How Much Sun?

Is part shade and part sun the same thing?  Technically they are different, but only slightly.  There are varying definitions for sunlight requirements.  I like to use:  full sun is 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, part sun is 4-6 hours, part shade is 2-4 hours and shade is less than 2 hours.  Often part sun and part shade are grouped together as plants needing 2-6 hours of sunlight.  If a plant is labelled part sun, you would know it likes the top of that range, versus part shade preferring the bottom of the range.  Shade can be defined as less than 2, or 3 or sometimes 4 hours of sunlight.  This can depend on the ‘type’ of sunlight.  Morning sun is easier for part shade or shade plants to tolerate, while the more intense midday and afternoon sun is adored by full sun plants like blanket flower.  The moisture and fertility level of the soil also plays a role; this is where research on the plant will give you more detail on their preferred conditions.  And preferences are just that.  In their preferred siting, plants will give you their best performance, but they may perform, just not as well, outside of that siting.  Many perennials, such as daylilies and coneflowers, can flex from full sun into part sun, less sunshine just equals fewer blooms.  Other perennials like lady’s mantle and coral bells can survive in full sun to shade, with larger, heavier blooming plants that can burn out in full sun, and smaller, leggy plants with few blooms in the shade – again, their best performance is in their preferred location of part shade or part sun. 

Posted on December 8, 2014 and filed under Guidance.