Sun requirement in winter

momsgardenMarch 11, 2012

Hi! I was hopeful someone can tell me if full sun shrubs (blooming and non-blooming) require full sun in the winter? My front beds get little to no sun in the winter, however get hours of sun in the summer as the sun moves further west and is higher in the sky. Any advice you can share is most appreciated!

Thank you!

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The shrubs only need the light when they have leaves. In the winter nakedness, sun shine exposure isn't important.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:38PM
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As Jon said, deciduous shrubs don't care about sun in the winter, and broadleag evergreen shrubs, at least in my neck of the woods where water is usually frozen in the root zone in winter, appreciate some winter shade so the leaves aren't losing too much moisture.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

she doesnt mention deciduous plants.. i dont know where you guys got that from ...

personally i dont think they care about sun when dormant .... to a great extent ...

i would think of it this way ... they need a given amount of sunlight.. to synthesize into food to maintain vigor.. thru the whole year ... or to store for winter/spring..

given enough sun in the active phase ... spring/summer/fall ... i simply cant fathom it would fail.. due to low light in its dormant phase ...

all that said.. a full sun plant.. can thrive in shade.. if it is bright shade .... shade is near impossible to define.. other than to tell you to just plant things.. and see what happens ...

you baffle me with this: however get hours of sun in the summer as the sun moves further west and is higher in the sky.

doesnt the sun move west every day.. lol ...

what you mean is how low the sun gets in the SOUTH in winter... the declination ... which casts more shade on the north side of the house. . yes???

with flowering shrubs.. if they flower at all.. then they are getting enough sun ... the buds were grown and set.. last fall .... so no matter what sun they got over winter.. they should be ready to go ...

and never forget.. full sun is usually anything in excess of 8 hours.. not 16 hours a day ...


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Thank you all! Ken, the way my home is oriented, the beds at the front of the house receive what would be considered "full sun" during the summer. In the winter, based on the orientation of my house, there are portions that receive little to no sun, and are in bright shade. And yes! The sun does move west every day, however, the where it sets is further west, even more nw in the summer until the solstice, and then it moves back...I supposed I didn't explain it properly! Have you heard the expression "Season of the long shadows?" That's what happens in the winter, so there is more shade from the house and trees in those beds that face north/northwest in the winter...I also noted last summer that the sun rises further to the east in the summer bringing more sun to the front beds again...I just don't want to plant shrubs where they will be unhappy, hence my going to you all (the experts!) to help out...I so appreciate everyone's input!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 6:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i was just razzing you about the western sun...

your setup sounds much like mine.. but the house is facing due north ... the shade in winter is probably 10 to 15 feet out.. in summer.. 2 feet ... but with absolutely nothing straight up .. is is very bright ambient light ... so not much suffers .. but i favor annuals and shade perennials ... and a rhodie and 2 azalea ...

but w/o a reference to specific plants.. its hard to tell you much specific ..


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Haha Ken! I don't mind! My husband always say's the way I explain things is well, less than ideal...probably true!!! Yes, your setup does sound like mine...we just moved out here a year ago, and as much as I wanted to change things year one, I knew I needed to sit back and watch what the light did...I thought it would be more shade, and planted impatiens in abundance who were quite cranky about all the sun they got...oops! Won't make that mistake this year!

I am sure I will be back asking about specific plants...want to add some rhodies and I know some can take more sun than others...thanks for the input and help!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 8:52AM
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