Environment Magazine

Sunlight Requirements for Your Garden

By Gfl

How much sunlight do your plants need? What happens if they get too little or too much? Read on and find out.

The benefits of gardening cannot be understated. It not only improves the home décor, but also impacts your health and wellbeing.

We have all heard of the importance of sunlight for plant growth. It plays a vital role in photosynthesis which fuels their life functions. When you plan a garden out, it is vitally important to take the amount of sunlight into consideration.

Sunlight is one variable that we do not have control over. Variables like fertilizer, soil and water can be arranged anywhere. Sunlight, however, is something that cannot be controlled.

Difference between warmth and sunlight

These are two different variables. Plants need both in order to grow. Although both are related, they have different functions. Sunlight is the primary ingredient for photosynthesis to occur. On the other hand, warmth is something that is needed for seed germination.

How much sunlight do you need?

The amount of sunlight you need depends on the type of plants you grow. Some plants require a full 8 hours of sun; whereas, the rest can do simply with less than an hour of sun.

Most of the plants require a specific amount of sunlight it needs per day. Contrary to the intuition, more sunlight can even be damaging to some plants. Therefore, knowing the amount of sunlight requirements is essential before planting them.

The terms used in this case are Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, and Deep Shade. The nomenclature used by people may be different, but the definitions remain the same:

  • Full Sun: Most of the fruiting plants like tomatoes, eggplant, chillies etc. require full sun. Meaning, you will need to place these plants in a position that receives 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Partial Sun: The definition of partial sun is similar to that of partial shade. However, in this case you must meet the minimum sun requirements for the plant. A partial sun plant needs 3-6 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Partial Shade: With plants falling in this category, you need to meet the 3-6 hours sunlight requirements. On top of that, you may need to protect these plants from direct midday sunlight.
  • Deep Shade: Plants of this category would grow perfectly if subjected to no more than 3 hours of direct sunlight.

How to Track the Amount of Sunlight You Receive?

There are two ways that you can measure the amount of sunlight that you receive per day at a certain area. Remember that when tracking the amount of sunlight, you need to measure it from the level and perspective of where the plant will be placed, not from the level and perspective of your height.

The easiest way to measure the amount of sunlight is monitoring and observation. This is a bit tedious and may take a few days for you to confidently measure the light, it is free and works.

The second way is to use measuring devices like the Suncalc Sunlight Calculator which you can place on your garden to actively measure the amount of sunlight it receives in a day.

What if You Do Not Receive Much Sunlight?

If this is the case, then you need to look for plants that can grow in deep shade. Leafy green vegetables or Salad Greens can often thrive well in low sunlight. Root vegetables likes radishes, and beets can also accept low sunlight for a healthy growth.

Knowing the sunlight requirements and the sunlight received is an elementary and mandatory step in designing your garden. Fortunately, there is plenty of help available online.


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