When looking for a new plant for the garden the question usually comes up: “is part sun different from, or the same as, part shade?” Turns out, it is different if you are a plant! Horticultural sites address this continual concern with varying definitions but most end up with the following basic sun/shade formula:
less than 2 hours of full sun on the leaves per day.
2-4 hours of full sun on the leaves per day.
4-6 hours of full sun on the leaves per day.
These general guidelines help make successful plant picks for your garden microclimates, in addition to the time of day the sun lands on the leaves. The morning sun lands on the leaves of a plant when the morning temperatures are cooler, enabling the plant to use less water to sustain itself and tolerate the full sun. The afternoon and evening sun lands on leaves during the warmer, drier times of the day when they will need more moisture to compensate for the heat of the sun’s rays. This is where moisture of the plant site may make or break the plant’s ability to survive and thrive in the garden site identified by the part shade vs part sun guidelines. For greatest success, gardeners watch their new additions and moves them, if necessary, to the site in the garden where it can thrive under the kiss of the sun.
Photo taken during RGC field trip to Chase Gardens.