Kitchen Garden Seeds

Shade Tolerance

It's a fact that most garden plants prefer full sun. Full sun, in the horticultural world, means at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight a day. Preferably, these hours would include the early afternoon hours, when the sunlight is at its most intense. If a plant that prefers full sun doesn’t get enough, it may not grow as strongly, and it may get leggy as it reaches for more light. It might start flopping because of this, and it might not flower well, or at all. A perennial under these conditions probably won’t survive more than a couple of years before giving up the ghost. But many plants thrive in less than full sun. We've listed a selection of those plants below, divided into those that prefer Partial Shade and those that are tolerant of Full Shade.

Partial Shade is a simplified term that can mean many things. It could mean morning sunlight and afternoon shade (maybe on the eastern side of a house or wall), an area where a plant gets less that 4 hours of direct sunlight (preferably not in the heat of the afternoon), or it could be at the edge of a woodland or in the dappled sunlight under a tall tree.

Full Shade is just what it sounds like—no direct sunlight at all. This could be in the midst of a woodland garden, on the north side of a house or wall, and so on. Your choices in these situations are pretty limited, unfortunately. But there are options out there if you’re willing to do the research and suffer through some trial and error.


Flowers

Partial Shade:

Sweet Alyssum
Bachelor's Buttons
Balloon Flower
Bee Balm
Black-Eyed Susan
Browallia
Calamint
Calendula
California Poppy
Cardinal Climber
Carnation
Catmint
Columbine
Coneflower
Creeping Zinnia
Cottage Pinks
Cutting Ageratum
English Daisy
Euphorbia
Wild Blue False Indigo
Bronze Fennel
Forget-Me-Not
Johnny Jump Up
Lace Flower
Larkspurs
Lobelia
Lupine
Maltese Cross
Mignonette
Money Plant
Nictoiana
Phlox
Poppies
Salvia
Shiso
Snapdragon
Spider Flower
Verbena

Full Shade:

Balsam
Coleus
Foxglove
Heuchera


Herbs

Partial Shade:

Chives
Chervil
Dill
Fennel
Garlic Chives
Lemon Balm
Spearmint
Parsley
St John's Wort
Sage
Thyme.

Vegetables
In general all vegetables need some sun light; but leafy vegetables are the most shade tolerant, picked and enjoyed at any stage of development, unlike sun-loving vegetables that need full sunlight to develop and ripen (like Tomatoes, Eggplants and Sweet Peppers). Please note that the list below notes minimum hours of sunlight needed. Most partial shade-tolerant veggies require at least four hours of sunlight per day, but often thrive with less than six hours of direct sunlight.

Partial Shade:

Arugula 3-4
Asian Greens 3-4
Beans 5
Beets 5
Beets Greens 3-4
Broccoli 5-6
Brussels Sprouts 5-6
Cabbage 5-6
Cauliflower 5-6
Collards 3-4
Cress 4
Endive - Frisee 4
Escarole 4
Kale 3-4
Lettuce 3-4
Mesclun 2-3
Mustard Greens 3
Peas 5
Radish 4
Salad Greens 2-4
Spinach 3-4
Swiss Chard 3-4