Best Plants for Afternoon Sun – 5 Unmissable Options

When we think about the strength of the afternoon sun, we usually associate it with being harmful and something to avoid, especially in those peak summer months.

For some plants, the afternoon sun is exactly what they need to produce beautiful blooms.

With the limited floor space but the bright afternoon sun in my tiny home, the String of Pearls and Jade plants are well suited. I have a lot of open wall shelving as storage and they would highlight these areas with a stylish look.   

Knowing what plants thrive in the afternoon sun is the key to keeping your indoor plants looking fresh all year round. 

plants by the sofa and window

Product Reviews

Best Upright Growing Plant- Mother-in-Law Tongue 


The Sansevieria, also known as the Mother-In-Law’s tongue, is one of the most resilient indoor plants available for the home.

The Sansevieria is part succulent and requires very little maintenance making it great for those who don’t have the time for nurturing.

Originating from the tropical West African climate, the Mother-In-Law’s tongue adores the hot afternoon sun and is drought tolerant.

During spring, the Sansevieria can showcase a flowering stalk containing white-green blooms in large clusters. The fragrance of the flowers can be pleasantly strong, which may attract pests.

Although the flowering Sansevieria is pretty, it is a rare sight and will usually happen when the plant is a little stressed- typically when the roots have become overgrown for the pot.

Key Features

  • Little watering required
  • It enjoys temperatures of 45F to 100F (7.2C to 37.7C)
  • Low humidity
  • Fertilize seasonally
  • Part to full light

Who’s It Best for?

The sansevieria would be the ideal plant for a person who is on the go, it’s fitting if you have a corner of your room with sun exposure in the afternoon. With its ease of care and low maintenance, even the beginner gardener has a chance to enjoy this plant. 

My Sansevieria plant is kept in my hallway, it’s a place that I don’t spend a lot of time in but it makes enough of a statement when people are entering my home.  

Its vertical growth will reach 8- 12 feet (243cm- 365cm), making it an attractive feature with little maintenance.

When selecting a sansevieria plant, be sure to choose one with many shoots, these are easy plants to propagate, and later you can expand your collection or even make gifts for your friends.

Best Flowing Plant- String Of Pearls 

string of pearl plant blur background


Commonly known as String Of Pearls, this classy-looking plant is a succulent seen initially as ground cover in the South West African desert. Many households today would display the string of pearls in hanging baskets from the ceiling or a shelf to create a feature.

With its extensive trailing ability, you can use it as a covering for a surface or leave it to cascade vertically. Each vine containing these pea-shaped leaves can reach a length of up to 3 feet (91.5cm), so whether hanging from a shelf or draped over a surface, they will make a creative covering.

Because the String of pearls is essentially a succulent, it will thrive in full sun, but while it matures, it will require a controlled weekly watering routine.

Key Features

  • Tolerates High to medium light
  • Keep soil moist with light watering
  • Low humidity requirements
  • Thrives in temperatures 65F to 75F (18.3 to 23.8C)
  • Requires a monthly fertilizer application

Who’s It Best for?

Great for a shelf or Tv unit where you want to add some interest, the pea-shaped leaves will creep along the surface to cover the space. This plant makes an ideal addition to the home of someone who wants to add style using nature. With its low water requirements, little interference is needed which makes it great for a novice gardener.

You can use the String of Pearls to cover a wall or frame they will climb and can be trained to attach to a vertical trellis.

Be patient to see the tiny white flowers emerge; a cooler temperature will encourage the beautiful blooms and can be witnessed in winter when watering has been reduced.

When my String of pearls was flowering during the cooler months, it gave off a scent similar to cinnamon which was warming, especially during the winter period.

Best Space Filling Plant- Bird of Paradise

bird of paradise in metal pot


This tall growing plant is native to South Africa and is widely known as the Bird of Paradise due to the beautiful flowers resembling the form of a bird. The Bird of paradise thrives in afternoon sun exposure and showcases large deep green foliage similar in shape to the banana tree.

These plants can grow up to 6 feet (198cm) tall, so the area to position them in should have a soaring ceiling and bright light.

The Strelitzia belongs to a family of sturdy plants, and they can be grown in well-draining soil types containing organic compost.

