Skip to Content

15 Best Indoor Plants for Bright Light

You’ve probably been taught most of your life that plants need light. While this is true, not all plants thrive in bright light. In fact, some plants can burn or die in bright, direct light. It’s important to know which plants can handle this type of light and which ones cannot. There are some plants that will absolutely thrive in this type of lighting. 

Part of the fun of keeping indoor plants is learning the best places to put them within your home in order for them to thrive. It’s different from outdoor gardening because you have more control over the environment, temperature, lighting, watering, etc. This includes knowing which plants need bright light to survive and thrive.

Here are some of the best indoor plants for bright light.

blooming barrel cactus

Best Indoor Plants for Bright Light

If you’re looking for some great plants that do well in bright light, then consider those that have natural tropical habitats. Succulents of all types are also a great choice. Some indoor flowering plants will also do well. Let’s take a look at 15 great options to get you started. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list.

1. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Mother's gift two - areca Palm plant Dypsis lutescens 4'' pot Easy to grow!! unique from Jmbamboo

Areca palm is a great tropical choice that does very well in bright light. There are different varieties, such as Golden Butterfly Palm, Yellow Palm, Cane Palm, and Golden Feather Palm. Areca palms can grow from 6-12 feet, depending on care and environment, and they do best in moist soil with a lot of bright, direct light.

2. Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus)

Curly Lipstick Plant - Aeschynanthus Rasta - Easy Blooming House Plant -4" Pot

The lipstick plant is a quirky little plant that is fairly easy to take care of, so long as it has enough sun. This fun plant has blooms that look a bit like tubes of lipstick, hence its name.

It’s a tropical plant that does best in bright light and can also do well outdoors in the right climate. It can grow up to 20 inches tall and it also likes moist soil. It’s also pet-friendly!

3. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

Croton Petra Plant - Tropical Foliage Plant Live - 3 Gallon Pot - Overall Height 20" to 24" - Tropical Plants of Florida (Plant Only)

If you’re looking for a colorful addition to your indoor plant collection, you might try croton. While they can sometimes be a bit fussy about watering, they thrive in bright light and will appreciate a spot by a big, sunny window. Some crotons are green, but others have red, orange, or even yellow and light green colors in them. It can really give a pop of color to your room or your plant collection.

4. Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Perfect Plants Ponytail Palm | Beaucarnea Recurvata | 10in Tall | Easy Care Houseplant | Perfect for Bright Light Conditions, 6 in Grower's Pot, | Air Purifying

The ponytail palm isn’t actually a palm at all, but a member of the agave family. It does look like a palm, though, and it also loves the sun like palm trees. The stocky trunk stores water so this plan can go weeks without being watered. If you see the leaves turn yellow and start to droop, it actually means you’re watering too much.

5. Jasmine (Jasminum spp.)

Ohio Grown Arabian Tea Jasmine Plant - Maid of Orleans - 4" Pot

You may be familiar with Jasmine growing outdoors in certain areas, but it also makes a great houseplant. The pleasant aroma is nice, and it looks good potted, or even in a trellis. You will want to keep it in a potting mix that drains well so it doesn’t get too moist and give it lots of sun if you want your Jasmine to thrive indoors.

6. Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

American Plant Exchange King Sago Palm Tree Real Live Plant, 6" Pot, Indoor Outdoor Air Purifier

Another great palm choice is the Sago palm. You can literally bring the tropics into your living room with this large, beautiful plant. Sago palms go back as far as the dinosaurs and they’ve changed very little since then, actually. Some people call them “living fossils” because they are true examples now of what they looked like all those years ago. They are perfect plants for direct sunlight areas.

7. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Thorsen's Greenhouse Aloe Vera, Live Indoor Plant, Aloe barbadensis, 10 Inches, Classic Pot Cover (White)

A lot of people know aloe as a plant that can be used to heal cuts and scrapes and mild burns. But it’s also good for the air in your home and they are pretty to look at. They’re pretty low maintenance and they love the sun.

