Herb gardens are typically grown in full sun. In general, this is the best way to grow herbs. This is true of most edible and fruit bearing plants. Fruit bearing plants usually need more sun than shade in order to produce fruit. However, it is still possible to grow herbs successfully even if you have a shady garden.
If you don’t have a suitable gardening area that gets full sun, or if you’re looking to expand your herb gardening into some shadier areas of your yard, there are some herbs that can handle some shade during the day better than others.
Here are five herbs that you can grow in partial shade.
Herb Plants for Shady Spots
- Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Chervil is a perennial in warm climates and may be grown as an annual in cooler climates. Chervil should be direct seeded in mid spring except in areas with mild winters where it can be sown in early spring or mid fall. Chervil thrives in partial shade when watered regularly.
Common chives are perennial plants in warm climates and may be planted as annuals in cold climates. Sow seeds in spring after danger of frost has passed. Older plants can be divided in the spring or fall. Chives do very well in partial shade. They also grow well in full sun and survive dry periods very well, once established.
Lemon balm is a perennial herb which thrives in part to mostly shaded areas where soil is kept damp but not wet. Do not plant where water stands. Lemon balm will also grow in full sun; however, it is subject to leaf-scorch. Sow seeds in early spring. Mature plants may be divided in spring or fall. Seeds may need to be stratified.
Parsley is a biennial herb. Sow seeds in early spring in partial shade and keep well watered. For a constant supply of fresh, young leaves sow parsley seeds every two weeks from spring through late summer.
Thyme is one of the easiest herbs to propagate. Seeds may be direct seeded in the spring while divisions and layering in spring and fall will supply many new plants. Plant thyme in partial shade to full sun and keep soil moist but not wet.
More Herbs for Partial Shade
- Bouquet Dill (Anethum graveolens)
- Lime Basil (Ocimum americanum)
- Slow Bolt Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
Other Tips for Growing Herbs in Shady Areas
- Try growing herbs in containers so they can be moved around as the sun reaches the planting area.
- Grow in well-composted, healthy soil.
- Water plants regularly but never allow soil to become saturated to the point water stands around the plant’s root area.
- Watch for signs of pests and disease in soil and on plant foliage.
The herbs above will all grow in sunny locations as well as the shade garden. Many can be planted right along with ornamentals in the flower bed.