Growing Herbs in the West Window

A window facing the west gets less direct light than one that faces south, but better light than a window that faces east. This means that plants that need light but cannot handle much direct sun will grow well in a west-facing window. Flowering houseplants often enjoy a west window, as do plants whose foliage is a color other than green; that type of light often intensifies the color of the leaves.

Some plants that thrive in eastern and southern windows may also do well in a west window, so go ahead and experiment. Eastern-window plants usually need a bit less light, so a curtain between or a table a short distance from the window might be a way to include these at a western-facing window.

Plants that work well in west windows are usually pretty easy to grow. They do not usually need special temperatures or levels of humidity, though naturally extremes are not generally well tolerated.

The light that comes in through a west-facing window tends to be direct, hot, and bright at the end of the afternoon. Some plants can become scorched and restrict growth in these conditions.

Herbs

For a west facing window, herbs can be an excellent splash of color. A variety of herbs do very well in west windows. A windowsill herb garden kit can provide a variety of tasty additions to meals.

Basil

Genovese or pesto basil is easy to grow, and these pods are guaranteed to germinate. While they are created for used in AeroGardens, the pods can be planted in standard pots as well; just add water.

Mint

There are a variety of mint plants available, all of which can enjoy a place in your west-facing herb garden. Some of these include:

Mint can add a fresh flavor to many dishes and also makes an amazing tea, which can be hot or cold. A sprig of mint in a glass of lemonade adds a cool and refreshing note.

Oregano

Aromatic and full of flavor, this dark green herb is used in many cuisines, most notably Italian and Greek. This will flourish in a west window, providing delicious herbal additions for months.

Parsley

Italian parsley has been used as a palate cleanser and garnish as well as adding flavor in so many dishes. Growing it in the windowsill can make it so convenient to include it in any meal.

Rosemary

An evergreen aromatic, rosemary adds pungent flavor to all types of dishes. It grows well in windowsills and frequent use will keep the plant creating new tender stems.

Tarragon

A hardy variety, tarragon does not require a lot of watering and can handle cooler temperatures; however, it will grow well in a west window as it enjoys the sunshine.

Thyme

Good for aiding recovery as well as adding flavor, this herb is full of vitamins C and A. Growing this in a sunny window will allow enjoyment of the aroma as well as using it in food preparation.

Kits

Windowsill Herb Planter Set

Five herbs – basil, mint, parsley, thyme, and rosemary – are included in this starter herb garden kit.

Complete Herb Kit Variety

This three-pack of potted herbs include basil, mint, and cilantro. The tins come filled with a soil blend developed for growing herbs and the seed packets make it easy to plant the herbs.

9 Herb Window Garden

This comprehensive windowsill herb planter set offers nine different herbs. The set includes a pot for each herb, a stake to show which is planted in that pot, pre-fertilized soil discs that will expand with water to fill all the pots, the seeds, and instructions. The herbs included are basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mustard, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme.

Some non-herb plants to grow in a window that faces west can be found in the list below. Keep in mind that most of these are toxic if ingested.

Air Plants (Tillandsia spp.)

Air plants are a type of succulents that require no soil and little water. These can be a bright spot in any area. They are tropical plants, so the temperature should be warm when purchasing these so they will not be damaged in transit by frigid air. These plants do not like direct sunlight, so they will do best on a shelf just inside the west window rather than in the window itself; a thin curtain between the plant and the window is likely to be sufficient to keep it comfortable.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Another succulent, aloe vera loves the sun, making it ideal for a west window. It only needs to be watered when the soil gets completely dry, as little as once a month during the winter. It does not like getting too cold, since the leaves are mostly water and will freeze.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

The flowers of an amaryllis are colorful and beautiful, and the entire plant takes up little shelf space as it grows vertically. The flowers burst out about the top of the single stem, which can produce from two to five flowers. These generally bloom around Christmastime, but it can bloom about every two months if cared for properly. The plant likes bright light, but not necessarily direct light; a west window with a translucent curtain is perfect to provide the right amount of light for these gorgeous plants.

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

A tropical plant, the bird-of-paradise can grow up to six feet tall if given enough room. It loves the bright west-window light though it may need a break from it during the hottest part of the day. Similar to succulents, this plant only needs water when the soil becomes dry, which is much less often in the winter.

Cactus, Holiday Types

This houseplant is nice to see even when it is not blooming, but it tends to bloom between Thanksgiving and Easter with the average being Christmas. It likes the brightness of the light in a west window but is better with a sheer curtain to aid in controlling the heat from the sun.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)

Chrysanthemums like bright, indirect light so they are perfect for a lightly curtained west-facing window. Since they bloom in the fall, it is best to start them in May for best results. These can be grown in pots or buckets; they come in a wide range of varieties which include different shapes and colors.

Naturally, this is not a comprehensive list of everything that can be grown in a west-facing window, but it is definitely a good window to choose for growing all sorts of herbs and other plant life.