But they are prone to overwatering (which is how most people accidentally kill them) so be sure you have a good draining pot and don’t water too much. Other than that, you just let it do its thing. Aloe is such an easy plant to care for, it’s also great for beginners. 

8. China doll plant (Radermachera sinica)

China Doll Plant - Radermachera sinica - Easy House Plant - 2.5" Pot

Another great plant for bright light and direct sunlight is the China doll plant. Natively, these were large trees in southern China and Taiwan but have become a houseplant species since the 1980s. Even as a houseplant, they can grow about four to six feet at full maturity. While they can tolerate low humidity inside the home, they prefer higher humidity.

9. Barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Echinocactus Grusonii Barrel Cactus Cacti Succulent Real Live Plant PD

Most cacti do well in bright sun, but the barrel cactus is a great example of this. It’s one of the most common cacti species and has a round, barrel-shaped top and prickly spines. If the cactus gets enough direct sunlight in the spring and summer months, it might also bloom for you. They create a ring of blossoms around the top.

10. Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum)

SmartMe Live Plant - Sedum Morganianum, Burrito 'Burro's Tail, Donkey Tail' Succulent Plants, 2" Pot - Succulent Plant

Some people consider Burro’s Tail to be hard to grow indoors. If you are new to plants or new to succulents, you may want to wait for this one. However, if you have experience in succulents already and you feel confident, you may want to try your hand at it.

This one does really well in the bright light of full sun, and it creates a braided type of look from its fleshy leaves.

11. Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Sunset Jade Plant - Crassula - Easy to Grow House Plant - 4" Pot

Sometimes Jade plants are called money plants (not to be confused with the Money Tree, which is a different plant), and are a type of succulent. They have thick, rounded leaves and they are a very low maintenance plant. They can live for many years and don’t need to be watered too much. They love bright light and will do well in a sunny window.

12. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Live Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata Superba, Fully Rooted Indoor House Plant in Pot, Mother in Law Tongue Sansevieria Plant, Potted Succulent Plant, Houseplant in Potting Soil by Plants for Pets

The snake plant is also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is another great plant that does well in bright light. It’s actually a type of succulent and it doesn’t need a lot of watering. You will see this plant make nearly every indoor plant list because it is so versatile and easy to care for and it is also hypoallergenic, and it cleans the air.

13. Money tree (Pachira aquatica)

Costa Farms Money Tree Pachira, Medium Ships in Premium Ceramic Planter, 16-Inches Tall, Gift

The money tree is another plant that does really well in the bright sun. However, the leaves could get sunburnt if left too long in direct sunlight of the summer. Keep an eye on it and move, if necessary. You should also rotate the plant when you water for even growth. Be especially careful not to overwater and your money tree will thrive for you.

14. Yucca (Yucca gigantea)

Yucca Cane Plant - Live Plant in a 8 Inch Pot - Yucca Guatemalensis - Beautiful Easy Care Air Purifying Indoor Houseplant

Yucca plant is low maintenance and loves sunny windows and spaces. Like dragon trees, it can grow very all outdoors (up to 10 feet) but when indoors, will only grow to about three feet, usually. It can tolerate varying temperatures and only needs to be watered about every two weeks.

15. Fiddle-Leaf fig (Ficus lyrate)

Costa Farms Ficus Lyrata Fiddle Leaf Fig Indoor Tree, 3-Foot

Another great light-loving indoor plant to consider is the Fiddle-leaf fig. It loves direct or bright, indirect sunlight and can do well in big windows or sunrooms. They are a very beautiful plant, sure to become a focal point in a room, especially when they grow large. Outside in their natural environment, they can grow to 30-50 feet in height. Indoors, they will be smaller, but can still top at an impressive six feet.

Conclusion of Best Indoor Plants for Bright Light

As you can see, there are many plants that do well in bright light. If you have a sunroom, a large window that faces the sun, or any other sunny area of your home that needs to be filled with great plants, now you have a list to get you started.

Which one will you start with?

Best indoor plants for bright light
+ posts

Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.

Pin To Save For Later