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Edible Plants that Grow in Shade

Have a shady space in your garden? Or you have a shady balcony? Utilize it by growing vegetables and herbs there. Learn about the Edible Plants that Grow in Shade.

What is a shady position?

Here in this article, by shady we do not mean the position where the sun/ doesn’t reach or a place with no access to direct sunlight. It means there is scattered sunlight or direct sun but only for 3 hours or less.

Can you grow tomatoes in shade?

Would you like to experiment? In theory, plants such as tomatoes, peppers, strawberries or those that set fruits need a lot of sun in order to provide juicy fruits. They grow sometimes in less sunny positions but it’s hard for them to bear fruits in shade.

Also Read: How to Make an Urban Vegetable Garden

Edible Plants that Grow in Shade

There are a few edible plants that grow in shade. Of which we have listed some. You can grow them in your shady space without much difficulty.

1. Mint

Mint is probably a best choice for shaded position. If you think to plant it in your shady backyard, just grow it in a confined space. Otherwise it will spread like a weed.

2. Ginger

Most of the root vegetables tolerate lack of sun. Ginger grows well in partial sun. All it needs a warm spot and moisture. You can also use ginger leaves in salads and teas.

3. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a nutritious green leafy vegetable grown in South Asia, it is easy to grow. You can use it in salads, soups and, many other recipes.

Also Read: How to grow Fenugreek

4. Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach is a climbing spinach grows in tropics. It grows in part shade and moist soil, you can grow this green leafy vegetable in shade year round if your climate is frost free, otherwise grow it as annual.

5. Pak choi

Pak choi or bak choi is also called Chinese cabbage, a diverse plant you can grow from spring to fall. It likes cool weather, you can grow it in shade easily.

6. Chameleon Plant

Where nothing grows chameleon plant thrives. This beautiful ornamental plant is edible and used in Vietnamese cuisines. It grows in wet and shady spots. It is very invasive plant and once grown on ground, it spreads aggressively so it’s better to plant it only in containers.

Edible plants that grow in shade are mostly green leafy vegetables, herbs and root vegetables, such as:

  • Salad Greens
  • Mesclun
  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Beetroot
  • Lovage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Rocket
  • Asian greens

Some herbs that can be grown in shade are:

  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Cuckoo Flower
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Chives
  • Celery
  • Parsley

Tips for Growing Edible Plants in Shade

In the end some tips on how to cultivate plants in the shade.

White walls

If possible white wash your walls and use other light colors around the plants. As a result, the light will reflect back better and your plants will get more indirect light.

Reflective Mulching

Do reflective mulching for the plants grown in part shade. It will reflect the light and heat on plants.


In the shade you need to be careful as moisture quickly develops all kinds of diseases. Provide good ventilation and drainage to plants and do not place them too close together.


Patience is must when you are growing plants in shade. Generally plants grow weaker in shade except those who love shade naturally. It is normal that they will grow little more slowly.

Darker and Bigger Leaves

Plants in shady areas tend to have darker and bigger leaves than those that grow in the sun and there is nothing to worry about this.

Also Read: How to Grow Green Onions in Water


  1. Overall growing edible plants in the shade will require more patience as growth rates will be slower and will often result in smaller plants. This can be a great thing though for plants that you don t use very often or in small amounts. Less waste and they will also require a lot less water.


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