How Much Sunlight Do Vegetables Need?

Sunlight shining on tomato plants in the garden

Growing vegetables successfully always begins with the proper amount of sunlight. Without it, no amount of water, fertilizer, or weeding will bring about a bountiful harvest.

All vegetables will grow in full sun. However, if you don’t have an area that receives full sun, there are many varieties that can be grown with part sun or even part shade. Read on to learn which ones.

When we say full sun, we’re talking about at least 8 hours of direct sunlight, part sun is at least 6 hours, and part shade is at least 4 hours.

If you are thinking about planting in a new area, its necessary to observe it throughout a sunny day as spring approaches. Look every couple of hours or so to determine the total hours of sunlight the garden area will receive.

If you don’t have the time to observe the area, we recommend using a Sunlight Calculator. These inexpensive devices stick into the ground and measure the sunlight over the course of a day, then indicate if its full sun, part sun or a part shade area.

Now that you know what amount of sunlight your growing area receives, its time to choose from the list of vegetables that will grow best in this garden.

Keep in mind that all vegetables will grow in full sun.

Vegetables that must have Full Sun: Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupe, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Honeydew, Okra, Pepper, Pumpkin, Rhubarb, Squash, Strawberries, Tomato, and Watermelon

These vegetables will thrive in a Part Sun garden: Bean, Beet, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Collard Green, Garlic, Kale, Leek, Onion, Pea, Potato, Radish, Rhubarb, Swiss Chard, and Turnip

Now for vegetables you can grow in Part Shade: Asian Green, Herb, Lettuce, and Spinach

As an easy-to-remember rule, leafy vegetables are the most adaptable to low light conditions, with root vegetables being the next in line and fruit-bearing vegetables requiring the greatest amount of sunlight.

If your garden site offers less than desirable sunlight, consider planting in another area or think about planting your vegetable plants in containers on your sunny deck or patio.

If you have questions about plants not listed, please leaves us a comment and we will provide an answer.

Happy gardening!

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  • Reply
    Linda-Claire Steager
    April 28, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Robes sanguine -Red Flowering Currant- a native to the West coast should definitely be added to this list.

    • Reply
      GrowJoy Plants
      September 7, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      Linda-Claire, thank you so much for the suggestion! Duly noted. 🙂

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