Sometimes it’s important to go back the basics when discussing plant care.


There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty around what kind of, and how much sun and/or shade a flower needs.

Full Sun, half Sun, shade, part shade, 5+ hours of sun, filtered sun, morning sun. These are all terms people use to describe the amount of sun a plant needs. It’s no wonder people are confused!

The two questions you should be asking are:

  • How many hours of sun do I get each day?
  • What time of day do I get sun?

Obviously the number of hours of sun each day is important, but equally important is the specific time the sun is there.

As anyone knows, being outside in the sun at 8am in the morning is significantly different than being outside in the sun at 1pm. As the day goes on the sun gets higher in the sky, the UV rays get stronger, and the temperature is generally much higher.

These changes in the suns intensity impact your plants as much as they impact you.

So to bring it all together, here are some better explanations of your plants sun needs (listed in order of most sun required to least sun required)

Full Sun

Plants that require full sun generally need at least a morning or afternoon of sun, AND sun during the hottest part of the day, generally between 12pm and 3pm.

The mid-day sun is the most important piece here and is necessary to promote healthy growth in your sun loving plants. If you have morning, noon and afternoon sun, all the better!

Partial Sun

Partial Sun plants will require morning or afternoon sun, with an hour or two of mid-day sun. Plants that require partial sun can generally tolerate a full day of sun, but will require more frequent watering to balance out the added heat.

Part Shade/Filtered Sun

Plants that require partial shade or filtered sun generally do well with morning or late afternoon sun (and can tolerate both), but should NOT be planted in areas where they will receive full sun during the mid-day hours (12pm-3pm).

The exception to this is what the name implies, filtered sun. If you have an area that receives sun through trees during mid-day, the plants should be fine so long as they do not receive both morning and afternoon sun in addition to that.


Full Shade

Full shade plants do best in areas with little to no sun exposure. Morning or afternoon sun will not materially impact plant health, but full shade plants will generally bloom more, and/or have more vibrant colors with less sun. DO NOT plant full shade plants in an area where they will receive significant mid-day sun.