Most vegetables are high-light plants because they have to produce food.

Sunlight is what helps them in food production process or photosynthesis. Unless they get sufficient time in the sun, they cannot make enough food for themselves and for us. However, there are a number of shade tolerant vegetables.

Leafy vegetables and herbs are at the top of the list because their food production as well as storage happens right there on the leaves.

Root vegetables follow next. If you have a patch that receives light to partial shade, choose plants from the following selection.


Onions need long growing periods and plenty of sun to produce bulbs large enough for the effort. But, if you intend to harvest them as scallions or baby onion plants, any area that gets dappled light or partial shade is good enough.

Start the seeds indoors and set the seedlings out in spring. Keep the patch watered. Start harvesting when the plants are 6 inches tall.

Minimum sun – 3 hours


Choose early maturing varieties for shade. Sow carrot seeds directly in well cultivated beds where they can get 4-5 hours of direct light and then bright light for the rest of the day.

You may need to wait a bit longer for the tubers to develop. Even at full maturity they may look like baby carrots, but they remain tender and sweet too.

Minimum sun – 4-5 hours


Start your oregano plants from cuttings or divisions and grow them in a spot that gets just 3-4 hours of sunlight, preferably in a container to keep it in check.

You will not get vigorous growth in the shade, but the stems can still trail on the ground and spread in all directions.

The advantage of growing this perennial herb in partial shade is that it may delay or even prevent flowering.

Minimum sun – 3 hours

Tomatoes /Cherry tomatoes

Most vegetable gardeners cannot imagine a garden without tomatoes. These high-light plants can grow well in partial shade, especially cherry tomatoes although they may have fewer tomatoes.

In warmer areas with hot summers, all tomato plants need some amount of shade from afternoon sun.

Select early bearers and determinate types.

Minimum sun – 5 hours


Lettuce loves it when it is really cool. Slightly shady conditions are better for keeping the delicate lettuce leaves crisp and sweet.

If you have open leaved varieties, harvest the lower leaves to extend the harvest.

Plant the head-forming varieties every two weeks for a continuous supply.

Sufficient water and cooler temperatures in the shade would prevent the plants from bolting in the summer heat.

Minimum sun- 3-4 hours


Spinach is quite happy growing in the shade most of the day, especially in the afternoon.

This green is usually grown in two separate seasons, spring and fall, because it doesn’t do well in summer heat. But in partial shade, and with sufficient water to keep it from wilting, a small patch of spinach can provide plenty of greens all through the growing season.

Just pick the leaves as they enlarge; this promotes the growth of more new leaves from the center of the tuft and prevents the plant from bolting.

Minimum sun – 3-4 hours


Minimum sun – 3-4 hours


Kale is a cold hardy vegetable that you could plant out early in spring and then keep harvesting long into the winter, but for the hot spell in summer.

Heat makes the leaves tough and bitter, but that can be avoided if the plants are in the shade for the hottest part of the day.

Shade-grown kale may not have very large leaves, but that just means you can accommodate more plants in the limited space you have.

Minimum sun – 3-4 hours


Celery needs a long growing season of cool temperatures to do well, so it often suffers in summer heat. But that is not an issue when you grow it in a partially shaded area.

Start the seeds indoors early and plant the seedlings earlier than other spring vegetables. Celery thrives in moist soil and cannot stand even a bit of water stress.

Keep it watered and fed, and harvest outer leaves when they are long enough. No blanching is required for shade grown celery.

Minimum sun – 4 hours

Bok choy

Minimum sun 2-3 hours


Minimum sun – 2-3 hours


Minimum sun – 3-5 hours