Shady Garden? Here are 12 Herbs That Grow In The Shade

Are you looking to grow herbs in your kitchen garden? 

12 Herbs That Grow In The Shade

Most vegetables and herbs need plenty of sun in order to grow and thrive. Five hours of sunshine is usually thought of as the bare minimum. However, there still are a few delicious herbs that you can grow in the shade. 

Do keep in mind that herbs tend to sprawl if grown in deep shade. But these herbs will thrive if your garden receives a bit of sun during the day. 

In this blog post, we will share with you a list of twelve herbs that can grow in the shade without any problems. 

Herbs That Grow In The Shade

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So, without further ado, let’s jump right in! 

Here’s the Thing About Shade vs. the Sun! 

Most of the herbs that we’ll go over in this blog post do well in limited lighting. However, you need to keep in mind that the plant may grow leggy to get into the light and even sprawl a little. 

That being said, the plants will provide you with a long-lasting supply of delicious herbs. 

Generally speaking, these herbs would do much better if they were grown in the sunlight. They would look perkier and more lively. They may taste a bit different. But, the difference isn’t as noticeable as you might think. 

As a rule of thumb, edible plants need at least two hours of sunlight per day in order to thrive. But, you can still give growing them a try even if your garden receives less sunlight. 

Most of these plants can be quite resilient. 

Deeply Shaded vs. Lightly Shaded Areas 

Deeply shaded areas are those that don’t get any direct sunlight. These areas might get a little bit of reflected sunlight for about an hour or so. Such heavily shaded areas aren’t the best for growing any kinds of plants, vegetables, herbs, or flowers

On the other hand, lightly shaded areas are those that one or two hours of sunlight a day, along with indirect or reflected light most of the day. Your garden is lightly shaded if it sits under the shade of a tree or a building. Such gardens are excellent for root and leafy plants. 

There are also partially shaded gardens that get direct sunlight for two to six hours a day. These gardens are sunny during a certain time of the day, such as mornings or evenings, and are excellent for growing most crops. 

If your garden north of five hours of sunlight, you can also grow fruiting trees.

Your Guide to Growing Herbs in the Shade

In this section of the article, we will go over some quick tips that’ll be helpful if you’re considering growing herbs in your garden. 

Take a look. 

  1. Maximize Sunlight Exposure 

You can maximize the sunlight exposure of the plants by growing them in a pot and moving them to a sunny area every now and then if possible. 

  1. Harvest Regularly 

As mentioned earlier, if you grow herbs in shady areas of the garden, they’ll grow taller in order to reach the sun. You’ll need to harvest often in an attempt to have a bushy growth to minimize the legginess. 

  1. Be Wary of Pests 

Pests don’t really care for the herbs when they’re in the sunlight. However, they do get attracted to them in shaded gardens. So, you need to pay close attention to the pests to keep your plants safe. 

  1. Don’t over-fertilize the soil!

Over-fertilization will only cause your herbs to grow taller and increase the legginess. 

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Here are Some Advantages of Growing Herbs in the Shade! 

While there are some compromises you need to make in terms of the quantity of the harvest, there still are many advantages of growing herbs in the shade. 

Let’s take a look. 

  • Your herbs are safe from the harsh afternoon sun during the summers. 
  • The leafy herbs grown in the shade won’t have the characteristic bitter taste and will be succulent. 
  • You only need to water the herbs every once in a while. 
  • Easy to grow and don’t need a lot of maintenance. 
  • You don’t need to worry about weeding since weeds don’t grow in shaded areas. 

Tips for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in the Shade

Here are some quick and easy tips for growing herbs in a lightly shaded garden: 

  • Go for herbs and vegetables that can grow in the shade. Don’t pick up herbs that demand full sunlight; you’re likely to be unsuccessful. 
  • Start the process of germination and seedling growth inside to speed up the entire process. This way, the plant gets to grow in an optimal environment before getting shifted to the garden. 
  • Grow the herbs in a container or a pot so that you can transport them to a sunny spot from time to time. 
  • Paint the adjacent walls white to allow sunlight to reflect into your garden. Light paving also helps reflect more sunlight onto the garden. 
  • Remember that the herbs will take a long time to mature, and the size of the plant, along with the yield, will be little at first. 
  • If there are any trees around, thinning the high branches and pruning the lowers ones will prove to be helpful in bringing in more sunlight to the garden. 

Were these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments section. You could also add some tips of your own to share with us! 

Moving on. 

Let’s Take a Look at the 12 Herbs That Grow In The Shade

Now that you know everything you need to about growing herbs let’s take a quick look at some of the herbs that can grow and thrive in the shade. 

Let’s begin. 

Thyme

care for thyme plant

Thyme is a perennial evergreen herb that has various medical, ornamental, and culinary uses. It comes in various bloom colors and sizes. The fragrant herb is quite hardy and can thrive in lightly shaded areas. 

