What Is Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade, & Full Shade?

Full Sun, Part Sun, Full Shade Image

That’s a good question. These terms are found on plant tags and growing instructions and are used to describe the amount of light a plant requires. The simple answer is:

• Full sun – 6 or more hours of direct sun per day

• Part sun – 4 to 6 hours of direct sun per day, including some afternoon sun

• Part shade – 4 to 6 hours of direct sun per day, mostly before midday

• Full shade – less than 4 hours of direct sun per day

Each plant has specific light requirements that affect the way it grows, blooms and performs. It is important to choose an area that matches the light requirements of each of your plants. Not enough light can weaken a plant, causing it to not bloom and making it susceptible to disease. Too much light causes damage to some plants and can even kill them.

What geographical area you live in is also a factor. Summer in Texas is hotter than summer in Wisconsin, so that means full sun in Texas is more intense than full sun in Wisconsin. Plants that are less heat tolerant will perform better in full morning sun than full afternoon sun.

The web is a great place to learn about how a plant will perform but it is crucial to read articles written for our specific area. How a plant performs in the northern part of the US will differ from how it will perform in East Texas. Include Texas A&M or Neil Sperry with the plant name in your search and this will help you find relevant information.

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