What is “Sun”?

When we choose plants, one basic question is:  sun or shade? That should be easy to answer, but many people get it wrong and are disappointed by a plant’s performance (including that of vegetables).

I am dating myself here, but “Sun” means what used to be known as “Prime Tanning Hours”, so noonish through the afternoon. “Sun” plants will still do well with about five hours of morning sun, although the desired characteristics — fruit, flower or coloured foliage — are diminished.  Plants marked “Partial Shade” will thrive with good morning sun.

“Shade”, including “Part to Full Shade”, means filtered sun, any time of day, or direct sun early morning or late day only, but still good luminosity. “Full Shade”? This means under trees, and in the shadow of buildings or land forms.

Would you get a nasty sunburn if you spent the day in the spot? Sun. A bit of a burn, not bad, but you’d still need sunglasses? Part shade. Comfy and cool, no sunglasses required?  Full shade.

Most vegetables are hard-core sun lovers, but many leafy crops (such as kale and lettuce) will do fine with morning sun only. Mediterranean-diet plants, though, need Mediterranean weather.

Ornamentals also have preferences. Shade Impatiens are a classic; they will fade and wilt under strong sun. The Perennial Ligularia will droop during the brighter hours, but if they’re getting plenty of water they’ll perk up later. Hostas are not much of an option here in deer country, but some varieties will not tolerate much sun, so check before you plant.

On the other end of the spectrum, Berberis and some Spirea, planted for their bright foliage, become much less showy in shadier spots.  Trees?  Look at what grows in the sunny and shady forest, and choose accordingly.

Hope this helps!


By the same author: Tomatoes (Click the image below)


Laura Scully56 Posts

Diplômée de l’Université de Guelph en horticulture, Laura Scully est cofondatrice et copropriétaire de Northland, entreprise tremblantoise d'aménagement paysager maintes fois primée. Elle partage son savoir horticole avec les lecteurs du Tremblant Express depuis 2009. / A University of Guelph graduate in horticulture, Laura Scully is the cofounder and co-owner of Northland, the Mont-Tremblant landscaping company that has won so many titles and awards. She has been sharing her knowhow with Tremblant Express readers since 2009. paysagistesnorthland.com


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