From the African Milk Tree to the iconic Fishbone Cactus, there are plenty of Prickles that grow natively in hot, sunny climates. But when you bring them indoors, most plants prefer bright indirect light and perhaps a daily misting or two.
But that's not the case for every plant here at Prickle. There is a group of fun, full-sun-loving plants that like their soil dry and their air even drier. Pop them in front of a south-facing window and they'll thrive happily.
If you're looking for a plant that's perfect for a direct sun spot in your home, choose one of the beautiful leafy plants from our list below.
Our favourite sun-worshipping house plants
We love Snake Plants, especially for beginners, but they're self-confessed sun haters and prefer a bright or slightly shady spot instead. Finding a sun-loving indoor plant can be a bit like trying to track down - surprisingly they're not all that common!
Most indoor plants in the UK are chosen because they can live happily in our shady homes under overcast skies. But if you have a sun-filled spot that's exposed to direct sunbeams every day, it's a totally different situation.
Below, each plant thrives in full sun locations. Learn more about them here at Prickle.
1. African Milk Tree
The Euphorbia trigona cactus, better known as the African Milk Bush or African Milk Tree, is a slow-growing plant that loves full sun exposure. This indoor plant is actually a succulent plant, although it is commonly mistaken for a cactus pieces!
Sometimes referred to as the Cathedral Cactus, the African Milk Tree brings a lot of height to your indoor garden. The bright green stems are decorated with short, sharp spikes and little lush creased leaves. Pop it in front of a sunny window to ensure it stays vibrant and happy.
The African Milk Bush needs 6 hours of direct sunlight every single day. Bright light isn't always enough, so be prepared to add some artificial light in the winter to keep this statement plant looking its best.
Humidity & WATERING
Most succulents, including this cactus-like plant like their soil dry. Humidity in the air and water in the soil can lead to root rot, so make sure that the African Milk Tree has plenty of drainage.
Succulents store water within the body of the plant, so it doesn't need a lot of water to stay happy. In fact, leaving the soil moist can attract pests, it's best to keep it away from moisture and humidity, only giving it a drink when the soil is bone dry.
This tropical plant is from the desert, so alongside direct sunlight and bright indirect light, it also needs warm temperatures. Keep this full sun lover in temperatures between 15°C and 27°C.
Yucca elephantipes, referred to simply as the Yucca Plant, like consistent watering to stay happy. Spineless Yucca Plants have spiky and lush glossy green leaves that emerge from thick trunk-line woody stems. It's a low-maintenance plant that's super easy going in the UK climate, even though it originates from Mexico.
Like many other tropical plants, consistency is key here when watering. Start of strong by picking the perfect potting mix, ideally something with good drainage. Pop your Yucca in direct sunlight and that's about it! There's very little that you need to do to keep the Yucca content. It's one of our favourite low-maintenance Prickles.
Direct light is best. At least four hours of sun exposure will be perfect for the Yucca, so even a west-facing window will suit this plant.
Living rooms and bedrooms are usually good places for the Yucca - they hate humidity, so keep it away from the kitchen and bathroom. You should also make sure that pets and babies don't get too close, as the Yucca is toxic when ingested.
Humidity & Watering
Although Yucca plants likes a sunny spot and regular watering, soggy soil is a big no-no. Those sturdy stems are tough and hold the plant upright without lots of water. Furthermore, Yucca hates humidity. Even though it appears visually similar to mist-loving plants, it prefers a dry environment.
The Yucca plant is pretty happy in low temperatures as long as it has enough light. Temperatures lower than 7°C might result in some tell-tale spots on the leaves, but during the summer months it will be quite happy in a heat wave - there's no cap to the temperature bracket it enjoys.
3. Upright Elephant Ear
The Alocasia portodora is one of the few plants that enjoy direct sunlight and is not a cactus. Also known as the Upright Elephant Ear Plant, it's native to Southeast Asia and has enough vibrant foliage to out-stage even the prettiest flowering plants.
Taller than the standard Elephant Ear Plant, this tropical variety won't quite fit on a sunny windowsill. Nonetheless, it should be positioned in a full sun spot and kept happy with a well-draining potting mix.
All Elephant Ear Plants thrive in direct sunlight, but with the height of the Upright Elephant Ear Plant (reaching up to 3 metres tall), you'll need quite a lot of light to bathe the entire plant in sun rays. Placing the plant near south-facing windows will help give it access to enough direct sun in the winter months.
Humidity & Watering
Although this plant likes bright sunlight, it doesn't want to dry out. Keep the soil a little moist with frequent watering - let any excess water drain away so it doesn't get root rot. You should also keep the air humid, plenty of misting will keep the leaves happy.
Keep the ELephant Ear in temperatures similar to other tropical indoor plants, ideally between 15°C and 25°C. Keeping the plant in direct sunlight for several hours, with indirect sunlight for the remainder of the time, will also help to keep the temperature up during the colder months.
Cycas revoluta, better known as the Sago Palm or the Cycad, is one of the smaller indoor plants that enjoy direct sunlight. Place your Sago Palm near a south-facing window so it can get all the direct sun it craves. The beautiful yet toxic palm-like leaves are feathery and narrow, standing upright almost like the green spines of a pineapple.
Like all the plants on our list, direct light and sun exposure is key. We also recommend turning your Cycad in its sunny spots regularly so that the leaves grow evenly. Direct light coming from a single direction could lead to a lopsided Prickle, and no one wants that.
