Vegetable Shade Gardening

Asked February 13, 2020, 11:43 PM EST

I wanted to ask if there was a quick handout or some more detailed information on what I could grow for vegetables/fruits in a shady (no direct sun) location. Even more challenging, it is on a patio and would need to be in a container (maybe 24" or smaller). Apartment living and close quarters limit my gardening! I know there are community gardens, but I would prefer to grow something right on my patio so I know I will be able to watch and tend to it daily.

Clark County Washington

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Growing edible plants in full shade may not be totally impossible, but it is extremely challenging! Plants need the sun’s rays to photosynthesize, especially ones producing flowers and fruits. So that leaves edibles such as lettuce, chard and spinach which ‘bolt’ (go to seed and become inedible) in hot weather. You can find help with container gardening in this Extension publication: There are some commercial books on gardening in the shade, and they recommend ornamentals such as ferns, hostas, and even azaleas (a small ‘version’ of rhododendron) which all tolerate deep shade. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!