22 Herbs To Grow In The Shade

Herb Seeds


Herbs That Grow Well In Shade

Gardening in the shade can be exasperating if you are not growing suitable plants. So far as vegetables go there are a number of crops that tolerate or thrive in partial shade, mostly green leafy veggies. So far as Herbs are concerned, the majority prefer to bask in the sun but there are many that are either tolerant of lower light levels and some that even thrive in shade.

All plants need sunlight to perform photosynthesis and grow properly. Most plants require either 8 hours or more daily, 4 to 8 hours equates to partial sun, less than 4 hours daily and only a handful of plants will thrive. If the location you are planting in gets less than 4 hours, partial shade / sun plants are not suitable. There are a few plants however that will do well under these conditions. Most of the herbs listed are suitable for partial shade, some will grow in full shade.

List of Shade Tolerant Herbs

Angelica does best in cool climates and a semi-shady location, not completely shaded, just semi shady. Grown in regions with hot summers, a shady location will provide protection from the blazing sun and heat, as it is a heat sensitive plant.

Anise does best in full sun, but is tolerant of shade.

Catnip also known as catmint is in the Mint family and has many of the same attributes as other types of Mint. It grows well in shaded areas.

Chervil is a quick growing but short living annual herb it reaches up to 2 feet in height but the 1 foot ballpark is more common. If exposed to full sun it rapidly bolts to seed, so a shaded area / partial shade is best.

Chives grow best in Full sun but will tolerate shade especially in hot climates. They perform best in well drained soil. Keep any mulch away from the bases of these plants to curtail disease problems related to excessive moisture and poor air circulation.

Cilantro grows in full sun or partial shade, particularly in hot regions shade is best. It grows fast in the cooler days of spring and fall, the drawback to this is that it has a tendency to bolt to seed, before the leaves can be harvested, this makes cilantro somewhat tricky to grow in full sun. It actually produces two spices coriander seed and cilantro leaves. In hot weather Cilantro has a tendency to bolt to seed, before the leaves can be harvested, so if you're growing it for the Coriander seed that's okay.

Ginger Root takes 8 to 10 months to reach maturity. USDA zones 7 or higher are suitable for growing ginger outdoors, otherwise they should be potted. They will not grow in full sun, they need shade and lots of it.



Ginseng grows in shaded forests, it is fairly unique in that it does not tolerate sunlight, in fact it needs nearly complete shade, in the ballpark of 80% shade . A shaded location under a tree perhaps, is best. If you have a wooded area on your property that would be ideal. You can also create shaded environments in containers.

Oregano does not grow well in the shade, the only true exception is Golden Oregano which grows in partial to full shade. Full sun will kill it.

Horseradish is cold-hardy up to Zone 3, it's a perennial that grows best where there's ample cold weather to force dormancy. It will grow almost anywhere sun or shade and at times grows so vigorously it is considered invasive.

Lemon Balm is a Mint family plant and like all mints will grow well in shaded areas. It does not fare well in blasting balmy full sun, partial shade / partial sun is best - this of course depends on whether you want your glass to be half empty or half full.

Lovage is an Old World herb, it was once grown widely in the British Isles as an herb and for its medicinal qualities. It grows well in either sun or shade.

Mint is an awesome plant for shady corners of the yard or garden. All mints prefer a moist cool location with partial shade.

Parsley, best known as a garnish on many dishes, sprinkled on meat , fish, or even salads it helps retain the fresh flavor of foods, and helps fight the dreaded Halitosis [Bad Breath]. It can reach a foot in height and serves well in companion planting schemes. Parsley will tolerate nearly any adverse condition. Parsley is tolerant of either Full sun or partial shade. In the shade it should be kept trimmed to prevent it from sprawling and becoming invasive.



Spicebush is an aromatic herb, that thrives in shade, partial shade is best but it will tolerate full shade, just not blazing direct full sun.

Tarragon - There are three different varieties of herbs referred to as Tarragon all are from the sunflower family. French Tarragon, Russian Tarragon and Mexican Tarragon. Shade is best as it can not tolerate full sun. Growers in the south and southwest sometimes prefer Mexican Tarragon which does better in the heat, but still needs some shade.

Thyme is sometimes recommended for a shade garden. Only if you live in a hot region such as the South or Southwest should it be planted in the shade, Northern Gardeners are advised to stick with full sun.

Other Plants that are grown as herbs and do well in shade are American Pennyroyal, Sweet Woodruff, sweet flag, sweet cecily, valerian.