seedling starting to grow the soil of a garden

How much light do plants need?

The amount of sunlight needed for plants to grow and flourish varies from plant to plant. Some like full sun whilst others prefer full shade, knowing how much sun your garden receives is important in selecting the best plants for your garden.  No matter what light conditions your garden has to offer, there will always be a plant suitable for your garden.

Understanding plant tags

If you have ever frequented a nursery you will notice that most plants come with a plant tag which provides essential plant information, so you can make good plant choices.  All tags are different, but most will provide you with the light requirements needed for your sun, the list below is to help you demystify sun descriptions:

Full Sun: Full sun means 6 full hours or more of direct sun. Those six hours could be from 8-3 or 12-6; anytime during the day. These hours can also be three morning hours, plus three afternoon hours.

Partial Sun/Partial Shade: These two terms are often interchangeable to mean 3-6 hours of sunlight each day. While the terms are interchangeable, there is a default understanding. Partial Shade typically refers to morning and early afternoon sun. while a plant listed as partial sun, relief from the intense late afternoon sun is needed. This shade could be from a structure or the shade from an old tree.

Dappled Sun: Dappled sunlight is my favourite kind of sun, if I had to choose. Dapple sun is similar to partial shade. The plants are getting partial sun as it makes it’s way through the branches of deciduous trees. Woodland plants and under plantings, even for many mosses, prefer dappled sunlight more so than partial shade.

Full Shade: Full shade means less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, best if it’s morning light. But even in the absence of direct sunlight, full shade can be a bright light. Plus, full shade likes a filtered sunlight the remainder o the day. Every plant needs some sun; even those that thrive in full shade.


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