Do Tomatoes Need Full Sun?

Tomato plants can grow rapidly under ideal circumstances. Do they need full sun, though?

Tomato plants grow rapidly, doubling in size every two weeks under ideal circumstances. They need a lot of energy, created by photosynthesis in the presence of sunshine, water, and nutrients, to maintain this rapid growth pace. 

How much sunlight do tomatoes require? 

This article will cover tomatoes’ need for sunshine and the importance of sun exposure in producing a bumper crop.

What is Full Sun?

On most days, a planting area has to get six to eight hours of direct sunshine, mostly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., to be designated a full sun location.

a new batch of tomato seedlings

How Many Hours of Sun Does a Tomato Need?

Tomato plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, but you may want to strive for at least eight hours per day to achieve the best results, a higher yield, and juicier fruit.

Because tomato plants need sunshine to create energy, light is crucial for their growth. To produce their fruit, tomato plants need energy. As a result, they may make more fruit and have more energy as the sunlight increases.

Can It Grow in Indirect Light?

Each day, 6 and 8 hours of direct sunlight are ideal for tomato plants. Tomato plants may still produce fruit without enough sunlight, although not as often. Some tomato plants may be able to thrive inside with the correct artificial lighting.

fresh and healthy red tomatoes

Can it Grow in Shade?

Tomato plants can tolerate growing in the shade but need at least six hours of direct sunshine daily. The plants can survive in indirect or dappled light, but they will be stunted and probably won’t bear many fruits; most of the energy your tomato plants use goes towards developing their leaves and root systems.

Tomatoes grown in the shade are often longer and lankier as they search for the sun. Additionally, they will have a smaller fruit set. But tomatoes’ prolonged ripening time is the main difference. Since tomatoes don’t do well in the shade, finding another location to grow them would be better.

Can Tomatoes Get Too Much Sun?

Tomato plants can get too much sun in some cases. Seedlings not ready for full sun exposure can suffer from strong sunlight. Strong, intense sunlight can also damage the fruit of established tomato plants. 

Plants over-pruned at the top can also be damaged by harsh sunlight, causing sunscald. The fruit on plants that have been over-pruned can also experience sunscalding. Scorched leaves dry up, while sunburned fruit can be a different shade of color than the rest of the fruit.

To prevent your tomato plants from being damaged from too much exposure to sunlight, either plant in an area that is shaded in the middle of the day

a ripe tomato that's ready to harvest
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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