Key Features 

  • Little water requirements
  • Tolerates low humidity
  • Favors temperatures 65F to 80F (18.3C to 26.6C)
  • Requires a monthly fertilizer application
  • Prefers bright direct sun exposure

Who’s It Best for?

The Bird of paradise makes a great talking point for any foyer or tall open space. Also if you are patient, you will see the striking flowers bloom during spring heat when the plant is fully matured. 

The Strelitzia is well suited for the plant lover who wants to make a striking feature in their room, using large leaves and bright flowers. With the little water requirements and the ability to thrive in low humidity, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep this plant happy.  

The Strelitzia is one of my favorite plants but unfortunately, my home doesn’t have the floor or ceiling space to house the Strelitzia nicolai. There are other species available which are smaller and more suitable sizes for my home.

When selecting a Strelitzia nicolai for your home, choose a plant that has as many clumps formed in the pot as possible.

This is an excellent sign that the plant is happy and healthy to multiply and allows you to propagate later.

Best Multi-Purpose Plant- Aloe Vera

aloe vera by window with sun


Aloe Vera is famous for its medicinal properties, and this plant is an excellent addition to your outdoor garden and can be kept in full sunlight indoors.

Aloe Vera is a tremendous all-around low-maintenance plant that will grow striking strappy succulent leaves. Known as one of the most sought-after plants in the world, it would be a crime not to add one to your collection!

Aloe Vera is native to the tropical climates of Africa, making it drought-tolerant and easy to care for. Any changes in the leaves color will indicate a lack of light or water.

After the Aloe Vera has reached four years old, it will begin to bloom and produce a stem where the blooms will emerge. This will happen once a year approximately, from early spring to late summer.

Key Features 

  • Prefers 6 hours of direct light per day
  • Tolerates low humidity
  • Requires little watering when soil is dry
  • Favors temperatures 65F to 75F (18.3C to 25C)
  • A yearly application of fertilizer

Who’s It Best for?

Whether you are simply looking for a desk plant to pretty up a space or add some spiky foliage to your indoor plant collection. The Aloe Vera is a must-have favorite. 

Aloe Vera is great for people who don’t have enough time to spend caring for their plants. With its medicinal properties it makes this plant multi-purpose. Great to have on hand even for the most amateur of gardeners.

During the summer I use my Aloe Vera for unexpected sunburns or cuts from gardening. It makes a great healer. When selecting my Aloe vera therefore I was sure to find a plant with a few extra pups in the pot, that way I could divide them later and multiply my collection.

Best Easy-Going Plant- Jade Plant

jade plant in clay pot


Jade Plants, also widely known as Money plants, have thick succulent leaves and adore the afternoon sun. They are low maintenance and require minimal watering, making them suitable for busy people.

As the early summer approaches, keeping plants such as the Jade plant can take away the worry of maintenance in the hot temperatures.

The Jade plant originates from South Africa, where the temperatures are high. So when choosing where to situate your money plant, be sure it receives at least 4 hours of sunlight per day.

Key Features

  • Prefers 4 Hours of sunlight per day
  • Little water requirements
  • Favors temperatures between 65F and 77F (18.3C and 25C)
  • Tolerates low humidity
  • Seasonal fertilizer application required

Who’s It Best for?

Keeping this plant is trouble-free and rewarding and is great for someone that has little time to spend at home caring for plants. The money plant is popular among those who follow feng shui as it is a symbol of luck and prosperity. 

Someone who has a space in a room whether it is on a surface or on the floor would benefit from adding the Jade Plant to their collection. 

The Jade plant displays small waxy leaves with dense foliage and will bloom clusters of pink and white star-shaped flowers.

The sun-loving plant is excellent for keeping in an entryway as it represents luck and prosperity.

The Jade plant will reach a maximum height of 5 feet (30 cm) when fully matured and thriving in the right conditions.

Buying Guide

Space, Sun, and Time

After looking at the various plants available for the afternoon sun, you now indeed have a selection to choose from.

When choosing the ideal plant for your home, some things to consider are firstly the space you have to fill. Also the hours of afternoon sun exposure, and finally the amount of time you have to care for the plants.

