There are several types of houseplants that you can grow indoors. Some of these houseplants prefer direct sunlight, while others cannot tolerate direct sun and must be kept to the side of a window. These houseplants are perfect for rooms that do not have large windows or for windows on the north and south sides of the house.
Different types of plants need different amounts of sunlight to grow properly. A plant that does not do well in the sun will eventually die in direct light, just as a plant that prefers sun will not do well in the shade. North- and south-facing windows get light, but it is not direct light. East- and west-facing windows get direct light, but the eastern windows get morning sun, which is not as intense as the hot afternoon sun. Even inside the home, the afternoon sun can be too much for plants that prefer indirect light.
You will most often see light requirements listed for plants. "Full sun" means they need a lot of sunlight--more than 6 hours per day. "Partial sun" means the plant should receive indirect light, and if its location is in sun, it should be the cooler, morning sun. "Shade" means the plant will not tolerate direct light for any amount of time. These ratings are for both indoor and outdoor plants.
Many plants that do not tolerate direct light can be grown only in northern climates, unless they are grown inside as a houseplant. You can grow a plant designed for a cooler zone in zones 9 through 11 if the plant is grown inside. With the availability of different potting soils, you can also create the perfect soil for a plant that should be grown in a soil found in Washington, which allows someone in Florida or Texas to grow a plant in indirect light as a houseplant.
See pages to follow for examples of easy to grow low light, moderate light, and bright light to full sun plants
Keep in mind the size of the plant before buying. Some houseplants can get quite large, and if there is not enough space for them, they will suffer from overpruning. Vine plants can be kept in a hanging pot. Pinching the stem tips of many houseplants of medium size will make them grow bushier as opposed to taller. Plants should be transplanted to a larger pot every 2 years, or else they will become root-bound and eventually die. If you have a small space for plants that require indirect light, pick plants that do not grow large.