Grow Thriving Crops By Understanding These Simple Terms


By Ariana Marisol

Understanding how much sun and/or shading to give your plant can be confusing. Here are some definitions to help you better understand the needs of each plant.

The amount of sun and shade required by plants is important to their growth and ability to thrive. If a plant does not receive the correct amount of sunlight, or too much sunlight, it might not produce. It is important to understand the various definitions from full sun, partial shade, to full shade.


Full sun is normally considered to be at least 6 hours of direct, unobstructed sunlight. These hours do not need to be consecutive. For example, your plant can get three hours in the morning and three in the afternoon. If the directions say full sun, this means 6 hours minimum of complete sun.

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It is important to remember that many full-sun plants, particularly vegetables, will do better with at least 8 hours of sun per day.


Shade may seem to appear to be an easy definition, but there are many different kinds of shade when it comes to gardening.

Light shade is more of a moving target. Even if your plants get full direct sun, if the sun is hitting them either early in the morning or late in the day, and lasts only for a few hours, this is considered light shade.

Dappled shade is when the sun that is reaching your plants is filtered. This is usually because of leaves blocking spots of the sun out so that the light that hits them is dappled, meaning spotty.

Part shade is also sometimes interchangeable with “partial sun”, but usually means that a plant should not be in direct sunlight during the
hottest part of the day and needs 3-6 hours of sun either in the morning or late afternoon.

Full shade does not mean no light. Full shade means no direct sun is necessary for the plant to thrive and/or flower. This can mean that a plant that requires full shade, requires around less than 2 hours of sunlight per day.

Image via Pixabay

Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She graduated The Evergreen State College with an undergraduate degree focusing on Sustainable Design and Environmental Science. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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