Sun And Shade Requirements For Different Plants

Having a beautiful yard or garden consists of more than simply putting a plant in the ground and watching it grow. It also consists of more than watering it from time to time and plucking out weeds that begin to grow in the surrounding area. Plants will only thrive by receiving the proper amount of sunlight.

Many have found this out the hard way. Much thought can be given to the way a plant may look in a particular area of the yard or garden. Time and energy may also be spent in tilling the soil and fertilizing the ground. Hours can be consumed with the watering process.

All that to say this, if you do not take into account the four categories of sun/shade requirements prior to planting, your garden may not turn out as you had hoped it would. As a result, I have prepared what I hope to be a useful guide to assist you on your way.

What are the different sun/shade requirements?

The four categories are; full sun, partial sun, partial shade, and full shade. Following is a definition for the four categories (Toscano, 2019):

• “Full sun – Plants need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily”

• “Part sun – Plants thrive with between 3 and 6 hours of direct sun per day”

• “Part shade – Plants require between 3 and 6 hours of sun per day, but need protection from intense mid-day sun”

• “Full shade – Plants require less than 3 hours of direct sun per day”

As most of you may know, there are certain times in which the sunlight is hotter than others. Toward the beginning of the day, the sunlight is typically mild. This is therefore a great time to water your plants and garden as the water on the leaves does not attract the intensity of the sun early in the morning.

Along with watering strategically comes planting strategically. Paying close attention to what time of the day that the sun is on your garden plot is also important. Make sure that your partial-shade and full-shade plants are not receiving sunlight during the more intense times of the day.

In an attempt to create your next flower bed, garden, or scenic row of plants, taking note of the amount of sunlight that the area receives during the day is a crucial first step.

How can I find plants that will work well in sun or shade?

After spending time in observation of your future plot, finding the right plants comes next. This is a relatively easy step and can be done primarily in a couple of ways.

A fun way is to simply visit a local plant shop or store and look at the various plants and their tags. Each plant should have a description on it of how tall it will grow, how wide it could potentially be, how many years the plant will around for, and finally the sun or shade conditions the plant requires.

Another option is to do what seems to be the ever-growing popular choice, and it’s simply to type into a search bar what you’re looking for (i.e., partial shade flowers or full sun plants). This search should yield enough results to get you well on your way to locating the right plants for you.

However, I don’t want to leave you without some help to get you started. Consequently, I have provided you with a great starter plant for each category.

Full sun plant

• The blazing star does not just have an amazingly intriguing name, but it will certainly provide your garden with a stunning purple color. The diversity of heights within the flower type resembles that of the zinnia.

“Choose short varieties like this ‘Kobold’ (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold,’ grows 24 to 40 inches tall, flowers early summer), or towering types like prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya, grows 2 to 5 feet tall, flowers late summer)” (Forney, 2019).

Partial sun plant

• Daffodils are a great selection for those of you working with an area that gets partial sun. The flower will certainly array your garden nicely as they “are most commonly yellow but can also be white with pink, orange or red centers” (Raine, n.d.).

Daffodils are a popular choice among thousands for their lovely full and unique bloom.

Partial shade plant

• The Pulmonaria saccharata is an excellent choice for a partial shade plant. This plant has a great peppered look, and the beautiful blue, pink, and purple flowers will be sure to accent and color your garden magnificently.

Full shade plant

• One of the many examples of a full shade plant is the hosta. In reference to its beauty and appeal, the hosta will be a great addition to any garden. Here is a plant that will continue to provide you with its beauty for years to come.

Each year the hosta sprouts its amazing leaves as spring comes into full effect, and shortly after shoots begin to reach for the sun and its flowers bloom.

In conclusion

Hopefully by now you are well on your way to being prepared to put into practice what you have learned. You would be hard pressed to find something that accents a home and adds splendor to your yard like a well-kept flower garden.

I would imagine if you are reading this article, you have pretty well made up your mind that you are going to plant a garden. You are likely just looking into the particulars of how to do it right, or maybe you already have attempted it and it didn’t work out the way you had hoped.

Either way, learning how much direct sunlight your area of interest receives on a daily basis, finding which category your plot falls into, and doing some homework on what some good plants are for your desired location will all be essential pieces in your puzzle.

While it takes some work, so does anything else that is worth value. Have fun and enjoy the ride each step of the way. Be patient, and watch as the time and energy you spent into preparing properly brings about your amazing harvest.


Forney, J. M. (2019, August 27). The best flowers for full sun. HGTV.

Raine, R. (n.d.). Good flowers to plant in part sun. SFGate.

Toscano, K. (2019, August 6). A gardener’s guide to sun exposure. Southern Living Plant Collection.,of%20direct%20sun%20per%20day