Light Levels for Plants - Choosing the Perfect Spot

Light Levels for Plants - Choosing the Perfect Spot

Light Levels for Plants - Choosing the Perfect Spot

One of the most important things to consider when designing your garden is the correct placement of your plants. Light levels in your garden are essential to ensure the health and vigour of your plants, with many garden vegetables and plants adapting to specific environmental conditions, such as light. Therefore, you want to choose plants that thrive in different light environments to provide the best chance for your leafy friends.

Below you will find a table with many different vegetables and their preferred light requirements. Keep in mind that most garden vegetables prefer some sunlight and do not thrive in deep shade. This being said, some plants are shade tolerant and may be good options in areas with less than partial shade. The latter will be discussed later in the article.

 Plant Light Requirement Plant Light Requirement
Rocket Full Sun/Partial Shade Oregano Full Sun
Bush Beans Full Sun Parsley Full Sun/Partial Shade
Beetroot Full Sun/Partial Shade Green Onions Full Sun/Partial Shade
Broccoli Full Sun Snow Peas Full Sun/Partial Shade
Basil Full Sun/Partial Shade Spinach Full Sun/Partial Shade
Cabbage Full Sun/Partial Shade Radishes Full Sun/Partial Shade
Swiss Chard Full Sun/Partial Shade Rosemary Full Sun/Partial Shade
Cucumbers Full Sun Squash Full Sun
Carrots Full Sun/Partial Shade Turnips Full Sun
Eggplant Full Sun Tomato Full Sun
Kale Full Sun/Partial Shade Cherry Tomato Full Sun
Mint Partial Shade Zucchini Full Sun


Shade Tolerant Plants

Most plants do not cope very well in full shade, but some can tolerate it. Keep in mind that growing plants in heavy shade means slower growth and could result in an increased incidence of pests or disease. Slower growth may also result in them producing later in the season compared to veggies in full sun which can be great for a staggered production. Most salad greens, leafy greens, and root veggies can still do well in the shade. Consider trying plants from the above table that do well in partial shade and see how they do. There may also be specific specialty varieties designed for shady conditions.


+ Pruning and cutting back trees or vegetation can be an easy way to increase light levels dramatically. Many times, it is possible to do this without reducing privacy or causing harm to the plants.

+ If you're transplanting from a pot into soil, try placing your potted plants in the places you envision for planting. Leave them there for a couple of days and see how they handle it. This can be a great way to envision the design before committing to a specific spot.

+ In arid climates or those with too much sun, consider making shade with fast-growing sun-tolerant plants or with the help of shade cloth.
+ Consider that in areas with intense sunlight and dry weather many full-sun plants may enjoy a bit of shade.

+ Shady areas in the garden can be great places to start seeds or keep young plants in pots. They may also be ideal places for a compost pile, tool storage, or an area to relax.

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