Most herbs prefer a sun-filled environment, but there are several herbs will grow in the shade. Herbs grown in the shade may not produce as heavily as those grown in the full sun, but they should still perform nicely. And growing your own herbs, even in small quantities, can save you a lot of money, as store-bought fresh herbs are quite expensive. If you have a patch of soil that receives partial sun, any of the 16 herbs mentioned below should do nicely.
Keep in mind that most herbs prefer relatively dry conditions. Since shady areas tend to retain moisture for longer periods of time, be sure to factor that into your watering schedule. In fact, you can usually leave shaded herbs to fend for themselves, in all but the driest of conditions.
Some herbs, like mint, are invasive and therefore best grown in containers. Do a bit of research before you plant anything, ensuring that you are using the right space and vessel. Consider leaving extra space between herbs, so the sun can reach them. Over-fertilizing will result in less flavorful herbs, so use fertilizer sparingly.
16 Herbs That Will Grow in the Shade
- Angelica: Herbalists recommend making tea from angelica leaves to remedy colds and digestive issues.
- Bee balm: This herbaceous perennial in the mint family produces brightly colored flowers and has many uses in cooking.
- Calendula (pot marigold): Calendula is a flowering annual plant that produces colorful blooms and has multiple medicinal uses.
- Catnip: Catmint, the most famous type of which is catnip, is often grown for its beautiful ornamental properties, though feline owners may have additional motives.
- Chamomile: This delicate but surprisingly tough plant makes a popular and delicious tea, made from both its leaves and stems.
- Chervil: A delicate spring herb that's great in salads and particularly delicious in omelets and other egg dishes, chervil is one of the four key herbs to the French blend called fines herbes (the others are parsley, tarragon, and chives).
- Chives: Chives are a "clumping herb," meaning that they grow tightly packed, which makes them a great choice for small spaces. The mild onion flavor works well in vinaigrettes and herb butter and pairs nicely with egg dishes.
- Cilantro/Coriander: This double-duty herb can be eaten as fresh leaves (cilantro) or dried seeds (coriander). It's common in many Latin and Indian dishes.
- Garlic: Garlic is easy to grow and easy to use in any number of dishes from nearly every cuisine. It is also thought to promote overall health and to combat colds and high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Lovage: Related to carrots, dill, and caraway, lovage is used in many European and Mediterranean cuisines.
- Lemon Balm: Not to be confused with its close cousin lemon verbena, lemon balm is thought by herbalists to help combat a variety of woes, including anxiety and stress.
- Mint: Mint is a hardy perennial that will spread quickly if left untended. It's also a flavorful herb, used in cocktails, teas, desserts and more.
- Oregano: Another easy-to-grow perennial, oregano is a popular herb that finds a home in numerous Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes.
- Parsley: A ubiquitous garnish, parsley is also a delicious fresh herb that incorporates beautifully with many dishes. Italian flat leaf parsley is a little sweeter than the curly variety.
- Sweet Woodruff: A perennial often used as pretty ground cover, due to its clusters of small, white, star-shaped flowers, sweet woodruff also boasts both medicinal and culinary uses.
- Thyme: This woody Mediterranean herb is associated with the flavors of the region: garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes. It's also admired for its antiseptic and preservative properties.