Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sun & Shade Plant Requirements De-Mystified

Shade comes in many forms. The range of lighting conditions is important to successful  gardeners. Crabapple LandscapExperts know that matching plants with their light requirements is a great way to plant a thriving landscape. Not an exact science, plus there are variables such as cloudy days and drought stress.  

Full Sun means a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, providing there is a regular supply of moisture and roots do not dry out.

Partial Sun refers to direct sunlight most of the time, but 4-6 hours of shade during the hottest part of the day. By “Part Sun” the grower is indicating that the plant requires at least 4 hours of sun and will likely do better closer to 6 hours daily. Direct sunlight is OK the rest of the time.

Partial Shade indicates that the plant will do better if provided with some shade, but early and late sunshine is fine. The sun’s rays striking the leaves between 6–11 am and 4-9 pm have less of an impact, and the plants receive relief from the hot sun during the hours around noon and early afternoon.

Dappled Shade is filtered light that makes its way through the branches of deciduous trees or through tall pines. Woodland plants and understory trees prefer this type of limited exposure. This is also called thin, filtered, medium or semi-shade.

Full Shade means shade all day. Under Full Shade conditions, plants do not receive any direct exposure to the sun but can grow well with bright indirect light and reflected or filtered light and a moisture source.

Dense Shade is the unremitting shade cast by walls or buildings, or low light levels underneath dense tree canopies like American Beech or large conifers. They receive no direct sunlight and very little reflected, indirect light. Weeping trees also cut off sideways rays of light. These plants typically have larger, dark green leaves with lots of choloroplasts for photosynthesis.

Darkness. Only mushrooms grow well in the absence of light.  

In order to successfully landscape under a variety of shady conditions, Crabapple LandscapExperts analyze and understand the type or types of light conditions that your property receives, and select plants accordingly.

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