Do Geraniums Need Full Sun?

Geraniums need the proper amount of sun to thrive. Do they have to be planted in areas that receive full sun?

Geraniums are popular garden bedding plants and are also grown in hanging baskets. Most annual geraniums require full sun to grow well. Let’s look at the sun requirements for geraniums.

What is Full Sun?

A full sun location receives at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days and is the minimum amount of light required for a sun-loving plant to flourish and survive. Many plants need direct sunlight to bloom properly. However, some full-sun plants can also thrive in various lighting conditions so that you can use them in multiple settings.

Most plants that flourish in direct sunlight are also resistant to heat and drought, which means you can plant them in areas that receive afternoon sun. 

group of beautiful white flowers in the backyard

How Many Hours of Sun Does a Geranium Need?

Geraniums require at least 6 to 7 hours a day of direct sunlight. They thrive under full sun conditions and can withstand the hot afternoon sun. However, in warmer climates, some afternoon shade is acceptable. Sun-loving geraniums need 12 hours of daylight per day to bloom abundantly. South and west exposures are typically favorable.

Can It Grow in Indirect Light?

Hardy geraniums can thrive in less sunny conditions. They may benefit from indirect light in the afternoons when planted in warmer areas. They can grow in indirect sunlight but need more of it to produce abundant blooms. 

full bloom of purple flowers in the forest

Can it Grow in Shade?

Geraniums can withstand shade but might not bloom. The plant cannot gather the energy required to bloom and produce flowers.

Some cultivars can grow and bloom in full shade. The oak-leaf scented geranium is a small squat variety with dark foliage that prefers shade. Their flowers are small, and the leaves release a burst of oak tree fragrance when rubbed together.

Can Geranium Get Too Much Sun?

Geraniums can suffer from overexposure to sunlight. Sun-bleached leaves can be a significant problem in the late summer heat. Bleached leaves indicate sunburn, which can kill the plant. However, there are new hybrid geraniums that can endure summer temperatures around 100°F.

purple crane flowers growing in the garden

How to Measure How Much a Sun an Area is Getting

Start measuring sunlight in your garden right after sunrise. Check the amount of light in the morning and midday, and monitor the changes until dusk. Most full-sun areas receive sunlight from 10 AM to 5 PM. In contrast, most shaded areas receive some morning sun but are sheltered from it for at least six hours. 

If there are no large trees nearby, the south side of your property will generally receive the most sunlight during the day. Shaded areas are frequently on the north side of the property or in areas with tall, dense trees to the south. You may need to chart sunlight exposure in different places in a large garden.

Leila Haynes
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