Vegetables to grow in shade: our top 10 overview

Frederike
Frederike
Frederike
Frederike

I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real country kid. At home, I love tending my small vegetable garden and spending time out in nature. When not outdoors, I love to write. Beyond gardening and writing, however, I am particularly passionate about wildlife.

Favourite fruit: currants and raspberries
Favourite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes

No sun garden, but a shady spot? No problem – find 10 great vegetables to grow in the shade.

Small chard plant
Plants like Swiss chard still grow well in the shade of trees and buildings [Photo: TangledNonsensePhoto/ Shutterstock.com]

Plants need one thing above all: light! Tomato, cucumber or zucchini – these popular garden plants cannot get enough light. But what if your own garden is not blessed by the sun? Do not worry, you do not have to give up gardening because of this: With the right choice of plants, even shady gardens become a true plant paradise. We show you ten vegetables that thrive in the shade.

1. Spinach

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is not only delicious, but also very robust: cold and shade are no problem at all for Popeye’s favourite plant. In fact, it is actually the opposite: with too much sun and heat, spinach quickly shoots, bears flowers and begins to taste bitter. Therefore, a place in the shade is quite suitable for this green vegetable. With a little care and regular watering, spinach also thrives here without problems. However, it grows a little slower in the shade than in the sun, but this in no way detracts from its good taste.

Small spinach plant
Cold and shade are no problem for spinach [Photo: Milosz_G/ Shutterstock.com]

2. Kohlrabi

Whether raw, boiled or roasted – kohlrabi is and remains simply delicious. And the cabbage is also easy to grow: Fast-growing and robust, it has already conquered many a gardener’s heart. If the plant has enough nutrients and water, it will grow perfectly even in the shade. In addition, kohlrabi is also very healthy: with lots of protein, vitamins and minerals, they are an ideal source of nutrients.

Kohlrabi plant
Kohlrabi grows perfectly even with little sun [Photo: giedre vaitekune/ Shutterstock.com]

3. Radish

If you are looking for a perfect vegetable for beginner gardeners, the radish (Raphanus savitus var. savitus) fits the bill perfectly: the small pink tuber is not only easy to grow, but also very robust and also grows quickly. A semi-shaded spot is ideal for the radish, but it also thrives in the shade without any problems. The tuber also belongs to the undemanding vegetable varieties. However, it should be noted that radishes from the shade are somewhat sharper and more aromatic than their counterparts in partial shade locations. The reason for this is mustard oils, which collect more in the tuber during slower growth. So if you like a more intense flavour, sow your radishes in the shade next time.

Common radish on the ground
Radishes from the shade have a more intense flavour [Photo: Nils Z/ Shutterstock.com]

4. Chard

Healthy, delicious and decorative too – chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) with its colourful stems is a real all-rounder in the flowerbed. And its demands on the location are just as versatile as it is. In fact, chard grows best in a sunny place – but this does not mean that it will die in the shade. This means chard tolerates even a shady location surprisingly well. It just needs a little more time than its counterparts in the sun to become ready for harvest.

Leaves of the swiss chard plant
The chard is a true all-rounder in the flower bed

5. Peas

Small, green and around – peas (Pisum sativum) are a popular vegetable not only with children. The pea is also popular with gardeners – after all, the plants are relatively easy to care for and even improve the soil, as they provide a higher nitrogen content. Peas are also relatively robust: they grow just as well in the sun as in (semi-)shade. However, when growing in the shade, care should be taken not to water them too often. After all, not as much water evaporates in the shade and excessive watering can quickly lead to waterlogging, which the pea cannot tolerate.

Garden peas on the plant
Peas can be grown in sun and paritla shade [Photo: Zakhar Mar/ Shutterstock.com]

6. Beetroot

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) should be found in every garden, after all, it is one of the healthiest vegetables at all. The cultivation of beetroot is also anything but difficult: robust and easy to care for, beetroot is also suitable for beginners. So it does not have high demands on its soil or location – it grows both in full sun and shade. Planted in the spring, beetroot can be harvested just before the first frost and can usually be stored over the winter without any problems.

Beetroot plants out of the ground
The beetroot does not have high demands on its location [Photo: CLICKMANI/ Shutterstock.com]

7. Cauliflower

The cauliflower (Brassica oleracera var. botrytis) is probably one of the most popular cabbage varieties, thanks mainly to its good taste, but also its versatility in preparation. Even in the garden, cauliflower cultivation succeeds. From April to the end of June, the seedlings can be planted in the bed and are ready for the pot just eight to twelve weeks later. Although cauliflower grows best with plenty of light, it also grows easily (though a bit slower) in the shade. In addition, a place in the shade protects the delicate white heads of cauliflower from unsightly sunburn, which can quickly form in strong sunlight.

White cauliflower and leaves
A shady spot can protect cauliflower from unsightly sunburn [Photo: GOLFX/ Shutterstock.com]

8. Broccoli

Nothing else is so closely related to cauliflower – so it is no wonder that broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italic) grows excellently in the shade. Easy to care for and robust, the vegetable can be grown in almost any garden. At the same time, it only needs a little fertiliser and regular watering to grow well. After seven weeks, the broccoli is then ready for harvesting and not only tastes great, but is also very healthy.

Small broccoli plant and leaves
Broccoli can be grown in almost any garden [Photo: Denis Pogostin/ Shutterstock.com]

9. Lettuce

It is the beginner vegetable par excellence: lettuce is robust, grows quickly and does not require much care. At the same time, nowhere can you get the green leaves as fresh and crisp as from your own cultivation. Asian and field lettuce in particular, but also rocket and lettuce can be easily grown in the shade. Especially in summer, even a shady spot is recommended for the delicious leafy vegetables: otherwise, in the hot midday heat, there is a risk that the lettuce will start to shoot.

Planted lettuce plant
Especially in summer, a shady spot is recommended for lettuce [Photo: asharkyu/ Shutterstock.com]

10. Brussels sprouts

Good things come to those who wait – the cultivation of brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) is not for the impatient. Most often, the seedlings are planted as early as April, but can be harvested only in the autumn or even winter. But if you can be patient, you will be rewarded with delicious little sprouts in the end. In fact, Brussels sprouts can be planted in the shade without hesitation. A place in the shade even brings advantages in the cultivation of Brussels sprouts: the vegetable does not tolerate heat very well and is therefore happy to have the coolness of a shady place, especially in summer.

Brussel sprout plant
Brussels sprouts don’t tolerate heat very well [Photo: Dagmar Breu/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: The Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost provides your vegetable plants with optimal nutrients even in the shade. In addition, it is completely peat-free and sustainably produced.

Plantura Organic Vegetable Compost
Plantura Organic Vegetable Compost

Peat-free & environmentally-friendly: for tomatoes & all other vegetables, ensures a rich & aromatic harvest, child & pet friendly

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