The Best Vegetables That Grow in Shade

The Best Vegetables That Grow in Shade

closeup photo of sprout
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on

Do you have a portion of your garden that is partially shaded and you’re not sure what to do with it? Well look no further because below you will find a comprehensive list of vegetables and other edibles to grow in the shady part of your garden.

Types of Sun and Shade

Knowing how much sun specific areas of your garden receive is very important to knowing what you should plant and where you should plant it.

Full Sun

Full sun is any part of the garden that receives 6 or more hours of sunlight per day between the hours of 10 am to 6 pm. fruits and vegetables that do well in sun include tomatoes, peppers, and melons.

Partial Shade

Partial shade is the same thing as partial sun, that is any part of the garden that receives between 3-6 hours of sunlight per day. This also includes dappled shade, which is sunlight filtered through leaves, tree branches etc.

Full Shade

If a part of your garden is fully shaded you should not attempt to grow anything there. All vegetables require some sunlight so this part of the garden will not be viable.

healthy dirty agriculture harvest
Photo by Markus Spiske on

Are your Vegetables Shade Tolerant or Shade Loving?

Chances are most of the vegetables you plan to grow are only shade tolerant. This means they can handle less sunlight but not that they prefer it. Plants that receive less than their preferred amount of light may mature more slowly. There are some things you can do to counteract this.

Checklist for your Shady Garden

Soil quality is very important if you are growing plants in a partially shaded area. There is much you can do to improve soil quality including adding used coffee grounds!

Watch out for pests! Shady areas in your garden may be more likely to attract pests. You can add crushed up egg shells around your garden to keep them at bay.

Plan your garden according to the amount of sunlight it will receive. Most plants will grow more slowly in areas that receive less sun. Your best bet is to grow root vegetables and leafy greens because these plants are much more shade tolerant. leafy greens often require cover in the hottest parts of the year so this set up is perfect for them.

person holding a red radish plant
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Vegetables That Grow in Shade


Arugula requires at least 3-4 hours of sunlight every day. This spicy green is usually grown in the cool season so it will appreciate shade in the summer. If Arugula is too hot it may bolt and become bitter. Sow the seeds directly in the early summer or fall and harvest after 20-40 days.


Almost all root vegetables will grow in shade relatively well, including beets. Make sure your beets get at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. The roots will grow more slowly in the shade. Sow in the spring and expect to harvest in 60 days.

Bok Choi

Bok Choi and other Asian greens will do very well in partial shade managing with as little as 3 hours of sun per day. Too much heat and sunlight can actually cause Bok Choi to Bolt. Plant in spring and expect to harvest within 60 days.


Broccoli will appreciate partial shade in the warmer parts of the growing season. It needs 4-6 hours of sunlight and takes about 60-70 days to reach maturity. Make sure to harvest the buds before the plant blooms or the flavor will become bitter. Start seeds indoors and transplant outside in the Spring.

green broccoli vegetable on brown wooden table
Photo by Pixabay on

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts will not grow as large as they normally would in full sun but it is still possible to grow them in partial shade. 4 to 5 hours of sunlight is the minimum I recommend for Brussel sprouts. They are a slow growing crop; plant in the spring and harvest in late fall. Begin growing indoors and transplant when the final frost has passed. Expect them to take around 100 days to grow to maturity.


Cabbage will do well in partial shade especially when the weather gets warmer. Begin indoors and move outside after the final frost in your area. Harvest time varies wildly depending on the variety you plant, anywhere from 70 to 100 days.


Carrots just like the other root vegetables will do well in partial shade. They need at least 4-5 hours of sunlight and should be planted directly. Expect to harvest in 60 to 80 days but this will depend on the variety. Surprise yourself and your guests by growing purple dragon carrots, a spicy purple variety!


Cauliflower will not grow as large in partial shade but they will reach still reach maturity. I recommend getting them as close to full sunlight as possible but 4-5 hours should be enough. Start seeds inside and move outdoors when frosts have passed. Harvest time is around 55 to 100 days.


Celery will likely grow smaller, thinner stalks in partial shade but it does generally prefer cooler weather. I recommend 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day and that you start your seeds indoors. Expect to harvest in 85 to 120 days.

person feeding vegetable on brown animal
Photo by Eric Esma on


Kale is a plant that is usually grown in the cool season. It is a great crop to grow for a fall harvest. It needs 4 to 6 hours of sunlight and should be planted in late summer. Expect to harvest in 60 days.


Lettuce is a plant that is best grown in the cool season as too much heat will cause it to bolt. Growing in shade is advised as it will prevent this from happening in warmer weather. Start seeds indoors or plant directly outdoors. I recommend 3 to 5 hours of sunlight. Harvest in 40 to 70 days depending on the varieties you plant.


Peas are another plant that will enjoy a little shade during the hot part of the growing season. I recommend 4-6 hours of sunlight and that you direct sow the seeds after that last frost in spring. Expect to harvest in 30 to 65 days depending on the variety grown.


Potatoes are a very durable vegetable and as such they will grow in either full sun or partial shade. If you grow potatoes in partial shade you should expect smaller tubers. Plant the seed tubers as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. Expect to harvest in 80 to 120 days depending on the variety that you choose to grow.


Radishes are a great choice to grow in partial shade. They will actually require partial shade to grow in the hotter parts of summer. Make sure they get 4-6 hours of sunlight per day and directly sow the seeds in early spring.


Scallions (green onions) will do well in either full sun or partial shade. They can also be harvested at almost any point in the growing process. You can harvest them anywhere in between 30 to 120 days depending on the size and flavor you are looking for. Directly sow the seeds in the spring.


Spinach is best grown in the cool season but planting it in an area with partial shade will prevent it from bolting and extend the growing season. Full sun or partial shade will work fine in the spring. Plant spinach in the early spring directly and expect to harvest in 30 to 45 days.

How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden

white blank notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Planning your vegetable garden is very important especially if you have a corner that receives partial shade. What plants work best where and knowing how to rotate your crops are vital for a successful garden. Below I will link a YouTube video that will go into depth and provide a more visual learning experience than I could in a blog post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *