Full Sun, Part Sun, Full Shade…what do these even mean?! When selecting the right plant for the right place, it can get confusing with some of the terminology that is used when figuring out the right light for your plant. Here is the breakdown of what those terms mean:

  • Full Sun. This location receives direct sunlight for at least 6 hours or more each day, including some or all of the afternoon hours. The south side of the house is usually the brightest and best suited for full sun plants.
  • Part sun. Plants that like part sun need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. This can be morning sun, afternoon sun, or anytime in between. The east side of the house provides morning sun and the west side of the house usually provides afternoon sun for part sun plants.  
  • Partial shade. Areas considered “part shade” locations are ones that only receive a few hours of direct morning sunlight or receive filtered light through trees throughout the day. Plants that require partial shade can not handle the intense midday sun. The east side of the house provides morning sun which is ideal for part shade plants. 
  • Full Shade. Plants that require full shade do not need any direct sunlight to reach their leaves. Just bright indirect light will do. This usually occurs on the north side of houses and buildings or under trees with dense foliage and low branches.

Many plants can tolerate a range of light conditions, but may have to be acclimated if it was grown in a different light than you intend to plant it. Also, in the winter the sun moves more to the south which will affect what kind of light your plants receive.  Be sure to do your homework on what kind of light the different areas of your landscape receive before shopping for plants.

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