With a rise in people wanting to become more sustainable, finding places to grow things can be tricky. That’s why you’re going to be shocked to discover that there are over 20 shade tolerant plants that you can grow in areas of the garden that you normally thought couldn’t be utilized.
These edible shade tolerant plants include things like root vegetables, leafy greens, herbs and mushrooms! They all need just 4 hours of sun a day, or less!
When planting a garden, it is also important to think about companion planting, which is the planting of different crops in proximity to naturally control pests, improve pollination, maximizing use of space and increase crop productivity.
Without further adieu, here is a list of shade tolerant plants that grow well in most of North America!
Almost all lettuce plants prefer less sun, and that includes spinach, too! Plant them in cooler, shadier areas of your garden.
Asian greens like bok choy, tatsoi and komatsuna will grow very well with just a couple hours of sun per day. Plus, they taste incredible and add a beautiful twist on any salad. I highly recommend growing asian greens in your garden this summer!
Too much sun on your broccoli will make it flower at a much faster rate, which can spoil the taste. Partial sun (around 4 and no more than 6 hours per day) will allow the heads to remain tight, and will slower flowering.
Similar to broccoli, too much sun will make this cruciferous veggie taste not the greatest. Limiting sunlight to under 6 hours per day, will ensure tighter heads and better flavour.
This leafy green doesn’t enjoy a lot of sunlight, like most leafy greens. Be sure to plant them in an area that receives less than 4 hours of sunlight per day.
Leeks thrive in cooler, moist environments. Be sure to plant them accordingly.
Radishes, like most root plants, need more root growth and less foliage growth to ensure larger harvest and tastier produce. Too much sun will provide larger foliage and less root, which is counter productive, because the root is the part you eat!
Most people already know this about mushrooms, but they don’t like a lot of sunlight. Mushroom growing is an art in and of itself, and they really prefer dark, cooler, moist areas to grow!
Like most leafy greens, arugula prefers less sunlight. Too much sun will droop and shrivel the leaves, and who wants a limp salad? This is a great plant to plant underneath other, larger plants that require the sun to grow, or planting it in a shady area will suffice as well.
For large bulbs, garlic is suggested to be planted in full sun, but the plant will also mature in partial shade, so if you’re limited in space and want to grow some garlic, stick it in the shady spots!
If you want your cabbage to remain tight and compact, do not plant it in full sun. Too much sun will encourage smaller heads and leaves that are bigger and more open.
All herbs are fond of less sunlight. Parsley will produce leaves that are bigger and more flavourful if you keep it in an area that receives little sunlight.
Cilantro, or coriander, like most herbs, prefer less sunlight. It will help keep the plant smaller, and larger-leafed, which means a bigger harvest and more flavour.
Carrots love the shade – allowing them to grow with under 4 hours of sun per day will encourage more root growth and less foliage growth (which, when planted in full sun, will encourage the opposite).
Grow mustard greens in shadier areas of the garden – they don’t like too much sun!
Who doesn’t love fresh garden potatoes? The more shade you give these guys, the deeper the roots will grow, and the bigger harvest you’ll receive (not to mention, they’ll be tastier, too!).
Just like cabbage, its close cousin, kale doesn’t like a lot of sun – it prefers cold weather and less sunlight!
Beets love partially shaded areas, and can survive the driest of conditions.
Almost all leaf lettuce prefers less sun during the day, so make sure to plant them in an area that follows these rules.
Similar to carrots, radishes and potatoes, turnips need less sun for better root growth and less foliage growth. When less sun is available to them, they grow downward at a faster rate, and provide bigger harvest.