There is a misconception associated with the gardening of fruits and vegetables that if you don’t have a garden that receives sunlight throughout the day, then you can’t grow fruits and vegetables.
However, this is just not true. You can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in the shade when you receive a limited hour of sunlight or no sunlight at all. Shaded areas don’t obstruct the growth of every plant. In fact, some amount of shade is essential for every plant to grow.
Let us now look at the various levels of sun exposure and shade that would help you in selecting the suitable fruits and vegetables that grow in the shade .
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What Are The Different Levels Of Sun Exposure?
You can determine if your garden is more of a shaded area or sunny area by comparing the amount of sunlight it receives in a single day.
- Sunny Area: If your garden receives sunlight for six hours or more during the time between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM every day, then you have a sunny garden.
- Partially Sunny / Shaded Area: If your garden receives sunlight for three to six hours every day then there are chances that you might have partially shaded places in your garden. These places receive sunlight after it has been filtered through the trees.
- Shaded Area: If your garden doesn’t receive direct or filtered sunlight throughout the day, then it’s unfit for growing any plant.
The best place to grow a plant in your garden would be the sunny area. However, you can also grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in your garden that receives partial shade.
Read further to know the various types of edible fruits, berries, and vegetables that you can grow easily in shade along with some tips on how you can take care of them.
Fruits, Herbs, And Berries That You Can Grow In Partial Shade
Since all plants require some amount of sunlight to grow, except Mushrooms, the following are some fruits, herbs, and berries that can thrive in partial shade and sunlight.
You can grow several varieties of pear such as Beth in your garden areas that don’t receive direct sunlight. You should plant it in the light shade areas of your garden like the western-facing side. Growing it there would ensure that it receives limited hours of direct sunlight in the afternoon.
You can grow a pear tree by directly sowing the seed outside. However, that would take much longer to grow as compared to planting a young, amateur pear tree in your garden. therefore, it’s suggested that you should get a plant from a nursery and plant it in your garden.
In addition to it, the tree requires constant trimming to ensure its outwards growth. Moreover, if you feel like your garden soil isn’t fertile enough, you can add fertilization once a year.
Plums produce the best quality of fruits when planted in a moist area that is not too wet or swampy. You should plant them bare-root in water in an area where they receive partial sunlight in the morning.
The combination of light sun and shade allows it to grow during the harsh summers and at the same time, helps it to maintain its jam flavor. However, growing them would require the pH level of the soil to fall within the range of 5.5 to 6.5.
In addition to it, you would need to regularly trim or prune your plum tree and water it regularly so that the area surrounding it remains moist.
There is quite some work involved in growing a plum tree, but it’s totally worth it as doing all of the things mentioned above would result in tasty fruits along with a beautiful garden.
The various types of kiwis like Hardy Kiwi can be easily planted in partially shaded areas with limited hours of direct sunlight. However, while growing kiwi in your garden, you would need to plant an additional trellis by its side that would support it throughout its growth.
Since Kiwi vines can quickly grow as long as 20 ft. in height, you would need to allow them a lot of space in your garden. Moreover, you would need to cover them with loamy soil with an acidic pH level between 5 to 7.
Kiwis require a lot of care and maintenance in the form of constant trimming along with the constant fear of early and late blight. However, their beautiful, soothing aroma along with a fruit enriched with Vitamin C makes it worth all the hard work involved.
Persimmon is an edible, perennial fruit, meaning that it has a long life as compared to other plants that die within one year. It has a sweet taste along with a caramel aftertaste because it’s grown in the slight rays of the sun during the cold weather that prevents it from extreme frost.
Persimmons are best planted under the shadow of a tree so that they receive scattered rays of the sun for more than six hours. This ensures that the cold weather sweetens the fruit and allows it to leave an aftertaste without freezing it.
Therefore, you should plant the persimmon saplings during the spring season. Once the tree grows and the fruit has ripened, it falls on the ground on its own.
Moreover, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance apart from the protection of frost as it would result in the fruit developing a bad aftertaste.
5. Cilantro Or Coriander
Cilantro is an annual herb, meaning that it has a lifetime of one year only. It’s one of the herbs that grow best in shade. The shade helps in elevating its flavor as it’s mostly used in food made during the summer season.
Despite the fact that cilantro is prominently used in the summers, it requires cold weather to grow. Therefore, you should start growing cilantro in the mid-winter season as it can resist frost and extreme winters, making it a suitable herb to grow in the shade.
In addition to it, you can eat every part of cilantro at every stage of its growth. From its leaves, flowers, and stems, to its amateur green and mature brown seed pods, everything is edible.
In fact, the mature brown seed pods of cilantro are also known as coriander.
Dill is another herb that can be planted by anyone easily in light shade. Similar to Cilantro, Dill is also an annual herb that is shade tolerant and requires afternoon shade along with certain hours of sunlight.
You can grow Dill in the middle of the spring season or during the late summer or fall season. It reaches a maximum height of 2 to 3 ft. meaning that it won’t consume a lot of space in your garden.
Most importantly, the best part of growing Dill is the fact that you can harvest it anytime as per your requirement.
You can easily grow the delicious currants that you come across in your ice cream in the light shade areas of your garden. You should plant the perennial berry plants in the spring season and harvest them once they mature in the summer season.
Since currants have a long lifetime of around 15 years and require an acidic soil with a pH level ranging between 5.5 and 7 to grow properly. In addition to it, they need to be trimmed on a regular basis and it’s pretty difficult to plant them in clay or sandy soil.
Moreover, you would need to water them regularly and create organic mulch around them in order to keep the soil cool and moist throughout. Not doing so would result in the bushes getting infected by various diseases.
There are various types of currants available like red, white, pink, and black being the most famous ones. The tangy yet sweet taste of the berry is similar to that of gooseberries but at the same time, contrastingly different.
Strawberries are the most popular type of berries amongst people. They are not exactly perennial in nature but annual berries. They have a lifetime of around one year but successfully produce new fruits from their remains.
Strawberries are plants that love growing in shade and therefore, you should sow their seed under a tree so that they can get shade along with some light from the sun. They are best grown when they receive the morning sunlight and the afternoon shade.
You can consider planting various types of strawberries such as Yellow Strawberries and Red Fragaria Virginiana Strawberries in your garden. However, the red strawberry tastes better than the yellow ones.
There are various types of raspberries like black raspberries, red raspberries, and yellow raspberries, from which you can choose the one that you want to plant. All of them are perennial but produce more berries when planted directly under the sun.
You can plant them in partially shaded areas as well as that would only result in a lesser number of berries, without impacting its taste. Also, apart from the berries, the leaves produced by it are also edible as you can use them to make tea.
You should start growing raspberries during the early spring. However, you would receive only after the first year because only branches that are two years or older reproduce fruits. Moreover, any branch that is older than three years should be trimmed immediately.
The list of berries that can be grown in shade is incomplete without including blueberries in it. Just like all the other berries, it’s also perennial in nature. You should place the amateur plants away from the sunlight during the spring or fall season.
The majority of the native and wild blueberries are grown only in partially shaded areas. Unlike other fruits and berries, it doesn’t produce more berries when placed directly under the sun.
On the other hand, if you’ve brought domesticated or non-wild blueberries, they can thrive in light shade and light sunlight. however, they require an acidic soil with a pH level of around 5 in order to grow. Therefore, growing blueberries would require a lot of work from your end.
Apart from all the fruits, herbs, and berries mentioned above, Mushrooms are the only fungi that can grow perfectly on their own in the absence of the direct sun. This is because mushrooms produce with the help of spores that require moisture which gets lost in the presence of the sun.
Vegetables That Can Grow In Partial Shade
When talking about vegetables that can be grown in partial shade, we’re essentially be talking about night shade vegetables. The following are some of the vegetables that love growing in shade and you can grow in your garden areas that don’t receive enough or direct sunlight.
Potato is the most common night shade vegetable that is grown and consumed by people all around the world. Despite being a night shade vegetable, it can grow under direct sunlight as well and in fact, grows into a bigger size under the rays of the sun.
Therefore, if you want to grow small, tiny potatoes in your garden, then you should consider planting them in areas that have partial shade or partial sun. You can also plant them in containers and shift them into the soil if you want them to get bigger in size. The best time to grow potatoes is during the early spring season and fall when the temperature of the soil is around 45⁰F.
The harvesting time of the potatoes would differ as per your choice. For example, if you want baby potatoes, then you can harvest them around 70 days as soon as the leaves start to grow. However, if you want mature potatoes, you would need to wait 50 days more and harvest them after the leaves are about to wilt.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts can be planted under direct sunlight as well as in a shady garden. However, it’s suggested to plant them in partial shade so that they can endure the extremely warm summer season. Therefore, they are planted in the spring season and harvested during the fall.
You can plant Jade Cross, Red Bull, and Long Island Improved variety of sprouts indoors where there is no shade. After a couple of days, you can shift them to outside when there is direct sunlight and light frost. The frost sweetens Brussels and enhances its flavor making it edible.
However, during the 100 days span of the plantation, if there is severe frost, you should bring them indoors. Once they’ve grown one or two inches in size, you can harvest them by starting from the bottom of their stalk or roots.
Once you’ve taken them out from the soil, you would need to remove the cover of leaves present under the sprout by twisting and pulling it apart from the sprout.
There are several varieties of carrots that such as Parisian, Imperator, Danver, and Little Finger that you can grow in your shade garden. They all have different shapes, harvest time, and colors such as red, orange, yellow, and even purple.
Out of all the varieties, baby carrots are the ones that grow well in partial shade. This is because when other carrots are grown in shade, they tend to take much more time to mature. They would taste great but their size would be smaller if you harvest them after their normal time (60 days).
However, that is not the case with baby carrots. You can directly sow their seeds in the ground and harvest them after 30 days. Another option of growing carrots is by growing them in any pot or container that is at least 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide.
Potting them in a container would allow you to grow them indoors and at the same time, it would provide you with the choice of transferring them into the direct sun if you feel like you selected a small container as per the roots.
4. Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens is one of the fastest-growing and shade loving vegetables. They are known for their pungent yet distinctive smell and are best grown in the absence of the sun. This is because the shade garden prevents its leaves from bolting and developing a bitter taste.
There are multiple varieties of mustard greens such as Osaka Purple, Florida Broadleaf, Red Giant, and Ruby Streak that you can consider growing. You can grow it by either planting the seeds indoors or by sowing the seeds directly outside in the sun under direct sunlight.
If you want to enjoy baby mustard greens in the form of spices, you can harvest them in around 30 days. However, if you want to have the matured greens to relish an intense flavor of mustard, you would need to wait for 30 days more for harvesting them.
You can enjoy the leafy greens of mustard by boiling or sauteing it and then incorporating it into your soup.
You can easily grow different varieties of peas in your shady garden even if you receive a few or limited hours of sunlight. You can directly plant their seeds outside in your garden having partial shade towards the end of the frost, during the start of the spring season.
The average harvest time of the peas is between 30 to 65 days as it differs as per their type. Therefore, you should keep planting them frequently in your garden to ensure that they grow well.
You can harvest Sugar Snap Peas and Oregon Sugar Pod before 30 days so that you can enjoy their edible, crunchy pod along with the tiny peas. Moreover, you should harvest Garden Sweet Shelling Peas or English Peas once they have matured because their pods are not edible.
6. Bush Beans
Bush Beans are very similar to peas when it comes to their growth and requirements. Both vegetables love growing in a shady garden and require just a few hours of sun every day. However, they can’t thrive in warm or high temperatures for a long time, or else they would witter.
Therefore, you should grow them in your garden in a space that receives less sun and has cooler temperatures as it would increase their overall quality and lifetime.
Moreover, when compared to other vegetables like pole beans, bush beans grow well and turn out to be a better option. The latter grows quickly and can tolerate the sun for a while in the afternoon.
Cabbage being a part of the leafy greens or vegetables grows well in shade. It’s grown best in partially shaded areas, especially during the summer season as the shade prevents its leaves from the strong rays of the sun. The morning sun can easily damage its leaves and flavor by inviting unwanted pests.
There are various varieties of cabbage available for you to choose from such as Early Jersey Wakefield, Fast Ball, and the most popular and common one, Danish Roundhead. You can plant cabbage seeds indoors in a pot and shift them outside when the rays of the sun are less.
Their harvest time depends on their variety and growing season. However, you can get to know when they’re ready by checking their size and firmness after 90 to 100 days of the plantation.
Once they’ve grown into a big size and its top is firm to touch, you can take it out from the soil by its top or head.
In addition to cabbage, you should try growing various other leafy greens and vegetables like kale and broccoli in your garden. All of these vegetables share a similar growing season and are really easy to grow.
Similar to cabbage and other leafy greens vegetables, Lettuce is also a shade loving vegetable. It can grow well in the dappled shade as it would result in it having cooler roots, making it easier for you to harvest it during the summer season.
You can either plant its seeds indoors in a pot during late summer or outside under the canopy of any tree with the help of seed mats. The seed mats ensure that multiple seeds are not paced together and have adequate space between them to grow.
Once the summer season would end, they would be able to thrive in the cold weather. You can harvest them as baby greens or in their mature phase as well, as per your choice.
The various varieties of lettuce have different maturing times. For example, Romaine Lettuce becomes edible in 70 days, whereas, Butterhead Lettuce has a maturing time of 50 days. Once they have matured, you would need to remove their tops from the soil by cutting them.
Turnip is one of the best vegetables that can be grown in dappled shade. You can eat its greens as well as its roots. However, to ensure that its roots don’t get woody and hard in the harsh summer season, you should plant them in partial shade away from the s.
There are various varieties of turnips such as White Egg, Golden Ball, and Purple Top with White Globe, from which you can choose the one that you want to grow. You can grow them by sowing their seeds outside in a shaded area during the early spring or late summer season.
While you plant them in shade, you should harvest the roots before 90 days when they are small, that is, 3 inches in diameter. Whereas, you harvest the greens around 30 days itself. However, ensure that you don’t harvest it before the frost helps in sweetening and enhancing its flavor.
Rhubarb is famous for its tangy leaves and being a perennial vegetable, it takes a whole year to harvest. You can harvest it from its stalk once it grows to 12 inches in height. If you want the vegetable to last for multiple years, leave at least one-third of the plant unharvested.
It’s available in multiple varieties such as Victoria, Canada Red, and Canada Red. Moreover, it grows best in shaded areas and doesn’t require much care and maintenance. You would just need to plant the crown of its roots in the early spring season and then harvest it after one year.
You can relish the tart and tangy flavor of the rhubarb by dipping and cooking it in sugar and using it to make pies, jellies, or syrups.
Several fruits and vegetables along with greens and herbs require a certain amount of direct morning sun along with partial shade to grow. However, that doesn’t mean that any vegetable can’t grow in complete or partial shade.
Apart from the various fruits and greens mentioned above, there are various plants like bunching onions, ginger, and swiss chard that require less hours of sunlight to grow. They grow best when either kept in cool weather or in north facing position so that they receive partial shade.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.