been amazed because it hasn’t even lost a leaf. Pretty crazy really. Place this plant next to the ‘Fire Flash’ so you can enjoy the sunlight shining through both. Who loves pink and orange together? Anyone? I sure do!
I hope you found a plant or two you can put in your east window. Remember, if the sun comes up in your window, it faces east.
Have a great week, my plant friends!