Best Herbs for Shade

While most herbs require some sunlight, these herbs actually thrive in the shade. This is great for anyone who has areas in their garden that have shade because they’re barren. If you’re tired of looking at the boring, bare, shady corner, you’ll love the herbs on this list that can take that boring corner into something fabulous.

Many herbs thrive equally in the shade as well as the sun. Some, especially those that are more tender, are very partial to shade, especially during the heat of the day. These herbs can easily be grown in the shady areas of your garden.


Parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum crispum)

parsley photo

This Mediterranean herb is very popular in cooking. Nearly every corner of the world uses parsley. It’s a biennial plant with rosette shaped leaves the first year. It sends up a flower stalk the next year. When grown as an annual, the leaves, as well as the rest of the plant, are harvested and edible.

The root is also used as a vegetable for soups, stews and in some stir fries. The leaves of parsley also work as a breath freshener if you chew them. You can also use the leaves as a poultice and apply this to bruises, insect bites, and other scrapes or scratches.

There are two main varieties of parsley. There is the Italian parsley that has flat leaves and there is the curly leaved parsley. The flat-leaved parsley has more flavor than the curly leaf and is the one that is most often used in cooking and the curly leaves are most often used as a garnish.

To grow parsley, you’ll need to have rich organic matter. You can also grow parsley in full sun, however, it does much better when it has shade. Parsley is grown from seed. You will want to plan it indoors as it has a very long germination period. It will thrive in zones 5 to 9 and prefers temperatures of 70 to 85. Parsley is also very cold hardy and will remain green even if the temperatures drop to freezing.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Cilantro photo

Also referred to as Chinese parsley, cilantro boasts an intense flavor that is either loved or hated. Cilantro is the plant that gives coriander after the plant flowers and then sets its seeds. However, the coriander and the mildly citrus flavor of cilantro are very different.

A member of the Apiaceae family, cilantro is a delicious addition to any Mexican meal. With a citrusy flavor, it offers a unique flavor that enhances other flavors in the dish. Cilantro prefers more shade than the sun and is very easy to grow from seeds. It thrives sin moist rich soil that has plenty of compost. Older leaves can be removed and used immediately while the rest of the plant develops. In the fall, the entire plant can be pulled up and used in dishes.

Cilantro thrives in zones 4 to 10 and prefers moist soil. The flower stalk will mark the end of its growth period so you want to pull the plant just before or just as the flower stalk emerges.

Mint (Mentha)

mint herb photo

Mint offers a lovely bright green color to any shady corner of the garden. With quilted looking leaves and the fresh mint aroma, it’s a delightful addition to any garden. Plant near the house or a walkway so that the fresh aromatic scent can be admired.

Mint can rapidly spread and take over the garden so allow for plenty of space for mint when planting. You can plant it in a corner and use bricks or rocks to corner it off or plant it in a container and leave the container in the shade of the garden to ensure optimal growth.

Easily propagated from cuttings, seeds or root cuttings it will thrive in well-drained soil that is kept moist. There are several varieties including peppermint, spearmint, and other mints. Ideal for zones 5 to 9. Prune it back if it becomes leggy and it will become bushier. Save and dry the leaves for teas and garnishes.

Chives (Allium)

chives photo

Chives are an ideal addition to any meal. Slightly onion like in flavor, they are milder and grow in clumps that look like clumps of grass. Ideal for potatoes, eggs, Mexican meals and more you’ll love this slightly spicy addition to any meal.

Chives also have lovely little flowers that are a purple-pink in color. Remove the flowers as they bloom so that the chives will continue to grow. They may also help with digestion and relieve gas. Planting chives in the garden will also help to deter many garden pests as they don’t care for the smell or the taste.

Chives thrive in zones 3 to 10. Start indoors with seeds or you can divide them and transplant the clumps of grass like chives. Once they are established, they will return every year and gradually enlarge their clusters until you have a nice garden of chives. Keep soil moist but drained.

Thyme (Thymus)

thyme herb photo

There are many varieties of thyme and no garden is complete without at least one amongst the herbs. The most common form of thyme is English thyme. With high branches and a spreading habitat, it has tiny leaves with purple or pink flowers. It offers a spicy flavor to many types of meat and vegetables and the flavor can be very strong if you accidentally put too much in.

It’s easy to grow and will grow nearly anywhere. A perennial in zone 9 it can survive a light freeze and drought. It prefers shade and will do well in warmer climates. Over time, it will turn into a ground cover and can add a lovely ground cover to many areas of the garden.

It’s easy to propagate from just a sprig and it will rapidly fill in the area. Perfect for any kitchen herb garden you’ll appreciate how easy it is to get it started and going. The leaves can easily be frozen or dried and will be delicious when crumbled into a variety of dishes.

Trying to decide what to do with that shady patch in your garden? Why not try growing herbs! This article discusses a range of herbs that will grow successfully with only minimal sunlight - meaning you can fit them into any yard no matter what the conditions. Perfect even for beginner gardeners.

Photo by 305 Seahill