Sam Says: How Sunny Is Sunny?

Episode 6

Loves full sun, prefers partial shade, just a bit shady - but what does all that really mean. Our Sproutl expert, Sam (a.k.a The_Hairy_Horticulturalist,) pops on his sunnies to explain what a sunny spot looks like and what shady really means. Watch the video or read on to find out how you can understand what sunlight your garden is getting and why it's important.

Why you need to understand sunlight

Plants get their energy from light, which affects how they grow. Understanding how much direct (or indirect) sunlight you get throughout the day will influence your plant choices as some prefer certain environments over others, and this will dictate how likely they are to thrive in your garden. Half the battel in gardening is getting familiar with the conditions of the spot in which you've chosen to grow things - this will lead to successful crops and only minor disappointments.

Keep scrolling as we have some useful illustrations to complement what our resident expert Sam explains above. Plus, we've shared recommendations for suitable plants and crops to grow in each environment to give you a helping hand.

What is full sun?

If you get bright sunlight flooding the space for at least 6 hours or more a day, it’s full sun. It’s not for the faint hearted! You’ll want plants that can tolerate the wrath of even the most intense summer sun.

Suitable plants: Mediterranean herbs, dahlias & lavender

Crops to grow: Tomatoes, bell peppers & cucumbers

What is part sun?

Just like The Kinks, you enjoy a sunny afternoon and will get sunlight for 3-6 hours anytime from midday.

There are subtle differences between the part sun/shade terms. It’s important to bear in mind that afternoon sun is more intense and creates more heat than morning sun.

Suitable plants: Foxgloves, hardy geraniums & roses

Crops to grow: Peas, broccoli & cauliflower

What is part shade?


You get your daily 3-6 hours dose of sunlight in the mornings, the first part of the day is warm and afternoons cool.

Dappled shade, not to be confused with part shade, is diffused light created by filtering sunlight through deciduous trees (i.e. ones that shed their leaves annually), commonly found under tree canopies.

Suitable plants include: Astilbe, hydrangeas & caladiums

Crops to grow:  Carrots, beetroot & potatoes

What is full shade?

If you get less than 3 hours of sunlight a day, kicking back in the cool shade for most of the day, you’ll need plants that can thrive with minimal light.

Suitable plants: Hostas, ferns & hellebores.

Crops to grow: Radishes, salad leafy greens & brassicas (cabbages)

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