Top 10 Shade Loving Vegetables – The Best Veggies To Grow In Shade

Don’t have much shade in your backyard? Don’t fret as all you need is a list of the top 10 shade loving plants that you can plant in your home garden. These vegetables thrive growing in shade and partial shade. Planting these 10 plants in shade will ensure that you get a delicious and bountiful harvest from your home garden. A lot of gardeners do not get that much sunlight in their garden so our hope is that this blog/video will encourage them to try growing these vegetables as it is easy and very rewarding.

Growing vegetables broadly fall under the following three categories for sunlight requirements.

  • Full Sun – Plants that require 6 hours and more of sunlight for optimal growth.
  • Partial Shade – Plants that require 3-6 hours of sunlight for optimal growth.
  • Shade – Plants that require 3 hours or less of sunlight for optimal growth.

1. Lettuce

In our raised beds which receives full sun, we have inter planted them between our tomato plants which are lush/huge and ensure that our lettuce plants are shaded well. Lettuce that grows in shade produces juicy leaves. The reason that lettuce seedling love shade so much is because they store lot of water, and you want your lettuce leaves to be nice and succulent when you eat them. When growing lettuce in full sun, you will notice that the leaves become brown/shriveled and the texture of the leaves are not that good.

Lettuce growing in shade between tomato plants
Lettuce growing in shade between tomato plants

2.  Radish

If you are planning to grow radish in shade, always pick the early maturing varieties, not the late varieties which need full sun. Some early varieties include Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle & Crimson Radish. When the radish seedlings are sowed in partial shade, they don’t produce as big bulbs as the plants sowed in full sun, but the bulbs usually do not get that big. When growing these varieties of radish in shade or partial shade, you are guaranteed to get a delicious harvest of decent sized bulbs and lush greens.

Early maturing Radish
Early maturing Radish

3.  Curry leaf Plant

I have grown curry leaf plants in full sun, partial shade, and shade and I have noticed that the ones that were growing in shade and partial shade had big and plump leaves while the ones growing in full sun bolted very quickly and didn’t have much growth. I recommend growing curry leaf plants in shade or partial shade depending on how much sun you get and doing so will ensure that you get a great harvest of curry leaves every time.

Curry Leaf Plant growing in shade
Curry Leaf Plant growing in shade
Curry Leaf Plant growing in full sun
Curry Leaf Plant growing in full sun

4.  Basil

Basil plants cannot tolerate full sun, the leaves turn yellow and shrivel. There are many interesting basil varieties like the sweet basil and the Boxwood which are delicious and thrive in shade. I am currently growing many basil plants in my Green Stalk planter, which gets adequate shade every day. So try growing basil plants in shade, and be rest assured that your plants will yield plenty for garnishing and flavoring your food.

Basil plant growing in full sun
Basil plant growing in full sun
Basil plant growing in shade
Basil plant growing in shade
Basil plant growing in shade
Basil plant growing in shade

5.  Cilantro

Cilantro is an herb that absolutely hates full sun. We have planted cilantro plant in the sun, and honestly, I don’t think that it’s doing very well. You can see that the leaves are turning brown and it’s bolting, plants are growing into seed production mode. The cilantro plant that is growing in the shade on the contrary is thriving, the leaves look lush, green and healthy.  It’s very easy to grow cilantro in small containers, aluminum trays which are easy to move around to ensure that your cilantro is getting adequate shade. In a limited amount of space, you can get a wonderful harvest when planting cilantro in shade or partial shade!

Cilantro
Cilantro

6.  Mint

Mint plants thrive in shade. In the plants grown in full sun, the leaves are very dry and yellow. However, the mint plant that is growing in shade under a tree receives less than 3 hours of sunlight is doing well and the leaves are nice, and bright. You can easily grow mint in partial shade and get an excellent harvest from your plants

Mint thriving in shade
Mint thriving in shade
Mint growing in full sun
Mint growing in full sun

7.  Taro roots

Taro root is a tropical plant that hates sunlight. In our garden we have a taro plant growing in our raised beds that gets full sun, and you can see that the leaves are turning brown. The taro plant that is growing in shade, is doing well, the leaves are green and look healthy. You can easily grow taro roots in containers and get a decent harvest. Taro greens are edible and if your plants are healthy it will result in a good harvest of taro tubers for which it’s mainly grown. So, try growing Taro roots/ greens in shade and the harvest will not disappoint you!

Taro roots growing in sun
Taro roots growing in sun

8.  Beets

Both beet greens and bulbs are delicious and flavorful. If you have never tasted a beet green, you should try incorporating it in your dish- it’s delicious and healthy! When growing beet plants in shade you might notice the bulbs are not huge, but the greens look healthy. While the beet plant that is receiving more than 6 hours of sun each day, the beet roots are big, but the quality of the greens are not that nice. So, try growing your beet plants in either shade or partial shade to get a bountiful harvest of both beet greens and roots!

Beets grown in shade
Beets grown in shade

9.  Kale (Curly Kale/ Dinosaur Kale)

I have a kale plant that is growing in an area that receives 2-3 hours of morning sun each day and its thriving. The leaves look healthy and foliage is lush. Kale plants even the non-curly kale variety like the Dinosaur kale prefer shade/ and or partial shade over full sun. Try growing Kale in shade and enjoy a bountiful harvest every time you go in the garden!

Kale growing in full sun
Kale growing in full sun
Kale growing in partial shade
Kale growing in partial shade

10. Tomatoes/ Really?

Well, you are in luck. Cherry tomatoes thrive in shade and partial shade. The reason is that the cherry tomatoes are small, and the plant does not have to spend that much energy on fruit production unlike some of the other varieties like beef steak that produce huge tomatoes which require full sun. So, plant your cherry tomato in shade/partial shade and you will be amazed to see how much you can harvest out of one plant during one growing season. 

Cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

Watch our episode Top 10 Shade Loving Vegetables – The Best Veggies To Grow In Shade on California Gardening.

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