Do keep in mind that it won’t grow prolifically in the shade but will bloom gracefully–more so if it gets a bit of sun during the day. 

Here’s a tip for growing Thyme. 

Make sure that the soil you use doesn’t retain a lot of water as the plant does well when grown in well-drained soil. 

Thyme adds flavor to stews, soups, and meat dishes. It also has several medicinal uses, which is great. 

Cilantro

care for cilantro plant

Cilantro is also known as coriander which is grown in the spring and fall. Let’s clear up a bit of confusion: 

  • Cilantro refers to the leafy part of the plant–the part you eat in your salad or garnish your dishes with. 
  • Coriander, on the other hand, refers to the seeds of the plant created when the herb flowers. 

Cilantro doesn’t do well in hot and humid climates, and the leaves turn bitter during this time. The plant does best in cool and dry conditions, making it an excellent herb to grow in the shade. 

The herb has several medicinal and culinary uses. It’s used in Asian and Mexican cuisines. 

Chervil

care for chervil plant

Chervil or sweet cicely features fern-like feathery leaves and is an easy-to-grow herb that does very well in shaded areas. This salad herb has soft and attractive foliage, and the plant can be 2 to 4 feet tall. 

The best part about sweet cicely is that all parts of the plant are edible. 

  • You can boil the taproot like parsnips and eat it. 
  • The leaves smell and taste like licorice and can be used as natural sweeteners. 
  • The seeds taste amazing when sprinkled on desserts like pies, ice creams, etc. 

Keep in mind that dried chervil loses its taste, so only grow as much of it as you can eat at a time. 

Dill

care for dill plant

This annual herb is a part of the celery family and is used for its leaves and seeds. The herb does best in sunlight but can also tolerate the shade quite gracefully. The plant has distinctive flavorful ferny foliage and a sweet aroma. 

The dill plant doesn’t grow as many flowers as it would in a sunny garden and wouldn’t grow as tall. However, the taste and the flavor of the herb remain unchanged, which is excellent. 

You can use dill to garnish salads, and you can also use the seeds to make dill pickle! 

Meadowsweet  (Filipendula ulmaria)

care for Meadowsweet plant

Also known as the Queen of the meadow, Meadowsweet is a perennial herb native to Western Asia and Europe. The herb has several medicinal uses and is excellent at reducing inflammation and treating heartburn, arthritis, cold, and bladder infection. 

The plant flowers from June to August and features white flowers. It grows well to shade and can be found growing in meadows and woodlands. Meadowsweet tastes similar to Elderflower but has more almond tones to it. 

Its medicinal uses make it an excellent herb to grow at home. 

Chives

care for Chives plant

Chives grow well in the shade and are quite hardy. They may not bloom as much due to the lack of sunlight but still retain their fresh taste. These perennial bulb plants are related to garlic and onions but are mild to taste. 

They’re also known as spring onions in some regions. 

Some people believe that chives are the easiest to grow in dimly lit conditions. All you need to do is to start growing chives indoors and move them out to your garden after eight to twelve weeks. 

Chives attract pollinators like butterflies and honey bees and self-seed themselves. They taste excellent when tossed into salads. 

Sorrel

care for Sorrel plant

Sorrel is a close cousin to members of the Polygonaceae family, such as rhubarb and buckwheat. It is a small edible plant that features tangy leaves. In fact, the word Sorrel is French for sour. 

This perennial herd is cold-hardy and can grow well in partially shaded areas. The plant is rather low-maintenance and can survive on little care, which is excellent if you’re a busy housekeeper. 

Sorrel is excellent in salads and is a good source of fiber–it may even help you lose some weight. 

Tarragon

care for Tarragon plant

If you’re looking to add a variety of herbs to your garden, Tarragon is one you shouldn’t miss. The herb features a licorice-like flavor and tastes excellent when used on poultry or fish. 

The perennial herb belongs to the sunflower family and is native to North America and Eurasia. You’ll need to harvest the herb regularly to avoid any legginess. 

You can use tarragon fresh or dried, which is excellent. 

Mint

care for Mint plant

Mint grows very well in the sun but is also hardy in the shade. In fact, you can easily grow it in containers and place it in the shady areas of your garden. 

The following mint plants will thrive in your kitchen garden: 

  • Spearmint 
  • Apple mint
  • Pineapple mint 
  • Peppermint

You need to make sure to keep the soil moist to keep the plant happy. In return, it’ll grow wonderfully and allow you plentiful harvests. Mint has the ability to spread fast, so it is best to confine it to a container. 

You can use mint to garnish your dishes. It also has medicinal properties, making it an excellent choice for your garden. 

Lemon Balm

care for Lemon Balm plant

As the name suggests, lemon balm is a prized herb with a sweet citrusy scent. The plant can grow and thrive in partial shade, although it does best in full sunlight. It is relatively easy to grow. 

