Part Sun vs. Part Shade

Question: Is there a difference between “part sun” and “part shade”? I’ve seen both on plant tags. Seems like they should mean the same thing.

Answer: Both “part sun” and part shade” refer to a plant that prefers four to six hours of direct sun each day (best if it comes in the first half of the day). The terms are basically interchangeable. When you see “part sun” used, the grower is stressing that the plant requires at least four hours of sun and will likely do better with closer to six hours. When you see “part shade” used, the grower is stressing that the plant should not receive more than six hours of sun and will likely do better with less. That’s why often you’ll see a plant indicated for “part shade to shade” or “full to partial sun.”

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4 thoughts on “Part Sun vs. Part Shade

  1. I am a grower and agree with the definition above. I do use full to partial sun to indicate a plant that would require more sun than shade. And part shade to shade to indicate a plant that would like more shade.

    If you aren’t getting that information when you shop for plants you need to look for a grower/retailer of plant material. We know a lot about what we are growing and selling and really want our customers to be happy and successful with the plants they bring home. Look for an independent grower/retailer in your area. You might be surprised how much information you’ll go home with.

  2. Thanks so much for your willingness to answer questions for gardeners. I’ve been asked this same question SO many times, the information people need to be successful just isn’t out there, unless they get it from Horticulture Magazine!

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