The last time I lectured, I whipped out my cell phone, opened my compass app and said, “Use this. Take it to your windows and see what direction you actually face. Because I would have said we were facing West in this room, because the sun is setting over there and if you look at my phone, it’s almost true north!”
Well, everyone was almost as shocked as I was by that, and it was a good example of what to do (if you have a cell phone with a compass app–and if not, it can’t be hard to find a compass somewhere, can it?)
The other thing that’s interesting about my little list of plants that I have below for a “west window” is that I grow every single one of them in a different exposure in my own house.
What that means is that the light is different at my home–and that plants really are adaptable (or as I love to say, “plants can’t read!”)
But this is true for just about any plant, indoors or out. Of course no one is going to take a rose and try to grow it in deep shade or to take a fern and try to grow it in full sun, but you can, with a little bit of extra water sometimes, “push the envelope” and nudge a full sun plant into partial sun or a shady plant into partial sun.
And as I mentioned Monday, we tropical growers are always “pushing the envelope” on zones and growing things we have no right to grow and saving them over in all sorts of creative ways.
So these are some suggestions for easy care plants for a West Window. I’ll tell you where I grow mine in parenthesis.
- Bird’s Nest Fern (below a south window–under a glass top table, shaded by other plants). This is truly an easy care fern. It doesn’t need a lot of humidity (as you might have guessed by the fact that it’s beneath a south window!) And because its “fronds” look more like leaves, they aren’t messy and don’t drop off. Very easy to deal with!
- Cacti and succulents (south–you saw that Monday. Also in the East, as you saw with the big Jade). Again, water sparingly in the winter–every 2-3 weeks depending on pot size and home temperature.
- Rex begonias (foliage types grown for their leaves) (in the east window, as you saw last week). See care in discussion of plants for the East.
4. Maranthas and Calatheas (prayer plants and their relatives) (actually this is in a north window at work). These large leafed plants are great at adding color in low light situations. Average watering requirements–once a week or whenever soil is dry to the touch.
So what do I grow in my west windows? I only have 2 bay windows, although my living room has a wall of windows facing west that accommodates floor plants.
This is one of my west bay windows, as you may remember from this summer when one of the snake plants got creative and started breaking out of its pot. This is a guest room. I guess it has some very clean air.
This is my other west window. These plants pretty much never leave this window to migrate outside.
And in the living room, it’s almost all ficus. I have a huge weeping fig, two smaller mistletoe figs, the Spoiler’s gigantic rubber tree (another ficus) and yet a fourth kind of ficus called ‘Too Little.’ I guess the air is really clean in there!
So that concludes the tour of “house plants for the four exposures” and a bit about their care. Now I guess we can get on to the traditional December plants!