26 Edible Plants that Grow in Shade

Sheri Dorn is a versatile homesteader and culinary artist with a strong focus on organic and heirloom gardening. Holding a Master's degree in Culinary Arts, she combines her love for cooking and gardening in a unique way. Sheri is an active contributor to online gardening communities and enjoys quality outdoor time with her family and pets.
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Not happy with the scarcity of sunlight? You can make the most of it with these Edible Plants that Grow in Shade for your home!

Looking for edible shade plants? Don’t know what edible plants grow in the shade? This list will offer you a delectable assortment of flavors to cultivate and savor even in lack of sunlight.

Edible Plants that Grow in Shade

1. Lettuce

Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa

Lettuce, a versatile leafy green, offers a range of varieties with tender leaves that can be the base of your salads. If you don’t know what vegetables grow in shade, remember that lettuce can provide a crisp and refreshing bite.

Growing Tip: For crisp lettuce, ensure consistent moisture and pick outer leaves as they grow to encourage fresh growth.

2. Spinach

Botanical Name: Spinacia oleracea

With its dark green, nutrient-packed leaves, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse among edible plants that grow in shade that can be enjoyed fresh in salads or cooked to add a boost of vitamins to your meals.

Growing Tip: Plant spinach in well-draining soil and provide adequate light for vibrant and nutrient-packed leaves.

3. Kale

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. sabellica

Kale stands out among edible shade plants for its robust texture and earthy taste, making it a nutritious addition to smoothies or a tasty sautéed side dish packed with vitamins and minerals.

Growing Tip: Boost kale growth by trimming lower leaves regularly, allowing the plant to focus energy on new, tender leaves.

4. Arugula (Rocket)

Botanical Name: Eruca sativa

Arugula adds a peppery, slightly nutty flavor to your dishes, lending a zesty twist to salads and sandwiches while delivering a dose of unique taste.

Growing Tip: To prolong arugula harvest, pick outer leaves first and maintain regular waterings for optimal growth.

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5. Chard


Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris

Characterized by colorful stems and mild, slightly earthy leaves, chard is a versatile choice among edible plants that grow in shade suitable for various cooking methods, from stir-frying to soups.

Growing Tip: Encourage chard growth by removing damaged leaves and fertilizing occasionally for hearty, colorful harvests.

6. Sorrel

Botanical Name: Rumex acetosa

Sorrel’s tangy, lemony taste brightens up your culinary creations, whether you’re using its leaves in salads, soups, or sauces for a refreshing kick.

Growing Tip: Foster sorrel growth by harvesting leaves regularly, promoting continuous growth and fresh, tangy flavors.

7. Mustard Greens

Botanical Name: Brassica juncea

Mustard greens introduce a peppery heat to your meals, whether sautéed, steamed, or eaten raw in salads, adding both flavor and nutritional value.

Growing Tip: Promote mustard greens’ spiciness by thinning crowded plants and ensuring they receive enough light.

8. Garlic

Botanical Name: Allium sativum

Another among the best edible plants that grow in shade, this pungent bulb enhances a wide range of dishes with its strong aroma and deep flavor, becoming a staple in many cuisines around the world.

Growing Tip: Nurture garlic growth by planting individual cloves in well-drained soil and avoiding excessive watering.

9. Wild Strawberries

Botanical Name: Fragaria vesca

Delicate wild strawberries reward you with tiny, intensely sweet berries that are perfect for snacking or adding a burst of flavor to desserts.

Growing Tip: Ensure abundant wild strawberry growth by providing well-drained soil, and shade, and keeping them well-watered.

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10. Watercress

Botanical Name: Nasturtium officinale

Watercress boasts a distinct, peppery taste that adds a unique element to shade loving edible plants in your salads and sandwiches while providing a nutritious source of vitamins.

Growing Tip: Maintain watercress growth by planting it near a water source and harvesting leaves consistently for tender results.

11. Rhubarb

Botanical Name: Rheum rhabarbarum

Rhubarb’s tart stalks become the star of pies and jams, balancing sweetness with a tangy twist, offering a delightful contrast among edible plants that grow in shade.

Growing Tip: Support rhubarb growth by avoiding overharvesting in the first year and applying compost to enrich the soil.

12. Salad Greens (Mesclun)

Here is another of the top choices on our list of edible garden plants that like shade! Mesclun mixes offer an array of tender, flavorful leaves in one package, creating diverse salads with varying textures and tastes.

Growing Tip: Promote continuous mesclun growth by harvesting outer leaves and sowing new seeds regularly.

13. Malabar Spinach

Botanical Name: Basella alba

Have no idea what vegetables grow in shade? We’ve got you covered! Go with Malabar Spinach. With its thick, succulent leaves, this vegetable thrives in warmer climates and offers a fresh take on leafy greens for stir-fries and salads.

