Plant Light

plant light requirements, lighting conditions for plants, how much light do plant need, lighting requirements for flowers

Plant Light Requirements

Just reading the label for light requirements can be confusing. Find out how to interpret all the different light conditions.

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Whenever we look into plant growing conditions, one of the main factors is the plant light requirements. There are many terms used in the discussion of plant light requirements such as full sun, partial shade, dappled shade and so on....

Even here, in our own plant library and plant descriptions we state the lighting conditions that are best for the plant in question. But...partial shade or part sun? Just what is that? Read on and we will explain and bring everything about lighting into sharp focus for you.

To get anywhere near the performance stated for the plant, it is essential that you match the plant with the correct lighting conditions.

If you don't match the plant to the right light, your plants will show it. In lighting that is less than ideal, you will have plants that are pale in color and "leggy". I you have low light plants that received too much light, their leaves will dry and burn.

Plant Light Requirements- Lighting Conditions Change Throughout The Day
Color Wheel

Plant Light Requirements- Dianthus Prefers Light Shade

Unless your site is completely exposed, lighting conditions will be constantly changing throughout the day and during the seasons.

Northern and eastern exposures of a home receive the least amount of light, with the northern exposure receiving the least amount of light.

Western and southern exposures receiving the most about of light and also get the hottest due to the burning afternoon sun.

Shade patterns change throughout the day as well by shadows being cast by large trees and structures.

The next time you are in your yard, check out the area you either have your landscape border, or the area you are considering placing the border. Take note of the lighting conditions and how they change during the day.

Drip Irrigation System

Plant Light Requirements- Most Annuals Prefer Full Sun - At Least 6 To 8 Hours of Sun

Plant Light Requirements- Full Shade:

Full Sun: While few areas of a border will receive the full effect of the sun during the daylight hours, the plants that are listed as "Full Sun" do need a good amount of intense sunshine during the season.

Full Sun plants should receive a minimum of 6 hours of full sunshine per day, throughout their bloom period. 8 hours would be even better. Keep in mind that any amount of shade, will not qualify for the full sun requirement.

A large percentage of Annual flowers require full sun as do many perennials.

Drip Irrigation System

Plant Light Requirements- Most Hosta Prefer Dense To Full Shade

Plant Light Requirements - Partial Sun:

This is probably the most confusing term of all. Isn't this the same as Partial Shade?

Partial Sun: – Plants that prefer 3-6 hours of sun, but can tolerate direct sun or high temperatures.

Here the key word is prefer. This means that they like just slightly less sun than a full sun plant. This does not mean that they like shade.

Bird of Paradise

Plant Light Requirements- Most Of The Succulents Are Sun Lovers

Plant Light Requirements- Light Shade

Light Shade: This is also referred to as "Thin Shade" or "Filtered Shade".

Light Shade is often defined as: 2-3 hours without direct sunlight on plant. -or- a slight, light pattern of shade all the time (or there is shade through young trees or shade through open-canopy trees).

It is also possible to achieve Light shade by placing an arbor or lath structure in your garden. The shadier sides of a building are typically the eastern side and northern exposures.

These sides also tend to be a little cooler. It is not uncommon for plants that can tolerate full sun or some sun in cooler climates to require some shade in warmer climates due to stress placed on the plant from reduced moisture and excessive heat.

Bird of Paradise

Plant Light Requirements- Most Ferns Prefer Full to Dense Shade

Plant Light Requirements- Partial Shade:

Partial Shade: Similar terms that mean the same thing are: "Dappled Shade", "Half Shade", "Medium Shade", and "Semi-Shade". Lots of different terms that all mean the same thing - Partial Shade.

Partial Shade plants prefer filtered sun or they can only tolerate a few hours (less than 6 hours) of sun. Often, they are not drought tolerant.

Partial Shade is also defined as filtered light found beneath trees with high limbs. Partial shade usually offers some protection from direct afternoon sun.

Dappled Light refers to a dappled pattern of light created on the ground, as cast by light passing through high tree branches.

This is the middle ground, not considered shady, but not sunny either. Dappled remains constant throughout the day. This is one type of Partial Shade.

Water Garden

Plant Light Requirements- Rhododendron - Another Great Shade Lover

Plant Light Requirements- Full Shade:

Full Shade: This type of shade is often found in the understory of a fully mature forest or stand of trees. There is little or no light in the growing zone.

Under such growing conditions, plants receive only reflected, indirect light.

Additional problems arise from Full Shade conditions if under a tree stand. There will be a competition for water and nutrients from the root structure of the trees

Plant Light Requirements- Dense Shade:

Dense Shade: This is also referred to as: "Deep Shade", and "Heavy Shade".

No direct sunlight all day with very little reflected, indirect light.

Examples of Dense Shade are under large, fully mature evergreens; shade under raised decks; shade under large trees with dense canopies, such as live oaks.