Kale is a popular vegetable in the cabbage group, and it is a cool-season biennial vegetable, meaning it takes two years to reach maturity. Kale is a nutrient-dense food that is low in calories, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As a result, it has become a popular choice for health-conscious eaters. When it comes to growing kale, one of the biggest factors affecting its success is the sun. Kale not only needs a lot of sun to grow to its potential, it needs an optimal balance of sun and shade. Depending on the variety of kale, it should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, with a few hours of afternoon shade. Kale that receives too much sun may become bitter and may not be as nutrient-dense. Kale that receives too little sun will not grow as well, and may be susceptible to pests and disease. When grown properly, kale can provide a variety of health benefits throughout the year.
How Much Sun Does Kale Need?
Kale is a cool season crop that prefers full sun throughout the day, however it can be grown with some shade if needed. The optimal amount of sunlight for kale plants is 6 to 8 hours a day. Some kale varieties can tolerate more shade than others and can form with only 4 hours of sunlight. Here are the requirements when growing kale:
- Optimal Sunlight: 6 to 8 hours a day
- Minimal Sunlight: 4 hours a day
- Temperature: Mid to high 60s degrees *F (15 to 20 degrees *C)
- Soil: Rich and loamy
- Water: 1-2 inches a week, depending on the soil conditions
When growing kale indoors, it is important to provide bright, indirect light on the plants. This can be achieved through window light, fluorescent or LED lighting, or a combination of the two. Kale needs full sun or at least 8 hours of indirect natural or artificial light to thrive.