Humidity & Watering
Cycad is a little unusual in that it enjoys a lot of humidity and moisture in the air, by very dry potting mix. With enough light in the summer months, you may find that the air dries out quite quickly so get ready to mist it every few days.
Temperatures that get too low can kill this plant. Keep it in a full sun position and maintain a room temperature between 16°C and 24°C. If you dip below 13°C, the Sago Palm will really suffer. Placing the plant near a south-facing window in the winter months will go a long way towards keeping it healthy!
5. Fishbone Cactus
One of our more unusual plants, Epiphyllum anguliger is a secret sun worshiper. Fondly referred to as the Fishbone Cactus due to the unique shape of its trailing foliage, this full sun-loving plant is actually a trailing succulent. Place it on a high shelf or in a hanging basket to show off this stylish plant.
Sun exposure is important - it likes direct sun but will also manage well with indirect yet still very bright light. If you want to propagate a plant like this, you can use our guide to propagating to learn how to take baby plants from the larger mother plant.
Bright indirect sunlight will suffice for the Fishbone Cactus, but you don't need to worry if it's in the path of full sunbeams too. Find a spot near a sunny window where it can enjoy the light the best.
Humidity & Watering
This plant is relatively low maintenance when it comes to watering. Once it is happy in direct sunlight, mist it occasionally and water it every few weeks (one a month at most in winter). When placed in direct light in summer, you might need to upp the watering schedule. If you notice a few wrinkles or minor shrivelling, it's telling you its thirsty.
Whether it gets full sun exposure or just plenty of bright indirect light, the Fishbone Cactus is happiest in warm temperatures along with other succulent trailing plants. Try to keep it within 16°C to 25°C. A quick dip to lower temperatures during the night may not do too much damage, but regular temperatures below 10°C could spell the end for this Prickle.
Other sun-loving plants
If you are looking for a statement plant to sit at your window, look no further than the Bird of Paradise. It isn't for the faint-hearted, this plant can be a bit of a diva at times, but we think the Bird of Paradise is worth it. With huge leaves, this plant can grow to staggering heights of 3 metres!
The Ponytail Palm is itching for some extra sun! Pop in a bright spot and leave it be, this plant needs little water or humidity, it's why we have named it one of the best beginner plants. The Ponytail Palm is also pet-friendly, so you won't have to worry about your little pricklettes getting nibbling on a leaf or two.
A plant with many uses, Aloe Vera needs a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. Although we wouldn't recommend sitting it right at your window, nearby will keep it happy. The Aloe Vera plant is easy to care for but keep it away from little ones, as it is toxic. If you notice your Aloe Vera toppling over at the stem, move into direct sun and it should recover quickly.
From the Ponytail Palm to the Zebra Plant, there are more sun-loving plants that will are grown indoors than you may think. Many cactus species love bright, direct sunlight and will be happy sitting on a windowsill all day long.
Plants to avoid
Trailing Jade Plants, not to be mistaken for the Jade Plant, are best kept in north-facing rooms. These plants love artificial light and shaded spots, we are starting to think it might be a vampire plant! To keep your Jade Plants happy, water rarely and mist weekly.
Although we are huge fans of the Snake Plant, it doesn't always love the sun. In winter you can pop your Mother in Law's Tongue in direct sunlight, but if you notice its leaves turning yellow move to a more shaded spot. The Snake Plant may be part of the succulent and cactus species, it is best to keep it out of any bright rays.
Perfect for beginners, Dragon Trees love the shade. Although a palm tree, they like to be kept in a shaded corner away from any direct sunlight, we think they look best in big open hallways! Water your Dracaena Marginata once a month (or every few months) and it will be happy.
Tips for growing indoor plants in direct sunlight
Different plants have different requirements, when you're growing plants in full sun or bright indirect light, there are a few things to watch out for.
Too much light. Some plants will develop brown spots or patches on their leaves, like literal sunburn. Move to a bright indirect light spot and this should stop.
Too little light. We can't control the weather, so if it's too overcast in winter or you don't have a south-facing window, you might find colour changes in the leaves. You can invest in a growing light, or move your plants to a sunnier spot for a little bit.
You should also water plants carefully. It's tempting to set a strict schedule - watering every week, for example - but it's often a better idea to look for visual indicators from your Prickle:
Wrinkled succulents and drooping leaves are usually a sign of too little water.
Soil that's dry to the touch or exposed roots can also indicate that a watering is overdue.
Mushy soft plant parts can indicate too much water.
Yellow or brown shades near the base of the plant can show that the soil is waterlogged and may even be causing root rot.
Warm temperatures plus damp soil can attract pests, fungus and even mould. That's why it's important to get the right watering schedule. During the winter, when there's less sun in the UK, it's quite common to find that your sun-loving plant needs less water than usual.
From the Snake Plant to our Aloe Vera
At Prickle, we're mad about plants. From the colourful foliage of the Zebra Plant to the elegantly colourless flowers of the Peace Lily - we love them all! And who can pass up a Ficus Bonsai Tree or Spiky Aloe Vera?
If you want to talk Prickles with us, we'd love to hear from you. Follow us on social media to find plant inspiration, advice and guides on new plant varieties - find us @prickplantsuk.
You can also contact us directly if you need some help setting up your new Prickle with the right sun exposure levels, whether it needs full sun or bright light. Email us at email@example.com to get the conversation started.
Choosing a plant to suit the direct sunlight conditions in your home is a wonderful way to start your indoor jungle collection.