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Do plants need direct sunlight or just daylight..? I guess they’re the same thing, just different strengths..?

The reason I ask is, I have a small balcony system that I am currently attempting to cycle, but only get maybe 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight daily. I live on a sub tropical island so; the sunshine that I get is pretty strong and pretty regular. When not in direct sunlight, the balcony is bright and breezy...

 

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that is exacly the question i am thinking about.

i live on maui. so especially now as the days are growing longer, there may actually be more sunlight than some plants want. so i put a milky white fiberglass roofing panel over my system. the plants are growing well for this new system of around 2.5 months.

 

i think there are some pros out there who know what plants require in the way of direct. can we get a list?

 

i just read that lettuce only needs about 5 hours of sunlight and not mid day sun at that. so  a filtered light setting may be ideal. let's hear from the smart guys so  can be one too......

thanks.

It is plant specific and they need the same amount whether grown in soil or AP. Just take a look at your seed packs or look the specific varieties you are growing up on line and they will tell you the plants preference.
Without any direct sun most veggie plants will tend to get leggy.  With some sun but not enough you will see slow growth and much seeking of the little light there is.  There are many ornamental plants and forest floor plants that can do well with less sun but mint, watercress, lettuce, aloe, and some leeks are the options I'm thinking of off the top of my head you might manage with only a few hours of sun.  If you can reflect some more bright light into the space you might do better.  Perhaps you could train vines out to where they will get more sun?

thanks tclynx,

 

i live on maui. it is spring/summerr/ very direct sun (22 deg. lat) and system is south facing. LOTS of available sun. i put a milky white fiberglass roof panel over the growbeds. i could never find the actual percent of diffusion (?) so that is how my question fits into this thread. and the nice thing that AP solves in a hot climate like here is soil temperature is controlled. that was the hardest part of growing some plants unless i am on top of thick mulching (slugs and centipedes) and frequent watering. so i am watching as you suggested for signs that the plant "wants" more sun. if you or anyone know about green house growing, i think they generally have opaque roofs (translucent?) (not clear). anway great process this AP. yum. oh by the way, the bees are all over my Grow beds, harvesting something from the cinders....anybody know what they are up to.?

 

peace,

 

francis

If your media is wicking up moisture to the surface, the bees are probably getting a drink.  You might be flooding your beds a little too close to the surface, generally you want the top surface of the media to stay dry.  However, it is great to provide a few drinking spots for the bees.

 

Yes diffused light is generally just fine fine.  I think I was responding to the original poster who made it sound like there was a roof or actual shade over the proposed location for a large portion of the day.  Diffused sun light is different from bright shade.  I have managed to grow some things in shade but I found the lettuce tended to grow as 2' tall stocks with leaves every three inches so it wasn't all that productive.  Of course most people think of tomatoes needing lots of sun but I've had some grow ok in partial shade here in FL, they may not have grown as fast but they continued growing through summer which will often do in tomatoes out in full sun here.  I think they call 6 hours of full direct sun here to be full sun and plants here that need full sun will be greatly slowed down with less than 4 hours of full direct sun.  Now a more diffused or less intense light will probably require more hours per day to get the same growth and of course temperatures have an effect on how well the plants can use the sun.

For instance, a zucchini here in the intense heat/humidity will be wilting in my soil garden after 4-6 hours of full sun during the hot season but in a cooler climate it would probably be fine with full sun all day but here I'd be better off to run a strip of shade cloth to give the plants a little mid day relief.

 

The best thing to do is listen to what the plants tell you.  If something seems to work really well, then I'm not gonna argue with the plants and if they are suffering and not thriving, well no amount of telling them they should be doing better is likely to change things.

i do not argue with my plants.

 

perhaps they are the only ones who get this sort of treatment....

Hi All,

More sunlight gives more plant growth. The heat/humidity is the enemy here.To me it's a matter of balance because you can only work with what you have. Here in the tropics i have to deal with high midday heat and all day sunshine. I use a twenty-30 percent shade cloth(machine knitted tablecloth) which is white to combat the heat and at the same time keeping close to the original spectrum of light. I've read studies on light refraction from different colors affecting plant growth, showing up to a 30 percent increase for white shade cloth over other colors. While some plants can go by with less sunlight, like lettuce, they will grow faster with more light.

do you think white fiberglass panels let the full spectrum of light through?
Probably not but if the plants thrive, who cares.

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