What Vegetables Can I Grow With Only 5 Hours of Sun?

Growing vegetables in limited sunlight is tricky. Vegetable plants grow best in places that get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for five months of the year. However, even if your gardening space has limited access to sunlight, there are a few vegetables you can grow. The trick is to choose the appropriate vegetables.


Lettuce plants actually like some shade. They can take a limited amount of direct sunlight per day, but will bolt or burn if left in the sun too long. Lettuce requires warmth, but it is a quick-growing plant so it does not require a long season, and does very well as long as it gets some sun every day.

Cabbage and Other Leafy Greens

Like lettuce, its cousins, endive, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard, parsley, spinach and cabbage do well in five hours of sun per day, or even less. They require warmth but short seasons, and can handle partial shade, or limited exposure to sunlight. In fact, some of these wonderful plants require as little as two hours of direct sunlight per day.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale are excellent vegetables to grow in shaded areas. They burn easily in direct sun, and do not mind the cooler areas of the garden. Some cruciferous veggies grow better than others in shade, but with care, all can be grown in areas with less than five hours of sunlight per day.

Root Crops

Onions, radishes, carrots, and other root crops do well in shaded areas as long as there is warm soil. Since all of their primary growth occurs underground, they do well without a lot of sun. However, some of these plants may fail to produce seed in less-than-normal sunlight, so if you need to have some plants go to seed, it means they require more sun.

Fruit-Bearing Plants

If you crave tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or other fruit-bearing plants, but do not have much sun, a container may be the answer for you. The ability to move plants to the best locations during the day, or even hang lights when needed, makes it possible to grow even these sun lovers in a shaded area.


Sprouts are popular in salads, and make a tasty garnish to many dishes. They grow easily in a kitchen with no sunlight necessary at all.

Keywords: low-light vegetables, low-light vegetable gardening, shade vegetables

About this Author

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing medical, health, and home-related articles as well as articles on the types of animals she has raised for years on eHow.