A Complete guide to sun exposure for Plants



It’s no secret that plants need sunlight to grow. But did you know that too much sun exposure can harm your plants? Here’s what you need to know about sun exposure for plants.

The need for sunlight to grow exists in all plants, but they vary in size and intensity of the amount of light they require to flourish. Regarding sun exposure, plants can be divided into four groups. The amount of sun required by the plant will be indicated in full sun, part sun, part shade, or full shade.


Full sun

Plenty of plant species can endure a full day of sunlight and even thrive in it. Ideally, sun-loving plants should be planted away from foliage, fences, and buildings that cast long shadows on them throughout the day. 

Generally, full sun plants do not require all-day sunlight but at least six hours of sunlight a day. In most cases, you won’t be able to offer your plants more than six hours of sun exposure in the morning, so if you know, you can only offer your plants six hours of sun exposure a day, plant them in a location that gets the majority of their daytime sun in the afternoon.

As with most perennials, full sun perennials do very well in full sun, along with drought-tolerant plants such as succulents and salvia, as well as most vegetables you will grow in your vegetable garden. These species thrive in sunny places, so make sure that you reserve a spot for them.


Partial sun

Plants that grow partially in the sun need around six hours of sunlight on average and no fewer than four hours on average, but they benefit from some time spent in the shade as well. There may be a better time of day for these plants to receive their daily dose of sunlight than the early morning hours. 

It is best to give part sun plants several hours of direct sun in the morning, but make sure that they are shaded from all of the hardest afternoon sun in the afternoon so they do not suffer excessive heat. Partially shaded conditions are ideal for a lot of flowering plants.


Partial shade

Whenever a plant tag indicates that it requires partial shade, you must be careful not to overdo the plant with sunlight. A plant that thrives in partial shade usually requires less than four hours of direct sunlight, but more than an hour and a half, to thrive. An east-facing yard or garden bed is a perfect place for planting partial shade plants as they thrive in this environment. In the mornings they will still be able to get enough sun, but they will be able to spend the afternoons in the shade.


Full shade

Even though plants in full shade still require sunlight, it is only necessary to give them three hours of direct sunlight a day at most. There is a reason why these plants live in shaded areas in nature, such as the forest floor. In order to grow full shade plants, you can either plant them in the shadiest parts of your yard, or you can keep them indoors in a shady spot as a houseplant. The plants that grow in full shade do not require a lot of maintenance once they are established.

It’s not just about understanding the sun and shade patterns in your garden; it’s also about knowing how to use them correctly. In the second part, it is important to understand what plants need to survive.

As simple as it may seem, determining how much light a plant needs to thrive could be one of the most challenging aspects of gardening, but plant tags have a lot of different details regarding the amount of light it receives. In the last few years, plant growers have brought consistency to plant labeling, so understanding a few key terms will assist in determining the right plant for the appropriate conditions in your landscape.

The light requirements of a plant are often mentioned on the plant’s tag. You will see tags like sun, sun – part shade, shade, sun – full shade, etc. There is also the possibility that another tag might say shade – part sun, and that can be confusing as well. When there is more than one light level listed, what does that mean?

A plant’s preferred location would be the first word used to describe the plant’s light requirements. A plant described as “sun to part shade” will grow best in full sun but also thrive in a shaded environment. In contrast, a tag that reads “part shade – sun” may have a preference for less sun, or perhaps a preference for morning sun instead of the afternoon heat.

What happens if a plant gets too much sun? If a plant that needs full sun is exposed to direct sunlight for more than six hours a day, it can start to suffer sunburn. The plant leaves will turn red or brown, and it may lose its leaves entirely. On the other hand, if a plant that prefers partial sun is exposed to direct sunlight for more than four hours a day, it can also start to suffer from sunburn.

To protect your plants from sunburn, you can do a few things. First, plant them in an area with the right amount of sun exposure. If you’re unsure how much sun your plants need, ask a local nursery or gardener. Second, you can provide some protection from the sun by planting them in pots or containers that can be moved around to avoid direct sunlight. Finally, you can also use sun-blocking curtains or screens to protect your plants from the sun’s harsh rays.

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