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Let's Talk About Sunlight!

It is hard to believe that Spring is a little less than two months away! As our days continue to lengthen and we enjoy more sunlit hours, we are going to talk about the importance of plant placement in relation to sunlight requirements in this month’s blog. Plants usually come with a tag or instructions that states the amount of sunlight the plant needs. The sunlight requirements are usually broken down into four categories:

- full sun (6+ hours of direct sun)

- partial sun (3-6 hours of direct sun)

- partial shade (3-6 hours of sun but protection from mid-day sun)

- full shade (less than 3 hours of direct sun)

Part Shade Full Sun Full Shade

A lot of plants have some flexibility in sunlight requirements, such as columbines, which can be planted in partial to full sun. With this in mind, Desert Rose owner/operator Phil Madrid decided to carry out an experiment to see the difference in performance if a plant with a full sun requirement (Karl forester grass) is planted in full sun, part shade, and shade.

A plant’s sunlight requirement is related to how the plant can use the sun to create food for itself (remember photosynthesis from grade school?). All plants require at least some light, as indirect as it may be, in order to grow and thrive to the best of its abilities. With this brief review of plant life in mind, let’s look at the result of Phil's 3-year-long experiment. The first Karl forester was planted in full shade and reached 16" tall. The second Karl forester was planted in part shade and grew to 25" tall. The extra sunlight, though not the full requirement, allowed the partial shade Karl forester to grow 9" taller! The final Karl forester, which got full sun as required by the plant, was able to thrive and grew to 38" tall, more than double the height of the one planted in the shade!

Much like our our needs for daily light, meeting a plant’s sun requirements can mean the difference between a lush, mature garden, and a garden where the plants are unable to reach their full potential. Our knowledgable staff at Desert Rose always strive to make your landscape look as great as it can by placing plants in the proper sunlight to maximize your plant’s growth. Have more questions about proper plant placement? Contact us at for more information. Happy February!

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