Sun is essential for all plant life, being required for photosynthesis. Not all plants need a full day of sun to grow and thrive, but the majority of plants will do best in a sunny location. If you have a sunny yard and are looking to create a garden, the possibilities are almost endless. However, keep in mind that light is not all plants need to grow. Each plant has specific growing requirements, and meeting their needs is the best way to ensure a beautiful and healthy garden.
Nearly all annual flowers, which live for just one year, require full sun. Among the many varieties that will thrive with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day are morning glories, calendula, geraniums, verbena, zinnias, alyssum, petunias, marigolds, forget-me-nots and nasturtiums. When these plants are grown in a location that gets too much shade, they do not grow as tall and may not produce many flowers. The flowers also may not be as bright as when they get plenty of sun.
Perennial flowers are plants that come back year after year. Unlike with annuals, there are quite a few perennials that can grow in the shade or partial shade. Still, though, several perennials are available that grow best in full sun. For your garden, try dianthus, astilbe, aster, sedum, salvia, delphiniums and chrysanthemums.
Almost all vegetables need full sun to grow and thrive. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas and beans need full sun to produce an abundant crop. Root vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, radishes and parsnips need at least a half day of sunshine. Corn also needs plenty of sun to grow. The vegetables that can best tolerate shady conditions are green, leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale and arugula.
Fruits also require a sunny environment. All fruit trees, such as apple, pear, cherry and peach trees, need full sun, as do strawberry plants and blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes.