Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables around, and also one of the most popular. This certainly contributes to the massive economic importance of broccoli, a crop that spans the globe and is a linchpin and more than one agricultural sector.
You can grow your own broccoli easily enough, but as with all plants you must first master its light requirements. How much sun does broccoli need to grow properly?
Broccoli needs around 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, but it can be partially shaded or in partial sunshine the rest of the time.
Keep in mind that broccoli is sensitive to high temperatures during periods of afternoon sun, so be prepared to shade it if necessary.
Broccoli is one of those vegetables it is fairly easy to manage concerning its light requirements, but it is more likely that temperature and soil issues will capsize your crop.
Even so, you cannot neglect its light requirements, so keep reading and we will tell you everything you need to know.
Does Broccoli Need Full Sun?
Not exactly. Broccoli can grow well in partial shade or partial sun so long as it gets sufficient total sunlight per day.
How Many Hours of Sun Does Broccoli Need?
Broccoli needs around 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. However, it can handle being in partial shade or sun for the rest of the day with no problems as long as its other requirements are being met.
Can Broccoli Grow in Shade?
In partial shade, yes. In deep shade, no. Broccoli needs at least 6 hours of sunlight each day to grow properly but can tolerate being in partial shade or sun for the rest of the day, as mentioned.
Can Broccoli Get Too Much Sun?
Yes, it can. While most people are aware that too much sun can be damaging to their own skin, few realize that the same is true for broccoli.
This plant is especially sensitive to high temperatures during periods of afternoon sun. If the temperature gets too high, it can damage or even kill it.
When exposed to too much sunlight, the chlorophyll in mature broccoli begins to break down, causing the vegetable to turn yellow or brown. In addition, sunlight can also cause the formation of bitter-tasting compounds.
As a result, broccoli that has received too much sun is often unappetizing and difficult to digest. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never eat sun-tinged broccoli.
If cooked properly, this type of broccoli can still be enjoyed. Just be sure to cut away any yellow or brown areas before cooking.
In young broccoli plants, too much sun can cause the leaves to wilt and the stems to become fragile, usually resulting in the heads or “crowns” failing to form at all.
If either eventuality happens, the plant will be more susceptible to diseases and pests.
Do Different Varieties of Broccoli Need More or Less Sun?
Did you know that there are actually many different varieties of broccoli, each with its own unique flavor and texture? And like all plants, different varieties have different sunlight requirements.
For example, the popular Calabrese variety needs about six hours of sunlight per day, while the Romanesco variety can tolerate a bit less sun.
The Italian sprouting broccoli ‘Marathon’ can tolerate partial shade, while the American heirloom ‘Waltham 29’ needs full sun to develop its best flavor.
In general, broccoli plants that have been bred for warm climates (such as California) will be more tolerant of partial shade than those bred for cooler regions.
When choosing a broccoli variety, it is therefore important to consider your local climate and conditions. With a little research, you can find a broccoli plant that will thrive in your garden – whether it is in full sun or partial shade.
So if you’re wondering whether to plant your broccoli in full sun or partial shade, it depends on which variety you’re growing.
What Happens if Broccoli Doesn’t Get Enough Sun?
The leaves of the plant will begin to turn yellow, and the stems will become thin and spindly, or “leggy,” as they grow in an effort to reach what light there is.
The plant will also produce smaller heads of broccoli, and the overall yield will be lower. In extreme cases, broccoli plants that don’t get enough sun will die.
So if you’re hoping to grow healthy broccoli plants, make sure they have plenty of access to sunlight. Otherwise, you might end up with a disappointing crop.
Can Broccoli Grow in Indirect Sun?
Yes, it can. In fact, broccoli actually prefers indirect sun to direct sun, particularly when it is hot.
This is because the harsh rays of the sun can damage the delicate leaves of the plant and toast the crowns.
If you live in an area with very hot summers, it is best to grow your broccoli in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
This will protect the plant from the heat of the day and help it to produce sweeter, more flavorful heads of broccoli.
Also, keep in mind that it is possible to grow broccoli indoors. If you don’t have a lot of space outdoors, or if you live in an apartment with no outdoor area, you can grow broccoli in a pot on your balcony or windowsill. Just make sure the pot receives plenty of sunlight – at least six hours per day.
With proper care, your indoor broccoli plant will produce fresh, nutritious heads of broccoli that you can enjoy all year round. If getting natural light inside is a problem, direct or indirect, you can also use grow lights.
Just remember, different varieties of broccoli have different sunlight requirements, so be sure to choose a variety that will do well in the conditions you can provide where they are.
Transitioning Broccoli from Indoors to Sunlight
If you have been growing your broccoli plant indoors with the notion that you’ll transfer it, you will need to gradually acclimatize it to the outdoors.
This process, known as “hardening off,” is needed because the plant needs moderated exposure to the change in temperature and light conditions it will be living in, or else it could become stressed or even die.
Start by placing the plant in a sheltered spot outdoors that receives indirect sun for a few hours each day.
Then, over the course of a week or two, increase the amount of time it spends outside and the amount of direct sun it receives.
Once the plant has adjusted to its new environment, you can transfer it to its permanent spot in the garden.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.
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