Plant Light Requirements

Plants usually come labeled with their sun exposure requirements.

Measuring  sun exposure for plants is not an exact science. The best way to determine sunlight for a specific area is to observe it and write down the time sun hits a certain place.  Remember that the sun is higher in the summer and deciduous trees will have leaves so take this into consideration.

There will always be variables  such as cloudy days and places where it gets to be 100 degrees in the shade. The  definitions below are the generally accepted standards for determining sun  exposure in the garden.

    • Full Sun: At least 6 full hours of direct sunlight during the growing season. Many sun lovers  enjoy more than 6 hours per day, but need regular water to endure the heat. Full sun often can be found on the South facing side of your garden.
    • Partial Sun / Partial Shade: These 2 terms are often used  interchangeably to mean 3 – 6 hours of sun each day, preferably in the morning  and early afternoon.

 However if a plant is listed as Partial Sun, greater emphasis is put  on its receiving the minimal sun requirements.

 If a plant is listed as Partial Shade, the plant will need some  relief from the intense late afternoon sun, either from shade provided by a  nearby tree or planting it on the east side of a building.

  • Dappled Sun: Dappled sunlight is similar to partial shade. It is the  sun that makes its way through the branches of a deciduous tree. Woodland plants  and underplantings prefer this type of sunlight over even the limited direct  exposure they would get from partial shade.
  • Full Shade: Less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with  filtered sunlight during the rest of the day. Full shade does not mean no sun.  There aren’t many plants, except mushrooms, that can survive in the dark.