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Plants That Grow in Shade -- vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers

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105 Plants That Grow in Shade

If you’re thinking of growing a garden but don’t have a sunny spot, there are many shade-loving plants you can try.

All plants need light to grow [1]; however, some vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants can thrive in partially shaded areas.

Below are some of the best shade-tolerant plants to grow.

Shade Tolerant Vegetables

Below is a list of vegetables that grow in shade. Any of these veggies can survive in shaded areas.

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Green Onions (part shade)
  • Scallion
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Rutabagas (Swede)
  • Kohlrabi

However, try to avoid fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant [2]. These thrive best in gardens that receive eight or more hours of sunlight per day.

Leafy Greens

These are leafy greens that grow well in partial sun or partial shade.

The best thing you can do for these shade loving vegetables is to keep them in pots. That way, you can move and shift around to acquire whatever sunlight they can get.

  • Arugula
  • Pak Choy
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kang Kong
  • Mustard Greens
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Mesclun
  • Mizuna
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress

Shade Loving Herbs

Below is a list of herbs that like shade. Plant these shade tolerant herbs in low light areas in your yard. 

  • Angelica
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Dill
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Costmary
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Garden Cress
  • Germander
  • Horseradish
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lovage
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet Flag
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Valerian
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Golden Oregano
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Thyme
  • Anise
  • Meadowsweet
  • Spicebush

Fruit Trees That Grow in Shade

Below are some fruits to consider growing in areas that receive little sunlight.

Pears will produce in partial shade but they still need a little sun.

Plums will also grow in shaded areas but they too need some sun.

Pawpaw trees do not require much sunlight to bear fruits.

Hardy kiwi may need plant support but they do well in partial shade.

Muscadine grapes will produce more fruit with more sun. However, they’ll still do well in a partially shaded area.

Shade-Loving Berries

Below is a list of fruiting berry plants that you can grow in shaded areas.

  • Lowbush Blueberries
  • Alpine Strawberries
  • Currants
  • Raspberries
  • Elderberries
  • Gooseberry Brambles
  • Juneberry
  • Mulberries
  • Lingonberry

Best Flowers for Shade

There are many flowers that grow in shade. Below is a list of shade-tolerant flowers — both annual and perennial plants for your garden.

  • Hydrangea
  • Bee balm
  • Violets
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Bleeding-Heart
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Forget-me-not
  • Lamb’s Ears
  • Lungwort
  • Primroses
  • Foxglove
  • Astilbe
  • Siberian Iris
  • Columbine
  • Monkshood
  • Bellflowers
  • Black Cohosh
  • Calendula
  • Alyssum
  • Begonia
  • Pansy
  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia
  • Monkey-flower
  • Snapdragon
  • Larkspur
  • Wishbone Flower
  • Cleome
  • Nicotiana

Advantages of Growing in Shade

One benefit is that you can move around your garden if it was planted in containers. Additionally, with less direct sun exposure, there may be fewer weeds to deal with. Moisture also stays longer.

However, there are different kinds of shade gardens to set up, depending on the plant. Below are lighting requirements a gardener must carefully consider before deciding what to grow.

Sunlight Conditions

These are the basic sunlight conditions that your garden can grow in:

1. Full Sun

This garden receives a lot of sunlight — 6 to 8 hours of direct sun per day. Plants that fall in this category grow best with 8 hours or more of sun every day.

Corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, and fruiting crops grow best in full sun gardens.

2. Light Shade

This kind of garden is screened from direct sunlight though it is open to the sky. Obstacles such as trees or a wall can screen it from getting direct sunlight.

Therefore, you’ll want to focus on vegetables that don’t need full sun for the best effect. Examples include leafy greens, potatoes, herbs, beans, etc.

According to K-State Research and Extension, light shade gardens receive 3 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the summer [3].

3. Part Shade / Part Sun

This type will receive 3 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, experiencing more sunlight in either the early or later parts of the day, but never both.

This is a trickier garden to maintain. However, you stand a very real possibility of growing some varieties of crops that tolerate partial light. Part shade vegetables include beets, carrots, arugula, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and celery.

Ultimately, your climate is going to be the final deciding factor for your choice in gardens and the kinds of crops you can grow in partial shade.

4. Full Shade

This type of garden receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight daily. Most full-shade vegetables and herbs do well with a little sunlight during the morning hours and evenings, but not so much at midday.

Takeaway

For herbs and vegetables that grow in shade, always consider the amount of sunlight and how well-protected your plants are going to be.

Shade tolerant crops may also require less water. Moisture is more easily retained without the sun to drain it away constantly, especially if mulch is involved. You can even use larger plants to provide shade for smaller plants.

If you’re dedicated to the idea of a shady garden at home where direct sunlight is difficult to attain, these are some plants to consider.

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

2 comments

  • Thank you, Sasha. This explains why some things were thriving in our partial shade garden bed (like beets). The others (like bush beans) I have already planted in pots on our sunnier deck. This year I’m trying potatoes and carrots in both places, so we’ll see how it goes. The potato plants in the shady garden are already 3x the size of those in the sunny deck pots.
    As for growing veggies and herbs here in Alberta, Canada, I’m trying to make the very most of our little suburban backyard which includes some big trees. Your article is helpful, and I will keep trying!
    Thanks again.

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