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7 Vegetables that Grow in the Shade

Shade Loving Vegetables

If you’re wondering what vegetables grow in the shade, you’re not alone. Many people live in homes in established neighborhoods with huge mature trees casting long shadows across the yard and only fleeting blips of dappled sunlight, causing many a tomato plant to struggle for enough light for bearing fruit.

We live in the woods so definitely struggle for enough sunlight for summer gardens. Each year our tomatoes struggle because they don’t have enough all-day light, until last year when we finally cut down a couple trees and turned them into firewood.

We love living in the woods, but all the wonderful trees that keep us cool and cut our cooling bill in summer, also keep us from growing some things. The trees also create the perfect jungle gym café for the squirrel to part take of our garden fare

So it’s great to discover what vegetables can be grown in the shadier spots, and fortunately, most of these are our favorites! See if yours are amongst them.

We found a list from 1) of plants for varying degrees of sun. Their list for shade plants included 7 plants that will grow fine in light shade (less than 2-4 hours of sunlight).

After that, is a video showing what one of our favorite gardeners is growing in the shade. Having options certainly helps expand our gardening horizons–sunshine or not so here they are!

7 Shade Loving Vegetables

Excerpted from 2)



Being leafy, arugula would be expected to a sun-lover, but sunlight often droops and shrivels the leaves, so this is a good “under” plant to put underneath other, larger ones.



Endive is likely the most shade-loving of all the leafy lettuce-type plants.



Isn’t it beautiful?! Like its cabbage cousins, kale loves cold weather and less light.

Leaf lettuce


Most lettuce plants prefer less sun. Our favorite is an herb spring mix, so we really enjoy the mixed lettuce seed packs.

Mustard greens


A popular plant in the U.S., mustard greens are often grown in flower gardens and near porches where sunlight is limited.



Like lettuce, spinach needs cooler temperatures and less sun.

Swiss chard


Another delicate leafy plant, Swiss chard is happy without a lot of sunlight.

A plant we’ve added to our ornamental edible landscaping is hostas. Yep… hostas are edible, as well as beautiful!


For more on this list, visit

More on Vegetables You Can Grow in the Shade

By John Kohler of

Check it out and let us know what you would grow in the shady areas.

What vegetables are you growing in the shade? Please visit the Gardens All Facebook page and let us know.

So it’s great to discover what vegetables can be grown in the shadier spots, and fortunately, most of these are our favorites! See if yours are amongst them.

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