Full Sun Question

• posted on August 13, 2003, 11:52 pm
When a plant requires full sun, what does that mean? I thought I heard that meant 6 hours.
A second question, is there some kind of measuring device you can put in your yard to check for full sun, partial shade, etc.
Thanks!
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 12:44 am
There is no exact measure, besides nature does not work that way, one day it is sunny all day and then cloudy for the next week. The 6 hour rule is about right for most cases. If you live were there are few clouds, you might get by with 5 and if you live in Seattle you might need 8 hours. ;-)
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 11:43 am
wrote:

"Full sun" generally means *at least* 6hrs/day of unobstructed sunlight. That is, a location where, if it's not a cloudy day, the sun will beam down full strength for that length of time.
The "measuring device" is usually your own observation. Eg., my east-facing front porch gets early morning (full) sunlight, but it's in shadow beginning in late morning. NOT full sun. The back side of the house is in shadow in the morning, and sunny later. At least as far as the shadow of the house is concerned. Big trees keep most of the back yard in shade.
"Partial shade" means either full sun for a brief period (usually morning sun for 3-4 hrs) or filtered sun. That is, a location where a not-dense canopy of trees blocks much full sun but allows a good amount of light to pass through. "Shade" is an area little or no direct sun ever reaches.
If a recommendations for a plant say "full sun to partial shade," it doesn't mean it'll thrive in partial shade. It means it can *tolerate* a little shade.
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 1:56 pm
You never get full sun indoors, even in a south facing window. Indoors, the light intensity is always much less. Glass filters out some of the wavelengths and transforms some others into heat. That's why you should never move a plant grown indoors directly into full sun until the plant is first acclimatized to growing outdoors. A plant grown outdoors in the shade will often receive more light than one grown in a south facing window. You can use a light meter to measure the differences.

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• posted on August 15, 2003, 4:54 am

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That's logical. I start most of my vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and okra, as well as numerous flowers from seed under grow lights and in south facing windows in a sun room. I've learned from experience that one does not plant seedling directly from the indoor environment into the ground in the sun without first having the plants grow through a "hardening in" process. Tomatoes do just fine when going from the house to the outside if the cages I plant them in are covered with clear plastic - ordinarily in early April. The clear plastic takes the place of glass. Even tomatoes like afternoon shade in Zone 6B during the summer.
John
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 1:12 pm
Full sun is not a good enough term any more. I believe it's another thing the horticulture industry has to address.
I have plants which require full sun, but if they don't have afternoon shade, will be fried in one season. I live in south central Texas. The afternoon sun can give you a blistering sunburn in half hour in high summer. So, for me, full sun is morning sun to about 2pm, then shade.
When I lived on Long Island, full sun meant all morning and all day long. However, most full sun plants will do very well with the best sun, which is morning sun till about 2pm, and that's for anywhere.
Plants can't read books! Much of gardening with plants is trial and error. Native plants need some fussing for the first year, maybe two years, then they can take care of themselves with very little watering and virtually no fertilization.
So, full sun...having worked in the industry as a grower I would say if you buy a plant which requires full sun, and you have all morning till 2pm sun, that is plenty sufficient. Roses love heat and sun and can take it all day, provided you buy the right rose for the right place and provide heavily amended soil with lots of compost and plenty of water and fertilizer.
As you can see, it's really plant by plant basis, and soil types, etc...which should all be looked at when planting new plants.
victoria

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• posted on August 14, 2003, 3:13 pm
wrote:

Yes. In the interest of brevity, I decided to omit that local conditions may make "full sun" intolerable for some plants. However, sunburn or no, my own most successful (veg and flower) garden was in a situation where "full sun" meant dawn to dusk, with summer temperatures often above 90F. My recollection is far from perfect, but I don't believe I ever had a plant die from excess sunlight. As long as these full-sun critters had plenty of water, they seemed to thrive. Oh, wait. The celeriac was a complete failure.

Best sun? Please explain.

This wasn't the question.

Oh, jeez. So no one else's experiences are worthwhile if they haven't "worked in the industry"?

Which is, what? 4hrs? 6hrs? 8hrs? I see that sunrise in Austin is now approx. 7am, which would make "morning til 2pm sun" 7 hrs. Probably adequate.

This also wasn't the question.
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 3:22 pm
wrote:

Sorry. I just wrote "this wasn't the question" without noting that it is perfectly true. I never mind extra info in a posting and shouldn't have dissed it when offered.
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• posted on August 14, 2003, 5:54 pm

Oh. Too bad. I dissed you back already.
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• posted on August 15, 2003, 11:37 am
wrote:

Shall we stop here? Get along and drive everyone waiting for a flame war crazy? :-)
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• posted on August 15, 2003, 12:52 pm

I doubt anyone would go crazy, as well as I doubt I'd participate in a flame war! So yes, please do stop here. I have no strong desire or need to be right.
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• posted on August 15, 2003, 2:02 pm
Dave Rut wrote:

Full sun means at least six hours of direct sunlight. However, as with everything else, your mileage may vary. In the Pacific Northeast, I found that the only place I could grow roses successfully was in a spot that got sun from can to can't. However, here in western NY, the only place the roses have done well is in a little side-garden that gets about four hours of direct mid-day sun, and filtered sun the remainder of the time. So, do consider the guidelines when planting stuff -- something that likes full sun is never going to be happy in a spot that never gets direct sunlight, or vice-versa -- however, keep an eye on how the plant does, and consider moving it if it is showing signs of getting too much sun, or not enough. Also, remember that, in general, morning sun is gentler than afternoon.
The best way to figure out light levels in your yard is to look. Make a plat diagram of the yard. [You can do one in almost any painting / drawing program on your computer.] Then, at least one day a week, about once an hour, go out and look at where the shade is, and what type it is, and mark it on the diagram. Over the course of a year, you'll get a good feel for the various, and varying, light levels in the yard. You'll need to update this occasionally as things grow / change. For example, the olive bushes I planted are now about six feet tall. They provide a lot more spring and early summer shade than they did a couple of years ago. Conversely, in the ice-storm our neighbor's dying locust split in half [and took out one end of the house -- that was fun!], so we now have a very large patch of sun in an area that used to be dense shade all day long. That entailed some emergency plant relocations this spring.
Chris Owens