So you have lots of shade and you want to grow food?

There are many plants that like shade of varying degree. Think of a forest and all the plants that grow happily as an under-storey or on the forest floor in either full or part shade. 

Many plants grown commercially today are deliberately grown in the sun to speed up the flowering and fruiting process. This increases their water requirements. 

Many of the same plants may grown in shade naturally, perhaps bearing fruit more slowly but using less or no extra water.Bananas are such a fruit, occurring as an under-storey in natural forest condition, and will grow and fruit in shade with minimal sunlight.

Also remember that our hot Australian sunshine is very intense compared to Europe's so many vegetables and fruits may not need as much sun as is suggested on packets and in books, especially in the summer. 

Some herbs that like partial shade

  • Basil
  • bergamot
  • bush basil
  • borage
  • chervil
  • chicory
  • comfrey
  • coriander
  • cress
  • dandelion
  • dill
  • English marigold
  • fennel
  • lemongrass
  • mints
  • parsley
  • salad burnet
  • tarragon
  • watercress

Some vegetables that like shady conditions

  • Bush tucker plants from rainforest areas
  • Leafy greens: cabbage, chicory, collards, endive, kale, kang kong, land cress, Lebanese cress, lettuce, rocket, silverbeet, spinach
  • Root crops: beetroot, carrot, cassava, celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnip, sweed, sweet potato, taro, turnip, yacon (Peruvian ground apple), yam
  • Vines: beans, peas, choko
  • Other: chilli, coffee, ginger

Some fruits that like shady condition

  • Bush tucker fruits: appleberry, midginberry, native raspberry, small-leafed tamarind
  • Berries: blueberries, cape gooseberry, currants, gooseberry, mulberry, strawberry, tamarillo.
  • Vines: grape, kiwifruit, passionfruit
  • Other: banana, custard apple, pawpaw, pepino, pineapple, rhubarb, swiss-cheese plant

Some edible ornamentals that like shady conditions

  • fuchsia (berry)
  • geraniums (leaf and flower)
  • nasturtium (flowers, leaf and capers)
  • pansy viola (flower)
Don’t be afraid of the shade