When you begin choosing your plants, they will have instructions regarding sunlight requirements. There are several possible classifications that you may encounter. Here are some definitions to help you make sense of these requirements
Full Sun These require at least 6 hours of full direct sunlight daily. Most plants that require full sun will also require some level of regular watering to endure the heat.
Partial Sun vs. Partial Shade This grouping requires 3 - 6 hours of direct sun per day. Ideal conditions would
be from morning until early afternoon. If the plant requires partial sun, you should strive to have sun for these plants on
the high side of this range or closer to 6 hours daily.
If the plant requires partial shade, more emphasis is placed on getting direct sun on the low end of the 3 - 6 hour range. If a plant requires partial shade, consider using some object such as a tree or building to provide shade during the more
intense later afternoon sun.
Dappled Sun Dappled sun is much like partial shade. This sun comes through the branches of trees and provides partial shade throughout the day.
Full Shade These plants require less than 3 hours of direct sun daily. During the day when there is no direct
sunlight there should be some type of filtered sunlight.
Understand that full shade does not mean no sun. About the only plants that can survive in the dark are mushrooms. All others will require some level of sunlight.
Determining Hours of Direct Sunlight
If you are not sure of your hours of sunlight daily, or if due to your need to have several smaller plots or containers around your property, consider using sun sticks. These are a plastic flower looking item that you affix a sticker to the top of and then place them in the spots you are considering for your garden sites. The sticker will change colors based on the sunlight exposure. You then compare the color it changes to with a color chart that will tell you how many hours of sunlight that area receives daily.
One other item to remember is to plant your taller plants on the north side of your garden and your shortest plants on the
south side. Be sure not to have the taller plants creating shade over the other plants as they grow. Your taller plants
need to be on the north side of the shorter plants in your garden.
Click here to return to Garden Planning