You Have an East Window. What are The Best East Window Plants?

by | Jan 26, 2021 | 9 comments

You have an east window. You are lucky. What are the best east window plants?

When I moved to this home, I was happy that it faced east. I love azaleas, boxwood, Japanese maples, and rhododendrons. They prefer the east exposure, and so do my favorite indoor plants. I love all teh east window plants.

Would it have been a deal breaker if it had faced west? No, but it was another good reason to buy this home.

East Exposure

I know that many people prefer a light meter to find out exactly what light their area has, but I have never have. After decades of growing houseplants, these are plants I’ve found do well in an east exposure. Your experience may be different and that’s okay.

That said, let’s get started. What are some good east window plants?

Do you have an east window?

First, let’s find out if you have an east window in your home. Some people have a hard time figuring out which direction their windows face.

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. “If the sun goes down in your window, it faces WEST.”

East 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……

Ferns are east window plants

Boston fern
My heirloom fern in the east window

The fern above is the reason I needed an east window. This is my heirloom 1984 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.

You can see in the picture between the kids, she had started a new plant, which I’m sure she gifted to someone. She did that a lot. In the picture above you can see my rabbit’s foot fern (top left) 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 unnamed fern. All the ferns!

Boston fern as an east window plant
Here is my Mom’s fern in her east window in the late 80s. (Aren’t the kids cute?)

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.) Ferns are some of the best east window plants.

Spider Plant

'Fire Flash' chlorophytum
Chlorophytum amaniense ‘Fire Flash’

Here is a different member of the spider plant family as most of you know what a common spider plant looks like. I love the orange color of the Chlorophytum ‘Fire Flash’.

This one does not make babies the same way as the Chloropytum comosum. It flowers, drops seeds into the pot, and they sprout. Keep spider plants moist.

Make sure you have a chair near it to have your morning coffee or tea. Then you can appreciate the sun shining through the gorgeous orange stems.

Pothos

Pothos is an east window plant
Pothos do well and can even frame the window

There are many kinds of pothos, but the Epripremnum aureum or golden pothos is one of my favorites.

The bright green ‘Neon’ one is 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. If that happens, move it closer to the window.

Remember, variegated plants need more light than all green plants. If you have a variegated plant that reverts to solid green, it needs more light.

Aglaonemas as east window plants

aglaonema
The colorful foliage of the aglaonema love the eastern light

You may think aglaonemas need high light to keep their color, but they are happy to bask in the morning light.

It likes a well-drained potting mix and has succulent stems so don’t keep it too moist but don’t let it dry out either. These are easy, beautiful east window plants.

Some orchids are east window plants

Many may think that orchids are hard to grow. They 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 rebloom. Cut the stem back when done flowering and with good care and the right light, it will bloom again next year.

If it is in a cachepot or a pot without a drainage hole, take it out to water it. Take it to the sink, run water through the potting medium, let it drain, and return it to its cachepot.

Make sure no water is sitting in the “valley” where the leaves come together. It needs bright light such as an east window to have enough light to give it the energy to bloom again next year.

Phalaenopsis orchid
Moth orchids or phalaenopsis do well as an east window plant

My paphiopedilum is getting ready to bloom right now and is in my east window all year. It needs to be evenly moist and it will flower regularly for you.

paphiopedilum
For such a beautiful orchid, the paphiopedilum is surprisingly easy to grow

This orchid below, Ludisia discolor is one of my favorites. Not for its flowers, but for its sparkling gorgeous foliage. It is a terrestrial orchid meaning it grows in 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. 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?

Jewel orchid as an east window plant
Jewel orchid or Ludisia discolor

African violets are east window plants

African violet
African violets love the soft light of the east window

If you follow along here, you know I LOVE African violets.. My grandma grew them and that’s where I got my love for them. The plants today are nothing like the few varieties grandma had to choose from. There are varieties with gorgeous foliage and unusual flower colors.

Violets love an east window. Rotate them when you water so they don’t lean towards the light.

They grow best in short azalea pots instead of the standard size pot. 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.

Goldfish Plant

Though goldfish (Nematanthus gregarius) plants 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 their leaves. Trust me on this. They do like the same light, though.

goldfish plant
Goldfish plant Nematanthus gregarius ‘Cheerio Green’

Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia
The dieffenbachia foliage is gorgeous

The patterns on dieffenbachia leaves are gorgeous. Be aware that these plants are poisonous. So be cautious when handling them, or having them around children or pets. Use gloves when handling them.

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 quickly and has two new leaves emerging right now. I may have to up-pot it this spring.

Syngonium or Arrowhead plant

Syngonium
The arrowhead plant or syngonium has beautifully colored leaves

Did you know the arrowhead vine is a vining plant? There are 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.

Begonias are east window plants

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 and is an easier begonia to grow. They like 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 patience for that. Maybe because they don’t come back for me like they are supposed to? Rhizamotous begonias are a bit easier, too. They have fleshy rhizomes, thus the name. So treat it like a succulent, letting the medium dry out a bit between waterings.

Begonia maculata
Begonia maculata ‘Cracklin’ Rosy’ 
Begonia
Glowing begonia

Grape Ivy

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 it 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 pretty vine, too.

The one shown is Cissus rhombifolia ‘Ellen Danica’. It has more ornate leaves than the original.

Keep it moist and in good bright light and it could take over your house. This is an easy vine to grow.

Cissus rhombifolia 'Ellen Danica'
The Cissus rhombifolia ‘Ellen Danica’ vine is perfect for an east window

Philodendrons

Philodendron micans
Philodendron micans from Bloomscape, a mailorder company.

There are countless philodendrons to choose from. 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 like the heart leaf philodendron, but has a velvety, iridescent appearance. It has quilted leaves, which are dark green on top and burgundy on the bottom.

Don’t let it dry out completely or yellow leaves will be the consequence. Keep it moist but not too wet.

Fittonia

Since the day I bought this Fittonia ‘Pink Wave’, it has been in the east window and it loves it. It 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 it isn’t more than a few hours and it comes back.

I’m amazed because it hasn’t lost a leaf. Pretty crazy. 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!

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9 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Conard

    I love this! My apartment faces East and you’ve given me several suggestions I hadn’t considered 😊

    Reply
    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Elizabeth, I’m glad I could help! Lisa

      Reply
  2. sanju

    When your home’s windows face the east, it’s easier to enjoy natural light and warming sunshine in the earlier hours of the day. Thanks for sharing this blog

    Reply
    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Thanks, Sanju! I do enjoy the soft morning light.

      Reply
  3. Robin finkelstein

    Great info! Can the Syngonium handle a brighter light situation?

    Reply
  4. Dina

    Do you find the Hoya Carnosa to also enjoy eastern window light? I’m curious as I’ve had one for a year and it’s been very slow-growing (i.e., no growth) since we got it. I honestly cannot tell what this plant needs in order to compel it to grow.

    Reply
    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Dina,
      I think it would do okay in the east window, but not sure it will bloom if it isn’t close enough to the window. I don’t think it is the fastest growing plant, but does well when it is snug in its pot. Is it overpotted? Lisa

      Reply
  5. Heidi

    I didn’t know there were different varieties of spider plants! Thanks for sharing yours. I have a picture window facing east in my living room and I love sitting with my plants and watching the sun come up. I may have to start getting rid of furniture though so I have more room for plants! 😁

    Reply
    • Lisa Steinkopf

      You are welcome! I always arrange my furniture around the plants! Lisa

      Reply

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