9 Best Vegetables to Grow in Full Sun


Growing vegetables is a great way to save money on food and have fresh produce all summer long. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the best vegetables for full sun. I’m talking about zucchini, hot peppers, green beans, cucumbers, and more! These are all easy to grow in warm weather and will give you lots of delicious homegrown produce that tastes so much better than store-bought (trust me!).

best vegetables to grow in full sun

What does full sun mean?

Full sun is defined as at least six hours of sunlight a day. This doesn’t mean that you can grow anything in full sun, but it does provide the most light for vegetables. Full sun also means protection from wind and rain, so plants aren’t vulnerable to damage when they’re young or setting fruit/vegetables.

Is morning or afternoon sun better for vegetables?

Morning sun is better than afternoon sun. The afternoon sun is much hotter, which can be a problem in warmer climates. That being said, there are some vegetables that do best with late-day sunlight, such as lettuce and spinach.

For most gardeners who need to maximize their space, the morning sun is best.

Related: How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden Layout and What Tools Do You Need for Vegetable Gardening?

Best Vegetables to Grow in Full Sun

zucchini grows best in full sun

Zucchini

This squash is on the top of our list, and for a good reason. Zucchini is a great plant to grow in full sun. It grows quickly and produces fruit all summer long.

It’s best to plant this vegetable crop when the soil temperature reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably in April or May. Just make sure you protect the vines with row covers until the plants begin to bloom.

You can harvest zucchini until the first frost for fresh eating or preserve it by freezing, canning, dehydrating, or pickling it.

peppers grow best in full sun

Peppers

Peppers are in the same family as tomatoes. This means they require full sun and warm weather conditions.

Peppers also have a very long growing season, so don’t let this discourage you from planting them early if your climate allows for it! If the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a few days at a time, it’s best to cover plants with row covers or some other form of protection.

For those who live in areas where summertime temperatures routinely top 95 degrees Fahrenheit, pepper plants should be grown in pots on patios or porches and watered frequently to prevent wilting and leaf scorching.

Most varieties thrive well in a good amount of sunlight, and they are again, one of those low maintenance plants you can get started on if you’re not too sure of your gardening skills.

See our tips on Best Ways to Grow Anaheim Peppers if you want to know more.

green beans need full sun to grow

Green Beans

Most people know that green beans grow best in full sun, but why?

Green bean plants are actually a type of runner bean plant. They produce long vines that trail over the ground and up other plants to find sunlight. The leaves on these vines can reach heights of 10 feet!

A green bean’s growth depends on how much sunlight it receives during the day. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day if they are to have maximum production. If you notice your plants are not producing as much as they should be, make sure there is enough light for both morning and afternoon hours!

The leaves of these plants will often turn yellowish-brown when exposed to too much shade from other plants around them or trees nearby.

The best place for a green bean plant is next to something tall with lots of space around it so they can climb and hang down as much as possible. Without enough light, the vine will stop growing or droop low like spaghetti hanging from an Italian kitchen cabinet.

cucumbers do best in full sun

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a type of plant that grows best in full, direct sunlight. If the plants don’t get enough sun, the fruit will be small and bitter tasting. They need at least 6 hours of sun each day to produce the highest yields. You can tell if your cucumber plants are getting enough light by looking for dark green leaves and yellow flowers on the vines. If you’re growing them indoors, make sure they have plenty of natural or artificial light from windows or lamps during their growth period (usually April-September).

If your garden has too much shade from trees or buildings, try growing cucumbers on a trellis instead of directly in the ground. Trellises provide support for climbing vines that can’t be achieved with only vertical supports like poles or stakes. To do this, plant two rows of cucumber seeds about 8 inches apart down the length of a row and then space them out evenly every two feet along both rows so they have something to climb up as they grow taller. Then attach some sturdy rope or wire to the ends of each row and then crisscross them on top, fastening securely at the bottom.

After your cucumbers have grown for a while and begin climbing up their trellises, pinch off all but one male plant per vine so that they will focus more energy on producing fruit rather than making seeds.

sweet potatoes needs lots of direct sunlight to grow

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a staple crop throughout the world, and for good reason. They grow best in full sun with temperatures of 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil should be loose and well-drained, but also must have lots of organic matter to provide nutrients. Sweet potatoes do not like heavy clay soils or those that stay wet for long periods of time.

okra needs a lot of sunlight

Okra

Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, is a vegetable that thrives in hot and humid climates. Okra grows best in full sun, but it can grow well with some shade. It thrives best in full sun because it’s necessary for the okra pods to ripen and become edible. It prefers soil that has a neutral pH and plenty of moisture. For the most success growing okra plants, plant them at least 1 inch below the surface of the soil to avoid shallow root growth which leads to wilting or death.

corn grows best in full sun

Corn

Corn is a great crop for beginners because it can grow in most climates. However, corn does best in full sun. Corn needs at least 6-8 hours of sunlight every day to grow well. That’s why the best time to plant corn in late April and May. It grows best when the days are long and clear during the summer months, and is ready to harvest sometime around June, July, and August.

See our post on Tips for Growing Corn if you’d like to know more about starting with this plant.

pumpkins need full sun to grow

Pumpkins

There are plenty of reasons to grow pumpkins in your garden this fall. Pumpkins can be used for decoration, making pies, or carving jack-o-lanterns. Growing pumpkins can be a lot of fun. But if you’re not careful, you might end up with one that doesn’t grow the way it should because of where you plant it. If your pumpkin plants are getting too much shade, they may never produce the large gourds that we all love so much.

Pumpkins, squash, and other members of the cucurbit family need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day for optimal growth. If you live in an area where there is not enough sun for your plants to grow properly (i.e., cloudy or foggy), try placing them near a south-facing window or out in your yard on sunny days.

eggplant needs full sun

Eggplant

Eggplant is a type of vegetable that belongs to the nightshade family and comes in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. The most common varieties of eggplant include globe (or Italian), Chinese long or Asian, and baby or fingerling.

Eggplant can grow anywhere, as long as it has enough water and nutrients. But generally speaking, they do prefer warmer weather and are better at absorbing the sunlight when planted in a sunny location.

So how much light does an eggplant need? An average of eight hours of direct sunlight each day should be sufficient for most eggplant plants grown in containers or gardens with partial shade from trees or buildings.

Make sure you include these 9 vegetables in your garden this year to make the most of that full sunlight. Enjoy your harvest!

If you want to grow veggies indoors or on your patio or deck, see these Best Vegetables for Container Gardening.

best veggies to grow in direct sunlight vegetables that need lots of sun

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