How to determine sunlight levels in the landscape

Evaluate the level of sunshine in the area of your landscape where you want to plant flowers before you go to the nursery to select plants. To determine sunlight levels in your landscape, on a sunny day, check the time when the first sunlight hits the ground, and then check the time again, to the nearest hour, when the area is no longer has sunlight hitting the ground. Terms shown below may be used on the plant tag.

Shade or Full Shade

On a sunny day, if no sunshine hits the ground, then that area is considered shade or full shade. This area is most likely under a canopy of trees or surrounded by tall buildings or fences.

Part Shade

3 to 6 hours of sun is referred to as part shade. The rest of the day may be in full shade or dappled shade (i.e., shade provided from trees).

Part Sun

Some plant tags will stretch the definition of partial shade into a part sun category. That would be 4 to 6 hours of sun with the rest of the day in dappled sun. In a part sun situation, trees provide shade in the morning and again in the afternoon.

Full Sun

Full sun can literally mean that the location gets direct sunlight all day, but it can also mean that the location gets at least 6 hours of sun along with periods of full shade or dappled shade from buildings or trees.

© Barbara Raskauskas