5 Herbs That Grow Well in The Shade

Updated: June 16, 2013

5 Herbs That Grow Well in the Shade

Due to space limitations, our planting areas may not receive the full sunlight requirements of most plants, which is 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.

Nevertheless, we still yearn for the freshness in herbs that we can only have by growing them ourselves. Nature intended for plants to survive and thrive in different sets of conditions, and we just have to select those that we can take care of given our unique circumstances.

With a little bit of ingenuity and persistence, we can still have the benefits and fulfillment of being able to create an herb garden that thrives in partial shade.

Take note, however, that this does not mean that some herbs can grow in fully shaded areas. Dappled sunlight and afternoon shade are enough for the following five herbs, provided that they get all their nutritional requirements:


If you use a well-draining sandy soil mix, thyme can thrive with dappled sunlight, and its fragrance will still waft through the air. However, there will be less flowers on its buds. It is often planted for its beauty and as ground cover and as an addition to bean, vegetable and egg dishes.


Oregano usually likes areas of full sunlight, but it can do well with early morning sunlight and a bit of afternoon shade. It thrives in well-drained soil which is slightly alkaline, so a soil test may help you determine a good planting area or if you need to purchase soil from a garden shop. Oregano is a prolific herb that can grow broad leaves quickly, so it is advisable to harvest it regularly. Many pasta and Italian dishes are not complete without oregano, and it can also be made into a tea that can help you go to sleep.

Lemon Balm

Although it can be grown in full sunlight, Lemon balm prefers a cool and partially shaded area since shade improves the flavor of the leaves. It can easily be grown from stem cuttings or by seeds. If left to itself, lemon balm will grow in clumps and seed itself prolifically, becoming a nuisance in the garden. Regular trimming and harvesting is necessary to keep the plant in its own space. Lemon balm is used to make aromatic teas by itself or with other tea varieties.


A hardy herb that can tolerate long periods of shade, parsley does well in cold climates and can be harvested even when temperatures are almost freezing. It is typically used as a garnish and as a condiment for salads and potato soups.


As one of the easiest herbs to grow in the shade, mint also derives its flavor from not having too much sunlight and keeping itself to cooler areas. It is advisable to keep this herb in a container since it can spread quickly to other areas of your garden. Keep it tame with regular trimming and harvesting, and add the leaves to your tea or cold beverages for a fresh feeling across your palette.

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