If you want to fill an ample bright space choosing the Strelitzia would be a great option. It can grow to a great height, and its tropical look paired with its colorful flowers will create a definitive statement for example.

When it comes to plants that will be on a surface, such as a table or a desktop, the Aloe vera or Jade Plant would be a perfect solution. These plants can be kept at a neat size and are happy to stay in a small pot for an extended period.

The Sansevieria is an excellent option if you have a medium size space in a room that boasts vertical flow. The plant grows upwards to 5 feet and requires minimum care.

Choosing the String Of Pearls in a hanging basket would be a great option if you are looking for a plant that creates interest while not using floor space. This plant looks fantastic when hanging from above and flowers during winter when you least expect it.

Not Enough Sun

After bringing your plant home and situating it in its new sunny spot, it can be common to notice various changes. This can in fact be normal for the first couple of weeks. However nevertheless if the changes continue and your plant begins to stress, it may be time to intervene.

Some of the signs to look out for when your new plant is not getting enough afternoon sunlight would be a change in the color of the leaves. In turn going from a deep green to a brown color indicates not enough sun exposure.

The plant’s growth appears leggy (stretched- long stems reaching for light), with smaller leaves leaning in a specific direction. Typically towards more light.

If you notice your plant is showing any of these signs, try to find a sunnier position to put it.

Additionally, sometimes you will find yourself moving the plants around until they are pleased.

Too Much Sun

Although you have chosen plants that require afternoon sun, even on the hot summer afternoons, it can be too much for them.

One of the main signs to look out for when keeping your new plant in the afternoon sun is scorching on the leaves. Scorching leaves appear brown or yellow and start to curl up at the edges.

Some early signs to look for are if the leaves start to droop and look wilted. This resembles how we feel when exposed to extreme summer heat. If you notice this sign with your plant, relocate it to a position where the sun exposure is less extreme.


What grows best in the hot afternoon sun?

Plants that grow best in the hot afternoon sun are Jade, String of pearls, Sansevieria, Aloe vera, and Strelitzia.

Most of these plants originate from the tropics, so that they can tolerate up to 8 hours per day of direct sunlight. This makes them the ideal plants to have in that sunny spot in your home.

Which is better for plants, morning or afternoon sun?

As the sun in the afternoon is more potent than in the morning, plants that require full sunlight will thrive in the afternoon sun.

Many plants are sensitive to the strength of the afternoon sun, so these plants prefer the morning sun and afternoon shade.

Is the afternoon sun considered full sun?

An area that receives 6 hours or more of sunlight is classed as full sun. Even a spot that receives morning sun for 6 hours or more will be considered a full sun position.

The sun in the afternoon is stronger than in the morning, so care should be taken when selecting plants for that area.

Is the afternoon sun ok for plants?

The afternoon sun exposure provides more heat, so depending on what the plants prefer will determine where you should plant them.

Many plants can thrive in part sun and still produce bright flowers when they receive filtered light, so these should avoid the sunny spots in your home.

What grows well with only morning sun?

Several plants prefer the morning sun and will even tolerate partial shade. ZZ Plants, Ponytail Palms, Parlor Palms, Pothos, and Maidenhair Ferns are just a few low-light-loving plants.

These are great if you have a particular area in your home that needs a plant but doesn’t receive much natural light. 

Brighten Your Home With Afternoon Sun Plants 

Keeping a collection of plants in your home is a great way to bring the outdoors in. Any one of the mentioned plants makes a stylish feature. For me, I am going on a hunt to find a smaller variety of the Strelitzia, Bird of Paradise, to add to my collection! Remember, the keys to ensuring your plants survive in the afternoon sunshine are space, sun, and time. Now go out and make your home beautiful! 

Hungry for More Green Goodness? 

Our easy-to-follow plant care pages have watering secrets to keep your plants hydrated and pest control tips that will send unwanted visitors packing. 

Need help deciding what plant to add to your collection? Check out our houseplant guides and find out what plants will spruce up your space in no time. Join our gardening clan, swap stories, and brag about your plant babies. Get in touch with us and share your obsession with all things green and leafy.

Photo of author
Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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