The plant has medicinal uses, and the leaves are aromatic and delicious. The herb is usually grown as an annual and self-sows. 

You can use most parts of the plant, such as its flowers, seeds, and stems, to make a flavorful tea. 

Parsley  

does parsley like sun or shade

Parsley is a stample in many households and the best part about it is that it grows very well in the shade. In fact, it needs shade during summers or else it doesn’t grow very well. This plant can survive most weather conditions, making it very hardy. 

So, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh parsley leaves without much of a fuss. 

You can grow two types of parsley in the shade: 

  • Italian Parsley or Flat-Leaved Parsley 
  • Curled Parsley

Both these variants feature a distinctive taste and an unmissable flavor. 

Keep in mind that the parsley only makes foliage during its first growing season, so don’t get disheartened. 

Angelica

care for Angelica plant

Angelica is also known as wild celery, and the plant prefers a cool environment to grow, which is why it does so well in shaded areas. The plant is a member of the parsley family and is also related to carrots! 

The plant is sensitive to heat and may die if it’s kept in direct heat. Angelica grows very well in slightly acidic soil. 

You can use the dried leaves to make tea or make seasoning. 

Some Bonus Herbs That Grow in The Shade! 

This section of the article covers some bonus herbs that can grow in the shade. 

  • Bay: You may have bought Bay leaves when making an exotic recipe. Bay is a perennial shrub with dark, fragrant leaves. The plant does well without much sunlight and is perfect for growing in a container. However, it doesn’t do well in frosty climates. 
  • Chervil: The salad herb is extremely easy to grow and features attractive foliage. The herb has a delicious flavor and tastes like licorice, and is delicious in salads. 
  • Lemon Verbena: This herb is quite hardy and can grow without needing too much sun. It does well in mild climates and has purple or white flowers. 
  • Rosemary: The herb thrives in the warmth of the sun but is capable of tolerating light shade. The herb doesn’t do well when overwatered, so you need to keep that in mind. 
  • Yarrow: You can grow this herb in partial shade, but it might become leggy. The herb helps reduce inflammation and tastes heavenly with cheese.
  • Goldenrod: The woodland species of Goldenrod can tolerate partial shade. The herb has various medicinal uses and is easy to care for.
  • Lovage: All parts of this tall bushy shrub are edible. Lovage resembles parsley and blooms in late spring. It tastes great in soup, sausages, salads, sauces, and casseroles. 

Do you have any more herbs to add to this list? Share them with us in the comments section and tell us about your experience with them! 

Don’t Forget the Basics! Tips for Your Culinary Herb Garden

In this section of the article, we will go over some tips that’ll help your herb garden flourish–even if it is in the shade! 

Take a look. 

  •  Keep the Drainage in Check 

Most herbs on this list grow well when they are grown in well-drained yet moist soil. Keep in mind that very we soil may do more harm than good to your herbs–especially if you grow them in the shade. 

  • Don’t Go Overboard 

In order to avoid the large volume of foliage along with a low-quality flavor of the herb, you should take the fertilizer use down a notch. Instead, going with manure can be a good idea. 

  • When in Doubt, Read Up! 

You need to do your research and homework to make sure you have a successful herb garden. Keep in mind that each plant is different and requires different soil conditions, watering, etc. 

This means that a lot of planning will go into your herb garden.  

  • Keep Things Manageable 

Don’t go overboard with growing herbs if you’re new to gardening. It is best to start with two to three plants before you take on more. This will allow you to care for the plants without feeling overwhelmed.  

  • Remember About Crowd Control

Some herbs crowd other plants and can be very invasive, such as lemon balm and mint. These herbs will spread aggressively through your garden and need to be controlled. 

Where Should I Plant This? Shade-Wise Herb Guide

In an earlier section, we went over the degrees of shade that exist in a garden. This section will go over the herbs you can grow in various lighting conditions. 

Let’s start. 

Herbs That Grow Well in Partial Shade 

Here are the herbs that thrive in partial shade: 

  1. Catnip
  2. Chamomile
  3. Coriander
  4. Costmary
  5. Dill
  6. Fennel
  7. Lemon Balm
  8. Chives
  9. Mint
  10. Parsley
  11. Rosemary
  12. Angelica
  13. Thyme

Herbs That Do Well in Full Shade

Here are the herbs that thrive in the full shade: 

  1. Cardamom 
  2. Chervil
  3. Ginger
  4. Ginseng
  5. Sweet Woodruff 

Frequently Asked Questions: Growing Herbs in the Shade 

In this section of the article, we will cover some of the frequently asked questions about growing herbs in the shade. 

Take a look. 

Wrapping Up

Did you get any ideas from this blog post? 

Just because your garden doesn’t get much sunlight during the day doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy fresh herbs! There are many herbs and vegetables that thrive in shaded areas–you just need to find the ones that do well in your garden. 

We hope that this list of herbs that grow in the shade helped you figure some things out. 

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