Gardening in the Shade

Gardening in the shade can be pretty challenging, especially if you like bold, colorful plants. But rest assured that “challenging” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Check out these plants for some ideas for your shady container garden.

Black Mondo Grass

Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’

Japanese Blood Grass

Purple Heart ‘Purple Queen’

Oxalis ‘Molten Lava’

Coleus ‘Fishnet Stockings’


Dead Nettle

Bleeding Hearts

Don’t forget about the Twitter Contest for a chance to win a copy of either The Green Gardener’s Guide by Joe Lamp’l or Sunset’s Western Garden Book

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Over the past year I have been collecting edible plants that will thrive with less than shade and partial shade. That is, they will flourish with four hours or less of direct sun, and sometimes with only filtered sun. Here is an updated list with all the previous lists combined, and also some new plants.

Photo by catbiscuit

Have you been able to grow any of these plants in the shade?

  • Aloe
  • Beans
  • Beebalm
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Catnip
  • Cauliflower
  • Chamomile
  • Comfrey
  • Coriander (Cilantro)
  • Currants
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Honeyberry
  • Hyssop
  • Leafy Greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach, and kale
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mint
  • Nasturtium
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, cress, and radicchio
  • Swiss Chard
  • Thyme

UPDATE: Here is a list of shade tolerant edibles from Oregon Live.

If you know of any other shade tolerant edibles, please share them in the comments.

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Another Shady Container Idea

August 24, 2009

While talking to my friend Jayme, she mentioned that she really has a hard time with a few pots that live underneath the overhang of her home, and thus are in a very dry, shady spot. Inspired by Jayme’s dilemma, I thought I would come up with a few ideas for those of you who […]

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More Edibles that Can Be Grown in the Shade

May 19, 2009

According to Fennel and Fern (gotta love a blog with my name in it! 😉 ), currants can also be grown in pots in partial shade. Photo by TheGiantVermin So, add currants to the other fruits and vegetables that can be grown in the shade, such as Honeyberry and Kiwi

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Indoor Container Idea Featuring Foxtail Ferns

April 16, 2009

For a long time I avoided my namesake. I was teased mercilessly about my name while growing up. While I love it now (how much more fitting of a name could a garden blogger have?!), I spent most of my life hating the name ‘Fern.’ Hating the plant came along with hating the name. Afterall, […]

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More Plants for Part-Sun, Windy Balconies

February 6, 2009

Two things many balcony gardeners must deal with are wind and shade. In my last apartment and my current one, I’ve noticed that the close proximity of nearby buildings often creates a shady wind tunnel. These are some plants that will flourish in such conditions. Lady’s Mantle: Hardy to zone 3, the billowy flowers of […]

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Growing Sweet Peas in a Windowsill

November 17, 2008

Sweet peas are such beautiful looking and smelling plants, and now a days there are so many different varieties, that there really is no reason to let lack of space stop you from growing them. Photo by teal chick Recently, Mimi of Israeli Kitchen, asked me this question: “I’d like to plant some sweet peas […]

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Great Device for Calculating How Much Sun Your Space Gets

September 21, 2008

Sometimes it’s hard figuring our how much sun you particular balcony or patio gets. Afterall, you’re probably at work for part of the morning and all of the afternoon, and don’t want to spend your weekend glued to your balcony taking notes about the amount of sunshine it gets. Well, I just came across a […]

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Step-by-Step Tips for Creating a Garden on a Shady Balcony

August 13, 2008

Is your balcony totally shaded by another building or tall trees? That’s okay, despite what you may have heard, you can still have a beautiful container garden in the shade. I’ve written a few posts about gardening in the shade, but this is a step-by-step guide to help make your shady container garden look great! […]

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My Top 10 Coleus

August 5, 2008

Coleus are one of the most striking shade plants out there. They have ridiculously ostentatious leaves, usually in shades of magenta and lime, and there are literally hundreds of varieties, so there is bound to be at least one coleus that would look good on your balcony or patio. What are your favorite varieties of […]

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