Full Sun Herbs: Take a Look at a List of Herbs That Love the Sun!

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.

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

Nonetheless, they are very important in gardening because they highly increase the success of growing healthy plants. They’re also very “practical,” and that suits this activity very well.

What Does “Full-Sun” Mean?

Most gardeners agree that full sun means at least 6 hours of exposure to sunlight, and some people say that 8 hours would be ideal for full-sun plants.

In reality, your plants don’t depend that much on the duration of light exposure but rather 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) that a source produces, while PPFD indicates how much of that amount is reaching your herbs.

Some gardeners, however, wanted to make it easier for you and decided to use the notions of partial or full sun/shade, and their effect turned out to be very positive on gardening. So, don’t worry. You don’t really need to calculate the PPF, PPFD, or anything else. You can just stick to these terms. 

What’s really important, though, is that in some places, such as the southern U.S., the sun can send plant-damaging heat during some hours of the day. In that case, if the herbs you’re growing aren’t heat tolerant, you could be facing a major problem.

Full Sun Herbs

That’s why knowing if your herb is full sun isn’t always enough. You should also consider the climate your herb prefers.

In some instances, there is a simple solution that would help you overcome such a problem: morning sun, which is said to be brighter and less heat intense. In other words, your full-sun herbs would be getting the best quality of light during the morning.

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

So, remember it’s always better to give your full-sun herbs more morning sun than afternoon sun.

List of Full-Sun Herbs:

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

1. Basil

Basil is one of the famous seasoning herbs in the kitchen. Besides that, basil can be used to promote mental alertness and relieve stomach spasms.

Basil thrives in full sun and warm weather. And it can easily be damaged by cold temperatures. Learn more about basil temperature tolerance.

The herb prefers well-drained soil and moderate amounts of water. In fact, 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 that can reduce inflammation and symptoms of depression. They smell like licorice but has a gentler taste on the tongue.

Full Sun Anise
Anise Seeds

Anise is a full-sun herb that loves warm locations. However, 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 moderately.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile can be extremely beneficial in relieving cold symptoms and inflammation. It is also used to induce sleep and reduce anxiety.

Full Sun Herbs

There are many varieties of chamomile, and nearly 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 good amounts of water. The herb also enjoys cool nights and it can withstand temperatures as low as 14°F  (-10°C).

4. Lavender

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

Full Sun Lavender

The herb is also a very good 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. Broadly speaking, 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 more about the soil needs of lavender in this article we wrote about Potting Soil for Lavender.

5. Fennel

Fennel is very popular in the kitchen. Its leaves and bulbs are used in many different cuisines around the world. Fennel also has some strong medicinal properties. It enhances digestion and improves heart health.

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

Fennel grows best in a well-drained soil rich with nutrients. Provided with these conditions, the herb can grow more than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall.

6. Rosemary

Rosemary is very 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, and the minimum 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

Common sage is brimming with antioxidants and 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 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’s essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is great for the skin.

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

This plant can be easily started from seeds indoors, and it doesn’t require special treatment.

9. St. John’s Wort

Several studies showed that 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 in an average temperature less than 75 °F (24°C) but 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, and its leaves and seeds are used to prepare many popular dishes. Dill is also a medicinal herb that can alleviate abdominal pain and menstrual cramps.

Dill

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

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

11. Echinacea

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

Echinacea plants are heavy-flowering herbs, so they all need a lot of light. Different species of echinacea, however, have different soil and water needs.

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

12. Oregano

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

Oregano

This plant grows in full sun or partial shade and prefers a temperature around 70°F (21°C). Avoid growing the herb in wet conditions or slow-draining soil because it likes dry conditions.

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

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I'm Jad, a biologist, blogger, and experienced indoor gardener. I am knowledgeable in plant biology, particularly in plant cultivation and propagation. I founded HerbsWithin.com in 2019 to share my knowledge in indoor gardening with passionate home growers.

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