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What does 'partial shade' really mean?

PeterJarvisPeterJarvis East KentPosts: 80
The sunniest parts of my garden get about 6 hours per day of sun (at this time of the year). I'm assuming this is what is meant by 'full sun'.
But does 'partial sun' mean they get sun, but only for a short amount of time - say one hour a day - or does it mean that they are in a permanently shady area of the garden?
Your thoughts and experiences are welcome.
Thanks in advance.
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Posts

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,090
    edited 20 April
    I interpret "partial sun" (or "partial shade") to mean sun for part of the day and shade for part, due to the sun moving around so the shade cast by buildings, fences, trees etc also moves Eg a lot of my front garden is shaded by the house in the morning, and the back is shaded in the afternoon when the sun moves around to the front. I think no direct sun at all would be "full shade" although there are degrees of shade - there can be much less light under the canopy of a tree in full leaf than on the north side of a building without an overhang, but neither of them gets direct sun.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,372
    I don't think it's that precise and a lot depends on other conditions like moisture, and some plants can take more sun than others but still not full sun. Somewhere between full sun and full shade and anywhere in between

  • B3B3 Posts: 21,468
    I think of it as dappled shade through trees or a part of the garden that is always  light but only gets full sun for a few hours.
    Full shade is no sun but not dark. Nothing grows in the dark - well mushrooms do😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,993
    edited 20 April
    "What does 'partial shade' really mean?"

    It's a good question for endless debate. Not a very helpful term. "Full sun" is debatable too.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,090
    edited 20 April
    When I first started gardening I thought Full Sun meant direct sun all day from sunrise to sunset, which would mean hardly any space where I could grow full sun plants. In practice I've found that 6 to 8 hours sun in the summer (which can include the hours before I see the light of day :wink:) is enough for most things that are supposed to need full sun.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 269
    I was always told shade is less than 3, partial shade/sun is 3-6 and full sun is more than 6.

    Obviously plants aren't as precise as us humans but that's been a fairly useful heuristic.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,016
    The RHS describes 6 types of shade here:

    Shade gardening / RHS Gardening

    (I hope all plants have read this 😊!)
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,993
    Astraeus said:
    I was always told shade is less than 3, partial shade/sun is 3-6 and full sun is more than 6.
    When?

  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,444
    And also remember it depends on how far south/north you are. The further north the more sun hours you need to get into each category as the sun is not as strong. A plant that does well in full shade in the south will require part shade in the north.
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 269
    Fire said:
    Astraeus said:
    I was always told shade is less than 3, partial shade/sun is 3-6 and full sun is more than 6.
    When?

    Any day when there is more than 6 hours of sunlight. So every day of the year.
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