Edible plants for partial shade

Many gardeners do not have enough sun in their gardens to grow vegetables.  However the following edible plants can be grown successfully in partial shade (meaning at least a few hours of sun daily).  Ensure that your soil mix is rich and  well drained, give a regular feed with organic liquid food and you can harvest your bounty within weeks!


Lettuce  (Lactuca sativa)

There is nothing more satisfying then harvesting your own crisp lettuce leaves.  The good news is that lettuce only needs a few hours of sunlight and does best in semi-shady areas that protect the leaves from heat


Garlic, (Allium sativum), Spring & Green Onions (Allium sp.)

Grows well in partially shaded areas. Note that the green onions will be smaller than if grown in full-sun areas. For best results make sure the soil is well aerated.


Rocket  (Eruca sativa)

Needs three to four hours of sun each day


Cress (Lepidium sativum)

Is delicious in fresh salads, on sandwiches or in wraps.  It also loves shade, making it a great crop


Mint (Mentha)

As long as there is enough moisture and the soil is fertile, mint will happily grow in the shadier sections of your garden. Best grown in a pot as the it spreads easily.


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Not to be confused with Hedychium or Alpinia species which are ornamental species and currently listed as invasive alien plants in South Africa). Ginger prefers growing in areas of light shade, soil must be well drained as the rhizomes rot easily.


Radishes  (Raphanus sativus) 

Sown in situ, they prefer a little shade during the warmer months and mature very quickly


Lemon Balm  (Melissa officinalis)

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh lemon balm.  It grows well in partial shade.  It can become quite invasive, quite quickly. Better to keep in a pot to contain roots


Kale (Brassica oleracea)

Superfoods are the ‘in’ thing at the moment.  It is expensive to buy and not readily available. Kale tolerate shade and cooler temperatures


Dill  (Anethum graveolens)

Is there a fresher smell than that of dill? It survives cooler temperatures and is partial-shade tolerant


Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Tolerate shade, though the pungence of the leaves is not as strong as when it grows in full sun.


Swiss chard  (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)

Grows almost anywhere, including shadier areas


Brussel Sprouts (Brassica oleracea)

Thrive in cooler temperatures: too much heat will make the plants grow flimsy. While they will grow in sunny or shaded areas, their preference is actually slight shade


Thyme Thymus vulgaris

Although it actually prefer sun, it will grow in partial shade.  The flavour will not be as strong as when it grows in full sun


Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Grows in shade, best grown from root cuttings. Harvest your plant regularly. Two or three plants will suffice if you regularly prune them.


Peas  (Pisum sativum)

Peas love cooler temperatures and need about five hours of sun a day


Violets  (Viola sp)

Well, not only can you eat these pretty spring flowers, you can also grow them in full shade, too. That’s right–no partial sun is needed.