Growing Tip: Encourage Malabar spinach with regular watering and provide a trellis for the vines to climb, and these full shade edible plants will flourish. 

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14. Pak Choi

Botanical Name: Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis

Pak Choi’s crunchy stalks and tender leaves are a staple in Asian cuisine and edible plants that grow in shade, ideal for stir-fries, providing a crisp and nutritious addition to your dishes.

Growing Tip: Ensure strong pak choi growth by spacing plants adequately and providing consistent moisture, as these are edible plants that grow in partial shade.

15. Onion


Botanical Name: Allium cepa

Another of the edible plants that like shade is Onions. Onions, with their savory and versatile flavor, form the base of countless dishes, whether raw in salads or cooked to add depth to soups and stews.

Growing Tip: Stimulate onion growth by planting in well-drained soil, providing light, and watering consistently during dry spells.

16. Beetroot

Botanical Name: Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris

Still looking for edible plants that grow well in shade? We’ve got you covered. Earthy and sweet beetroot, with its vibrant color, can be roasted, boiled, or grated into salads, offering a unique taste and visual appeal to your meals.

Growing Tip: Boost beetroot growth by thinning seedlings, keeping the soil moist, and harvesting when roots reach the desired size.

Herbs that Grow in Shade


17. Chives

Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum

Chives‘ mild onion taste elevates salads, soups, and spreads with their delicate green shoots, making them versatile and attractive edible plants that grow in full shade.

Growing Tip: Stimulate chive growth by planting in well-drained soil, ensuring regular water, and dividing clumps to encourage new shoots.

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18. Dill

Botanical Name: Anethum graveolens

Dill, known for its feathery leaves and distinct flavor among edible shade plants, adds a fresh, herbal note to your dishes, making it a great choice for pickling, seasoning, and garnishing.

Growing Tip: Foster dill growth by planting in well-drained soil and providing support as it grows tall.

19. Ginger

shutterstock/Manfred Ruckszio

Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale

Ginger’s warm and spicy flavor brings depth to both savory and sweet dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in various cuisines and beverages.

Growing Tip: Cultivate ginger by planting rhizomes in warm soil, providing indirect sunlight or shade, and maintaining consistent moisture.

20. Cuckoo Flower


Botanical Name: Cardamine pratensis

Cuckoo Flower, also called Lady’s Smock, presents delicate purple or pink blooms that grace wetlands and gardens, contributing to a charming spring landscape. These edible plants that grow in shade are popular in spring salads.

Growing Tip: Promote cuckoo flower growth by planting in moist soil and providing partial shade for delicate and colorful blooms.

21. Tarragon

Botanical Name: Artemisia dracunculus

Still looking for the best edible plants for shade? Tarragon’s subtle anise-like flavor lends a hint of licorice to your culinary creations, making it a sought-after herb for adding depth to sauces, dressings, and more.

Growing Tip: Encourage tarragon growth by planting in well-draining soil, allowing room for expansion, and trimming flowers to focus on leaves.

22. Celery

Botanical Name: Apium graveolens

Celery, with its crisp stalks and mild taste, offers a refreshing crunch in salads, soups, and snacks, while also being a low-calorie, hydrating option. These are one of the top choices among plants that grow in shade edible.

Growing Tip: Support celery growth by providing rich soil, consistent moisture, and blanching stalks for tender, less bitter results.

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23. Fenugreek

Botanical Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek seeds and leaves introduce a slightly nutty taste to dishes and are often used in curries, spice blends, and herbal remedies as edible shade plants, making them one of the best edible plants that grow in shade.

Growing Tip: Cultivate fenugreek growth by sowing seeds in well-draining soil and providing indirect sun for aromatic leaves.

24. Mint


Botanical Name: Mentha

Looking for edible plants that grow in full shade? Mint’s cool and invigorating flavor makes it a versatile herb for both culinary and beverage applications, from teas to cocktails and savory dishes.

Growing Tip: Promote mint growth by planting in a container to contain its spread, providing ample water, and pinching back to encourage bushiness.

25. Cilantro

Botanical Name: Coriandrum sativum

Cilantro’s vibrant leaves bring a citrusy, fresh taste to your meals, often found in salsas, curries, and various cuisines around the world.

Growing Tip: Foster cilantro growth by planting in cool weather, harvesting leaves frequently, and allowing some plants to bolt for coriander seeds.

26. Parsley

Botanical Name: Petroselinum crispum

Parsley’s mild and slightly peppery flavor enhances dishes as both a garnish and ingredient, adding color and a touch of herbaceousness to the list of edible plants that grow in shade.

Growing Tip: Encourage parsley growth by planting in rich soil, keeping it well-watered, and harvesting outer leaves to promote new growth.

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  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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