Full-Sun Herbs

If you're curious which herbs need a full-sun exposure, we got you. In this list, we listed 12 full-sun herbs, their benefits, and preferred growing conditions.

The world of gardening features a great variety of herbs that prefer what we call “full sun.”

In this article, we will list some of the most popular full-sun herbs.

Much controversy surrounds the topic of full sun, partial sun, partial shade, and shade plants. The debate is mainly because these terms aren’t “scientifically” accurate.

Nonetheless, they are essential in gardening. These lighting conditions highly increase the success of growing healthy plants. They’re also very “practical,” which suits this activity well.

Let’s get started!

Table of ContentsShow

What Does “Full-Sun” Mean?


Most gardeners agree that full sun means at least six hours of exposure to sunlight. Some people say that eight hours would be ideal for full-sun plants, though.

In reality, your plants don’t depend much on the light exposure duration. Instead, they rely on the quality of light they’re getting.

The secret lies in what we call PPF and PPFD.

PPF indicates the amount of photosynthetically active photons (light that stimulates photosynthesis) a source produces. PPFD shows how much of that amount is reaching your herbs.

Some gardeners wanted to make it easier for you and decided to use the notions of partial or full sun/shade. The effect turned out to be very positive for gardening.

So, don’t worry. You don’t need to calculate the PPF, PPFD, or anything else. You can stick to these terms. 

Please note that special conditions exist in some places, such as the southern US.

The sun can send plant-damaging heat during specific hours of the day. If the herbs you’re growing aren’t heat tolerant, you could face a significant problem.

wooden container with fresh herbs

Knowing if your herb has full-sun needs isn’t always enough. You should also consider the climate your herb prefers.

Sometimes, a simple solution can help you overcome such a problem. Utilize the morning sun, which gardeners say is brighter and has less intense heat.

In other words, your full-sun herbs would get the best quality of light in the morning.

The afternoon sun, on the other hand, can send very warm light. This can hurt some plants that aren’t used to hot conditions.

So, remember giving your full-sun herbs more morning sun than afternoon sun is always better.

List of Full-Sun Herbs

Here’s a list of the most popular full-sun herbs.

1. Basil

Basil Plant

Basil is one of the famous seasoning herbs in the kitchen. Also, you can use basil to promote mental alertness and relieve stomach spasms.

Basil thrives in full sun and warm weather. Cold temperatures could easily damage it. Learn more about basil temperature tolerance.

The herb prefers well-drained soil and moderate amounts of water.

If you give basil too much water, its taste and aroma will change and become less intense.

2. Anise


Anise is famous in the medicinal world for its seeds.

Its seeds can reduce inflammation and symptoms of depression. They smell like licorice but have a gentler taste on the tongue.

Anise is a full-sun herb that loves warm locations. It is sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and extreme heat or cold.

The herb thrives in well-drained soil that has a light texture. It doesn’t like wet environments, so it should also be watered in moderation.

3. Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla scented mayweed in bloom

Chamomile can be extremely beneficial in relieving cold symptoms and inflammation. People also use it to induce sleep and reduce anxiety.

There are wide varieties of chamomile, and almost all of them flourish in full sun and warm climates. But they don’t do well in extreme heat.

Chamomile can grow in many different types of soil. But it prefers a growing medium that can retain reasonable amounts of water.

The herb also enjoys cool nights and can withstand temperatures as low as 14°F  (-10°C).

4. Lavender

Fresh lavender on wood

According to recent studies, lavender’s aroma can reduce anxiety. And its flowers might help in treating skin and hair conditions.

The herb is also a perfect companion plant that can protect other herbs from harmful insects, such as whiteflies.

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region, so it grows in full sun and prefers a warm climate. Many varieties of lavender are soft perennials and cannot survive cold winters.

The herb prefers loose and well-drained soil because it doesn’t tolerate wet conditions.

Learn about the soil needs of lavender in this article we wrote about Potting Soil for Lavender.

5. Fennel

Fennel Herb

Fennel is very popular in the kitchen. People use its leaves and bulbs in many cuisines around the world.

Fennel also has potent medicinal properties; it enhances digestion and improves heart health.

This herb is a full-sun plant native to the Mediterranean. That means it can withstand hot temperatures to a certain extent. Fennel can also endure temperatures as low as 15°F (-9.5°C).

Fennel grows best in well-drained soil rich in nutrients. The herb can grow more than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall under these conditions.

6. Rosemary

Fresh rosemary, close up, selective focus

Rosemary is highly effective in preventing many types of cancer. Recent studies show that rosemary can even delay signs of aging.

Rosemary is an evergreen full-sun herb that prefers temperate climates. The lowest temperature it can survive is 20°F (-6.5°C).

The best growing medium for rosemary is moderately rich well-drained soil. Learn more about the ideal soil mix for rosemary.

7. Sage

sage plant leaves, Salvia officinalis

Common sage is brimming with antioxidants, which can strengthen the activity and health of the brain. It also has the ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Sage prefers full sun and can survive as an evergreen herb in moderately warm and cool climates. But know that extreme heat or frost can kill it.

Sage also doesn’t do well in soil with poor drainage. In general, this plant has a low water requirement, so water it as little as possible.

8. Calendula

Calendula flower on a white background

Calendula’s essential oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is excellent for the skin.

Calendula is a full-sun herb that is grown for its flowers. It does well in reasonably warm climates but cannot withstand heat and frost. It also doesn’t like soil that’s too moist.

You can easily start this plant from seeds indoors, and it doesn’t require special treatment.

9. St. John’s Wort

Johanniskraut St Johns wort 15

Several studies came out with some not-so-surprising results. St. John’s wort can act as an active antidepressant in mild and moderate cases of depression.

St. John’s wort is a perennial herb that prefers full sun and temperate climates. According to one study, St. John’s wort grows best at an average temperature of less than 75 °F (24°C), but it is also restricted by cold temperatures.

The herb can tolerate many different types of soil, including heavy clay soil.

10. Dill


Like fennel, dill is very popular in cooking. People use its leaves and seeds to prepare many popular dishes.

Dill is also a medicinal herb that can alleviate abdominal pain and menstrual cramps.

Dill is a full-sun herb that is quite common in Europe and Asia. Its ideal temperature is 70°F (21°C), and it grows best in sandy soil.

This herb doesn’t like competing with other plants for space. Avoid growing it with other invasive plants, such as mint.

11. Echinacea

echinacea flowers

Echinacea can relieve flu symptoms and shorten its duration. It can also manage sugar levels in the blood and reduce anxiety.

Echinacea plants are heavy-flowering herbs, so they all need a lot of light.

However, the various species of echinacea have different soil and water needs.

E. purpurea is one of the most popular and beneficial echinacea plants. It grows best in rich, well-drained soil and needs regular watering.

12. Oregano

Growing Oregano

We’ll conclude this list with oregano, one of the most popular herbs in the world. Oregano is most famous in Italian cuisine.

This plant grows in full sun or partial shade and prefers a temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

It likes dry conditions. You should avoid growing the herb in wet conditions or in slow-draining soil.

Enjoy growing these herbs! And don’t forget to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

You Might Like These Too

Rosemary Plant Problems
Rosemary Plant Problems
Jad Daou

Jad has always been passionate about growing plants. When he finished high school, he majored in biology, which makes him very knowledgeable about agriculture.