Vegetables That Grow Well In The Shade

by Susan Patterson

Most vegetables are high-light plants because they have to produce food.

Sunlight is what helps them in food production process or photosynthesis. Unless they get sufficient time in the sun, they cannot make enough food for themselves and for us. However, there are a number of shade tolerant vegetables. 

Leafy vegetables and herbs are at the top of the list because their food production as well as storage happens right there on the leaves.  Here are some:

Bok choy

Commonly called Chinese cabbage, this vegetable does not grow any cabbage heads, but have an open-leaved structure consisting of large, green leaves borne on long, spoon-shaped leaf stalks.



Chives do equally well in the sun and in partial shade, although you will see fewer flowers in the clumps growing in shade.

That’s not a bad thing altogether since too many flowers and the seed heads that follow can result in chives popping up all over the garden.  It is better to start chives from divisions, rather than seeds, when you grow it in the shade.

Minimum sun – 3 hours


Lettuce loves it when it is really cool. Slightly shady conditions are better for keeping the delicate lettuce leaves crisp and sweet.

If you have open leaved varieties, harvest the lower leaves to extend the harvest.

Plant the head-forming varieties every two weeks for a continuous supply.

Sufficient water and cooler temperatures in the shade would prevent the plants from bolting in the summer heat.

Minimum sun- 3-4 hours

7. Spinach

Spinach is quite happy growing in the shade most of the day, especially in the afternoon.

This green is usually grown in two separate seasons, spring and fall, because it doesn’t do well in summer heat. But in partial shade, and with sufficient water to keep it from wilting, a small patch of spinach can provide plenty of greens all through the growing season.

Just pick the leaves as they enlarge; this promotes the growth of more new leaves from the center of the tuft and prevents the plant from bolting.

Minimum sun – 3-4 hours

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Author: Dennis Hickey

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