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by Carole Schwalm An outdoor sundial.

South-facing windows are the ideal place for growing, especially flowering plants. It is all about the light.

Flowering plants inside window in the sun I’ve included pictures of bougainvilleas and geraniums we’ve raised in our south windows. The plants just started blooming in late September, but they will continue to flower through late spring, and then they rest. But now they thrive in the fall and winter light conditions, with the sun’s lower arc.

Without light, plants can’t manufacture food. As Robert Rodale says (in The Basic Book of Organic Gardening): The leaves and other green parts of the plant are a sort of a kitchen or manufacturing plant for preparing the plant food. The nourishment then travels throughout the plant.

Flowering plants inside window in the sun Natural sunlight is the ultimate, but artificial lighting helps, even ordinary lamps augment what you do not have. Ferns, for example, benefit from an ordinary lamp and a 75 watt bulb that provides light three to four hours each day. A great idea I found in “The Facts of Light about indoor gardening” (An Ortho Book -1976) is an inverted clay pot inside a macramé hanger that is your lampshade over an incandescent light).

Another find in the Ortho Book is the plan for hiding florescent lights. From the same book, you’ll see a picture of hanging cherry tomato plants getting both above light and window light.

A southern window or supplemental lighting and a window in another direction creates a home for bougainvilleas, geraniums, cacti and desert plants that flower or anything else you can imagine.

We’ve grown tomatoes, onions, cucumbers in a south window over the winter. Nasturtiums not only bloom, but give a great taste to salads. And speaking of salad: lettuces and kale.

Read more about lettuce in our Cabbage & Lettuce article.

Share your southern exposure gardening experience or if you'd like more information.