Which Sun Exposure is Best for Your Garden: Morning or Afternoon?

The amount of sunlight your garden needs depends on what varieties you want to grow. Learn which sun exposure is best for your garden: morning or afternoon.

Which Sun Exposure is Best for Your Garden: Morning or Afternoon?

The amount of sunlight your garden needs depends on the varieties you want to grow. If you know that you can only offer a plant six hours of sun exposure, it's best to plant it somewhere that gets most of the sunlight in the afternoon. Root crops that require partial sunlight prefer morning and afternoon sun, while stem, leaf, or bud plants prefer morning sun or afternoon shade. Fruit vegetables need direct sunlight to form the elements needed for the fruit.

If your garden faces east, you'll get glorious morning sun and afternoon shade. This is an ideal area for growing carrots, beets and leafy greens that enjoy the sun but are sensitive to hot afternoon rays. With at least 6 hours of sunshine, you can also grow some peppers and tomatoes in this area. For plants classified as perennial, the partially solar varieties are Canterbury Bells and Sweet William.

Other beautiful plants for partial shade are coleus and thought. In some areas, especially those with blazing afternoon sun, even some perennial plants in full sun grow better in gardens with partial sun and partial shade, such as coral bells. A complementary planting plan to accommodate sunlight could be to plant rows of tall okra with lettuce between the plants. An exception are cool-season crops that need to be protected from the afternoon sun in a warm growing area.

In this case, partial shade conditions can benefit plants such as lettuce, cabbage crops, scallions and root vegetables. It is important to know that a winter shade is longer than a summer shade. In the winter sky, the sun hangs low, while in summer it is very high. For this reason, consider calculating your garden's exposure to sunlight during the growing season to account for seasonal differences in shade. Sunlight reaches its maximum intensity between 10 in the morning and the morning sun is the least intense. A few hours of morning sun aren't as intense as a few hours of sunshine at noon and in the afternoon, as you realize that the heat of the afternoon sun can burn the leaves of some plants, even those of certain sun-loving varieties. We recommend focusing on types that work with the amount of natural light your garden receives.

However, you may want to try modifying your space to allow more light into your garden, as this will give you a little more flexibility in the varieties you can grow. Three mirrors on the wall of a garden to help reflect the light and heat of the sun can also be used to create partial shade conditions. Daisies seen from below under a blue sky, scattered clouds and intense sun can also benefit from this technique. The University of Minnesota Extension Service published a useful guide to shade gardening that's worth checking out. See their definitions of tone types in the table below. Just remember that this level of detail may not be shown on a plant label in a commercial setting. Once again, don't forget that your growing area is the key to ensuring that your entire gardening experience is successfully anchored in the ground.

For example, shady places are the coldest and the last to thaw in areas where it snows. For perennial plants in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone 5, the winter shade temperature can be as low as -20°F, meaning that the plants have to survive the extreme cold extended by shade to re-emerge during the next growing season. And in a warm area, varieties such as annual impatiens thrive when bathed in heat in low light. Shady locations tend to have the highest levels of soil moisture, but there are also very dry shade gardens. Simply use a soil moisture sensor to get a pretty good idea of the conditions so you can select the best varieties for that location.