Vegetables & Herbs That Grow in the Shade

Finding appropriate herbs and vegetables to grow in shaded areas of your garden can be a difficult task. All vegetables and herbs require some daily exposure to sunlight to ensure proper growth. Crop yield in many vegetables often decreases due to low-lighting. There are a number of vegetables and herbs that will thrive in the shady to partially-shaded spots in your garden.


All varieties of lettuce will flourish in the cool, shady spots in your garden. Although partial shade is best for lettuce, plants require a few hours of sun each day. Leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce and Romaine will all thrive in low-lit areas. Plant lettuce in nitrogen-rich soil, water regularly and replant every two weeks to ensure a continuous crop that will remain productive well into the fall months.


Considered a cool-weather vegetable, broccoli should be planted in fertile, well-drained, moist soil. Broccoli will thrive in partially-shaded areas of your garden, but the plants must have a few hours of indirect sunlight each day. Long, hot days and full sun exposure cause broccoli to go to seed. Water plants regularly, but watch for excessive water logging. Try growing a few different kinds of broccoli in your garden. Broccolini is a delicate, mild-flavored broccoli that is often cooked in the same way as regular broccoli.


A member of the cabbage family, the radish will grow in partially-shaded to sunny areas in your vegetable garden. Radishes thrive in the cool temperatures of spring and autumn, and will even tolerate a light winter frost. Plant your radishes in rich, well-drained soil and water them regularly. The radish is a quick-growing plant that is often harvested three to four weeks after you've planted it. Planting your radish near another shade lover, leaf lettuce, tends to make the radish more tender.

Lemon Balm

The herb lemon balm thrives in shady areas of your garden. In fact, the plant will become larger and more succulent when grown in shade. Plant lemon balm in fertile, moist soil and water regularly. This lemon-scented member of the mint family is often used to make teas. Lemon balm has medicinal purposes as well, and is sometimes used to reduce fever and relieve gas. It also has mild sedative properties. Dried lemon balm leaves are added to many potpourri mixes.


Often grown in containers and window boxes, parsley thrives in lightly-shaded areas, especially when grown in warmer climates. Plant parsley in well-drained, rich organic soil and water deeply at least once a week. Parsley requires at least six hours of sunlight each day to ensure proper growth. Keep parsley close to the kitchen by growing it in small pots on windowsills. Make sure pots have enough holes for proper drainage. Use parsley in salads, as garnishes and to flavor many dishes.

Keywords: shade gardens, shade vegetables, shade herbs

About this Author

Amy Deemer has been writing since 1992. Her articles on family life and pets have appeared in the family section of "The Herald Standard" newspaper. Deemer has an Associate of Arts degree in liberal studies from Westmoreland Community college.