The 10 best shade-tolerant vegetables for growing in the shade

Are there spaces of shade in your garden that you would like to fill in with something?  In what follows, we will describe to you which of the best shade-loving vegetables you can fill in that space with.

Although areas with full sun are best suited for the majority of fruits and vegetables, many vegetable crops, including beets, radishes, and salad greens, are good for growing in the shade.

For some crops, protection against the summer’s heat can be an advantage.  For example, some plants will have more of a lush appearance and are slower to seed in the shade.

If you like shade-loving ornamentals or like to plant in planters along fences, or containers, check out our selection of the best shade-loving plants.

Discover, in what follows, 10 vegetables that are good for growing in the shade.

Swiss chard

Cut off the leaves for a salad while they are still fresh, or when they are as long as a spinach leaf.  Swiss chard can be multiple colors and the stalks are the color indicated by the variety’s name.  Protect your crop from cold weather using wool or fleece.  It is recommended to plant Swiss chard between March and September.  Read more about how to grow Swiss chard.


All Brassicas are shade tolerant which means that along with cabbage you could also harvest broccoli or Brussels sprouts.  Plant seeds during the spring to harvest towards the end of the growing season.  Cover your plants with netting to protect them from the small white or the cabbage butterfly.


Beets are shade tolerant, but, to be sure that you get hardy plants, plant blocks of seeds in well-lighted areas so that they will have grown well until being transplanted.  The sweet-flavored Boltardy is a reliable variety, but you could also try others such as Burpee’s Golden or the striped Chioggia.  Plant seeds every other week during the spring and summer to have a succession of harvests.  Learn how to plant beets.

Salad greens

Try planting loose-leaf lettuce, including oakleaf lettuce or varieties like Lollo Rosso or Mizuna (known for its rapid growth and mild peppery taste).  Once the soil has warmed up in the spring, begin planting in small, open areas. Stagger plants for continuous harvesting.  Learn how to plant salad greens in containers.


Plant small amounts of rutabaga frequently, once temperatures are above 10 °C (50 °F). Water the plants regularly.  Peel the swollen stems and gently fry them in butter; add them to stews or grate them for salads. The leaves can be eaten the same way as cabbage.


Radishes can be ready for consumption a couple of weeks after having been planted. They are awesome for adding some tang to salads. Continually planting a small number of seeds will result in a continuous harvest. Watch this video about how to plant radishes.


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Carrots are afternoon shade tolerant.  Avoid squishing the leaves when thinning young plants, since the odor can attract carrot flies. You can also try planting resistant varieties such as Flyaway or Resistafly.


Leeks need some sun and for that reason, it is best to plant them where they will have morning sun and will be growing in the shade during afternoons. Try proven, reliable varieties such as Musselburgh and Autumn Giant for heavier yields.


Kale is a vigorous crop that tolerates light shade.  Try planting varieties of different types and colors such as Black Tuscany, Red Winter, Dwarf Green Curled, and Red Curled. Cut the leaves frequently to encourage additional growth.  Learn how to plant kale.

Broad Beans

Broad beans are a vigorous crop and overwinter like tea [autumn planting], tending to bear fruit quickly once spring begins, and for this reason, can withstand partial shade.  Early varieties, such as Aguadulce Claudia usually are ready to be harvested one month earlier than other varieties.

Discover the 10 best shade-tolerant plants for growing in the shade.