As you’ve probably noticed, not all leaves are the same size. The size of the leaf depends on how many hours of sun they get. If a plant is full sun, that means it gets at least six hours of sun per day. If a plant is partial shade, that means it can get a minimum of three hours of sunlight per day. Not only will the sun affect the leaf size, it will also affect the shade of green and how thick or thin a leaf is.

If the surrounding environment is primarily shaded, the plants living in the area will produce larger and thinner leaves. By expanding the surface area, it helps absorb more sunlight in order to get the nutrients it needs. Once the plants get enough nutrients from the sun, they can begin photosynthesis. Shade leaves also have more chlorophyll because of the chloroplasts.

Not only do plants that get more shade have bigger leaves, they are richer in color. Chlorophyll is the element that gives plants enough energy for photosynthesis as well as giving the leaves a bright green color. It is also the reason why leaves have more of a brighter green on top than underneath. Since the upper half has more chlorophyll, it tends to be more green.

Plants that typically absorb sunlight all day long, have smaller but thicker leaves. Since the sun is already shining down on the plants, it is not so much of a struggle for them to get nutrients. Because of all the sunlight, they actually become a lighter green.

Full sun plants get their thick leaves by the high amount of palisade cells they have. Palisade cells are for light absorption which is why leaves in the shade do not have as much. Since the light gives plants energy, palisade cells are a necessity in all leaves, especially full sun leaves. They are tightly packed together in the palisade layer. This is also where photosynthesis takes place.

There are six steps to complete photosynthesis. Once the roots of the plants absorb enough water, then they take in the CO2 from the air. Then the leaves get energy from the sunlight. From that energy, they will make sugar as well as oxygen. The plant will then release the oxygen into the air. Lastly, the sugar is used for plant growth.  Photosynthesis is basically a way for plants to make food.

Flowers that thrive in the sunlight include: sage, violas, and coneflowers. Some plants that grow fruit are also full sun plants. These include: cherries, gooseberries, and blackberries. Of course these are not all of the plants that are made for the sun, but they are just a few to start off your garden.

Shade plants include: pulmonaria, Tiarella cordifolia, and primula. Although these are just a few of many shade based plants, there are many out there! Even some that grow fruits. Whatever type of environment you would like to start your own garden, there are varieties of plants for everyone! Cameron nursery focuses on planting certain types fruits, shrubs, or flowers in ideal locations. Whether a plant calls for sun or shade, there is a place for all!