Vegetables That Grow Best in the Shade

Most vegetables require at least six hours of sun per day to survive and flourish. But a handful of varieties actually thrive in partial shade as long as the weather is warm. These include ramps, lettuce and other cool-season vegetables that actually prefer shaded environments. Keep in mind that these plants cannot survive frost or cold temperatures.


Ramps, otherwise known as wild leeks, taste like a mild version of onion or garlic. They grow in wooded shady areas and can be incorporated into a lot of dishes. The leaves and the small bulbs (resembling onions) are edible, and they thrive in moist soil, growing very quickly and spreading throughout the area.

Cool Season Vegetables

Cool season vegetables are usually sown for a spring or fall harvest, but can thrive in summer if in full shade. Many leafy healthy greens fall into this category, such as kale, arugula, spinach and chard. They can be planted under taller crops or trees, or in planter boxes on shaded patios.


Lettuce grows quickly and efficiently and prefers growing low to the ground. With this in mind, it is ideal to tuck away into corners of garden beds or even under shrubbery, corn or tomatoes. Keep in mind that lettuce needs a nitrogen-rich environment, so fertilizer is needed in order to flourish.

Keywords: shaded vegetables, growing vegetables, planting vegetables

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.