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61 Vegetables and Herbs That Grow in Shade

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61 Vegetables and Herbs That Grow in Shade

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

All plants need light to grow [1]; however, some crops like leafy greens and root vegetables can thrive in partially shaded areas.

Below is a list of vegetables that grow in shade.

Shade Tolerant Vegetables

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

Any of these veggies will survive and grow in shaded areas. That’s because they don’t need a lot of light to receive to thrive as long as their other needs are satisfied.

Your best bet to growing partial shade vegetables is to specifically choose those adapted to such conditions.

Shade Tolerant Herbs

  • 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

Plant these in pots or low light areas in your yard. However, it’s important to know that partial sun vegetables are likely going to take more time to mature and thus, will take longer to harvest.

It’s advisable to start with a handful of seedlings to see how they grow before diving headlong into the project.

Similarly, you’ll also want to take into account that the yield of your herb garden might be less than it would be with a traditional outdoor garden.

However, there are things you can do to allow more light to reach your garden. These include painting nearby walls or fences white to reflect more light on your garden.

Leafy Greens

  • Arugula
  • Pak Choy / Bok choy
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kang kong
  • Mustard greens
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Mesclun
  • Mizuna
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress

These are leafy greens that grow well in part sun.

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.

Also, it’s best to stick to vegetables you’d grow for their leaves or roots. Root veggies mostly rely on nutrients found in the soil and therefore don’t need full sun exposure.

On the other hand, 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 every day.

Advantages of Growing in Little Shade

  • You can move around your garden if it was planted in containers.
  • With less direct sun exposure, there will be fewer weeds to deal with.
  • Moisture stays longer.
  • And of course, your precious harvest will be spared the scorching heat of the summer sun you’d otherwise worry might wilt them.

There are different kinds of shade gardens to set up, depending on the desired crop. Below are the factors any 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. Lightly Shaded

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 [2].

3. Partially Shaded

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 and microclimates are 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 plants do well with a little sun during the morning hours and evenings, but not at midday.

Takeaway

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

Shade tolerant crops 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 more coverage for smaller plants.

If you’re dedicated to the idea of a shady garden at home where direct sunlight is difficult to attain, then your dream isn’t far-fetched.

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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