Having the right lighting is one of the biggest factors in plant care. And understanding the light provided by your windows and location will better explain which plants will do best in your home. With an eastern exposure, you’ll be able to easily grow most tropical plants that thrive in soft lighting conditions. Dive in to uncover the science behind sun intensity and find the best plants for east-facing windows that will thrive in your home.
Understanding the Sunlight from East-Facing Windows
Our sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Having east-facing windows means your home gets more sunlight during the early morning hours before passing overhead around noon, usually leaving eastern windows with soft and shaded daylight.
Sunlight during the morning is less intense compared to rays from the afternoon. This makes an ideal lighting environment for plants that prefer soft, indirect light.
Beyond the sun’s daily motion, your latitude — the distance from the equator running north and south — also plays a role in determining how much sun energy reaches your plants. In the winter, the Earth’s tilt is furthest away from the sun, meaning you can expect much less solar energy reaching your plants. This loss of light energy is more pronounced the further you get from the equator. For eastern windows, this dormancy means plants will also be less likely to dry out compared to western or southern windows.
Understanding your directional sunlight and how the Sun’s energy changes throughout the year at your location will help you find the best plants for east-facing windows.
Other Factors Affecting Natural Light
Understanding the direction and intensity of the Sun’s rays is important, but other environmental factors can play a major factor in how much sunlight energy actually reaches your plants. Nearby trees or buildings may block some sunlight, reducing available solar energy for your plants. Placing plants away from windows or closing the blinds also has a huge impact on energy potential — even if you have a bright and sunny room.
If you have obstacles blocking your eastern view, or find curtains or furniture blocking your ideal plant placement, an inexpensive grow light will easily provide additional energy for your plants. These lights come in a variety of designs and have features like timers to make them feel as natural as the daylight cycle, so you can still find the best plants for east-facing windows.
The Best Plants For Eastern-Facing Windows
A home with an eastern view has ideal lighting conditions for a majority of tropical houseplants. The soft morning light from eastern-facing views match the bright indirect needs of many of these beautiful plants.
In fact, the only plants that may not grow as fast in this exposure are members of the cactus or succulent families, although even these can thrive if they have unobstructed access to east-facing light.
If your plant isn’t receiving enough light, it will show early warning signs that it needs more solar energy. Look for leaves with less intensity, growth that looks long or stringy, or a decline in new growth. All of these factors could be red flags that your plant isn’t receiving the minimum amount of light it needs to survive.
North, south, east or west — there are no bad exposures for sunlight. But understanding the science behind the natural light your home receives will make you a more informed plant parent. Be sure to read our guides on west-facing, north-facing and south-facing windows if your home has rooms with other lighting needs.