Growing your own food is one of the best ways to live a healthier lifestyle. If, however, you’re like me and have more of a purple thumb than a green finger, the concept of growing anything is pretty daunting.
In my experience, vegetables are more trouble than they’re worth. The moles eat all my carrots while my cauliflowers end up as a smorgasbord of pests.
Herbs, on the other hand, are considerably more cooperative. Pests tend to find their strong fragrance off-putting which means all you need to do to get an edible result is plant a seed or seedling, water it and give it soil and sunlight.
Unless it’s sage, that is, which I can’t grow to save my life.
Popular Herbs That Like Full for Beginners
Popular herbs that like full sun and have thrived under my inexpert care include:
As many of these are Mediterranean herbs, they enjoy my garden’s warm, sunny climate. In areas where frost strikes annually and night temperatures plummet in winter, growing sun-loving plants can be considerably more challenging.
If, however, you have a garden full of sunny spots where your herbs can get suitable amounts of sunlight, adequate drainage, and water, these hardy plants will flourish in almost any climate. Even in regions where the winters are particularly cold, you can grow herbs in pots and move them inside during the coldest period.
To get the best from your herbs, whether you’re growing in the soil or containers, you need to know what conditions they prefer, which other plants they grow well with, and how to distinguish between full sun, partial sun, and partial shade.
Why Sunshine Is the Best Medicine for Medicinal Herbs
Sunlight is like food for plants and without it, they can’t photosynthesize and, therefore, fail to generate enough nourishment to keep themselves alive.
Just as some humans have a higher metabolism and need more food than others, some plants will only thrive in full sun. Others are more versatile and, while they may be more robust in full sun, will grow in partial shade.
The Difference Between Full Sun, Partial Sun, and Partial Shade
- An area that gets full sun is blessed with at least six hours of direct sun per day. These six hours don’t need to occur consecutively and can be interrupted by periods of shade.
- The parts of your garden that enjoy partial sun get between three to six hours of direct sun per day and are shaded for the rest of the day.
- Areas in partial shade, on the other hand, get neither full, direct sun nor complete shade, receiving around two to four hours of sun per and moderate shade for the remaining daylight hours.
What Plants Do Best In Full Sun?
If you’re growing herbs in containers rather than the soil, consider full-sun-lovers that are also tolerant of drought, like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Thyme makes a beautiful ornamental for your new flower garden or raised bed in growing zone five through nine. We also love cooking with thyme! Add freshly chopped and dried thyme to your next vegetable stir fry.
Or - toss a handful into a fresh batch of pea soup. The pinkish-white flowers also look beautiful - and reach around one-foot tall.
Lavender and yarrow are popular as border plants for full-sun beds, as are some types of verbena and sage.
There are also a few perennial herbs that you can harvest all year round and will survive a hot summer with few complaints or issues. Various types of artemisia, or wormwood, enjoy the hot weather, as do hibiscus and lavender.
If you’re looking to create an ornamental herb garden, echinacea and St John’s Wort blossom in full sun and will add splashes of color to your plot. Calendula is another herb that likes full sun, which combines vibrant flowers with numerous health benefits, as is dill with its yellow-flower umbels.
What Plants Do Well In Extreme Heat?
In my greenhouse, I am currently baking – I mean, growing – some chillis, green peppers, peas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and peanuts.
As it is somewhere in the region of 35°C (95°F) outside so close to 40°C in the greenhouse, I’m hoping these plants all do well in extreme heat!
Some definitely do like it hot, like chillis, and “the hotter the growing conditions, the hotter the chili.” Others, like green peppers, can struggle in temperatures of 32°C (95°F) and above, wilting and dropping their flowers.
Peanuts are heat-loving plants and “grow best when the temperatures are at least 86 F”.
But what about herbs? I haven’t planted any herbs, aside from flat-leaf parsley, in my greenhouse as yet, but I would like to, leading me to wonder, “What herbs flourish in extreme heat?
We already mentioned chillis, of course, but basil, chives, lemongrass, mint, and thyme are all comfortable in extreme temperatures, although some will only flourish if they’ve also got plenty of water.
Basil, lemongrass, mint all prefer moist soil conditions, while thyme will thrive in hot and arid environments.
I think I’ll cut my losses and try thyme first!
Can Herbs Grow In Partial Sun?
While most herbs will grow better and be healthier and more robust when grown in full sun, there are a few shade-loving herbs around.
Generally, herbs like to have at least a couple of hours’ sun per day, but some of the hardier herbs will grow in full shade.
Don’t expect them to flourish as they do in full sun, however, as they’re just liable to be a bit scrawnier and leggier as they reach for what sun is available.
Because these conditions aren’t ideal, growing herbs in shaded areas can require a little more care than growing in full sun.
Over-fertilizing your herbs, for example, “encourages more weak and spindly growth.”
You may also find that herbs growing in shaded areas suffer more attacks from pests, like aphids and spider mites, and therefore require more monitoring and regular treatments to keep them pest-free.
For the best results, plant a combination of these shade-loving herbs:
You’ll Love Herbs That Like Full Sun
Many herbs flourish in full sun, bringing a variety of aromas, colors, and textures to your garden, flavors to your meals, and benefits to your health.
Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow and, not only will your health benefit from eating them, but you’ll profit from the experience of growing them too.
There are physical benefits from gardening, even if you’re only tending a couple of containers or a single small bed. Herb gardening can also help reduce stress.
Watching your herbs thrive is a rewarding experience which is why finding the best herbs that like full sun, allocating shady spots to hardier plants, and finding out which herbs do best in partial shade are so important.
Planting in the wrong conditions just makes the process all the more difficult, the harvest less fruitful and the experience less enjoyable.
Every minute you spend herb gardening is a minute well-spent, bringing the benefits of herbs to your garden as well as to your life and health.