Looking for herbs that grow in shade? Here are 4 wonderful herbal plants that can grow in low-light conditions. Some are total shade-lovers and others are partial to partial shade…but they’re all well suited to a shaded herb garden!
Herbs that don’t like their soil to dry out in summer tend to do well in shade.
They produce better leaf crops if they’re not subjected to midday sun, and are less likely to bolt into flower. Avoid sun-loving Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and oregano, but give everything else a try. With care, most will produce enough leaves for you to add to your favorite dish.
The keys to growing herbs in shade
Aside from maximizing your sunlight as much as possible by placing your herbs in the sunniest spot you have, there are a few other things you can do to encourage success growing herbs in shade.
1. Don’t over-fertilize. Since herbs growing in the shade will be leggy to begin with, feeding them too much only encourages more weak and spindly growth. Take it easy on the fertilization. Use a liquid organic fertilizer no more often than once every 6 to 8 weeks.
2. Harvest regularly. When you harvest herbs that grow in shade, remove slightly more growth than you would in the sun. Snip off the outermost stems. Not only does this encourage branching and keep the plant more compact, continual harvests also keep the plant from producing flowers which can alter the flavor.
3. Keep an eye out for pests. Sap-sucking critters, such as aphids and spider mites, attack plants growing in less than ideal conditions. Though they aren’t common pests of herbs, closely monitor any herbs that grow in shade for these and other pest invaders. A spray of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap is necessary only if the pests continue to appear after knocking them off the plant with a sharp stream of water from the hose.
Whether you grow the following shade-tolerant herbs in the ground or in containers, enjoy both their decorative nature and their delicious flavor.
This list has 4 of the best types of herbs that grow well in the shade. Browse through and pick out your favorites, or plant all of them if your garden doesn’t get very much sunshine.
All types of thyme will thrive in the shade. It will do just fine with as little as 4-6 hours of sunlight per day (creeping thyme does very well in an area of my yard where it gets about 3 hours of sun).
It’s a fantastic option for beginners too because it’s drought-tolerant, and doesn’t require any special care. In addition to the edible leaves, it gets pretty purple, pink, or white blossoms in summer.
Since it prefers cooler temperatures, oregano (also called winter marjoram) actually does better in the shade. This is especially true if you live in a hot climate.
It will do really well in an area where it’s protected from the intense afternoon rays. Planting it in a spot where it gets less than 6 hours of sun also helps to keep it from taking over your beds. Otherwise, it can be a bit aggressive.
This might come as a surprise to some, but mint does just as well in low light as it does in a full exposure. It only needs 4-5 hours of sun a day.
In fact, less light will make it grow slower, so it won’t take over your garden as quickly, which is a big win!
This popular and very fragrant plant gets up to 18” tall, and blooms in the summer. It prefers moist soil, and does well in pots or in the ground.
With its stunning orange or yellow flowers, there are several different types of calendula (aka pot marigold). The blossoms are gorgeous, and can be used in cooking, or for making elixirs and beauty products.
Like many of the herbs on this list, it prefers cooler temps, and can thrive in the shade.
With proper watering, they can reach 18-24” tall. Just be sure to deadhead them if you don’t want them to spread.