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Aside from water, the sun is one of the most important factors in whether or not a garden will be “successful.”

Garden plants require between two to four and four to ten hours of direct sunlight to grow to their optimal sizes and produce the best fruits and vegetables possible.

Anything less, or more for that matter (depending on the species of garden plant), can result in poorly developed plants with stunted fruits or vegetables (if it produces any at all).

How Many Hours of Sun Do Garden Plants Need?

Sunlight shining down through green tomato plant leaves onto unripe green tomatoes.

Each species of plant grown in the garden has its own preferred amount of light.

Below, you’ll find a list of common garden plants and the amount of sun, in hours, that they need to receive to grow an abundance of healthy vegetables. It is broken down into three sections; Full sun, Partial sun, and Shade.

Full sun garden plants that require 6 to 8 hours of sun daily

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Sun flowers in our main garden that are over 14 feet high, they receive around 12 to 14 hours of sun per day. (Agusut, 2021)

The term “full sun,” in regards to gardening, indicates a minimum of approximately eight hours. That means that full sun plants require direct sunlight for most of the day. Avoid plating vegetables that require full sun close to buildings, trees, or anything else which may cast shade on them.

Here are a handful of the most popular garden plants that require a minimum of eight hours of sunlight:

  • Basil
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Eggplant

Partial sun/shade garden plants that require 4 to 6 hours of sun daily

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Rosemary growing in the side yard, where it receives only around 4 hours of full sun. It does WAY better than our rosemary that receive 12 hours of light per day. (August, 2021)

The term “partial sun,” in regards to plants, indicates a requirement of no less than four hours of direct sunlight per day. These plants may technically be referred to as particle shade plants as well.

Partial sun/shade species should receive a maximum of between four to six hours of sun each day.

Here are a few of our favorite partial sun/shade garden plants:

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Coriander
  • Leek
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips

Shade garden plants that require 2 to 3 hours of sun daily

A massive fairies hair plant in a hanging basket, accompanied by bright pink geraniums with white stripes.

Fairies hair and geraniums require lots of shade to thrive. This is in the side-yard (August, 2021)

The term “shade vegetables” refers to veggies that grow and thrive in as little as two hours of direct sunlight each day. As hard as it may be to believe, many vegetables do well in less than three or four hours of light per day.

Here are a few popular shade vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Fairies Hair
  • Housekeepers
  • Geraniums
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

How Many Hours of Sun Do Fruits and Berries Need?

Early morning sun shining down on a berry bush.

As with vegetable plants grown in the garden, fruits and berries grown in the garden also have specific amounts of light they wish to receive.

Planting fruits and berries in too much light is a sure way to guarantee crispy plants with little to no fruit (if they grow at all!). Planting them in too little light is just as positive to result in little to no growth at all.

The following is a list of common garden fruits and berries and the amount of sun, in hours, they require for optimal growth:

Full sun fruits and berries that require 6 to 8 hours of sun daily

Partial shade fruits and berries that require 4 to 6 hours of sun daily

  • Currants
  • Figs
  • Gooseberries

A Final Word About How Much Sun Garden Plants Need

Sunlight shining onto red flowers from an aqua blue mid-morning sky.

As you probably guessed by now, the amount of sun needed for garden plants varies wildly from species to species.

If you’re curious about a certain type of plant, and how much sun it requires, hopefully, the information provided in our article helps answer your specific question. If not, feel free to leave us a question and we’ll do our best to get you an answer!

Good luck with your garden plants!

Suggested Reading: How to Grow and Transplant Seedlings

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