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Veges that grow in the shade

Written by Karen on July 15th, 2016.      5 comments

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Is your garden north facing?  So it gets the full force of the sun all day?  Mine is and there has been a lot of trial and error to plan a good balance between crop rotation and creating a bit of shade for veges that do not take kindly to full on sun.  It seems to be commonsense, now that I've experienced bolting leafy greens and vegetables with sunburn but I figure it's worth writing a blog about.

Anything that can be grown in the cooler autumn months, require less sunshine hours in the day, so if you are growing them in the summer, they will need shade to grow without bolting or shriveling up.

The amount of shade required can differ so read on for the two categories of shade into which we have grouped some of the popular varieties.

Here's a list of Vegetables that require 4-6 hours maximum sunlight a day.

Kept partially shaded, they thrive even in relatively dry soil.


Grown in full sun, broccoli will tend to go to flower.  A bit of shade will encourage tighter heads and a better taste.

Cabbage Leaf

Too much sun will dry out the broad leaves of cabbage and bigger open leaves will form rather than the tight head.


I have given up relying on having a good crop of carrots in my sunny garden because the sun produces more foliage while the carrot root stays small.  Limiting sun will help to grow bigger carrots.


The same applies as for broccoli.


This is a herb I have to create shade for.  Too much sun and the plants get all long and leggy and the taste is affected too.  Limiting sunshine will help to keep the plants smaller with a larger leaf for better taste and harvest.

These grow well in cooler moist conditions, unlike root onion varieties.

sugarsnap peas-383

Full sun will grow more foliage than pods.

To encourage root growth, ensure sunlight hours are less than 6 hours.

These tend to grow downwards when less sun is available.

Here's a list of Vegetables that require 2-4 hours maximum sunlight a day.

rocket wild

This tends to get soft droopy leaves when grown in full sun so plant it underneath other plants for nice crisp leaves.

Brussels Sprouts-271

This is a very popular autumn crop as the plants are cold-tolerant.


Of all the salad leaf plants, endive prefers the most shade.

Another popular autumn crop, kale thrives in the cooler weather and less light days.


Just when we feel like salads the most, in the middle of summer, it is not the best time to grow lettuce.  Growing them in full sun will result in lettuce that has bolted very quickly and become bitter.

Like lettuce, the cooler temperatures suit the growth of Spinach.


Silverbeet, swiss chard, perpetual.  These leafy plants are shade lovers and the cold enhances their colour.

Hope this helps to maximise your success with all of these vegetable varieties.



Jollene says ...
This is great. I also noticed with my garden.. I had a row of strawberry plants, some stayed full sun all day.. but one end of the row was shaded by a tree as the sun moved around. The strawberry plants at the shady end thrived - bigger healthier plants, bigger strawberries, lovely looking leaves. The strawberries in full sun struggled a bit more, smaller plants, leaves and strawberries. Yay for shady mottled light :)
cathy donaldson-serkin says ...
i have a cape gooseberry plant growing in a pot in pretty much full shade . it has gooseberries on it NOW .
Andrea says ...
Thank you for that information it will be most useful.!!
Jane Laking says ...
Great Blog! Reminds me of what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. Lots of stuff to move down to my morning sun only garden and other stuff to my full sun garden. I particularly need to note the sun tender herbs ... explains a lot of mediocre results - falsely thinking all herbs like full sun! I'm going to do better now! Cheers!
Phil says ...
Excellent idea to feature vegetables which require less than a full day's sun.

Why not list them so they can be printed out for easy reference at sowing and space allocation time!?

Oh dear!

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