What Are Full Sun Vegetables - Best Full Sun Vegetables

Full Sun Tomato Plants
(Image credit: Bastetamn)

What are full sun vegetables? Whether you buy vegetable seedlings from your local nursery or start your own plants, you've probably noticed many garden vegetables are labeled as “full sun.” But what does full sun mean and what vegetables do well in full sun?

What are “Full Sun” Vegetables

Simply put, full sun veggies are those that require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Direct sunlight is not shaded or filtered by buildings, trees, fences, trellises or other garden vegetable plants. And while 6 hours is considered the minimum, the best full sun vegetables may require 8 or more hours of sunlight in cloudy or northern climates.

You'll find the list of full sun vegetables includes many garden favorites. These plants use the energy acquired from the sun through photosynthesis to produce large numbers of fruit. While these plants can be grown in less-sunny locales, they will not be nearly as productive as those receiving copious amounts of sunlight each day. 

To determine which areas of your garden receive full sun exposure, you can purchase a device to measure sunlight or use an app on your phone. But the least expensive option is simply to map sunlight exposure in your garden on paper. If you discover your “in-ground” garden doesn't provide sufficient sunlight, keep in mind that many of the best full sun vegetables can also be grown in containers on a sunny balcony or patio. 

Veggies That Like Full Sun

  • Beans – From green beans to dried legumes, these full-sun veggies are one of the easiest to grow. When planting pole varieties, consider trellis placement so as to not shade other plants on your list of full sun vegetables.
  • Corn – As one of the plants used in the three sisters combo, corn provides support for the beans and casts minimal shade on the squash growing around the base of the stalks. 
  • Cucumbers – From tiny gherkins to large slicing cukes, these crunchy delights love the warmth as well as the light provided by the sun.
  • Eggplant – These delightful purple veggies can be tricky to grow in cooler climates. A full sun location and attention to flea beetles keeps eggplants healthy and productive.
  • Melons – Although technically classified as fruit, the delicious summer sweetness of melons bears inclusion on our list of full sun vegetables for the garden.
  • Okra – This southern favorite loves the heat, but also grows well in sunny northern gardens. Okra can be pruned to control its height and to prevent shading of other sun-loving crops. 
  • Peas – This early-maturing crop is not only tasty, but can be planted in areas which become shaded later in the season by taller plants. 
  • Peppers – A favorite among gardeners, peppers are one of the easiest and best full sun vegetables to grow in a home garden. Choose from mild bell varieties to mind-blowing hot peppers. 
  • Pumpkins, Squash and Zucchini – Native to the tropics, these sun-loving cucurbits are quite prolific and easy to grow. Even novice gardeners will be blessed with an abundance of produce. 
  • Tomatoes – With a variety of available fruit sizes and colors, garden tomatoes round out the list of full sun vegetables. Patio, bush and determinate varieties stay shorter and are less apt to shade other sun-loving veggie plants.

Want even more Know How on vegetable gardening? Check out our Complete Guide to Vegetable Gardening today for a better harvest tomorrow!

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.