vegetable, flower, and herb plants for shade

Garden Planning

Last Sunday I worked in the “Ask-A-Master-Gardener” booth at the Boston Flower Show. The most popular question I had was: What should I plant in my shady garden?

I have several shady areas in my gardens. Knowing what plants will grow there is helpful. Here’s a list I’ve put together. 

Full Shade

Part Shade (dappled shade all day or 4 hours of sun per day)
Leafy greens including arugula, beet greens, cress, collard greens, endive, kale, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, radicchio, spinach, and Swiss chard

Part sun (more than 4 hours of sun per day)
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peas, garlic, beans, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, peas, potatoes, and rhubarb. Also small beets, turnips, and carrots.

Full Shade
Lemon balm, oregano, mint, angelica, chervil, mints, American pennyroyal, wild bergamot (monarda), and sweet cicely

Part shade (at least 4 hours of sun per day)
Chives, thyme, basil, parsley, rosemary, horseradish, and sage

Full Shade or dappled light
Hostas, wild ginger, ferns, Jack in the Pulpit, hellebores, mayapple, lily of the valley, sweet woodruff, trillium, foam flowers, black snakeroot, wild violets, vinca, epimedium, bellwort, lungwort, Virginia bluebells, Dutchman’s breeches, meadow rue, liriope, and Solomon’s seal

Part Shade (at least 4 hours of sun per day)
Alstilbe, day lily, ajuga, coral bells, bleeding heart, bergenia, forget-me-not, monarda, monkshood, foxglove, some ornamental grasses, lady’s mantle, bloodroot, cardinal flower, hepatica, Jacob’s ladder, rue anemone, columbine, leopardsbane, platycodon (ballon flower), campanula, cranesbill geranium, toad lily, and turtle head

Full Shade or dappled light
Impatiens, browallias, coleus, and wax begonias. Also spring bulbs, like daffodils,  crocus, scillas, snowdrops, and species tulips if discarded after they bloom.

Part Shade (at least 4 hours of sun per day)
Ageratum, tuberous begonias, fuchsia, sweet alyssum, lobelia, mimulus, feverfew, and dwarf salvias

This is a partial list that I will continue to work on. I welcome suggestions. What do you grow in the shade?

Gardening in the Shade – Univ Missouri Extension
Brooklyn Botanical Garden: A Garden of Shade-loving Herbs

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