What Vegetables Grow in the Shade?

Growing your own vegetables is one of the most rewarding (and tasty) joys of gardening. While most vegetables grow best in full sunlight, there are some that will grow in partial or even full shade. Most of them are leafy vegetables, according to Colorado State University, and not only can they thrive in shady conditions, they can be harvested at any stage of the growing process.


Radishes turn hot when the weather heats up. While some home gardeners like hot radishes, most prefer them when their taste is milder. Growing radishes in the shade will ensure that the flavor is mild. Radishes do not like full, deep shade, however. Dappled shade or morning sunlight followed by afternoon shade is best for these vegetables, according to Texas A&M University.

Salad Greens

Salad greens, which include leaf lettuce, arugula and cress, are so named because they are popular for use in summer salads. Harvest the inner leaves first for the freshest taste, especially in the case of leaf lettuce. These vegetables do not like the hot sun--they will turn bitter if exposed to too much heat--so it is best to grow them in the shade.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are similar to salad greens but are often cooked and added to dinner dishes. They include spinach, kale and collards. Like all shade-loving vegetables, they will grow best with at least some exposure. Between 3 and 6 hours of sun per day is best, according to the website In the Garden.

Green Onions

Exposure to sunlight is necessary for bulb plants to grow large bulbs, but green onions are grown for their stems. Planted in early spring, they can be harvested all summer long and will slowly grow larger as the days grow longer. Green onions grow best in dappled shade.

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About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.